Category Archives: 1-Year Bible

May 10, 2021

1 Samuel 8:1-9:27

Samuel was definitely a man of God, he was called so personally, he served so faithfully, but Samuel’s sons did not walk in his ways. We naturally wonder why, and we’re not sure, the Bible doesn’t reveal that information. We DO know that the man who raised Samuel (Eli) was not a good disciplinarian, and we can be sure that Samuel was busy in the ministry, he WAS gone a lot, but ultimately, each child is personally responsible to make that choice. Tragically Samuel’s sons were dishonest, took bribes, and perverted justice. Samuel made a huge mistake in making his sons judges over Israel. This led to the people’s demand for a king.

It displeased Samuel, and it displeased the LORD – after all, they were essentially rejecting the LORD as King, but God allowed it, and consequentially Israel went from the perfect, to the permissive will of God in government.

God commanded Samuel to clearly warn the people:

Six times in his warning, we read those words regarding the king, “…he will take…” He would take and take and tax, their sons and daughters, the finest of their folks, the best of their fields, and so much more. The day would come when they would cry out to God, but He warned them in advance, He would not hear (1 Samuel 8:18). It didn’t matter to that generation, the people insisted, they wanted to be like all the other nations (1 Samuel 8:5, 20). It’s always a sad state when we make our decisions on that base basis – “…everyone else is doing it.”

God gave them their request, and gave Saul a chance. Saul had the “look” of a king, he was the most handsome man in all of Israel; he was also the tallest in the land. We will later learn that these factors are insignificant, what matters most is the heart (1 Samuel 16:1-7). Tragically some people have to learn the hard way.

Clearly it was the LORD bringing Saul and Samuel together. Saul was humble in the beginning, acknowledging the fact that his tribe was the smallest, that his family was the weakest. We read back in Judges 20-21 how the tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out!

He started well, if only Saul had stayed small in his own eyes. He was about to be anointed the King of Israel by God and His prophet, but it wouldn’t take long before his prideful insecurities would make him a madman, tormented by demons.

John 6:22-42

The next day the Jewish crowds were looking desperately for Jesus, but not for the right reason. It wasn’t even for the signs Jesus showed, no, they were looking for Him because of the food He provided. Jesus offers Godly guidance:

John 6:27 (NKJV) “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”

I’ll be the first to admit, I think of food a lot (my flesh does). But we need to make sure we’re not led by our fleshly appetites. Our priorities must be spiritual – may we be desperately seeking after God – Spiritually; let’s be sure to labor in that field…for Him.

The Jews asked Jesus what “works” they needed to do, but salvation is not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9), note Jesus’ response:

John 6:29 (NKJV) “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.’”

Simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31).

Unfortunately the people missed the point completely and allowed their food frenzy to dominate their thoughts and conversation, bringing up the fact that Moses gave them manna in the wilderness, bread from heaven.

Jesus takes them to a higher heaven and reveals the fact that the manna wasn’t heavenly bread after all – the people died after eating it. Jesus is the true Bread from heaven, the Bread of Life, and not just for the Jews, but for the whole wide world (John 6:33). Wiersbe comments, “The manna (Exodus 16) came only to the Jews and sustained physical life, but Jesus came for the whole world and gives eternal life. Just as you take food into your body, so you take Christ into your life; and He becomes one with you.”

As the people began to reject Christ for multiple reasons (they wanted physical food, they knew His parents – how could He have come from heaven?) Jesus reveals another reason. Salvation is of God, and in God’s timing. If anyone is ever to be saved and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that person must be drawn by the Father. Salvation is not only up to us (our response, our responsibility) salvation is also an act of God’s intervention, it’s an act of divine sovereignty (see John 1:12-13).

I’d like to recommend a visual experience. This movie is WORD-FOR-WORD the entire Gospel. Perhaps you’ve seen movies on the life of Christ, but there aren’t many which are word for word! This movie uses the Good News Bible, which is a solid version, easy to understand. Let me know if you’re able to watch it and what you think.

Psalm 106:32-48

In looking back over the history of Israel, there were many, many failures. Like us, Israel struggled with the fallen flesh, the influences of the swayed world, and even the forces of darkness (demons).

The congregation of Israel constantly complained against Moses, which led him to losing his temper, misrepresenting God, and closed those doors for him to enter the Promised-Land.

Once in the land, Israel refused to rid themselves of the sin and sinful influences – they mingled with non-believers (it seemed harmless, perhaps they thought they were strong enough) until the day came when they were doing the unthinkable.

Psalm 106:37 (NKJV) “They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons.”

As Solomon said, in all reality there is nothing new under the son, they were killing babies even back then; the equivalent to modern-day abortion (125,000 every day).

Apparently at the time of the writing of this Psalm, the people of Israel were in bondage, scattered throughout the world, it was God’s discipline upon the nation, but even there, God was merciful, preserving them, even favoring them at times.

The Psalmist records his confession of sin, and asks God to gather the people back into the land. God has done this numerous times with Israel, most recently on May 14, 1948 when they became a nation again in fulfillment of Ezekiel 36 and 37. (reborn in one day – Isaiah 66:8)

Never underestimate the power of repentance, prayer, and praise. Never underestimate the power of God.

Proverbs 14:34-35

V. 34 – God’s Word to Israel (Deuteronomy 26:26-29; 28:13) is applicable to any nation, especially ours.

Proverbs 14:34 (NKJV) “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”

This Godly nation has gone rogue, ruined by our sin, so much so that what Isaiah says in Isaiah 59:15 (NLT) is now applicable to us, “Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked.” Sounds so much like our society today!

Not just applicable to nations, but cities too!

Proverbs 11:11 (NKJV) By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.

Our nation is right-smack-dab in the middle of this Proverb – which way will we go? Will the remnant be able to sway the rest back? I hope so, but if I had to guess I would say that the rapture is the only answer…followed by the just judgment of God.

V. 35 – Of course this is the case for any citizen in front of his king, let’s be wise servants and citizens in our country, but how much morse so, us, before the King of kings?

Matthew 24:45–47 (NKJV) “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. 47 Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

May 9, 2021

1 Samuel 5:1-7:17

The Ark of the Covenant was symbolic of the presence of God. 

The Ark was found in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle behind the veil. Only the High Priest was allowed into this room and only once a year on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. The Ark was made of acacia wood, and overlaid with pure gold. The two cherubim were facing the lid of the Ark called the Mercy Seat, and there the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled each year by the High Priest. Ironically, that was also the place referred to as the throne of God. Within the Ark of the Covenant were the two tablets, upon which were written the ten commandments, the jar of manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded.

The Ark should have never been on the battlefield in the hands of Hophni and Phinehas, but it was, and it was captured by the Philistines. They initially thought that their god, Dagon, was greater than the God of the Israelites because they won the battle and captured the Ark, but they would soon find out that they were dead wrong.

The Philistines placed the Ark in the temple of Dagon in Ashdod, but the next day they found Dagon prostrate before the Ark. They propped Dagon back up, only to find him prostrate once again before the LORD, this time with his head and the palms of his hands broken off.

Got Questions said this about Dagon, “Dagon was the chief deity of the Philistines, and the worship of this pagan god dates back to the third millennium BC. According to ancient mythology, Dagon was the father of Baal. He was the fish god (dag in Hebrew means “fish”), and he was represented as a half-man, half-fish creature. This image furthered an evolutionary belief that both men and fish had evolved together from the primal waters. Dagon may also have been the provider of grain. So Dagon was similar to many other idols in that he personified natural forces that had supposedly produced all things.” ( see full article)

God allowed the Ark to be captured, in part, because of the sins of Israel, but also in part to prove Himself to the Philistines. Dagon lost his head and hands – for the LORD is the only head, and was about move His hands against Israel’s enemies (the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines – 1 Samuel 5:9).

God struck the men of Ashdod with tumors; He also struck the men of Gath, both small and great – (1 Samuel 5:6, 9), there was heavy judgment in Ekron as well. The Philistines were afraid, they knew they had to send the Ark back to Israel and did the best they could to do it right, with trespass offerings to give glory to the God of Israel. That was right on their part, but what if…? Wouldn’t it have been better to have turned from their fish god, from their false god, to the true God? It’s sad to see so many people hold on to the things that are dead and bring only death, and not turn to the true and living God, who brings life!

When the Ark was returned to Israel, the men of Beth Shemesh rejoiced, but they were then struck for looking into the Ark of the Covenant. As Jews they should have known better (some manuscripts say seventy men and fifty ox died, not fifty thousand seventy men).

Eventually the Ark settled down in Kirjath Jearim, where it remained for twenty years.

The people of Israel also settled down, and under the leadership of Samuel, God began to give them victory over the Philistines. Samuel called the people back to God.

1 Samuel 7:3-4 (NKJV) “Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the LORD, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” So the children of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and served the LORD only.”

As we look back on our lives, although it hasn’t been easy we can all say, especially as the redeemed, the same thing Samuel said, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” (Ebenezer – 1 Samuel 7:12)

Under the leadership of Samuel who pointed the people to the LORD, their enemies were subdued.

1 Samuel 7:13 (NKJV) “So the Philistines were subdued, and they did not come anymore into the territory of Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.

Samuel judged Israel and taught Israel passionately, sacrificially. He didn’t simply stay in Ramah and make the people come to him, he did what we call circuit teaching and traveled throughout the country to spread the Word (1 Samuel 7:16). Jesus did the same thing.

John 6:1-22

The feeding of the 5,000 men, plus women and children is something God definitely wants us to be well aware of, for it’s found in all four Gospels! Jesus shows us who He is by feeding what may well have been 15,000 people with only five barley loaves and two small fish. Imagine that, and imagine how the food must have tasted!

After the meal Jesus commanded His disciples to, “gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” I thought about the many leftovers that I throw away, not good.

The people did indeed see it as a sign and identified Jesus as the Prophet who was to come into the world, based on Deuteronomy 18:15-19. They even wanted to make Him king. At first glance it sounds “like a plan,” but the problem was, that the people were more interested in food and their physical needs, than they were in God and their spiritual needs. They didn’t know that before the crown there must be the cross. They weren’t at all ready for the Messiah, so Jesus sends the Apostles away into a storm where it would be safer than the political atmosphere that was quickly developing. He then goes away from everyone in order to spend time alone with the Father and pray (Matthew 14:23).

O Lord, how many times have I made my belly my god? Forgive me for the way I so often seek You as a means to an end, to meet some other “fleshly want” I have, as opposed to just wanting and having You. Truly You…are all I need.

In the middle of the night Jesus sees His guys straining at rowing (Mark 6:48) and He goes to them walking on water (just as He does to us). He sees us and comes to us. He settles the storm and brings us to our destination, safe and sound.

I’d like to recommend a visual experience. This movie is WORD-FOR-WORD the entire Gospel. Perhaps you’ve seen movies on the life of Christ, but there aren’t many which are word for word! This movie uses the Good News Bible, which is a solid version, easy to understand. Let me know if you’re able to watch it and what you think.

Psalm 106:13-31

What a contrast between Psalm 105 and 106. Psalm 105 is all good. It mentions none of the failures of Israel in chronicling its history. But Psalm 106 is pretty much just that, a list of the failures of Israel in history. The common thread, however, in both Psalms is the grace and faithfulness of God.

Israel had a bad memory; they had a tendency to forget the works of the LORD (Psalm 106:13, 21). There were many examples of this.

Rather then just thanking God for His daily provision of manna, they got picky and lusted for food (meat). As often happens in life, we get what we want, but O what a price! Notice what we read in;

Psalm 106:15 (NKJV) “And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul.”

They envied and opposed Moses, so God swallowed up the rebellious offenders.

Not long after their redemption from Egypt they made an idol, a golden calf, saying it was the LORD and worshipped it, including sexual indulgences in that worship!

They despised the Promised Land through doubt (complaining in their tents).

They couldn’t be cursed but had no problem cursing themselves through more idolatry and blatant sexual sin. 

Thank God Moses and Aaron interceded, thank God men like Phinehas intervened, and thank God for His mercy in not giving us what we deserve (Psalm 103:10-14).

Can you relate at all to any of this? A few failures along the way? Prayerfully we learn from their mistakes. Let’s learn NOT to forget God and all He’s done for us, let’s learn NOT to do the things they did. But let’s also learn that if we do stumble and fall, there are consequence yes, but there’s also hope. God is willing to work in our lives and wash away our sins if we truly turn from our sins and return to Him.

Let’s also learn to intercede for others as Moses and Aaron did.

Proverbs 14:32-33

V. 32 – This is a clear contrast between the wicked and the righteous, the saved and the unsaved.

The wicked will be banished, the righteous has a refuge.

This is not something to gloss over. Jesus spoke boldly about banishment.

Matthew 7:23 (NKJV) “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

Matthew 25:41 (NKJV) “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:’”

But for those willing to receive God’s gift of salvation and righteousness in the Lord Jesus Christ – there’s a refuge to look forward to…a home in heaven, in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV) “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

V. 33 – If you were to look into the heart of a man of understanding, you would find wisdom – and you don’t necessarily need to do an x-ray or an angiogram, it’ll show on the outside.

Luke 6:45 (NKJV) “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Just as whatever is within the heart of fools, eventually becomes known.

Acts 8:21 (NKJV) “You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.”

The heart of the matter is still the matter of the heart.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

May 8, 2021

1 Samuel 2:22-4:22

Imagine being the High Priest of Israel and your sons are serving in ministry as priests along side of you – but – they’re stealing from the offering AND engaged in sexual sin with the women who came to the Tabernacle. It’s a horrible thought, but that was the reality of Eli’s world.

Now, let’s delve further into that situation – what would you do about it? There may be many approaches, but one thing’s for sure, as a father of a family and High Priest of the nation, surely you could not allow it to continue! Surely you would not permit such men, even if they were your sons, to continue in ministry! But that’s exactly what Eli did – he spoke words of correction, but did nothing about it. Even when God warned him of a coming family catastrophe, Eli did nothing different, he simply resolved to accept his fate.

God was taking him down, but behind the scenes, God was also raising up a replacement, preparing little Samuel. The Word of the Lord was rare in those days (due to sin), but the Word of the Lord was sent to Samuel. God called him by name, repeatedly. God spoke to him audibly, sharing once again the coming judgment upon the household of Eli for honoring his sons above the Lord (1 Samuel 2:29).

Eli commanded Samuel to tell him everything, which Samuel did. The High Priest’s sins would not be forgiven, the iniquity of Eli’s house would not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever

God began to raise Samuel up as a prophet with prominence from one end of Israel to the other.

1 Samuel 3:19 (NLT) “As Samuel grew up, the LORD was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable.”

God spoke through Samuel, so much so, that the Bible says, “…the word of Samuel came to all Israel.” (1 Samuel 4:1)

And then the day came…Israel is engaged in a fierce war with the Philistines. They’ve been defeated so they call for the Ark of the Covenant to accompany them. If it was genuine faith in God it may have been the key to victory. But for Israel it was more of a superstitious religion, and to make matters worse, Hophni and Phinehas accompanied the Ark (these guys were in sin). Israel got loud and emotional, as a matter of fact they made so much noise that the earth shook (1 Samuel 4:5), but emotion, excitement, and noise are not the same as conviction, holiness, and faith – and Israel was soundly defeated. It’s heartbreaking to read that thirty thousand foot soldiers fell in the ensuing battle. Eli’s two sons died, Eli died, and Eli’s daughter-in-law…died but not before she named her son with the tragic news of the day, “The glory has departed.” (Ichabod)

John 5:24-47

As we consider the following section in the Gospel of John it’s helpful to have Jesus’ words in the forefront of our minds:

John 5:34b (NKJV) “…I say these things that you may be saved.”

Saved from the power and penalty of sin (Matthew 1:21).

Make no mistake about it, the motivation behind all Jesus is saying is the salvation of His hearers. If they would only hear His Word and believe, they would not experience judgment, but pass from death to life. All who hear and believe would receive the power of the resurrection, the life that only God can grant – not merely physical life, but spiritual life, eternal life.

Jesus speaks frequently of His Father, because it is the Father who sent Him. We need to know that. Jesus did nothing of His own volition, but only the will of the Father. What beautiful submission the Son demonstrated, if only the religious leaders would have caught this and believed in Him whom the Father sent, but they refused the four-fold witness.

1. The Witness of John the Baptist (John 5:33)

2. The Witness of His wonderful works, miracles, and signs (John 5:36)

3. The Witness of His Father (John 5:37)

4. The Witness of the Word (the Scriptures) (John 5:39)

John 5:39 (NKJV) “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”

The Law required only two or three witnesses, but Jesus had these four – and more witnesses. The religious leaders, however, were more interested in the honor of men, than the honor of God (which makes absolutely NO sense).

They had no love (John 5:42) and they did not believe Moses, which is another way of saying they did not believe God’s Word, the Bible (John 5:47). They were not willing to come to Jesus in order to have eternal life (John 5:40).

The evidence is overwhelming that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world.

And life can be overwhelming, so much sin, struggles, and heartache.

If we open the Bible we’ll read about Jesus, we’ll see it’s all about Him (Hebrews 10:7).

If we open our hearts, we can receive Jesus, experience Him and have eternal life. Are you willing to come to Him? I pray you would. Jesus gave that very invitation in:

Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV) “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I’d like to recommend a visual experience. This movie is WORD-FOR-WORD the entire Gospel. Perhaps you’ve seen movies on the life of Christ, but there aren’t many which are word for word! This movie uses the Good News Bible, which is a solid version, easy to understand. Let me know if you’re able to watch it and what you think.

Psalm 106:1-12

This is another one of those historical Psalms in which the writer wants God to move, again, as He had done in the past. He mentions the mighty acts of the LORD, in order to praise Him, thank Him, and plead for divine intervention once again.

Notice his prayer in:

Psalm 106:4–5 (NKJV) “Remember me, O LORD, with the favor You have toward Your people. Oh, visit me with Your salvation, 5 That I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, that I may glory with Your inheritance.”

The Psalmist longs for the Lord to move once again, that he would see God’s hand, spiritually, nationally, and even globally, with his believing family (inheritance).

It was written in a time when Israel had committed some sort of iniquity (Psalm 106:6), just as Israel has done throughout the ages. He takes us back to that moment in Exodus 14 after God had redeemed them from Egypt with the ten all-powerful plagues, but the Egyptian army was on the attack. What did the people of Israel do? Did they do good? Did they trust God? No! They attacked Moses. They had absolutely no faith in the LORD. They were convinced they were about to die and that they would have been better off if they had stayed in Egypt (Exodus 14:11-12).

But what did God do? We read of His gracious intervention in:

Psalm 106:8–10 (NKJV) “Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake, that He might make His mighty power known. 9 He rebuked the Red Sea also, and it dried up; so He led them through the depths, as through the wilderness. 10 He saved them from the hand of him who hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.”

We don’t deserve it, we cannot earn it, but Lord, please intervene, and show us that same power in our lives today. The power You’ve shown countless times in the past.

Proverbs 14:30-31

V. 30 – A good heart that God has changed is rare but rewarding. Ponder those words there in v. 30 “Life to the body!” (when we’re healthy spiritually it benefits us emotionally and even physically)

A sound heart is when we’ve cultivated God’s heart (Acts 13:22). A sound heart is that heart that cheers for others – esteems others better than ourselves. The flip-side is envy; so ugly, how it eats you up on the inside – it’s rottenness to the bones.

The dictionary defines envy as, “A resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another; not just jealous, in wanting what they have, but not wanting them to have anything good at all.” It’s very, very ugly.

James 3:16 (NKJV) “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”

Mark 15:10 (NKJV) “For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy.”

1 Corinthians 13:4 tells us that love does not envy. God help us to have a healthy heart, that would love and never, ever envy.

V. 31 – All people are created in the image of God and loved by our Creator. If we honor God, we’ll have mercy on those He loves, on those in need. It’s tragic to think that there are some who are so desensitized and calloused, that they not only ignore the poor, they oppress the poor.

We need to take this into consideration – if we oppress the poor, we oppress God Himself! But if we honor God, we’ll have mercy on the needy.

Jesus said, if we are kind to those in need, we are kind to Him (Matthew 25:31-46). I would venture to say that many of you have a heart to be kind to Jesus.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

May 7, 2021

1 Samuel 1:1-2:21

The book of 1 Samuel transitions the nation of Israel from the judges to the kings. The book is named after Samuel who is the final judge, a prominent prophet, and the man used by God to anoint the first official king of Israel, Saul, and then David. 

We open with a man named Elkanah from the mountains of Ephraim who had two wives. God never endorsed polygamy, but unfortunately the practice of the culture had permeated God’s people; needless to say, it led to big problems. There was a rivalry between Elkanah’s two wives, Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah harassed Hannah because she had no children, something seen as a personal curse back then.

Hannah wept, and prayed. Her husband tried to comfort her – to no avail. Year after year they would visit the Tabernacle in Shiloh until one year she wept, prayed, and poured out her soul to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:15) a good way to pray. It was then that her prayer changed:

1 Samuel 1:11 (NKJV) “Then she made a vow and said, ‘O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.’”

Hannah basically prayed, “Lord, if You grant me a son, I will give him back to You, completely consecrated to be a permanent servant in the Tabernacle.” God would grant her that prayer.

Eli was the High Priest at the time. He lacked discernment, thinking that Hannah was drunk. He also lacked discipline in not putting his sons in check. God was about to move, He was about to judge, He was about to raise up a boy, to be a man of God, to be a prophet to the nation, his name would be Samuel, whom Hannah would bear in answer to prayer.

When Samuel was born, Hannah waited until he was weaned, and then brought him to the Tabernacle and left him there, giving him to God – Samuel was an answer to many, many prayers.

1 Samuel 1:27 (NKJV) “For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.”

May this be the case for all of our kids, “For this child I prayed…”

We see the godliness of Hannah, in her prayer recorded in 1 Samuel 2:1-10. She could now smile at her enemies – she had no fear or frown, because of God’s faithfulness. She praised God for His holiness (there is NO ONE) like Him! (1 Samuel 2:2)

Her prayer is a strong expression of confidence in the ultimate defeat of the proud and arrogant. Her prayer is an appropriate acknowledgment of the Almighty, who was about to defeat the mighty, feed the hungry, give life to the barren, kill, protect, make poor and rich, bring low, lift up, even to the point of a throne of glory (1 Samuel 2:8).

At the closing of her prayer there are Messianic tones, how one day the LORD would judge the earth, and the King of kings (Jesus) would be exalted. It’s the ultimate destiny of all the earth, it’s something God has placed in the depths of the hearts of His people, and there it was in heart of Hannah.

Meanwhile, the sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, were ripping the people off. Stealing from the offerings of the LORD and worse (we’ll read the details next time). The Judge was on His way for judgment, and the judge Samuel was too. He would be the vessel for a new work of God and a new administration altogether.

We sometimes think God is distant or indifferent, but He’s not. He sees everything that’s going on and gives people time to repent (Revelation 2:21). But if they don’t, if they won’t, He will deal with them accordingly – it’s a warning to some, and a promise to others.

John 5:1-23

Can you picture a ton of people there by the pool? Not swimming, not sun bathing – but the sick, the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. I’m not sure if it was a legend or not, but the “word” was whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.

One of the men there that day had been lame for thirty-eight years! Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be made well?”

The man assessed his situation as hopeless. Little did he know that he was talking to the God of all hope – and right there and then, Jesus commanded him to take up his bed and walk. He may have felt strength flowing through his body, or maybe it began with an obedient effort on his part, but somehow he took a step of faith, and God met him there, and made him whole. As Pastor Chuck Smith said, “The man could have argued with Jesus, explaining why it was impossible for him to get up and walk. But instead he somehow found the faith to obey the impossible command from a perfect stranger. If He commands us to do something, He will enable us to do it.”

It’s strange that this man didn’t stop to take time to give thanks to the Lord. When the religious leaders questioned the man about carrying his mat on the Sabbath, he told them he didn’t know the name of the one who had healed him.

When Jesus found the man he issued a heavy warning:

John 5:14 (NKJV) “Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, ‘See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.'”

This suggests that this man’s infirmity may have been because of his sin. Not all sickness, suffering, and calamity are the result of sin, but sometimes this is the root reason. When we realize that we have a loving Father who is a perfect disciplinarian, it should cultivate a healthy fear of God. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.

But this man is an interesting guy; when he finds out it was Jesus who healed him and commanded him to carry his mat, he “turns him in” to the religious authorities. So the Jewish leaders sought to kill Jesus for violating their man-made Sabbath rules and regulations. Their verbal exchange leads Jesus to reveal the truth of who He was, equal with God.

As we read through the Gospel of John there’s no doubt about Jesus deity – John 5:22-23 is a great proof text:

John 5:22–23 (NKJV) “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”

One day, EVERYONE will stand before Jesus – all judgment has been committed to Him. To honor the Son JUST as we honor the Father means that Jesus is equal with God. This is another combination-revelation of the truth of the Trinity – One God in three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I’d like to recommend a visual experience. This movie is WORD-FOR-WORD the entire Gospel. Perhaps you’ve seen movies on the life of Christ, but there aren’t many which are word for word! This movie uses the Good News Bible, which is a solid version, easy to understand. Let me know if you’re able to watch it and what you think.

Psalm 105:37-45

This Psalm definitely focuses on God’s gracious wonders and purposely leaves out Israel’s foolish blunders. The writer sees the bright side of history, the goodness of God.

The nation of Israel was redeemed from Egypt mightily, victoriously, they were blessed with quail for meat in the wilderness, manna for daily bread, water from the rock – it ran like streams in the desert. God fulfilled His promise to Abraham and gave them the descendants and the land. What an awesome God He is! And notice what the proper response should be:

Psalm 105:45 (NKJV) “That they might observe His statutes and keep His laws. Praise the LORD!”

Obedience to His Word…and praise to our Lord.

As I look back on my life, I’ve made many mistakes, but God has washed them all away. Although I do my best to learn from my many failures, I don’t focus on them, I try to focus on the Lord.

Look what He’s done! It should lead me – to do as He says. He’s saved me to serve, and observe…His Word.

This Psalm reminds me of the story of Balaam and Israel:

Numbers 23:21 (NKJV) “He has not observed iniquity in Jacob, nor has He seen wickedness in Israel. The LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a King is among them.”

Even though Israel failed, fell, and sinned big time, when God looked at Israel, He saw no iniquity, He saw no wickedness, God was with them, and through them David and Jesus would come. 

Psalm 105 doesn’t mention any of Israel’s sins – it’s a very unique Psalm. It shows us (from a positional standpoint) how God sees us believers – without sin. It reminds us how awesome He is. We read it early on in this Psalm:

Psalm 105:1–2 (NKJV) “Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! 2 Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works!”

Talk of His work (not ours). God has fulfilled His word to Abraham which consisted of three things.

1. The land

2. The descendants

3. The Messiah/King – Jesus

Proverbs 14:28-29

V.  28 – An obvious observation in the political realm – especially back then when the population provided for the prince and the king, leading to the protection of the kingdom and his personal honor. 

V. 29 – This is probably one of the most important Proverbs and principles in all of life! This is one of the ways you can tell whether a person is wise or wicked…is he easily angered? Does he have a short fuse? Does she fly off the handle? Are they always on the verge of explosion? 

Obviously, a person who’s impulsive – saying or doing things without praying or even thinking it through, is a fool, through and through.

This is why James writes in:

James 1:19-20 (NKJV) “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

May 6, 2021

Ruth 2:1-4:22

The LORD Himself, personally, and the laws He had mandated, officially, would be used to take care of Ruth and Naomi. 

One of the laws provided for the poor with dignity. Ruth would take advantage of it and go out into the field, day by day, and glean after the reapers; she was willing to work and gather up the leftovers in order to have sufficient food for herself and Naomi.

Leviticus 19:10 (NKJV) “And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the LORD your God.”

Another law that would be a factor was the law of the Kinsman Redeemer.  Got Questions explains, “The kinsman-redeemer is a male relative who, according to various laws of the Pentateuch, had the privilege or responsibility to act on behalf of a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need. The Hebrew term (go el) for kinsman-redeemer designates one who delivers or rescues (Genesis 48:16; Exodus 6:6) or redeems property or person (Leviticus 27:9–25, 25:47–55). The kinsman who redeems or vindicates a relative is illustrated most clearly in the book of Ruth, where the kinsman-redeemer is Boaz.” (click here for the full article)

We see in the end, how Boaz was willing to redeem the land, and with that land, the virtuous woman Ruth. It didn’t matter that she was Moabite, he was a noble and obedient man, who saw the genuine beauty of Ruth.

Another law was that of levirate marriage. This law was God’s way of providing for widows and carrying on the family name on behalf of the deceased. If a man died and had no children then his brother, or closest kinsman was obligated to marry the widow in order to produce offspring, who would one day take care of (honor) the parent.

Deuteronomy 25:5–6 (NKJV) “If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. 6 And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.”

It’s fascinating to see the civil laws of the Lord aptly applied, and the way they wisely took care of the community of people with dignity. It’s also beautiful to see the way Boaz and Ruth are a picture of Jesus (our Kinsman Redeemer) and the church – what a beautiful love story!

I’m blessed with the virtuous woman Ruth became, it was evident to Boaz and to all the rest.

Ruth 2:12 (NKJV) “The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

Ruth 3:11 (NKJV) “And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.”

The prayer of the women of the town for Naomi, and her grandson, include an amazing commendation of her daughter in law – Ruth:

Ruth 4:15 (NKJV) “And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.”

The LORD used Ruth to rekindle Naomi’s faith in God (Ruth 2:20) as Naomi caught the vision, and saw the hope in seeking security for her “daughter” – that it might be well with her.

What grace, that God would make Ruth (a Moabite) a part of the lineage of King David and eventually King Jesus (Ruth 4:17).

There’s much to glean from the book of Ruth, one of only two books in the Bible named after a woman (along with Esther).

John 4:43-54

When we consider the healing of the nobleman’s son, it’s a different sort of sign, in that Jesus didn’t have to be there physically to heal him. Jesus simply willed it – He spoke the word from close to twenty miles away and it was done, instantly. Distance is not an issue with the Divine. The nobleman verified the time the fever left him, and sure enough, it was the very moment Jesus spoke the word.

The nobleman believed for healing (John 4:50), which led to him to believe for salvation (John 4:53).

The “nobleman” was some sort of royal or government official…and we’ve seen – time and time again, that all it takes for an individual to be drawn to the Lord, is desperation for our children, after all, he wasn’t primarily a nobleman…he was a father.

When we contemplate Cana, the city at hand, isn’t it interesting that the first sign Jesus gave was at a wedding in Cana? And the second sign (again in Cana), is for the healing of a child? God cares for the family and it makes quite an impact. We read:

John 4:53b (NKJV) “…And he himself believed, and his whole household.”

Being the family-man that I am, this finds a special home in my heart. Thank You Jesus!

I’d like to recommend a visual experience. This movie is WORD-FOR-WORD the entire Gospel. Perhaps you’ve seen movies on the life of Christ, but there aren’t many which are word for word! This movie uses the Good News Bible, which is a solid version, easy to understand. Let me know if you’re able to watch it and what you think.

Psalm 105:16-36

As the Psalmist continues his chronicle of Israel’s history, we pick it up at a time of world-wide famine, but no need to worry for God had “sent” Joseph ahead, sold as a slave, tested, tried and trained. When the time was right, Joseph would be raised up to rule, sent ultimately to save (a picture of Jesus).

When Joseph died, the nation of Israel became slaves in Egypt, but God sent Moses and Aaron as instruments for the deliverance of His people – signs and wonders were done to defeat all the gods of Egypt. Water to blood, light to darkness, frogs, flies, lice, fire, hail and in the end, the final blow was the death of the firstborn in all the land of Egypt. Imagine that…a bunch of slaves set free from the vise-grip of the most powerful nation on earth!

Israel would look back to these things – and praise the Lord, we do too. We can also look back to the time of Christ, and what He did to redeem us from the power and penalty of sin – and praise the Lord. And what about our personal story. Do you ever look back to see how He set you free? It’s good to do – and praise the Lord.

Proverbs 14:26-27

In almost any discussion about wisdom, the fear of the Lord is to be in the forefront.

The healthy holy fear of hell, the fear of God’s discipline, the fear of a loss of reward, the fear that God won’t answer our prayers – it really should change a person. Christians get consecrated, disciples draw near – and even as we read here – there is a strong confidence that blesses the family (Proverbs 14:26). His children will have a place of refuge, a sanctuary here, and a home in heaven. Ultimately Jesus is our refuge (Hebrews 6:18).

A 2016 Pew Research Center study found that those children raised in households in which both parents were believers, had a great chance of possessing that same faith in adulthood. 84% of those raised by two Protestant parents are still Protestant as adults. Similarly, those raised without that faith in Christ, are less apt to look for it as they grow older — that same Pew study found that 63% of people who grew up with two religiously unaffiliated parents were still nonreligious as adults.

Make no mistake about it, the fear of the LORD impacts the family!

Those who fear the Lord can drink from that fountain of life – turning them away, protecting them from the snares of death.

God help us to drink from this fountain and never stop!

Jeremiah 2:13 (NKJV) “For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns–broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

John 4:13-14 (NKJV) “Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.’”

John 7:37-38 (NKJV) “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

May 5, 2021

Judges 21:1-Ruth 1:22

The book of Judges ends with the men of Israel doing what they can, in an attempt to undo what they’ve already done. The tribe of Benjamin is left with only 600 men after a vicious civil war and no Jewish women to marry. The men of Israel who have fought in the war, have vowed not to give any of their daughters as wives to the Benjamites…so they weep bitterly and lift up their voices:

Judges 21:3 (NKJV) “and said, ‘O LORD God of Israel, why has this come to pass in Israel, that today there should be one tribe missing in Israel?’”

What happens next are further illustrations of a nation that has turned their back on God. They’re illustrations of that old adage, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” Or, “The ends don’t justify they means.” They decide to slaughter their brethren – all the men, and all the women who have known a man, and all the children, in order to provide brides for the men from the people of Jabesh Gilead. After that, they kidnap (“take”) two hundred virgins who are out dancing to the LORD.

When I read these stories I ask myself, “Where would I be without the LORD as the Lord of my life? Where would I be without the Word of God, left to myself to try and figure things out?” I would be in the book of Judges. The truth is, even WITH the Spirit and the Bible, I need to guard my heart from not living life as they did in those days:

Judges 21:25 (NKJV) “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

So much unnecessary heartache.

We will see that the book of Ruth is a beautiful picture of Jesus and the church, but it begins with heartache. First the famine in Israel which led Elimelech and his family to the country of Moab. While they were there, Elimelech died, along with his two sons, Mahlon and Chilion.

After ten years in Moab, the widow Naomi decides to return to Israel and she encourages her daughter’s in law to remain in Moab and get married. What follows next is truly touching. One daughter-in-law Orpah resists a a bit, but gives in, kiss Naomi and decides to stay in Moab. But her other daughter-in-law, Ruth, cannot be swayed, she clings to Naomi and resolves to stay with her, willing to stay single (if necessary) in order to serve her mother in law. I wonder if it’s because Ruth had become a believer in the LORD. We read those beautiful words of commitment:

Ruth 1:16–17 (NKJV) “But Ruth said: ‘Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.'”

Beautiful words of love and commitment – words that my wife and I exchanged as wedding vows.

We are about to see the way God honors the integrity of this amazing young woman named Ruth, how God is in all the details of our lives, even able to transform tragedies into victories.

Naomi doesn’t see it yet, she’s a bit bitter, but eventually even she will see the wonder in God’s wonderful plan.

John 4:4-42

Jesus wanted to reach out to a Samaritan woman, so He needed to go through Samaria (John 4:4). This was a bold move on Jesus’ part because we read in John 4:9 that Jews have no dealings with Samaritans, and we notice in John 4:27 the shock of Jesus’ disciples that He even spoke with a woman, for Rabbi’s wouldn’t engage in conversation with ladies…they looked down on them. But Jesus didn’t bow down to that, He broke down the political and social barriers.

Usually the Jews would take a different road to avoid Samaria altogether, even though it would mean an extra week of travel time. “One [main road] led…from Jerusalem past Bethany to Jericho, then north up the Jordan Valley and the west side of the Sea of Galilee toward Capernaum. To avoid Samaria, whose inhabitants the Jews despised, Jews often traveled this road in going between Galilee and Judea.”– A Survey of the New Testament. 

But Jesus went through Samaria, He wanted to reach her.

After the journey, Jesus was weary and thirsty. Women normally drew water in the evening (Genesis 24:11), but this woman came at noon, when there would be less people (if anyone) – she undoubtedly was looked down upon. Why? Because she had been married and divorced five times and was now shacking up with the sixth guy. She was looking for love and fulfillment in a human relationship, and as time wore on, her heart had been broken so many times she may have thought she was beyond the love of anyone. She had sort of given up…but then God shows up.

Jesus didn’t judge her. He only wanted to reach her and prove Himself to her. He offered her living water so that she’d never “thirst” again. As we’ve seen frequently in the Gospel of John, she’s thinking physically, but Jesus is speaking spiritually.

Jesus offered her what her heart truly longed for – love and life. The reality is, everyone and everything else, will leave us dissatisfied, it will never be enough. The only One who can quench our thirst is Jesus. The only One who can save us is Jesus.

The woman begins to talk religion, Jacob, history, and geography, but the Lord steers her in a different direction. Jesus tells her (and us) that the Father is seeking those who worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Her view of Jesus grew from a Jew, to sir, to a prophet, and ultimately to the Christ. Jesus reached her and saved her and she in turn spread the news to the rest of the people in her village; they also believed in Jesus when they were introduced to Him and heard His word.

How important it is that we stay sensitive to the Holy Spirit. “Lord, where do I ‘need‘ to go today?” Who can I reach out to? Am I aware that the harvest is ripe and ready? That there are people out there who are hurting, who just need someone to go to them?

O Lord, may I come to a place in my life where this is more important than food for my body, where my sustenance and satisfaction is just to do Your will.

I’d like to recommend a visual experience. This movie is WORD-FOR-WORD the entire Gospel. Perhaps you’ve seen movies on the life of Christ, but there aren’t many which are word for word! This movie uses the Good News Bible, which is a solid version, easy to understand. Let me know if you’re able to watch it and what you think.

Psalm 105:1-15

This Psalm is primarily an expression of praise for all the good God had done for Israel – their history of overall victory.

Give thanks, call upon His name, make known His deeds, sing to him, talk of all His wondrous works, glory in His name, let hearts rejoice to seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face evermore!

There’s the Abrahamic covenant – when he had nothing, God promised him the land flowing with milk and honey, descendants as the stars in the sky and the sands of the sea.

Even when Abraham and Isaac ventured out and failed in foreign lands, we read in:

Psalm 105:14–15 (NKJV) “He permitted no one to do them wrong; yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes, 15 Saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.”

I praise God for the grace He’s given to Israel, to His church, and especially to me. He’s called and He will carry us through life…and all the way home. 

Proverbs 14:25

Back then this spoke of one’s testimony at the city gates – nowadays it speaks of our testimony in court, in front of a judge and jury, we swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth – and if we’re honest we might be instruments of justice.

But it’s also applicable to our spiritual witness – we even use that word “witness” when we tell others about Jesus – just being honest – this is what He did in my life – here’s the gospel truth, and we share.

Christians are called “witnesses” seven times in the book of Acts.

What an amazing thought! We can be used by God to deliver souls! Have you shared the Gospel with anyone lately? Pray for God to open those doors, and then go out and start “knocking,” let’s see what He does.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

May 4, 2021

Judges 19:1-20:48

As we read through these stories in the book of Judges, it’s simply heart-breaking. The writer of the book of, who may have been Samuel, once again tells us that there was no king in Israel at that time (Judges 19:1). They didn’t have a human king and neither were they following the King of kings, so chaos abounded.

Warren Wiersbe aptly said, “The sad history of Israel moves now from idolatry to immorality and civil war. If sin is not dealt with, it spreads like a plague and destroys. The basic cause of Israel’s plight was their independence from God and their indifference to His law. Nothing can be right when every man does what is right in his own eyes. It was a time of moral and spiritual darkness (Isaiah 8:20).”

We read of a man who was a Levite, from the remote mountains of Ephraim whose concubine left him to go home to Bethlehem and a life of harlotry. The man traveled to Bethlehem to bring her home.

Judges 19:3 (NKJV) “Then her husband arose and went after her, to speak kindly to her and bring her back…”

The Levite was not a good example of a godly leader. He lacked discernment and treated his concubine as mere property. It took a couple of days, and he left a little late, but the man eventually headed home with his concubine and servant. Rather than staying in a city of “non-believers,” he traveled a little further, choosing instead to spend the night in Gibeah, thinking it would be safer.  What transpires next is absolutely tragic. First the men of the city surround the house they were staying in saying, “Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally.” Believe you me, they didn’t want to talk – these were perverted men (Judges 19:22), they were aggressive homosexuals. It doesn’t get any better after that – the men in the house offer the women to these perverts, who abuse them all night long. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen something like this take place, it sounds eerily similar to what happened in Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:5-10).

The next day the woman dies and the man does something absolutely horrendous. He dismembers the woman and sends different pieces of her body to the twelve tribes of Israel. It shouldn’t take this type of behavior to arouse a nation, but sure enough, he gets everyone’s attention and they gather together from Dan to Beersheeba (the northern and southern extremities of Israel) as one man in Mizpah. 

The civil war that follows between the eleven tribes of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin heaps heartache upon heartache. Initially the eleven tribes are defeated, losing forty thousand men in the first two battles. But after fasting and praying with burnt offerings and peace offering, the eleven tribes are granted such a victory that the tribe of Benjamin was almost eliminated (only six hundred men remained).

As we read these tragic stories, we’re reminded of what can happen to a people who have rejected God as their final authority. The last verse in Judges describes what happened then, and what is rapidly taking place in our own nation:

Judges 21:25 (NKJV) “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

John 3:22-4:3

John the Baptist was the forerunner to Christ, he was the “point-man,” simply sent to point others to Jesus. John’s disciples were having a hard time realizing that their ministry was coming to an end, but they shouldn’t have. John and his guys had finished that part of their work; the friend of the bridegroom should only rejoice when the bride and bridegroom come together.

John brought a couple of things up that all ministers need to keep in mind:

John 3:27b (NKJV) “…A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.”

John 3:30 (NKJV) “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

God is the one who determines, when, where, how many, and all the rest. It’s not up to us and it’s not about us…as a matter of fact, the heart we need to have is that the people would only be drawn to Jesus (not us). This can be difficult due to our pride. Sandy Adams said, “Glorifying Christ is easy when you are making a name for yourself at the same time. Are you willing to bow out for others to behold Him?”

We need to keep in mind, the Father’s love for His Son, the inheritance of His Son (John 3:35). and the life through His Son (John 3:36).

Our options are set before us without any ambiguity:

John 3:36 (NKJV) “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

It was time for Jesus to move on (John 4:3). For one, the Pharisees heard that He (it was actually Jesus’ disciples) baptized more people than John the Baptist and it wasn’t time to stir up that kind of trouble. Secondly, and more importantly, we’ll see next time, thatJesus wanted to reach out to a Samaritan woman, so He, “…needed to go through Samaria.” (John 4:4)

I’d like to recommend a visual experience. This movie is WORD-FOR-WORD the entire Gospel. Perhaps you’ve seen movies on the life of Christ, but there aren’t many which are word for word! This movie uses the Good News Bible, which is a solid version, easy to understand. Let me know if you’re able to watch it and what you think.

Psalm 104:24-35

We continue with this Psalm of praise to God for the beauty and variety of His creation, for all the earth “possesses,” and all that’s in the sea. There in the deep, creatures like the Leviathan “play” and are fed by God.

Leviathan is mentioned five times in the Scriptures, and the opinions as to what it is, ranges from a crocodile to a fire-breathing dragon (Job 41:1-34). The primary point the Psalmist is making is how everything, and every living thing is in the hands of the Lord – He is an awesome God!

The Psalmist deals with God’s “relationship” with the earth and then God’s relationship with us (mankind). He ends with a prayer of personal determination, a prayer for holiness on earth, and an honest expression of praise.

Psalm 104:33–35 (NKJV) “I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. 34 May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the LORD. 35 May sinners be consumed from the earth, and the wicked be no more. Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD!”

Proverbs 14:22-24

V. 22 – The word “devise” means, “to formulate in one’s mind,” it speaks of “planning in advance.” Here we see we can devise evil…that’ll make us go astray; or we can devise good, which means we’ll experience mercy and truth.

We all know the difference between slipping into sin – and premeditated, presumptuous sin. We know there’s a clear contrast between manslaughter and murder that is carefully planned.

V. 23 – Hard work pays off, it’s profitable; the Hebrew word translated “labor” speaks of working till it hurts, till it causes pain, to toil. As a matter of fact, the Hebrew word is usually translated “sorrow” – but that’s just for the body. Regarding the person as a whole, or the soul itself, godly labor is profitable. There’s something admirable about a hard day’s work.

But idle chatter (that’s a funny word huh?), leads only to poverty.

When I young and worked at the supermarkets, the Pantry and then Vons – I saw chatterers got demoted – some got fired – and I saw the hard workers, the hustlers, get promoted.

V. 24 – There are times when God blesses a wise man with wealth. In such cases God knows he can handle it. It won’t be a distraction for him, and in this case, it’s like a crown, a reward for good stewardship.

He or she uses that crown for good. As Charles Bridges said, “Wealth is in fact a blessing when honestly acquired and conscientiously used.”

“Wealth is the crown … of the wise, but it cannot hide fools. It only makes their folly more apparent.” And we shake our heads when we see them spend, waste, and eventually lose their money.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

May 3, 2021

Judges 17:1-18:31

When everyone simply does what is right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6), strange things happen. This is one of those strange occurrences in the Mountains of Ephraim, with a man named Micah, a so-called Levite, and the tribe of Dan.

It begins with Micah confessing to his mother that he had stolen her silver…silver which she subsequently cursed. When he returns the silver to his mother, she took a portion of it and had an idol made, which Micah added to his shrine, where he also had an ephod and other household idols. Micah then ordained his son as priest, something clearly forbidden in the Law of the Lord (Numbers 3:10).

Next we find a young man from Bethlehem, a Levite, venturing out, looking for a place to live. I wonder if it’s because the children of Israel were not providing with tithes and offerings, or if this young man is simply seeking some type of adventure – he wants something different, “outside the box.” Either way, none of these people seem to be doing things God’s way. Micah crosses paths with this young man and hires him as his personal priest…he would receive ten shekels of silver, a suit of clothes, and room and board.

Judges 17:11 (NKJV) “Then the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man became like one of his sons to him.”

It probably didn’t take long for Micah’s bubble to be burst as one day the tribe of Dan, who still hadn’t received their inheritance, travels through the mountains of Ephraim to find an easy fight for land (they can’t seem to win anywhere else). They find the land of Laish, and on their second time around decide to steal all the religious stuff from the household of Micah, including his Levite priest. It’s sad how it all went down, even the fact that the Levite left because the “numbers” were higher with the tribe of Dan. It turns out…he was a hireling.

The truth is – all of this was demonic. No one was doing things according to God’s Word and the enemy was setting up a deep stronghold through Dan. Notice what we read in:

Judges 18:30 (NKJV) “Then the children of Dan set up for themselves the carved image; and Jonathan the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land.”

This place of idolatry and pagan priesthood did not end until the children of Israel were carried away!

I’ve been to Israel, I’ve seen the altar set up to pagan gods, in this area of Dan, far north in Israel; you can still sense the tragedy of it all, even today. May God strike a healthy fear in our hearts! We don’t have the right to make up our own rules along the way, our own religion, our own priesthood. God help us to do things His way!

This map provides the key cities and locations mentioned in our reading.

John 3:1-21

Nicodemus was a very prominent person in the nation of Israel. Not only was he a Pharisee but he was also a ruler and is called “THE teacher of Israel,” by Jesus in John 3:10. Apparently, he had seen the signs Jesus did and he knew that Jesus had been sent by God. But the Jewish leaders had already rejected Christ, generally speaking, so Nicodemus comes to Jesus “by night,” discreetly. We might criticize him for his fear, but I’m just blessed that he came to Jesus at all.

Jesus doesn’t waste any time with Nicodemus – Jesus tells him straight-out, unless one is born-again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

“What man needs is not a boost from below but a birth from above.” – Warren Wiersbe. Nicodemus doesn’t understand the concept of the second birth, how can one be born again?

You’ll notice in the Gospel of John that often times the people took things literally, or physically, when they should have been thinking spiritually. In chapter 2 Jesus was speaking about the temple of His body, but they thought he was speaking about the literal, actual temple in Jerusalem. In chapter 4 the woman at the well was wondering how Jesus could give literal, actual water, when Jesus was speaking of spiritual water. God help us to up lift our eyes, to open our hearts, and to listen spiritually, for there are times when the words He speaks are to be taken in this way (John 6:63).

Nicodemus shows us that we can be a so-called spiritual leader in the land, and yet not be born-again. Sad to say, but there are many “pastors” and leaders in the church who are not saved – to them it’s simply a career or vocation. There are many people who serve and sit in the church, who do not know the Lord (Matthew 7:22-23; 13:24-30).

Jesus teaches us that we must be born of water and the Spirit. There are differing opinions as to what the water signifies. The immediate context seems to fit the idea that the water refers to the physical birth below, and the Spirit refers to the spiritual birth from above. We knew that it was time for both of our children to be born because the “water” broke in my wife’s womb.

Another view of the water that I lean towards, is that the water is in reference to the Word. In Ephesians 5:26 the water is the Word. And Peter gives us a solid cross reference in 

1 Peter 1:23 (NKJV) “having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the Word of God which lives and abides forever.”

I’ve always shared with people that the best commentary on the Bible is the Bible, and what we find is that the Spirit of God takes the Word of God and conceives a child of God.

One of the things you’ll notice is that the Gospel of John clearly teaches us that Jesus has been sent by the Father, with what I call, “Truth from the Top.” Jesus came down from heaven – if a person can receive that reality, than they should be open to wholeheartedly listen to the message of the Messiah.

Jesus then seamlessly transitions into exactly how we’re born-again – by simply believing in Him. Jesus points back to Numbers 21 when the children of Israel had been bitten by serpents; they were dying in droves. God commanded Moses to do something rather bizarre. He told him to fasten a serpent to a brass pole, lift it up, and anyone who was bitten would only have to look at this strange sacrifice and they would be saved. We look back now and realize that this Old Testament occurrence provided a picture of how Jesus would one day be nailed to a cross and lifted up; all we would have to do is look to Him with eyes of faith and we will be saved!

Isaiah 45:22, (NKJV) “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.”

John 3:16 has been called the Gospel in a nutshell. What love the Father has for us, that He would give His only Son (I still can’t fathom the thought) – that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

We read the blessings of belief, but we also read the warnings of unbelief – condemnation…and the wrath of God. We see the real and root reason people reject Jesus, because they love their sin (John 3:19).

I’d like to recommend a visual experience. This movie is WORD-FOR-WORD the entire Gospel. Perhaps you’ve seen movies on the life of Christ, but there aren’t many which are word for word! This movie uses the Good News Bible, which is a solid version, easy to understand. Let me know if you’re able to watch it and what you think.

Psalm 104:1-23

What a beautiful Psalm that begins by celebrating the LORD and the wonders of His creation! It’s good to get out of our concrete jungles from time to time; to open our eyes and see how creation reveals the majesty of our Creator.

Can you imagine Him stretching out the galaxies of heaven like we do a curtain? The clouds as His chariot? God walking on the wind? He made the angels His first ministers and then there’s the “foundation”  of our floating earth. The ocean waters, covering all those mountains and valleys in the deep sea. In case you’re wondering the world’s largest underwater mountain is Mauna Kea, which is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. Mauna Kea rises 19,678 feet or 5,998 meters from the ocean floor before breaking through the surface and then rising another 13,796 feet or 4,205 meters to it’s peak.

The springs that provide water for the beasts and the birds, the wild and domesticated animals, the grass, the vegetation, the fruit of the vine; the trees, the hills, the moon, and the sun…and there we are in the middle of it all, soaking it in, cooperating with His creation as we work the fields of our Father.

I’ve noticed that when people get saved, they appreciate creation more, and the One who made it all for us to enjoy.

Proverbs 14:20-21

Proverbs 14:20 reveals the way of the world – not as it should be – but unfortunately as it is, how often times the poor are despised, looked down on, even hated.

James addresses this in 2:1-8 of his very practical letter, for it can even happen in the church. They say, “There is little friendship in the world, except that which is governed by self-interest.”

Proverbs 19:4 (NKJV) “Wealth makes many friends, but the poor is separated from his friend.”

Proverbs 19:7 (NKJV) “All the brothers of the poor hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him! He may pursue them with words, yet they abandon him.”

So sad. Of course, there are those who know better, who cultivate friendship not for what they can get, but for what they can give; they’re truly friendly and willing to be a friend to those God brings into their paths.

As we read in Proverbs 14:21 we shouldn’t despise (look down on) anyone; we’re called to be merciful to the poor, which makes us happy – that’s what this passage teaches us.

Acts 20:35 (NKJV) “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

If you want to be happy, remember, it has a lot to do with generosity, those two concepts are closely connected. God cares for the poor, and so should we…we’ll see this again in Proverbs 14:31

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

May 2, 2021

C.H. Spurgeon said that Samson’s life was a series of miracles and mess-ups…and I would add that those miracles and mess-ups were “big” on both ends.

After all the drama of the failed wedding of the past (it never happened – Judges 14) how could Samson possibly come back to claim his “wife?” Her father married her off to someone else, so Samson used that as fuel to start a fight with the Philistines. Warren Wiersbe rightly said, “When life is motivated by retaliation, the consequences are usually painful.” It’s tragic to read that she and her family were burned to death by the Philistines, and the men of Judah delivered their deliver to the Philistines. You might wonder how THAT can happen? Why didn’t they rally around Samson and fight for their freedom following their obviously God-given leader? Again Warren Wiersbe offers insight, “Had Samson been a spiritual man, and not just a fighter, he could have led them forth to victory, but he preferred to work alone and not as the leader of a crusade.”

The Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson and he killed a thousand Philistines with a jawbone of a donkey. I think God was trying to speak to Samson. There may have been some similarities to Samson and Balaam – both had tons of potential. In the ministry of Balaam God used a donkey, God spoke through a donkey, here Samson picks up the closest “weapon” he can find – the jawbone of a donkey to bring about victory. Doesn’t Samson get it yet? God wanted to use him to bring about victory for Israel – if God could use a donkey, surely God could use him (and me – even my jawbone – my words).

Samson was reminded of his humanity when he almost died of thirst, but still he lived in disobedient arrogance. Like most men, Samson’s weakness was women. It’s tough to read about this man (who is in the hall of faith – Hebrews 11:32, who is so gifted) sleeping with a harlot – even if he did carry the city gates on his shoulders to escape with a statement.

Eventually this weakness of women would reduce this man to a crust of bread (Proverbs 6:26). Delilah captured his heart and she didn’t even need to beat around the bush:

Judges 16:6 (NKJV) “So Delilah said to Samson, ‘Please tell me where your great strength lies, and with what you may be bound to afflict you.’”

Samson played with sin, and played with sin, and played with sin, until eventually he sinned one too many times, and he payed for sin. God had rescued him and showed him so much grace that he thought he was beyond any consequences to sin.  The man who had blinded himself spiritually, was now blinded physically, as the Philistines gouged out his eyes, ironic isn’t it? Sin binds, it blinds, and grinds. He would spend the rest of his life, grinding the millstone in circles.

I don’t think it was the haircut that did him in, it was his toying with sin to the point of giving in and crossing the line. May we learn from Samson, especially in the area of sexual temptation. God help us to fear Him and to not just begin the race, but to finish well.

At his death Samson DID kill three thousand Philistines, but his kamikaze outgoing was not God’s perfect will for his life and death…it could have been so much more. Will that be our epitaph?

John 2:1-25

I’ve always loved the fact that the first miracle of Jesus (or “sign” as John calls them) was done at a wedding. Many, many marriages are struggling, and we need Jesus to come and do His wonderful work in our hearts…and we’ll see, He is able.

His mother Mary, Jesus, and His disciples were attending the wedding and in the midst of the celebration, they ran out of wine. This would not only have been embarrassing, but according to the commentator William Barclay (he specialized in historical-cultural background) in those days, the attendees could have brought a lawsuit against the couple. This wouldn’t have been a good way to start off their new life together as a couple, so Mary comes to Jesus and lets Him know about the dilemma.

Many mysteries cloud the picture here. I don’t think Jesus had done other miracles up to this point in His life, but I do believe that Mary knew Jesus could, if He wanted to, and she probably knew that His hour was drawing near. She may have figured, what better way than to meet this marriage need in front of all these people? The Catholic church points to this passage and says, “See, how Jesus does what His mom tells Him to do?” That’s why they pray to her. I remember reading one bumper-sticker that said, “If you can’t find God, look for His mom.” Blasphemy! Mary is the mother of Jesus in His humanity, but she is not the mother of God in His deity.

In the end, she leaves it in the hands of her Son, it’s up to Him, she tells the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Jesus does not go public, as Mary would have liked, but He privately meets the need, shows us His glory, and teaches us in the process. 

I often “visit” the “Water Place” and bring back 15 gallons of water. These guys had to go to the “Water Place” and bring back 120 to 180 gallons of water, a difficult task, but they did it…obediently, by faith. God honored their labor, for in the end, when Jesus simply “willed” the water to be wine, it was transformed to be the best wine ever, and they were the only ones who knew the details of the miracle at that wedding. When we serve the Lord obediently and sacrificially we get to see miracles that others may never truly see.

Jesus’ public ministry begins with Him cleansing the Temple. The Temple was intended to be a House of Prayer for all nations, but they had made it a den of thieves, and the religious leaders were making money, hand over fist. Can you picture sweet, humble, gentle Jesus making a whip of cords and driving out the people who were just doing “business.” Make no mistake about it, Jesus is the Lamb who lays down His life, but He’s also the Lion…of the tribe of Judah.

Of course, the religious leaders were upended and offended that this “nobody” challenged their authority – they asked for a sign from Jesus. Jesus told them that He would destroy this “Temple” and in 3 days He would raise it up. They thought He was speaking of the literal Temple, but Jesus was referring to His body – the resurrection would be the sign of all signs! Who else has defeated death? No one but Him.

During that Passover in Jerusalem, many said they believed in Him, but they really didn’t, it was just lip-service, it didn’t reach the heart. Jesus knew they didn’t really believe, so He did didn’t commit Himself to them. O Lord let us be real.

I’d like to recommend a visual experience. This movie is WORD-FOR-WORD the entire Gospel. Perhaps you’ve seen movies on the life of Christ, but there aren’t many which are word for word! This movie uses the Good News Bible, which is a solid version, easy to understand. Let me know if you’re able to watch it and what you think.

Psalm 103:1-22

David makes no requests in this Psalm, he simply praises the Lord.

May we praise our God with all that is within us, may we never forget the benefits of being a Christian.

God forgives, He heals, He redeems, He crowns, He satisfies our life with good things. He executes righteousness and justice on our behalf – we see His mercy and grace in the way He’s dealt with Israel and even with us.

Almost every time I pray I consider the fact that I deserve hell, that I don’t deserve my family, or to be in the ministry…and I’m reminded of:

Psalm 103:10–12 (NKJV) “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

David goes on to speak of the fact that life on earth is frail and fleeting, but then there’s life in heaven – and there the LORD has established His throne forever. There the angels are, now, and we will be one day – because in Christ He has washed away our sins.

What more can we ask for?

Proverbs 14:17-19

V. 17 – If only we (especially men) would repent of our quick-temper, our ugly hearts filled with wicked intentions.

V. 18 – The “simple” in the Proverbs refer to the naive, to the one who is so open-minded that his brains fall out – such people will live foolish lives. But the prudent – the one who who exercises wisdom for the future will be crowned (rewarded) with blessings.

V. 19 – This may refer to what will happen on that great day of judgment – it’s not that the wicked bow TO us, they will bow TO God, but we will be there to witness it (Philippians 1:10; Revelation 3:9).

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

May 1, 2021

Judges 13:1-14:20

Once again, Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, He therefore delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.

Enter in an Angel of the LORD which Judges 13:22 reveals to us is God Himself, veiled in human flesh. Most teachers believe it was Jesus, who was giving us a glimpse of how one day He would dwell among us (John 1:14). 

The LORD reveals that deliverance for Israel was on its way, in the form of a baby, and this child was not to drink wine, eat anything unclean, or cut his hair…he would be a Nazirite to God from the womb (see Numbers 6).

We then read some significantly prophetic words in:

Judges 13:5b (NKJV) “…he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”

We will see that Samson had so much potential, he could have delivered Israel completely out of the hand of the Philistines, but because of his sin, he would only begin.

The LORD had appeared to the wife of Manoah who relays the news to her husband. Manoah then prayed:

Judges 13:8 (NKJV) “Then Manoah prayed to the LORD, and said, ‘O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born.’”

Isn’t that a beautiful prayer from Manoah? That God would teach us as parents? That He would give us instructions for our children?

The LORD heard Manoah’s prayer, and did indeed come again, but the instructions were the same, to set their child apart with the Nazirite vow.

Manoah did not know it was an Angel of the LORD, he may have thought it was a mere angel, but he soon found out this was God Himself. Manoah was then convinced he was going to die for seeing God’s face. His wife comforted him with words of reason (Judges 13:23).

Isn’t it interesting when asked His name, the Angel of the LORD, simply referred to Himself as “Wonderful?” Perhaps a glimpse of:

Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV) “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Eventually the child was born and they named him Samson. There was a special anointing of the Holy Spirit upon his life (Judges 13:25).

Fast forward many years, and for whatever reason, this child with such a special birth and calling, is carnal. Most men struggle with women but it was Samson’s self-induced kryptonite. He went down (that’s significant). Down to Timnah and fell in love (lust really) with a Philistine woman; he asked his parents to get her as wife.

We get a glimpse of what may have been behind the problem – his parents give in to his sinful request. They hem and haw in the beginning, but they eventually cave and go against God’s Word (Deuteronomy 7:3).

When the Spirit of the LORD comes upon Samson, he is able to tear a lion apart with his bare hands. This lion was symbolic of Satan (1 Peter 5:8). But Samson violates his Nazirite vow by touching the dead corpse. This leads to more sin, an ugodly engagement, a lack of wisdom, gambling, danger, and eventually being worn down and defeated by a woman.

Samson abused his gift, using it to kill thirty men for their clothing, and his “wife” was given to his best man.

Now, having read all that (and more) we wonder about Judges 14:4, how can this in any way be, “Of the LORD”? The truth is, God doesn’t author sin, but He allows it. God knew exactly what Samson would do and wanted to begin to stir things up against the Philistines. God would use Samson to flex His muscles and give the children of Israel some hope and breathing room. It’s just too bad that Samson wasn’t surrendered to his Lord who had given him so much strength. Samson would only start, he would only begin – but not finish this deliverance. Many lessons for us to ponder.

John 1:29-51

The mission of John the Baptist was to point people to the Messiah. When John began his ministry, he didn’t know who the Messiah was, but God had revealed to Him that it would be the one upon whom he would see the Spirit descending and remaining. This may have been what John saw at Jesus’ baptism (Mark 1:10). 

John the Baptist had much to say about the Messiah; that He was the Lamb of God, who would take away the sin of the world. That He was preferred before John, He was before John. He was not only anointed by the Spirit of God, He Himself was also the Son of God.

Apparently John the Baptist would point to Jesus day after day (a good practice). One day two disciples hear John’s words and follow Jesus. One of those disciples was Andrew who shared the news with His brother Simon Peter, “We have found the Messiah…and he brought him to Jesus.” (John 1:41-42)

When was the last time we brought someone to Jesus?

The next day Jesus found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” Philip eventually finds Nathanael and shares the fact that they they’d found the Christ – Jesus of Nazareth, from Galilee. Their next exchange is classic:

John 1:46 (NKJV) “And Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’”

If anyone wonders about Jesus, all they have to do is come and see for themselves. Sure enough, Philip saw, Jesus is good, He’s God, the Son of God, and King of kings.

Here we witness how Jesus begins to gather His men through whom He would reach the world. He doesn’t go to the Temple to pick any priests, or find any Pharisees, or well-trained Rabbi’s. No, He begins to find and form fishermen – for the new wine must have new wineskins (Mark 2:22), simple men who would be open and teachable, men like Andrew, Peter, Philip and Nathanael.

This teaches us that there’s hope for anyone, that God can use any of our lives; He takes the ordinary and make us extraordinary.

As we begin the Gospel of John I’d like to recommend a visual experience. This movie is WORD-FOR-WORD the entire Gospel. Perhaps you’ve seen movies on the life of Christ, but there aren’t many which are word for word! This movie uses the Good News Bible, which is a solid version, easy to understand. Let me know if you’re able to watch it and what you think.

Psalm 102:1-28

This Psalm is unique in the way it opens up, explaining the fact that this is, “A Prayer of the afflicted, when He is overwhelmed and pours out His complaint before the LORD.”

Have you ever been there? Afflicted? Overwhelmed? Cries of complaint? This is a good Psalm to ponder and pray.

The Psalmist is suffering physically and spiritually,  he’s lost his appetite and has shed many tears, weeping. But he’s asking God to now hear his prayers, to answer speedily…he’s hoping the that the time has come for God’s favor (Psalm 102:13).

It’s time to build up Zion (Jerusalem) that the nations would see – that the things that would now take place would bless and impact future generations who have not yet been born; that they would praise the LORD (Psalm 102:18).

The Psalmist is praying for the children of Israel to be set free, that God would hear the groaning of the prisoner, destined to die, and have mercy (Psalm 102:20).

God is able – to spare our lives, and to lengthen our days. Change is inevitable in this world that we live in, we change, our circumstances change, our world changes, but HE never changes. He is God who laid the foundation and will complete what He’s started, in Israel, in us, in our church, and especially in our families.

To me (as the Psalm ends with our children) I sense this was the Psalmist’s heart all along – for the future of our families.

Psalm 102:28 (NKJV) “The children of Your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before You.”

Amen and Amen.

Proverbs 14:15-16

V. 15 – To believe every word of God is faith. To believe every word of man is foolish, it’s beyond credulity, it’s insanity. There is so much fake news nowadays; twisted headlines. Remember, just because you’ve heard it through the grapevine or read it online – doesn’t make it true.

The prudent considers well his steps, he sifts through the words he hears which lead to the thoughts he thinks, and eventually the steps he takes.

We need to be Bereans in everything (Acts 17:11).

The Message, “The gullible believe anything they’re told; the prudent sift and weigh every word.”

V. 16 – The wise is cautious and carefully avoids danger and evil, but the fool is a hothead, oblivious, headstrong, reckless, self-and-over confident.

There is a good and healthy fear – the fear of God, the fear of sin, which grieves the God who loves us.

Charles Bridges wrote, “The fool…stout and stubborn in his mind, never fears until he falls.”

He rages and is self-confident – reminds me of Samson.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.