This was a week of rest – completely off of my feet. I had hoped my foot would heal quickly. But recovery is sometimes slow. I can’t believe that I wasn’t antsy!
Isaiah 57:2, “Those who live uprightly enter a place of peace; they rest on their beds.” New English Translation
(I’m grateful that I didn’t have to recuperate in this windowless bedroom in Nazareth Village!)
We eagerly waited for Sunday because it is Rachel’s due date. God gave me several promises for our third grandchild.
Isaiah 59:21, “‘As for me, this is my promise to them,’ says the Lord. ‘My Spirit, who is upon you, and my words, which I have placed in your mouth, will not depart from your mouth or from the mouths of your children and descendants from this time forward,’ says the Lord.” NET
Isaiah 65:23, “They will not work in vain, or give birth to children that will experience disaster. For the Lord will bless their children and their descendants.” NET
We are praying for an uncomplicated delivery of a healthy baby. And God continues to work in our lives.
2 Chronicles 33:13, “When he prayed to the Lord, the Lord responded to him and answered favorably his cry for mercy. The Lord brought him back to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh realized that the Lord is the true God.” NET
“…As you pray, focus on God’s willingness to show grace to a man like Manasseh. Ask God to help you walk closely with Him in grace throughout your life.”
2 Kings 22:19-20, “‘You displayed a sensitive spirit and humbled yourself before the Lord… You tore your clothes and wept before me, and I have heard you,’ says the Lord. 20) ‘Therefore, I will allow you to die and be buried in peace. …'” NET
“…ask God to help you develop a humble spirit so you are repentant rather than prideful.”
Zephaniah 2:3, “Seek the Lord’s favor, all you humble people of the land who have obeyed his commands! Strive to do what is right! Strive to be humble! Maybe you will be protected on the day of the Lord’s angry judgment.” NET
“Zephaniah knew that God would always punish the unjust and forgive the repentant.”
This was a Mother’s Day I will never forget! Our daughter-in-law Bethany and granddaughter Olivia were baptized. Hearing them profess their belief in Jesus Christ and seeing this public act of faith was thrilling.
Jesus, our example, was baptized to show the world He was following God.
Joining us at the celebration were her parents and my mother. After the service, the twelve of us met at a local restaurant. It was wonderful having four generations gather around the table.
The Jewish generations got together every year at Passover.
First Passover in 215 years
2 Chronicles 30:5, “So they sent an edict throughout Israel from Beer Sheba to Dan, summoning the people to come and observe a Passover for the Lord God of Israel in Jerusalem, for they had not observed it on a nationwide scale as prescribed in the law.” New English Translation
Beer Sheba was the southernmost city of Judah. Dan was the northernmost city of Israel.
2 Chronicles 30:11, “But some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem.” NET
(Representatives from only 3 of the 10 tribes of Israel participated.)
Rehoboam, Solomon’s son became king in 930 B.C. The nation split into Judah and Israel that year with Jeroboam becoming King of Israel.
Hezekiah’s rule began in 715 B.C. It had been 215 years since there was a nationwide celebration of the Passover.
Hoshea was the last king of Israel. The Assyrians captured and deported most of the Israelites in 722 B.C. The remnant of Israel had lived without leadership for seven years.
Source: “Rulers of the Divided Kingdom of Israel and Judah,” New International Version Study Bible Chart, p. 545.
“Don’t accomplish easy things first, or hard things first, or urgent things first. Do first things first – the activities that provide you with the highest return.”
“How Successful People Think,” John C. Maxwell, (New York: Center Street, 2009)
The first thing to do is what increases our faith.
2 Kings 18:5-8, “He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; in this regard there was none like him among the kings of Judah either before or after.
6) He was loyal to the Lord and did not abandon Him. He obeyed the commandments that the Lord had given to Moses.
7) The Lord was with him; he succeeded in all his endeavors. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and refused to submit to him.
8) He defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.” NET
Fully Trusted God.
Was loyal to God.
Never abandoned his faith.
Obeyed the commandments.
Stayed with the Lord.
Succeeded in all his endeavors.
Submitted only to God.
Defeated his enemies.
Took back what the enemy stole.
The king of Assyria besieged Hoshea’s capital city, Samaria. After three years, he captured it and deported the people of Israel and King Hoshea to Assyria.
2 Kings 18:12, “This happened because they did not obey the Lord their God and broke his covenant with them. They did not pay attention to and obey all that Moses, the Lord’s servant had commanded.” NET
Our Sovereign God
“Declare God’s sovereignty over your fears and insecurities. Ask the Lord to use difficult situations in your life for His glory and to silence those who oppose Him. Pray for courage and faith.”
Psalms 84:11-12, “For the Lord God is our sovereign protector. The Lord bestows favor and honor; He withholds no good thing from those who have integrity.
12) O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, how blessed are those who trust in you.” NET
It’s Not Dead
Isaiah 11:10, “At that time a root from Jesse will stand like a signal flag for the nations. Nations will look to him for guidance, and his residence will be majestic.” NET
A sculpture of a tree stump with branches growing out of it in the Upper Room.
Oh, that America would look to Jesus for guidance!
2 Kings 19:19, “Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power, so that all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you, Lord, are the only God.” NET
Let all the nations know the Lord is the only God! I love that I read these verses on Wednesday. That is the day I pray for America, Iowa, Jefferson County, Fairfield, and all the leaders and workers.
Isaiah 38:20, “The Lord is about to deliver me, and we will celebrate with music for the rest of our lives in the Lord’s temple.” NET
Hezekiah said this after Isaiah told him he was going to die!!! God sent Isaiah back and told Hezekiah he would live for 15 more years, 2 Kings 20:4-7.
Proverbs 12:14, “A person will be satisfied with the good from the fruit of his words, and the work of his hands will be rendered to him.” NET
Living a Long Life
Isaiah 17:6, “There will be some left behind, as when an olive tree is beaten – two or three ripe olives remain toward the very top, four or five on its fruitful branches,’ says the Lord God of Israel.” NET
Isaiah 23:15, “At that time Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the typical life span of a king. …” NET
A king had the best food, clothes, home, and medical care. He had servants to do whatever he wanted. His life span was 70 years.
After 40, Moses had a hard life. He was a shepherd in the desert until he was 80. Then he spent another 40 years in the desert leading millions of people around following God. He died at 120 years.
Hard work doesn’t hurt you; it keeps you strong and prolongs your life. Follow God and stay on top! He promises to help us.
Isaiah 9:6, “…He shoulders responsibility and is called Wonderful Advisor, …” NET
Isaiah 9:1, “The gloom will be dispelled for those who are anxious. …” NET
It was a week of recuperation. Several nights I slept for 10 hours! I didn’t exercise anything but my feet. I stopped “spring cleaning.” The donations from my storage room still need to be boxed up. But God was working on the “storage room” in my heart.
God is Our Father
Hosea 6:6, “For I delight in faithfulness, not simply in sacrifice; I delight in acknowledging God, not simply in whole burnt offerings.” New English Translation
“…God disciplines not simply to punish but also to correct and restore. …This deep interaction between you and God is not about you facing a judge; it’s about you coming home to your Father.”
Hosea 11:10-11, “‘He will roar like a lion, and they will follow the Lord; when He roars, His children will come trembling from the west.
11) They will return in fear and trembling like birds from Egypt, like doves from Assyria, and I will settle them in their home,’ says the Lord.” NET
“As you pray through God’s Word, acknowledge your need for God’s grace and mercy. And then look toward the future: How can you begin to ‘follow the Lord’ (v. 10) more intently? Ask God to show you how to pursue Him with intention.”
Psalms 78:72, “David cared for them with pure motives; he led them with skill.” NET
Skillful leaders check their attitudes as they follow the Lord.
God Plans Our Future
“…Isaiah 42:9, states that God is the One who declares things before they happen. …who will bring both judgment and mercy to His people and to the nations. …who plans the future and who will raise up a future Messiah and King…the Servant who suffers on behalf of His people.
…Jesus fulfilled the role and calling of this Servant. …and…the Messianic predictions found in this book. …His work brings salvation, freedom, and healing to all who put their trust in Him. …”
NET Introduction to Isaiah
Isaiah 1:16-17, “Wash! Cleanse yourselves! Remove your sinful deeds from my sight. Stop sinning.
17) Learn to do what is right. Promote justice. Give the oppressed reason to celebrate. Take up the cause of the orphan. Defend the rights of the widow.” NET
What the Lord Approves
Isaiah 3:14, “…You have stashed in your houses what you have stolen from the poor.” NET
I have stashed in my storage room items that could be used by the poor!
The synagogue storage room in the Nazareth Village. They stored the scrolls in clay jars here.
What the Lord Approves
2 Chronicles 27:2, “He did what the Lord approved, just as his father Uzziah had done. (He did not, however, have the audacity to enter the temple.) Yet the people were still sinning.” NET
“…Reflect on what you noticed from the passage and look for a connection to your life. Consider your commitment to remain faithful to the Lord even when those around you are ‘still sinning.’ (v. 2). …”
“Have you ever wondered what God wants from you? How do you approach a holy God?
…God sent Micah to proclaim a message of judgment and hope… Do you think God wants from you only outward actions, such as daily Bible reading, regular church attendance, and frequent prayer? Have you become legalistic about your spiritual disciplines?
Examine your heart. Then read what God desires in Micah 6:8. [“He has told you, O man, what is good and what the Lord really wants from you: He wants you to carry out justice, to love faithfulness, and to live obediently before your God.” NET]
Walking humbly with God is a lifestyle. …He wants to be our Companion as we journey through life. …He desires relationship, not religious ritualism.”
NET Introduction to Micah
Micah 5:7, “Those survivors from Jacob will live in the midst of many nations. They will be like the dew the Lord sends, like the rain on the grass, that does not hope for men to come or wait around for humans to arrive.” NET
Dew is a symbol of fruitfulness or God’s blessings. It does not wait for anyone or depend on men.
“Thank God that His plans stay far ahead of our needs, that our concerns and fears never take Him by surprise. Invite Him to lead you to the future He knows is best for you. …”
As I read last week, God showed me motives and attitudes that displeased Him. I repented and He forgave me. God leads us through dry places so we will examine ourselves.
The wilderness by the Dead Sea.
2 Chronicles 25:2, “He did what the Lord approved, but not with wholehearted devotion.” New English Translation
I thought of some “I should” phrases:
I should kneel to pray.
I should sing and dance in worship at home.
I should pray for an hour.
“…Reflect on the importance of cultivating ‘wholehearted devotion’ and how this verse applies to your service to God. Honestly evaluate how well you do what is right in God’s sight with the right motivation (heart).”
“The discipline of the Lord is never pleasant, but Hebrews 12 tells us that God disciplines those He loves, just as earthly fathers discipline their children to correct their behavior, God, our heavenly Father, uses discipline for our gain (see Hebrews 12:10).
God does not delight in disciplining or bringing judgment; rather His goal is always restoration and the betterment of His people.
…The words of Joel 2:25-26 say that God can restore…Even if life has left you feeling wiped out, God still has the last word. Trust that as you come before Him in humility, He will not only show mercy but also restore and bless you in greater ways than before.
…God wants us to know that His plans for His people go beyond this life. This world and the hardships we endure are preparing us for God’s greater promises. Allow His promises to bring hope to you in your circumstances today.”
NET Introduction to the book of Joel
Joel 2:32, “It will so happen that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered. For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who survive, just as the Lord has promised; the remnant will be those whom the Lord will call.” NET
“What are your fears of the future? The better you define them, the more effectively you can pray and take steps to minimize or resolve them.”
2 Chronicles 26:5, “…As long as he followed the Lord, God caused him to succeed.” NET
2 Chronicles 26:16, “But once he became powerful, his pride destroyed him. He disobeyed the Lord his God. …” NET
“When a person starts thinking about social justice and what God has to say about it, it’s a good idea to read the book of Amos.
…Amos’s focus on ancient Israel’s problems with ethics can teach us a lot. The prophet found that the key to cultivating a healthy social conscience was to routinely and carefully maintain the sacred memory of the Lord’s saving acts throughout history.”
NET Introduction to Amos
“Confession and repentance should not be occasional practices; they should be regular parts of an active prayer life.”
We have flooding along the Mississippi River, see here.
“Ask God to remain with His people and preserve them (v. 2). Pray that God would raise up more people to care for the poor and needy (v. 4). Make sure you are leaving time for spiritual and physical rest (v. 5). Ask God to keep you from loving wealth more than Him (vv. 5-6).”
“Passages of hope and salvation appear throughout the book (2:14-23; 11:8-11; 14:4-8), indicating that God’s mercy will triumph over judgment.
… Remember that if you have strayed from serving God alone, He is a merciful God who desires your return to Him. He longs to heal you, even in the midst of correction (14:2-4).
…May the words of Hosea encourage you toward a true and loving relationship with God, who desires to be your highest hope. Only He can satisfy the desires of your heart. …”
NET Introduction to Hosea
Hosea 1:4, “Then the Lord said to Hosea, ‘Name him “Jezreel,” because in a little while I will punish the dynasty of Jehu on account of the bloodshed in the valley of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel.'” NET
God designated Jehu as King of Israel who would destroy Ahab’s family, 2 Kings 9:1-10. But he went too far. After killing Ahab’s son Joram in the valley of Jezreel, he chased King Ahaziah of Judah. He ordered the archers to shoot him, 2 Kings 9:14-27.
Later, he killed the relatives of King Ahaziah, 2 Kings 10:12-14. His assignment was to kill Ahab’s family in the nation of Israel, not in the nation of Judah.
Bloom Where We Are Planted
Hosea 2:21-22, “‘At that time, I will willingly respond,’ declares the Lord. ‘I will respond to the sky, and the sky will respond to the ground;
22) then the ground will respond to the grain, the new wine, and the olive oil; and they will respond to “God plants” (Jezreel)!'” NET
Jezreel means “God plants.” God planted Naboth’s family in the valley of Jezreel. Ahab wanted his land. He had Naboth murdered and stole the land, 1 Kings 21:1-29. Ahab’s son Joram bled to death on that same plot of land, 2 Kings 9:14-26.
We need to bloom where God plants us because we won’t bloom anywhere else.
How to Love Your Spouse
Hosea 3:1, “The Lord said to me, ‘Go, show love to your wife again…'” NET
I looked at my greasy fingers pointing to the verse as I copied it. Two fingers have been broken out for over a year. I applied Vaseline over the steroid ointment to strengthen the medication. It’s called “slugging.”
But that’s not why I couldn’t go to church.
Psalms 42:4, “I will remember and weep. For I was once walking along with the great throng to the temple of God, shouting and giving thanks along with the crowd as we celebrated the holy festival.” New English Translation
I started the day stretching my arches on the stairs, writing the alphabet with my feet, and rolling my foot over a frozen water bottle. The doctor said it is plantar fasciitis.
But that’s not why I couldn’t go to church.
I’m finishing off a bottle of cranberry juice. It does clear up a UTI.
But that’s not why I couldn’t go to church.
I woke up with mattered eyes. I washed them and started antibiotic eye drops.
But that’s not why I couldn’t go to church.
I carefully washed my face. I put steroid cream on the eczema patches, and Vaseline on the cracks around my mouth. I was careful not to touch the infected area which made me contagious.
That’s why I couldn’t go to church.
I put on white gloves, (to keep from scratching), gathered fluids, and watched the service on my tablet. Sometimes, you just have to endure.
Three weeks ago, was Easter. Sickness kept two of the worship team home for the last two weeks. The army and family travel will take other members over the next two weeks.
It will be Mother’s Day before we are all back together again. I look forward to that day when we all will be shouting and giving thanks along with the crowd.
I read many verses this week about enduring as my health took hit after hit.
Choose Your Friends Wisely
2 Chronicles 18:1, “Jehoshaphat was very wealthy and greatly respected. He made an alliance by marriage with Ahab.” NET
I enjoy reading books written by millionaires. One common theme is: Be careful with the friends you keep. They try to befriend billionaires because of what they will learn. You rise to the level of your closest friends.
Later we read how Jehoshaphat’s descendants were killed because they were also descendants of Ahab, 2 Kings 10:13-14.
“…2 Kings makes clear that devotion to the Word of God has the power to preserve us from total enslavement to the cultural blindness of the moment.”
New English Translation Introduction to 2 Kings
2 Kings 2:19-22, “…the city has a good location…But the water is bad and the land doesn’t produce crops.
20) Elijah said, ‘Get me a new jar and put some salt in it.’ …
21) He went out to the spring and threw salt in it. Then he said, ‘…the Lord has said, “I have purified this water. It will no longer cause death or fail to produce crops.”‘
22) The water has been pure to this very day. …” NET
The spring at Jericho is still good! It pumps out 1000 gallons per minute!
A “Covenant of Salt” is a covenant of perpetual obligation, Leviticus 2:13; Numbers 18:19. Elisha applied the “Covenant of Salt” to the spring. God did the work deep in the earth where the spring originated.
When we believe Jesus died for our sins, God does a deep work in us. After that what we produce is full of life, not death. We have an abundance to enrich the lives of those around us. (See, “Save Me, Jesus” Prayer.)
Bless Your Food
2 Kings 4:42-44, “Now a man from Baal Shalisha brought some food for the prophet – twenty loaves of bread made from the first fruits of the barley harvest, as well as fresh ears of grain. Elisha said, ‘Set it before the people so they may eat.’
43) But his attendant said, ‘How can I feed a hundred men with this?’ He replied, ‘Set it before the people so they may eat, for this is what the Lord has said, “They will eat and have some leftover.”‘
44) So he set it before them; they ate and had some leftover, just as in the Lord’s message.” NET
The attendant didn’t believe it could feed a hundred men. Elisha promised there would be some leftover and there was.
The prophets traveled with their families. They fed one hundred families.
Feel like you are under siege? Endure, persevere. It will be over soon.
Follow God Wholeheartedly
2 Kings 10:31, “But Jehu did not carefully and wholeheartedly obey the law of the Lord God of Israel. He did not repudiate the sins which Jeroboam had encouraged Israel to commit.” NET
“Although Jehu zealously destroyed the worshippers of Baal (see vv, 19, 25-28), he did not follow the Lord with his whole heart (see v. 31). How often are we, like Jehu, prone to act in ways that give an appearance of righteousness while dishonoring the Lord in our attitudes or thoughts?”
Proverbs 21:2, “All a person’s ways seem right in his own opinion, but the Lord evaluates his thoughts.” NET
Help the One You Can
2 Kings 11:2, “So Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Ahaziah’s son Joash and stole him away from the rest of the descendants who were to be executed. She hid him and his nurse in the room where the bed covers were stored. So he was hidden from Athaliah and escaped execution.” NET
“Jehosheba chose to act righteously by saving Joash’s life; while she could not save all the sons of Ahaziah, she took action to save one.”
During David’s haircut, we talked about the recent tornadoes. His stylist lives across the road from one of the homes that were destroyed. Her house is brick. She rode the storm out safely in her basement.
A rainbow after the storm on the Sea of Galilee.
Fortify What’s Yours
Rehoboam was king over Judah and Benjamin. He strongly fortified the cities with food, soldiers, and arms. Oil and wine were the medicines they used, 2 Chronicles 11:11-12.
I belong to God. Angels fight for me. I have the armor of God to protect me. He provides me with food and medicine and gives me strength and safety.
But I must manage our resources. When items are on sale, I buy two. I try to eat food up and not waste it.
We care for our home. When something is broken or wears out, we repair or replace it. We fortify our home by not letting it fall into ruin. It belongs to us.
Rehoboam was unfaithful to the Lord. King Shishak of Egypt attacked Jerusalem and captured the fortified cities of Judah, 2 Chronicles 12:1-4.
Shemaiah the prophet told Rehoboam, “You rejected the Lord, so He will reject you.” (2 Chronicles 12:5.)
The leaders and king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is just.” (2 Chronicles 12:6.)
The Lord saw that and did not let King Shishak annihilate them. But they became his subjects and he took away their treasures, 2 Chronicles 12:7-11.
There are always consequences for unfaithfulness.
Don’t Fight Against God
Rehoboam died and his son Abijah became king. He was at war with Jeroboam and the Israelite army. He declared, “God is with us as our leader. …don’t fight against the Lord God of your ancestors, for you will not win.” (2 Chronicles 13:12.)
Jeroboam attacked the Judahite army and lost. The Lord struck him down and he died. (2 Chronicles 13:1-20.)
Trust God, Stay Humble
When Asa, Abijah’s son, became king, he did what the Lord his God desired and approved. (2 Chronicles 14:1-2.)
“Asa had a history of trusting God and avoiding idolatry. But…he began to rely on the Syrians for protection. …as a result, …Judah’s peace would end… Asa became angry rather than humble.”
Asa was so mad at Hanani the prophet for confronting him, that he put him in jail. (2 Chronicles 16:10.)
Elijah, the prophet told King Ahab a famine was coming, 1 Kings 17:1. God provided for Elijah. He told him to hide out in the Kerith Valley near the Jordan. He drank from the stream, and God had ravens bring bread and meat each morning and evening, 1 Kings 17:3-4.
During the food shortages of 2020, God told me to keep a spare. I didn’t stock up on cases of anything. I kept a spare and when I opened it, I bought another spare. I still practice this on items I use the most.
Our food bill went way down when we switched to buying only tea bags and coffee grounds. We drink lots of water. I filter my water, boil it, and keep it in glass pitchers on top of the refrigerator. Any chlorine left from those two processes evaporates. (See Instagram post.)
The Famine Got Worse
The creek dried up. God sent Elijah to a widow in Zarephath. She was gathering wood to make bread with the last of her flour and oil. Elijah asked her to make him bread first and prophesied. “The jar of flour will not be empty and the jug of oil will not run out until the day the Lord makes it rain.” (1 Kings 17:7-16.)
Last week, I was low on powdered sugar. I made cherry cheesecake and lemon bars for Easter. There was a little leftover to sprinkle on top of the lemon bars. I had enough.
Lagom is the Swedish word for enough – not too much, not too little. God provides enough. (We are to share our abundance.)
God is Our Healer
The widow’s son got sick and died. Elijah prayed for him and the boy’s breath returned to him, 1 Kings 17:17-24.
Don’t Sacrifice Your Family
King Ben Hadad gathered 32 other kings and marched against Samaria. His terms of surrender were to take King Ahab’s wives, sons, silver, and gold.
Our dryer wouldn’t turn on. The repairman said we needed a new timer, electric board, and wire harness. He could only get two of the three parts. And one side of the 220-volt electrical plug wasn’t working.
David called our neighbor who takes apart appliances and sells the working parts on ebay.com. He said he could get all three parts but asked to look at the dryer first. We agreed.
He checked the parts and the outlet. He took the cover off of the breaker box and tested the breaker.
“Pam, you better come and see this!”
The meter showed 120 volts on one side and 8 volts on the other. There was not enough electricity to run the dryer. He heard crackling and was surprised there were no burn marks in the breaker box.
David called our favorite electrician.
He checked the outlet and the breaker. Both were okay.
“Pam, your dryer is broken.”
“I’m sorry, I saw the 8 on the voltage meter.”
“I saw the 8.”
“Let me check another way. Nope, the electricity is flowing correctly.”
“I saw the 8 with my own two eyes.”
Sighing, he took the breaker out of the box and his face was immediately sober. The breaker’s prongs were too far apart and it was arcing. There were black marks on the inside of the breaker. No wonder I sometimes smelled smoke!
“You have to replace this. I will take it to show David.”
It didn’t arc all of the time, that is why the repairman didn’t catch it. It didn’t arc for the electrician but I saw the evidence on the voltage meter and wouldn’t be dissuaded.
The first four books of the New Testament are eyewitness accounts written by a tax collector, a rich young man, a Gentile physician, and a fisherman. They could not be dissuaded because they witnessed the events with their own two eyes.
Let’s meet them and I will share the verses I highlighted this week from their books.
Matthew, Tax Collector
“Matthew…provides a perspective on Christianity’s roots in Judaism. …refers repeatedly to the Old Testament, offers a strong Jewish outlook, and explicitly discusses the conflict between Jesus and the Jewish authorities…to form a fitting bridge between the Old and New Testaments. …emphasizes that all God’s purposes are fulfilled in Jesus Christ.”
New English Translation Introduction to Matthew
The chief priest Caiaphas was wealthy and lived in a palace, (Matthew 26:3). But he couldn’t heal people, cast out demons, or raise the dead! God used his jealousy to bring Jesus to the cross. There Jesus died for Caiaphas’s sins, yours, and mine.
This is one of the exits from Caiaphas’s house.
There were two men named Jesus, (Matthew 27:16). One took lives, Barabbas; and one gave His life, Jesus Christ.
The crown of thorns did not rest on top of Jesus’ hair. It was pounded into his skull, (Matthew 27:29-30).
Jesus will be with us always, even to the end of the world, (Matthew 28:20).
Mark, Rich Young Man
“Mark…[his] main source was the apostle Peter. …the earliest surviving written account of the life and ministry of Jesus. …in the simplest and most straightforward way. …we see Jesus’ emotions and humanity on display. …shows Jesus to be the Son of God (1:1, 15:39), who has authority over humanity and over the natural and spiritual realms.”
NET Introduction to Mark
Examine yourself before you pray and if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, (Mark 11:25). We forgive because God already forgave us.
Jesus said they would see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven, (Mark 14:62).
A man could not be condemned to death unless there were three witnesses. The best the chief priests could do was find two, (see Matthew 26:59-64).
The only exception was when someone blasphemed. Jesus knew he had to die. When they couldn’t find three people to agree, he incriminated himself in their eyes. But He spoke the truth!
The disciples left the empty tomb in terror and bewilderment. They said nothing because they were afraid, (Mark 16:8). After they saw Jesus, they went from terror, bewilderment, and silence to telling everyone! (Mark 16:19-20).
Luke, Gentile Physician
“Luke…the only Gentile among the Gospel authors. …a physician by profession (Colossians 4:4) as well as a researcher and historian. After a careful investigation…Luke presented an orderly and easily comprehensible account. …wrote primarily for Gentile believers. …used the Greek equivalent of Hebrew words…the common language of the time…enabled more people to understand his book. …had a special interest in those marginalized by society, such as women, children, and the poor. …emphasized that Jesus is the Savior…of the whole world, especially those who are abused and neglected in society. …to reveal that Jesus is the focus of all history and to authenticate the reliability of the information in his Gospel.”
NET Introduction on Luke
Do I welcome Jesus quickly and joyfully like Zacchaeus? (Luke 19:6.)
“John…wanted his readers to understand that Jesus was both divine and human, …the source of salvation for all humankind. …to know what Jesus said and who Jesus was. …Jesus’ ‘I am’ statements make up another unique element… In addition to affirming His divinity, Jesus used these metaphors to indicate ways in which He was the ultimate solution to the human condition. …the Messiah whose words were clear only to those who believed in Him.”
NET Introduction to John
Jesus commanded that we love one another, just like He loved us. We are identified as His disciples by our love, (John 13:34-35).
Pilate asked, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). That question has been repeated for two thousand years. Truth has been denied and ignored. It is rewritten by the whim of those in power.
Truth is simple. Lies are loud. Truth is quiet.
The Bible is Truth. To deny the Bible is to deny there is the Mediterranean Sea. It is referred to several times.
God presents His Truth in a large, undeniable way – like the Mediterranean. But we ignore or overlook it.
Every day, the sun comes up and sets. The moon shows a full face and is slowly obstructed by the earth’s rotation.
Spring buds and winter ends. Summer’s warmth brings the harvest of autumn.
And no matter how crazy the world gets – God still forms babies in their mother’s tummies. God is constantly creating new life.
And that’s the Truth. Truth trumps facts.
“There are 650 copies of ‘The Iliad.’ But there are over 24,000 copies of the original Bible.”
Over 24,000 people painstakingly copied each letter of the Bible. They saw it. They believed.
“…The rooster announces the beginning of a brand-new day. After his worst night of failure, the sun came up for Peter. And it will come up for you, too. By God’s grace, you can start your life over any day you choose to. Today, you can repent of your sin and go on to do great things for the Lord.”
The Word for You Today, April 6, 2023
Are you ready to see for yourself? Do you want a new start? See the “Save Me, Jesus” Prayer.
An EF4 tornado ripped through our area last Friday, taking 5 houses, 2 farms, and several other structures. One bus driver saw a funnel and unloaded the kids into the house where they were stopped. They hunkered down in the basement with the family. Several tornadoes touched down around us.
I had Gideon for the day. Early in the morning, I took the “Pack and Play” and some toys to the basement. He napped there. His mama, Rachel, got off early and the three of us were downstairs when the sirens went off. A tornado touched down south of town.
Rachel’s brother, Jacob, and our oldest son Luke are firefighters. Luke’s unit was called to a fire and Jacob’s to a search and rescue. They found the missing safe.
Job 40:6, “Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind.” New English Translation
In the whirlwind, God reminded me of other storms He had brought us safely through. God kept us all safe and He answered my prayer that no lives were lost.
“Be still in God’s presence. Recognize that you are known, loved, and cared for greatly by your heavenly Father.”
Job 13:3, “But I wish to speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God,” NET
“Job had three friends who offered human thoughts about the causes of his suffering. In these verses, he expressed fatigue with the empty talk of men (vv. 4-5). …The insufficiency of human ‘wisdom’ left Job longing more for God’s truth about his life (see v. 3).”
*** When I present my case to others, I am given human thoughts. They are ashes and clay, (see 13:12). But God, who sees all and knows all, is working everything for my good.
Job 15:6, “Your own mouth condemns you, not I; your own lips testify against you.” NET
Control My Thoughts
Job 20:2, “This is why my troubled thoughts bring me back – because of my feelings within me.” NET
My thoughts control my feelings. I am not to look in the rearview mirror, rehashing the past. Nor am I to look through the windshield far ahead to the future. I need to look out the side windows and enjoy the present.
Keep Priorities Straight
Job 29:4-5, “Just as I was in my most productive time when God’s intimate friendship was experienced in my tent, 5) when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me.” NET
“…notice the things that Job most valued during his good years. …he enjoyed the presence of God, the company of his children, the respect of his community, and the opportunity to help the poor. …”
1 Kings 9:15, “…the work crews King Solomon conscripted to build…the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer.” NET
We saw the 6-sectioned gates that King Solomon built at Tel Megiddo. It was a sunny spring day until we reached the top, (see “The Heat of Summer”). There were soldiers stationed in each section making it difficult to break through the gates.
Solomon Conducted Research
Ecclesiastes 2:3, “I thought deeply about the effects of indulging myself with wine (all the while my mind was guiding me with wisdom) and the effects of behaving foolishly, so that I might discover what is profitable for people to do on earth during the few days of their lives.” NET
Ecclesiastes 2:9, “So I was far wealthier than all my predecessors in Jerusalem, yet I maintained my objectivity.” NET
He did not choose the amassing of riches as his goal. He found achievements and possessions “ultimately profitless – like chasing the wind,” v. 11.
Ecclesiastes 11:1, “Send your grain overseas, for after many days you will get a return.” NET
The King James Version Bible says, “Cast your bread upon the waters…” I envisioned a person baking a loaf of bread and throwing the pieces into the water. Many had used this verse in fundraising, and I still felt like you were throwing the money away.
The New International Version Bible says, “Ship your grain overseas…” That makes it clear the grain has a purpose. You may be shipping it to sell or to help in a famine. It’s deliberate. Even in giving, I’m responsible to know that my funds are “feeding the children.”
He found the benefits of wisdom were ultimately meaningless because both the wise man and the fool die and are forgotten, Ecclesiastes 2:15-16.
It is futile for a man to do his work with wisdom, knowledge, and skill because he must hand over the fruit of his labor as an inheritance to someone who did not work for it, Ecclesiastes 2:21.
“The quest for wisdom involves pain… Pain thereby becomes a challenge for wisdom and for our concept of God’s behavior. …not every theological claim made by Job and his friends is necessarily endorsed by this book. …God charged the three friends with speaking inaccurately about Him.
…when faced with the problem of theodicy, (explaining the presence of evil in the world in light of God’s wisdom and justice), silence, rather than human reasoning, may be a more virtuous alternative.
…Job is a demanding literary work that tends to presuppose that its readers are already well acquainted with…Proverbs and Psalms. …Even Jesus was not spared affliction and the theodicy problem. This was made clear when He cried out on the cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).”
New English Translation Introduction to the book of Job
Job 5:17, “Therefore, blessed is the man whom God corrects, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” NET
Correction can be simple. Example: A line of soldiers facing forward and one facing to the right. The drill sergeant will correct him by turning him forward. Then they can all march together.
Correction is harder if you are turned backward and God wants you to go forward. Repentance is simply turning around. In the case of the soldiers, the one going the wrong way will get run into over and over.
When I feel like everything is running into me – I should repent and be corrected. I turn around!