God Wants to Make You Great!

I thought God made Israel great after they received their inheritance. I was wrong. God made them great while they were slaves in Egypt!

Acts 13:17, “The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He led them out from it.”

New American Standard Bible

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They were in Egypt for 400 years. Nothing can stop God’s blessings!

Acts 13:19, “When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land as an inheritance – all of which took about four hundred and fifty years.”

New American Standard Bible

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When you add in the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, you see it took a thousand years to take Israel from a family to a great nation! God is making us great right here and right now!

Let’s look at David…

Acts 13:22, “…I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.”

New American Standard Bible

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Many times, people referred to King David as “a man after God’s heart.” We leave the last part out – “who will do all My will.”

David killed the giant Goliath. He spent 15 years running from Saul in the wilderness. He had 2 opportunities to kill him but didn’t.

“The wilderness is where the Word is heard and we’re formed into a person of the Word. The promised answers to our prayers may not be found in the promised lands, but in wildernesses. Every wilderness, every desert – is not where God deserts – but is where God woos with whispered Word. But you will have to be still to hear his whispered Word.”

June 9, 2022 email from annvoskamp.com

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For the rest of his life, he was the one who destroyed the seven nations in the land of Canaan.

Following God’s heart, and doing all of His will, means:

  • facing giants,
  • years of loneliness,
  • being unjustly treated,
  • fighting those who are opposed to God’s purposes.

We remember the glamor of being king. We forget the impossible and excruciating road David walked to get to the throne. (His parents were murdered while he was in the wilderness running from Saul.) And we forget that he was human.

“Centuries later, the Gospel of Matthew mentions David’s ‘slimy rotten’ predatorial, power-abusing, libido ingratiating sin in the family tree of Jesus where we read, ‘Jesse [was] the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon (by the wife of Uriah) …’ (Matthew 1:6, emphasis mine)

This same David wrote nearly half of the Psalms. He is the one about whom God would later say, “…a man after my heart, who will do all my will.” (Acts 13:22) Most notably, he is also the one that the New Testament writers had in mind when they repeatedly called Jesus ‘the son of David.’ If you have ever doubted Jesus’ love, affection, and never-give-up love for you, are you willing to reconsider?”

“Rotten Bananas, Bent Humans, and Delicious Grace” Scott Sauls, from the book, “Beautiful People Don’t Just Happen: How God Redeems Regret, Hurt, and Fear in the Making of Better Humans

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Acts 13:48, “When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.”

New American Standard Bible

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That means us! We are appointed to eternal life!

Hebrews 3:12, 13, “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13) But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

New American Standard Bible

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Hebrews 4:1, “Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.”

New American Standard Bible

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Hebrews 6:11, 12, “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12) so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

New American Standard Bible

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Hebrews 6:19, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.”

New American Standard Bible

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Hebrews 10:14, “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”

New American Standard Bible

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Hebrews 11:4, “By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.”

New American Standard Bible

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“When God is first, everything changes!”

Pastor Monte Knudsen, 6-12-22, fcoc.net

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Believing brings a promise of rest, an assurance of hope, removal of sluggishness, inherited promises, an anchor of hope, sanctification (just as if I had never sinned), gifts, and faith that speaks even after we die!

It’s time to click on the “Save me, Jesus, Prayer” above. God wants to make you great!

©2009-2022 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

The Heat of Summer

We experienced all four seasons while we were in Israel. It was the last three days of winter but it felt like fall – cold and rainy. We were on top of Tel Megiddo when a storm hit. Our umbrellas turned inside out and on some, the material tore off of the spokes! Peggy Knudsen, our Pastor’s wife called it a monsoon!

On the third day, the high was 39 degrees. I didn’t bring a coat!

I put on the capris and long-sleeved Henley top that I planned to sleep in. I layered a tee-shirt, 3/4 length sleeve tee-shirt, and jeans over them. I put on my cardigan sweater and stowed protein bars in my backpack.

When we reached Caesarea Maritime, I put a hooded rain poncho over all of it. I cinched my gardener’s hat, aka tourist hat, under my chin and kept my hands under my poncho. I looked like a soldier with a full pack!

David did not do as well. He didn’t bring a coat either. When we were packing, I asked him if he wanted the black raincoat or the red one. He packed the black one.

They were rain pants!

We left the red raincoat at home! He wore two shirts and a hoody and carried our umbrella.

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We drove through the Golan Heights while they were getting 3-5 inches of snow! The bus driver and guide had never seen so much snow. I pulled a scarf out of my backpack to wrap around my torso under my sweater.

I didn’t need it. We drove down the mountain and the snow turned to rain. Flowers seemed to bloom right in front of our eyes. Spring had sprung!

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Two days later, I struggled to corral my curls into a scrunchie. Peggy asked me what I was doing.

“Probably tying my hair into knots,” I replied.

We were at the Dead Sea and it was hot! I had to get my hair off of my neck and back. People were wearing shorts.

Not only was it hot, but it was also dry. Our guide kept reminding us to drink water.

We took a cable car to the top of the MASADA fortress. The sun beat down on us and the wind parched us. They had a water station at the bottom and the top to refill our bottles.

I looked over the edge and saw a new, straw hat below. I was grateful for the cord that kept my hat secure. The wind caught it twice but the cord kept it from blowing away.

I can’t imagine how uncomfortable Jonah was sitting on the east side of Nineveh.

Jonah 4:4, “The Lord said, ‘Do you have a good reason to be angry?'”

New American Standard Bible

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The landscape on the Dead Sea.

God delivered Jonah from his discomfort on the first day with a plant that shaded him, Jonah 4:6. The next day, the plant died and God appointed a scorching east wind. The sun beat on his head until he felt faint and begged to die, Jonah 4:8.

God cares about our comfort. But God does not want us to get so comfortable that we forget about others. Our first concern is for those who don’t know Him.

©2009-2022 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Everything Was Harder Than I Imagined

The room was circular. It used to be a cistern. When I got to the bottom, I couldn’t find a comfortable place to stand. The floor was like a bowl and the surface was uneven rocks. I felt like I was falling into the center.

High above my head, approximately 20 feet was a hole just large enough for a man to be let down. Pastor Monte Knudsen read about Jesus being held in this place. I hoped his devotion was short.

Jesus’ experience was much worse. They let him down by a rope. There was most likely water in the cistern. There were no steps to sit on, no lights, and no windows.

He had been up all night praying. He was tired but couldn’t even sit down. It was winter. He was wet, cold, and facing three trials, torture, and finally crucifixion.

First, Jesus was tried by His church – High Priest Caiaphas

The chief priest and officers of the temple arrested him, Luke 22:47-54. The temple soldiers mocked him, blindfolded him, and beat him, Luke 22:63, 64.

They wanted to see him prophesy, asking, “Who hit you?”

Second, Jesus was tried by the mayor – King Herod

Luke 23:11, “And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate.”

New American Standard Bible

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Jesus was questioned, accused, treated with contempt, and mocked in Luke 23:8-12.

Herod wanted to see a sign.

Third, Jesus was tried by the governor – Pontius Pilate

Pilate found him innocent, Luke 23:4, 14. Yet, he still wanted to punish him before he released him, Luke 23:16, 22.

We read yesterday how the Roman soldiers scourged him, put a crown of thorns on him, beat him on the head, spit on him, mocked him, and finally, crucified him, see Mark 15:15-24.

Pilate wanted to forget Jesus. He took a bowl of water and washed his hand, saying, he was innocent of this man’s blood, Matthew 27:24.

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Everything Jesus experienced was a million times harder than I perceived from reading the Bible. He hiked down the Mt. of Olives and crossed the Kidron stream. He hiked halfway up Mt. Moriah to Caiaphas’s house. He hiked further up Mt Moriah to be tried by Pilate.

Then he dragged the cross back down through the steep, narrow, crowded Via Dolorosa over bedrock, patches of bricks, uncut rocks, and sections of pavement. It is amazing that he only fell once. He climbed the last hill, Golgotha, or place of the skull.

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I walked on paths, steps, rocks, and ancient roads. I turned my ankle twice. I rode a bus from site to site. We hiked 1-3 miles a day.

Jesus hiked up and down mountains, through packed streets because it was the week of Passover. I can’t comprehend how many miles he hiked that day and each stop was worse than the last!

He did it for me…and you.

I invite you to go to your local church. I don’t care what your motive is: to hear a prophecy (the future is written in the Bible); to see a sign, or to declare your innocence.

Jesus was up all night. We can get up early because tomorrow we celebrate!

Hole in the ceiling of the cistern at Caiaphas’s house where Jesus was held.

©2009-2022 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Why Jesus Didn’t Drink the Wine with Myrrh

Jesus refused pain relief. He felt all of the torture, abuse, and pain of crucifixion.

Mark 15:23, “They tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh; but He did not take it.”

New American Standard Bible

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“…The Talmud gives evidence that incense was mixed with wine to deaden pain (cf. Pr. 31:6).”

New Internation Version Study Bible Note on Mark 15:23

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Mark 15:36, “Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink, …”

New American Standard Bible

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“A sour wine, the drink of laborers and common soldiers. Jesus refused a sedative drink (see Mt. 27:34; Mk 15:23 and notes) but later was given the vinegar drink when he cried out in thirst (see John 19:28-30 and notes). Luke shows that it was offered in mockery.”

New International Version Study Bible Notes on Luke 23:36

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Why did he drink the sour wine? To fulfill prophecy.

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Psalms 69:21, “They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.”

New International Version

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Jesus was conscious through the arrest, torture, and crucifixion. He felt everything. He knew he had to fulfill all of the prophecies.

Had he drunk the wine and myrrh; the prophecy would not have been fulfilled. He waited until sour wine, aka vinegar, was offered to him. He drank it, fulfilling the final prophecy and then he died.

The King James Bible says, “He gave up the ghost.” He chose the moment when His spirit left his body.

That was strength under control during excruciating circumstances.

In the center is the place of the skull or Golgotha. They said the nose fell off years ago.

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You Won’t Be Harmed

I have been sick this week. I don’t know what caused it, but I am feeling better.

Psalms 121:6, “You won’t be harmed by the sun during the day or by the moon at night.” CEV

“Harmed…sun…moon: In ancient times people saw the harmful effects of the rays of sun, and they thought that certain illnesses (especially mental disorders) were also caused by the rays of the moon.” CEV Bible Notes

Brings a Curse

Zechariah 5:3, “Then he told me: This scroll puts a curse on everyone in the land who steals or tells lies. The writing on one side tells about destruction of those who steal, while the writing on the other side tells about the destruction of those who lie.”

Kinda & Comforting

Zechariah 1:13, “The Lord’s answer was kind and comforting.”

The voice of God is nothing to fear. He does not speak as loud as thunder, but with a still, small voice, (see I Kings 19:12.)

“Let Us Help!”

Ezra 4:1, 2, “The enemies of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin heard that the people had come back to rebuild the temple of the Lord God of Israel. So they went to Zerubbabel and to the family leaders and said, ‘Let us help! Ever since King Esarhaddon of Assyria brought us here, we have worshiped your God and offered sacrifices to him’.” CEV

“Foreigners: People from foreign countries who had been captured by Assyrian and Babylonian kings and forced to settle in Palestine.” CEV Bible Notes

Interesting. The enemies of the Jews still are professing that they want to “help.”

 

As Much Happiness As Being Rich

In his sermon last night, Pastor Monte Knudsen said, “Life is not about the accumulation of stuff.”

When people were asked how much money it would take to make them  happy everyone answered $10,000 more than what they make now. It was the same answer for those who made $25,000 and for those who made $150,000.

Today’s verses show us the key to true happiness.

Psalms 119:14, 36, 37, “Obeying your instructions brings as much happiness as being rich…Make me want to obey you rather than to be rich. Take away my foolish desires, and let me find life by walking with you.”

He Did Everything He Was Supposed To Do

I had trouble starting my work today. I blamed my son who was watching “The Office” on Netflix, but it was more from apathy. I wonder if I am still going in the right direction? I got my answer in today’s verse.

Daniel 6:4, “The other men tried to find something wrong with the way Daniel did his work for the king. But they could not accuse him of anything wrong, because he was honest and faithful and did everything he was supposed to do.”

I work for King Jesus. I am honest and faithful. If I am to do everything I am supposed to do today…I had better get to that ironing. (Yuck.)