Which is Simpler?

Starting this new life was simple. You prayed the “Save Me, Jesus, Prayer” and believed your sins were forgiven.

God is all-powerful. Healing is as simple for Him as forgiving sins.

Mark 2:9-12, “Which is simpler, to say to the paraplegic, ‘I forgive your sins,’ or ‘Get up, take your stretcher, and start walking’? (10) Well, just so its clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both…” (He looked at the paraplegic), (11) “Get up. Pick up your stretcher and go home.” (12) “And the man did it – got up, grabbed his stretcher, and walked out, with everyone there watching him. They rubbed their eyes, incredulous – and then praised God, saying, ‘We’ve never seen anything like this!’ ” The Message

Jesus wants to heal us!

Luke 5:12-13, “One day in one of the villages there was a man covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus he fell down before him in prayer and said, ‘If you want to, you can cleanse me.’ (13) Jesus put out his hand, touched him, and said, ‘I want to. Be clean.’ Then and there his skin was smooth, the leprosy gone.” The Message

Telling others you are believing for healing is unnecessary. The results will speak for themselves.

Luke 5:14, “Jesus instructed him, ‘Don’t talk about this all over town. …Your cleansed and obedient life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done.’ ” The Message

God wants us to prosper in every area of our life.

3 John 1:2, “…for good fortune in everything you do, and for your good health – that your everyday affairs prosper, as well as your soul!” The Message

Our soul is our mind, will, and emotions. The only way to renew our mind is through the Word of God. We pray Bible verses over our problems. We believe until we see it.

Speak these verses over your body until you see it.

  • Psalms 103:3 – God heals all diseases.
  • Psalms 103:4 – God renews my youth.
  • Proverbs 4:22 – God makes my bones healthy.
  • Jeremiah 30:17 – God cures the incurable.
  • Matthew 4:24 – Jesus heals mental, emotional, and physical.
  • Matthew 9:35 – Jesus heals hurt lives and diseased bodies.
  • Luke 4:40 – Jesus healed anyone and everyone.
  • Acts 28:9 – God healed anyone and everyone.
  • 1 Timothy 1:7 – Jesus gives us a sound mind.

Do you have a healing testimony?

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.


For a Person to Succeed

We went shopping yesterday and returned a Christmas gift. I wore a navy sweater with a zipper to make trying on clothes easier. I wanted a black one.

During our Christmas dinner, I realized my buffet area is dark. I desired a candlestick lamp to brighten that corner without taking too much space.

Our last stop of the day was at “Stuff” a consignment shop. I went looking for smaller jeans. I left with a black, zipper sweater and a candlestick lamp. I spent $15.00.

* * * * * * *

God owns it all. We look to Him for everything we need, want or desire. We won’t get everything we want or desire but we will get what we need.

Our job is not our source; He is. He provides the job in the first place. We no longer strive for success. He is the one who causes us to succeed.

John 3:27, “John answered, ‘It’s not possible for a person to succeed – I’m talking about eternal success – without heaven’s help.’ ” The Message

* * * * * * *

“…you may succeed momentarily because of what you know or do, but you’ll only succeed permanently because of what you are.” The Word for You Today, 12-29-18

Proverbs 22 showed me there are things that are more important than riches.

Proverbs 22:1-4, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. (2) Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all. (3) The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. (4) Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.” New International Version

Has God given you something you desired or wanted?

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.


The Test

You prayed the “Save Me, Jesus, Prayer” and couldn’t believe the freedom you felt. Then everything seemed to go wrong. Did you do something wrong? Are you being punished?

No, you are doing something right and the devil is mad. Satan tested Jesus!

You will have a test.

Matthew 4:4, “Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. …” The Message

Deny yourself to prepare for the test. Don’t give in to your whims.

Matthew 4:2, “Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights.” The Message

Get your answers from the Bible.

Matthew 4:4, “Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: ‘It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.’ ” The Message

Satan will use Bible verses – taken out of context – to trick you.

Matthew 4:5-6, “For the second test the Devil took Him to the Holy City. He sat Him on top of the Temple. (6) And said, ‘Since you are God’s Son, jump.’ The Devil goaded Him by quoting Psalm 91: ‘He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone.’ ” The Message

Read the verses before and after the quote to understand them.

Matthew 4:7, “Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: ‘Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.’ ” The Message

Satan’s goal is to keep you following him. He uses things, power, fame, and pride to tempt you.

Matthew 4:8-9, “For the third test, the Devil took him to the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth’s kingdoms, how glorious they all were. Then he said, ‘They’re yours – lock, stock, and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and they’re yours.’ ” The Message

Don’t back down.

Matthew 4:10, “Jesus’ refusal was curt: ‘Beat it, Satan!’ He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and only Him. Serve Him with absolute single-heartedness.’ ” The Message

Remember testing means you’re doing something right! And if you fail the test, repent and start again.

Are you in a test right now?

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.



John Baptized Jesus

You prayed the “Save Me, Jesus, Prayer” and believed Jesus died for your sins. You turned in a new direction. What’s next?

John the Baptist told the people to repent (show remorse or regret) and be baptized. Baptism says, “My old life is dead. I’m living a new life now.” Jesus changes you from the inside out.

Luke 3:16-17, “But John intervened: ‘I’m baptizing you here in the river. The main character in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out.

(17) He’s going to clean house – make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false He’ll put out with the trash to be burned.” The Message

Baptism is a mountaintop experience. You will never forget it. You are a new man.

The same Holy Spirit that led Jesus to baptism, drove Him into the wilderness. You will not stay on top of the mountain. Life has valleys and deserts. But God leads you through them. Jesus walks beside you and the Holy Spirit comforts during those times.

Mark 1:9-13, “At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

(10) The moment He came out of the water, He saw the sky split open and God’s Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on Him.

(11) Along with the Spirit, a voice: ‘You are My Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.’

(12) At once, this same Spirit pushed Jesus out into the wild.

(13) For forty wilderness days and nights He was tested by Satan. Wild animals were His companions and angels took care of Him.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“In Colossians 3, Paul outlines for us what it looks like to live grace Monday through Saturday. …If you read back, you’ll find Paul has just taken two chapters to extol the incredible grace of God at work in our lives. …based on Jesus and His work on the cross. …our old, sinful nature died and was buried with Him. When Jesus was resurrected, we were also raised to life, spiritually speaking, but now we have a new nature – a divine nature. Then he starts chapter 3…”

“Jesus Is _____.” Judah Smith

* * * * * *

Colossians 3:1-11, “So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you.

(2) Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ – that’s where the action is. See things from His perspective.

(3) Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life – even though invisible to spectators – is with Christ in God. He is your life.

(4) When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too – the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

(5) And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God.

(6) It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger.

(7) It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better.

(8) But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.

(9) Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire.

(10) Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it.

(11) All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.” The Message

* * * * * *

“Our fight against sin is noble and good, but make no mistake: we are not fighting to be righteous. We already are righteous. We are simply learning to live outwardly like the person we are inwardly.”
“Jesus is _____.” Judah Smith

Have you been baptized?

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.


In A Dream

So you are walking with Jesus. It is all new, fresh, and exciting! But, what next?

Start Each Day With God

Give the day to Him. Ask Him to guide you.

  1. You can pray “The Lord’s Prayer,” see Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4.
  2. You can pray the “Days of the Week” Prayer.
    1. Sunday – For the church service and your pastors.
    2. Monday – For your family.
    3. Tuesday – For your church family and friends.
    4. Wednesday – For your country, state, county, and city.
    5. Thursday – for area schools and colleges.
    6. Friday – For your personal needs.
    7. Saturday – For the missionaries and their families.
  3. Just talk to God. Thank Him for what He’s done and share your concerns with Him.

Learn About God

  1. Of course, I will recommend the 2019 “Relevant” Bible Reading Guide!
  2. But, if you are just starting out, read one chapter of John each day. After you finish John, read one chapter of Romans a day.
  3. For those coming back to God – read one chapter of Proverbs for wisdom.
  4. To learn how to worship God – read five chapters of Psalms each day.
  5. Be honest with yourself. If you know you won’t read a chapter a day, start small. The “Habit-Forming Guide” will get you started.
  6. The “Babysteps” Bible Reading Guide starts with the shortest chapters and goes to the longest.

No matter which plan you use – God will speak to you. The Bible is alive!

Hebrews 4:12-13, “God means what He says. What He says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. (13) Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it – no matter what.” The Message

Listen to God

He doesn’t speak in a booming voice. His words do not come with thunder and lightning. God whispers. He is the voice of your conscience. He nudges. He makes directions clear. He opens doors and shuts doors. And He speaks in dreams.

Matthew 1:20, “While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: ‘Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived.’ ” The Message

* * * * * * *

Matthew 2:12, “In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Matthew 2:13, “After the scholars were gone, God’s angel showed up again in Joseph’s dream and commanded, ‘Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him.’ ” The Message

* * * * * * *

Matthew 2:19-20, “Later, when Herod died, God’s angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. (20) ‘Up, take the child and his mother and return to Israel. All those out to murder the child are dead.’ ” The Message

Talk with Bible Teachers

Show up for Sunday School. Attend Bible studies. Listen and ask questions. Remember everything they teach has to agree with the Bible. That’s why we have to know the Bible.

Hebrews 10:25, “Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” The Message

Christianity is not a solitary pursuit. Get with a group – we need each other.

Do you have a group to study with? Has God spoken to you in a dream?

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.


Determined to Take Care of Things Quietly

Did you pray the “Save Me, Jesus, Prayer” yesterday? I hope you responded liked the shepherds did to the angel’s message.

Luke 2:17, “They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in the manger. Seeing was believing.” The Message

Your life is forever changed! You’ll see. Faith is believing before you see it. Seeing makes your faith grow but you have to believe first and then do something.

Now what? Follow Jesus. He shows us how to live.

Luke 2:46, “The next day they found Him in the Temple seated among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions.” The Message

Find a Bible-believing church. Be found there every time the doors are open. Listen and ask questions.

What about the rest of the time? Live obediently with your parents and those in authority. If you’re married do everything in your power to live peacefully with your spouse.

Luke 2:51, “So He went back to Nazareth with them, and lived obediently with them. …” The Message

“But you don’t know my family!” 

Well, let’s look at Jesus’ family:

  1. Matthew 1:3, “Judah had Perez and Zerah (the mother was Tamar), …” Tamar was his daughter-in-law, see Genesis 38:1-30.
  2. Matthew 1:5, “Salmon had Boaz (his mother was Rahab), …” Rahab was the prostitute who hid the spies in Jericho, see Joshua 2:1-21; 6:17, 22-25.
  3. Matthew 1:5, “…Boaz had Obed (Ruth was the mother) …” We read about Ruth 2 days ago. She was a foreigner of another race, see Ruth 1-4.
  4. Matthew 1:6, “…David had Solomon (Uriah’s wife was the mother).” David had an affair with Bathsheba and arranged for Uriah’s death in battle. Their first child died, see 2 Samuel 11:1-12:24.
  5. Matthew 1:7, “Solomon had Rehoboam,…” Rehoboam lost 11 of the 12 tribes of Israel in the first year that he was king, see 1 Kings 11:1-20.
  6. Matthew 1:8, “Asa had Jehoshaphat,…” Jehoshaphat won a battle without fighting, see 2 Chronicles 20:1-29.
  7. Matthew 1:9, “…Ahaz had Hezekiah.” Hezekiah also won a battle without fighting, see 2 Chronicles 32:1-22. He got sick and was dying. He asked God to extend his life. Then he asked God to make the sun go backward to prove He would! He lived another 15 years, see 2 Kings 20:1-11.
  8. Matthew 1:10, “Hezekiah had Manasseh, …” Manasseh was evil, vile, and murderous, see 2 Kings 21:1-18.
  9. Matthew 1:10, “…Amon had Josiah.” Josiah found the Book of the Law. He commanded it taught to everyone. He cleaned out the Temple and restored it, see 2 Kings 22:1-23:28.
  10. Matthew 1:11, “Josiah had Jehoiachin and his brothers…” His sons did not serve God. Everything went from bad to worse until the Babylonians destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem. The people were either killed or taken into exile, see 2 Kings 23:31-25:21.

In every family, there are relatives who make you proud. In every family, there are relatives whose decisions cause shame. Joseph is our example of responding to our family.

Matthew 1:19, “Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“The commitment of a betrothal was so legally binding that a divorce was required to break it off (1:19). Joseph had little choice. If a man’s betrothed wife became pregnant, people would assume that she had regarded him as an inadequate man and this would publicly humiliate him. Worse yet, should he not divorce her most people would assume that he was the one who had gotten her pregnant, and he would bear great shame in a culture that was obsessed with shame and honor.

Jewish law required a man to divorce a wife who had been unfaithful. Joseph could have divorced Mary publicly in a court. The court would not only establish his innocence, but also profit him financially: he would get to keep all of Mary’s dowry (the money her father gave her for her marriage). By planning to divorce her privately (writing out a certificate of divorce for her in front of two witnesses), Joseph elected to forfeit profit rather than shame her any further.” Chronological Study Bible Notes

We can pour on more shame or act with honor – knowing it will cost us. We don’t act alone. We ask Jesus to love through us. He can when we can’t. We won’t feel like it. It will be hard – possible excruciating. But only Jesus can heal a family.

As for the shame? Jesus carried all shame to the cross. He took it with him to Hell and left it there.

Hebrews 12:2, “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” New Living Translation

We do not have to live with shame.

Psalms 25:2, “O, my God, in You I trust, Do not let me be ashamed; Do not let my enemies exult over me.” New American Standard Bible

Will you be getting together with family this week?

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.


Who Believed What God Said

“Most of us, most of the time, feel left out – misfits. We don’t belong. Others seem to be so confident, so sure of themselves, … Luke is a most vigorous champion of the outsider. An outsider himself, the only Gentile in an all-Jewish cast of New Testament writers, he shows how Jesus includes those who typically were treated as outsiders by the religious establishment of the day: women, common laborers (sheepherders), the racially different (Samaritans), the poor….” The Message Introduction to Luke

We finished playing for worship and I went to the lobby for a cup of coffee. I got up at 3:30 a.m. to write my post before church. I had breakfast at five and I was hungry!

Someone brought cookies and the tray was empty. But – Kyle, the bass player, brought Victoria’s cinnamon rolls!

I don’t know her secret. I think she simmers vanilla and cinnamon overnight and then pours it over the rolls. Pulling back the foil from the pan is better than a diffuser! And they are so moist – like banana bread.

I was in the coat room – shoving the cinnamon roll in as fast as I could. I heard the sermon begin. I put the last piece in my mouth and turned to go wash my hands.

My oldest son, Luke, walked in. He saw my stuffed cheeks and said, “Busted.”

I couldn’t say a word! Sometimes God shuts my mouth on purpose.

Luke 1:20, “But because you won’t believe me, you’ll be unable to say a word until the day of your son’s birth. Every word I’ve spoken to you will come true on time – God’s time.” The Message

Musicians are a lonely lot. We practice before the service and afterwards, we have to pack the equipment up for storage.

We don’t get to talk with people before church. When we finish our work – everyone is gone!

Thankfully, our family had the Christmas Eve service off. It was great! David sat between Derek and I. He sang lead, Derek sang tenor, and I sang alto. I love hearing my family harmonize!

But, when the service was over, everyone got in groups to greet their friends. Derek and Rachel are youth leaders and have close friends in that group.

David and I do not. The couples we are close to were not there. David went to the restroom and I sat back down. I looked around at the familiar faces. I’ve played here for several years and I don’t know their names.

Being on the worship team looks so glamorous. It’s really lonely and a lot of hard work. I’m a witness. I do this every week.

You don’t believe me? I’m not surprised. The Jews didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah either. Several witnessed everything. They told everyone. They wrote books about it – Matthew, Mark, John.

Finally, Luke, who was a Gentile doctor, started gathering evidence. He listened to the story from all sources. He took meticulous notes. Each witness told the same stories!  When Theophilus started to doubt, Luke wrote it all down in a book.

Luke 1:1-4, “So many others have tried…putting together a story…(2) using reports handed down by the original eyewitnesses who served this Word with their very lives. (3) Since I have investigated all the reports…from the story’s beginning, I decided to write it all out… (4) So you can know beyond a shadow of a doubt the reliability of what you were taught.” The Message

Maybe you are like Theophilus. You know the truth about Christmas but sometimes you doubt it can all be real.

Mary had doubts. She didn’t see how God could fulfill the promise He gave her. She chose to believe anyway.

“There are many things Mary didn’t understand about God’s will, but she accepted and obeyed it. And that’s what God is asking of you too.” The Word for You Today, 12-24-18

It’s impossible! Believe anyway.

I don’t understand! Believe anyway.

It can’t be true! Believe anyway.

Luke 1:45, “Blessed woman, who believed what God said, believed every word would come true.” The Message

Believe! Today! Right now! Click on the “Save me, Jesus, Prayer” in the menu above. Pray the prayer out loud. Then tell someone.

Today is now your birthday! Your spiritual birthday! You are born again after praying that prayer. Don’t be surprised if you act like Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning!

Did you pray that prayer?

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.


Your People Are My People

I didn’t understand my mother until I became one. I didn’t fully appreciate my mother-in-law until I became one.

David’s mother, Phyllis, had brain cancer when they used massive doses of radiation and chemotherapy. She lived in care facilities for years. I really couldn’t get to know her. She called me Sam.

My mother-in-law is Jane. When she married David’s father, she became a mother and grandmother! My daughter was a month old and she latched on to Jane. We used to joke that she loved Jane more than me! We have a picture of Grandpa holding Laura and she’s reaching her arm out to Jane.

Jane went above and beyond for me. Every Saturday, she took Luke and Laura, who are 21 months apart, for a few hours. I used that time to comb garage sales for children’s clothes. I was a stay-at-home mom and money was tight. I don’t know what I would have done without her.

* * * * * * *

“Ruth” is about a daughter-in-law and her mother-in-law, Naomi. They lost everything and Ruth chose to stay with Naomi.

“…God raising up leaders who direct and guide through the tangle of difficulties always involved in living joyfully and responsively before God. Very impressive. …Our unimpressive, very ordinary lives make us feel like outsiders to such a star-studded cast. …But the story of the widowed, impoverished, alien Ruth is proof to the contrary. …In its artful telling of this ‘outside’ widow, uprooted and obscure, who turns out to be the great-grandmother of David and the ancestor of Jesus, the book of Ruth makes it possible for each of us to understand ourselves, however ordinary or ‘out-of-it,’ as irreplaceable in the full telling of God’s story. We count – every last one of us – and what we do counts.” The Message Introduction to Ruth

Ruth moved to a foreign country to take care of Naomi. She didn’t ask her to do it. She told her to go back to her father’s house. But, if Ruth did that, she would have to go back to her father’s gods. Her love for God was the reason she refused to leave Naomi.

Loving God is the glue that holds a marriage together – when you “fall out of love.” The good news? You will fall in love with them again. And each time you fall in love a little deeper.

You hear these verses in many weddings. They sound so romantic. But they are the words of a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law.

Ruth 1:16-17, “But Ruth said, ‘Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my God; (17) where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, so help me God – not even death itself is going to come between us.’ ” The Message

Love is not something you feel. Love is something you do. Don’t confuse romance with love. Or worse, don’t confuse lust with love.

God showed us how to love: Give your best. He gave his only Son.

Give even when it hurts. Jesus was gone for 33 years. There were years of silence while the human Jesus learned to talk. God had to reveal Himself to His human Son.

A common complaint of mothers-in-law is they don’t see their son and his family often. Yet, that is by design.

Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh.” The Message

Men need that time apart to learn to stand on their own two feet. They are creating a new family. The rewards of letting go? Grandchildren!

If your relationship with your mother-in-law is rocky  – keep loving God.

If your relationship with your daughter(s)in-laws are rocky – keep loving God.

If you’re lucky enough to have a grandmother-in-law – count your blessings! That relationship may only last a short time.

Even if your in-laws abandon you – God will not.

Ruth 2:20, “…God hasn’t quite walked out on us after all! He still loves us, in bad times as well as good!” The Message

Merry Christmas, Jane!

©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.



Whatever They Felt Like Doing

“Have you experienced a sorrow caused by unkindness, when others cruelly mistreat your trusting heart, and you even begin to wonder if there is really a God above who sees what is happening yet continues to allow it? …God has allowed the difficulty to come upon you, in order to bring you closer to Himself.”

“Streams in the Desert,” 12-22

Christmastime is family time. Wherever there are siblings – there will be a rivalry! It goes back to Cain and Abel.

* * * * * * *

The People of Israel asked the Benjaminites to surrender the men who killed the concubine. They refused.

Judges 20:12-14, “…’What’s the meaning of this outrage?’… (13) ‘Surrender…’ (14) But they wouldn’t do it. …” The Message

The Benjaminites fought the other tribes. Everyone wanted justice for the concubine. The Benjaminites saw everyone was against them and went to war.

Judges 21:25, “At that time there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing.” The Message

Most of their tribe died. The soldiers that escaped lost their wives and families. The rest of the tribes swore they would not allow their daughters to marry a Benjaminite. They got wives from 2 different sources in Chapter 21.

“When you hold resentment it feels like there’s a war going on inside you. …the more you fight, the more ground you lose. Arguing just drains you of energy and leaves you more hurt and angry. You’re in a no-win situation. You struggle with who’s right and who’s wrong. You spend so much time trying to out-do, out-shout, and out-maneuver others that you lose your peace and joy. …Don’t allow someone’s actions to determine your reactions. …”

The Word For You Today, December 22, 2018

I like that. “Don’t allow someone’s actions to determine your reactions.”

Will you be with your siblings this week?


©2009-2018 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.


Think About It

I don’t watch the news – not even Fox news. Why? Because they show every gory detail. It burns the image on your brain.

I don’t watch movies with violence or read horror stories – except in the Bible. And the chapter I dread reading is Judges 19. Like the people in verse 30, I ask, “How could this happen?”

* * * * * * *

They did whatever they wanted.

Judges 17:6, “In those days there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing.” The Message

They took whatever they wanted.

Judges 18:24, “Micah said, ‘You took my god, the one I made, and you took my priest. And you marched off? What do I have left? How can you now say, “What’s the matter?” ‘ ” The Message

They did not acknowledge their sin.

Judges 18:25, “But the Danites answered, ‘Don’t yell at us.’ …” The Message

The victim did not get justice.

Judges 18:26, “…Micah saw that he didn’t stand a chance….” The Message

They killed those unable to protect themselves.

Judges 18:27, “…they arrived at Laish, that city of quiet and unsuspecting people. They massacred the people and burned down the city.” The Message

They kept other’s property for their private use.

Judges 18:31, “…they kept for their private use the god-figure that Micah had made.” The Message

They ignored their marriage vows.

Judges 19:2, “…But she quarreled with him and left, returning to her father’s house…” The Message

(The New International Version says she was unfaithful to him.)

They quit early instead of doing an honest day’s work.

Judges 19:9, “Look, the day’s almost gone…enjoy yourself. Tomorrow you can…” The Message

(Contrast that to this verse.)

Judges 19:16, “Then late in the evening, an old man came in from his day’s work in the fields.” The Message

They ignored the homeless.

Judges 19:15, “The Levite went and sat down in the town square, but no one invited them in to spend the night.” The Message

They viewed everyone as a sex object.

Judges 19:22, “…We want to have sex with him.” The Message

They didn’t shelter and protect their women. They saved themselves.

Judges 19:24, “Look, my virgin daughter and his concubine are here. I’ll bring them out for you. Abuse them if you must….” The Message

He dismembered his raped and murdered wife.

Judges 19:29-30, “…he took a knife and dismembered his concubine… (30) …’Has such a thing ever happened?… Think about it! Talk it over. Do something!’ ” The Message

Each step was viler.

* * * * * * *

Fast forward to 2018 – it’s worse.

  • “Don’t tell me what to do.”
  • “You are rich – don’t charge the thief.”
  • “It’s not a baby.”
  • “My boss doesn’t pay me enough, I need these supplies.”
  • “It’s only sex.”
  • “No work gets done after 4:00 p.m.”
  • “All homeless are con artists.”
  • “There’s nothing wrong with porn.”
  • “I’m too busy to pick you up tonight – walk home alone.”
  • “See the Christians beheaded in Egypt, here.”
  • “Planned Parenthood sells baby parts.”

The New International Version says “Everyone who saw it was saying to one another, ‘…We must do something! So speak up!’ ” 

But what can I do?

Go back to the first step. Submit to King Jesus and do what he tells me.

  1. Speak for the victims.
  2. Support organizations protecting the unborn.
  3. Be faithful to my husband.
  4. Do an honest day’s work.
  5. Support organizations that help the poor and homeless.
  6. Share posts of missing children.
  7. Click “Unfollow,” instead of watching a video.

Proverbs 21:13, “Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.” New International Version

I need to gather some food for the Lord’s Cupboard to take to church tomorrow!

Proverbs 21:16, “Whoever strays from the path of prudence comes to rest in the company of the dead.” New International Version

The King’s birthday is Tuesday. What are you giving for Him?

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