How to Live

Jesus Taught Us to Be

  1. Grateful that we’re invited to the wedding banquet, Matthew 22:9.
  2. Looking for His return, Mark 13:24-27.
  3. Enduring, Matthew 24:13.
  4. Peaceful, not alarmed, Matthew 24:6.
  5. Faithfully working, Matthew 24:46.
  6. Calm, not distressed, John 14:1.
  7. Speaking plainly, John 16:29-30.

We finished reading the teachings of Jesus. We will return to the first four books of the New Testament on Palm Sunday.

We started reading about the first kings of Israel.

We Learn from Other’s Mistakes

Introduction

“…[1 Samuel covers] the selection, reign, and rejection of King Saul and the God-ordained rise of David under him as his replacement…1 Samuel calls us to slow down and focus on David as a common man with uncommon faith and integrity whom the Lord chose to replace a failed king.”

New English Translation
Introduction to 1 Samuel

***

Saul lived and died as King. But after he disobeyed God, his life was miserable.

God didn’t “strike him with lightning” but He let Saul know that Jonathan would not reign.

His regret turned to bitterness and jealousy consumed him. He spent the last fifteen years of his life hunting David and trying to kill him.

(I may be a common woman but I can live my life with uncommon faith and integrity.)

Eli

1 Samuel 2:25-26, “…But Eli’s sons would not listen to their father. Indeed, the Lord had decided to kill them. 26) However, the boy Samuel was growing up and finding favor both with the Lord and with people.” New English Translation

Even though Eli’s sons were doomed, God allowed them to live while Samuel was growing up. They may have thought they could do as they pleased without consequences. They were wrong.

The people told Eli of his son’s behavior, 2:22. A man of God came to Eli and warned him, 2:27-36. Then Samuel told him the future, 3:3-18.

1 Samuel 2:30, “…I will honor those who honor me, but those who despise me will be cursed.” NET

People of Beth Shemesh

1 Samuel 6:19, “But the Lord struck down some of the people of Beth Shemesh because they had looked into the ark of the Lord; he struck down 50,070 of the men. …” NET

In the first battle, 4000 men died, 4:2. In the second, 30,000 died, 4:10. But when the people of Beth Shemesh looked into the ark, 50,070 men died. Even the High Priest was not allowed to do that!

They fought in hills like these.

How are we to live? Grateful, expecting, enduring, peacefully, faithfully, calmly, speaking plainly, obediently, full of faith, with integrity, honoring God, and reverently.

2023 Rainbow Bible Reading Guide ©2009-2023 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com.  All Rights Reserved.

More Questions

Why Do I Worry?

Luke 12:25, “And which of you by worrying can add an hour to his life?” New English Translation

Last year, Derek auditioned for a couple of worship pastor positions. David was excited.

I cried and cried and cried. I worried because that would leave us with two instrumentalists and two vocalists on Sunday mornings. When would I see Gideon?

I wrestled with God and finally gave up. I decided God can move his children anywhere.

They prayed about each position and God closed the doors. I lost a few hours worrying for nothing!

Later, God moved our guitar player and soundman. We miss them.

Sunday, we had a new guitar player join the worship team. Our oldest son Luke will play part-time. (We share him with the army.)

When I was a teen, I dreamed of having a family band. Back then, family bands traveled from place to place. I’m much happier playing with my family in one place! That was another secret desire God granted me.

Did I Say That Out Loud?

John 11:16, “So Thomas (called Didymus) said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us go too, so that we may die with him.'” New English Translation

I can identify with Thomas. My thoughts have popped out of my mouth more times than I care to admit. And I wonder, “Did I say that out loud?”

Caiaphas showed me the cure. Study the Bible and the Bible will come out of your mouth.

John 11:51, “(Now he did not say this on his own, but because he was high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the Jewish nation.)” New English Translation

How Did He Disperse the Crowds?

Matthew 19:2, “Large crowds followed him, and he healed them.” New English Translation

Last week, I questioned how Jesus dispersed the crowds. Here’s my answer – “He healed them!”

Not everyone needed healing, some needed a kind word. Some were satisfied to go home and ponder His teachings.

But it would take hours. Perhaps this is why He sent His disciples ahead in the boat. He knew they would tire while waiting. And why He fell asleep in the boat?

Matthew 19:13, “Then little children were brought to him for him to lay his hands on them and pray. But the disciples scolded those who brought them.” New English Translation

When Jesus fed the five thousand, they only counted the men. They had large families. Who knows how many were there – 20,000? Or more?

Yet, he took the time to lay his hands on each child and pray for them. Then He went on his way, verse 15.

Have I Ever Been a Spy?

Luke 20:20, “Then they watched him carefully and sent spies who pretended to be sincere…” New English Translation

Have I ever been a spy – judging another church? Or a Christian artist? Or organization? Repeating what they said?

Am I spying to find faults or to make myself look better? Even worse, do I gossip about it?
Dear God, forgive me!

“Why do you think hypocrites and prideful people will receive a more severe punishment (v. 47)? Ask God to show you any areas of hypocrisy or pride in your life. Ask God for forgiveness and strength to live a humble life.”

New English Translation notes on Luke 20:45-47

What Else Did I Learn?

  1. The Lord sent others ahead of himself, Luke 10:1.
  2. I need to stay salty, Luke 14:34.
  3. Jesus loved Martha and Mary equally, John 11:5.
  4. I can either hush the hurting or encourage them to go to Jesus, Mark 10:48-49.

The steps to the temple where Jesus taught.

2023 Rainbow Bible Reading Guide ©2009-2023 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com.  All Rights Reserved.

Asking

John the Baptist Asked

Matthew 11:2, “…he sent his disciples to ask a question.” New English Translation

John’s question was for his disciples’ sake. He wanted to decrease so Jesus would increase, John 3:30. He didn’t want his disciples to follow him to death but to follow Jesus to eternal life. Jesus confirmed who John was in verse 10.

Peter Asked

Matthew 17:27, “But so we don’t offend them, go to the lake and throw out a hook. Take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth, you will find a four-drachma coin. Take that and give it to them for me and you.” New English Translation

This picture was taken from the Faith Boat on the Sea of Galilee.

Jesus performed a miracle – a fish catching a coin and then biting Peter’s hook! He provided the tax money for Peter and Himself.

He didn’t provide it for his 11 closest disciples, the other 70, or the women who followed Him. He provided for Peter because he asked.

God is a personal God. He meets the needs of individuals.

When we give, we can’t help everyone. We look for those nearby to help.

Ask for Forgiveness, Release the Guilt

John 8:11, “…and Jesus said, ‘I do not condemn you either. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.'” New English Translation

If Jesus does not condemn me, why do I condemn myself?

“Imagine Jesus saying verse 10 directly to you; then respond to Him in prayer…name and repent of the…sins that come to mind. Ask God to bring you into the light (v. 12).”

New English Translation notes on John 8:1-12

***

“Go, and because you have had an encounter with Jesus, you can rise above your past.”

The Word for You Today, 1-13-23

***

In Case You Asked

John 10:22, “Then came the Feast of the Dedication of Jerusalem.” New English Translation

What is the Feast of Dedication? Hanukkah!

“…The commemoration of the dedication…of the temple by Judas Maccabeus in December, 165 BC, after it had been profaned by Antiochus IV Epiphanes… This was the last great deliverance the Jews had experienced. …”

New International Version Study Bible notes on John 10:22

***

“…Antiochus IV Epiphanes (…who ruled from 175-164 BC) …attempted to consolidate his empire through a policy of radical Hellenization. [Creating a world united by Greek language and culture]. …

He…attempted to destroy all copies of the Torah [the first five books of the Bible] and required offerings to the Greek god Zeus. His crowning outrage was the erection of a statue of Zeus and the sacrificing of a pig in the Jerusalem temple itself. …

This triggered the Maccabean revolt, a 24-year war (166-142 BC) that resulted in the independence of Judah until the Romans took control in 63 BC.”

“The Time Between the Testaments,”
New International Version Study Bible,
pp. 1571-1573

***

Questions That I Asked Myself

  1. Do I know the Bible, or Book of the Law, well enough to defend my faith, John 7:50-51?
  2. How did Jesus disperse the crowds? Did He bless them, heal them, shake their hands, or have a word for each one, Matthew 14:22?
  3. What is in my heart? Dare I even ask, Matthew 15:18?
  4. Is my mind set on God’s interests, Matthew 16:23?
  5. What do I possess that Jesus can multiply, Mark 8:1-21?
  6. Do I sprinkle the good news like salt or dump too much out at once? Am I at peace with everyone, Mark 9:50?

Join me in reading the 2023 Rainbow Bible Reading Guide. I would love to hear from you in the comments section below!

©2009-2023 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Giving and Receiving

Sermon on the Mount of Beatitudes

The Mount of Beatitudes is a natural auditorium. A small cove at the base of the hill is where great crowds gathered around Jesus, so he got into a boat and taught them.

The Mount of Beatitudes is now farmland.

“Modern tests have confirmed that where there was a hillside location that formed a natural “Y”-shaped auditorium, thousands of people could sit on that hillside and hear one person speak.”

Dr. Jim Solberg, National Director, BFP United States

***

Ascending the Mount of Beatitudes.

This is the view the people had while they listened to the Sermon on the Mount!

Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.” New English Translation

“‘Blessed.’ The word means more than ‘happy,’ because happiness is an emotion often dependent on outward circumstances. ‘Blessed’ here refers to the ultimate well-being and distinctive spiritual joy of those who share in the salvation of the kingdom of God. See notes on Psalms 1:1, … ‘Poor in spirit’ in contrast to the spiritually proud and self-sufficient. Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom is not something earned. It is more a gift than a reward.”

New International Version Study Bible notes on Matthew 5:3

***

“… ‘Blessed.’ The happy condition of those who revere the Lord and do His will….and who put their trust in Him… Reference is not first of all to health and wealth but to the assurance and experience that they live under the guardianship and faithful care of the gracious Lord of Life.”

New International Version Study Bible notes on Psalms 1:1

***

Giving

Matthew 5:42, “Give to the one who asks you, and do not reject the one who wants to borrow from you.” New English Translation

“Probably not a general requirement to give to everyone who asks but a reference to the poor. …”

New International Version Study Bible Notes on Matthew 5:42

***

This verse does not give me the right to ask someone to give me something. I may borrow it but I cannot demand anything.

On the other hand, when God blesses me, my first thought is, “I’m unworthy. I don’t need this. Maybe I am to give it away to someone with a greater need.” I leave the gift in the box and wait.

That’s just as wrong. God gives me things to use and enjoy! I have some boxes to open!

Luke 6:30, “Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your possessions back from the person who takes them away.” New English Translation

When I loan something out, I trust God for its safe return. I am not to nag the one I loaned it to.

John 6:9, “Here is a boy who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what good are these for so many people?” New English Translation

The boy had faith that Jesus could multiply his lunch. When we give, we have faith that God can multiply it and meet our needs, too. The boy was hungry just like the rest of the crowd.

Receiving

Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you.” New English Translation

“…If a small child asked you for something dangerous, you’d refuse. If he or she asked for something healthy, you would gladly give it. Likewise, God knows what is good for us and what isn’t. Because He’s a good Father who loves His children, He will give us only what is beneficial for us. In this context, He invites us to ask, seek, and knock.

Jesus described God as a loving Father who desires to give good gifts to His children. When you pray, do you believe this? Ask God to help you trust Him with the outcome of your prayers. Ask Him for everything on your heart. Then trust Him and expect good results!”

New English Translation notes on Matthew 7:7-11

***

Luke 8:17, “For nothing is hidden that will not be revealed, nothing concealed that will not be made known and brought to light.” New English Translation

My hand mixer broke as I was finishing Christmas baking, see “God Rewards My Work.” I posted on Facebook: “Christmas baking is done – my mixer broke.”

The responses ranged from: “Get out a wooden spoon” to “I’ll loan you mine.” Several recommended investing in a Kitchen-Aid mixer.

My secret desire was no longer hidden. I admitted that I was saving for one and was three-fourths of the way there. I went online and researched the best models. The prices had gone way up! I decided to buy the best hand mixer that I could find.

Luke 8:18, “So listen carefully, for whoever has will be given more, …” New English Translation

A card came in the mail after reading this verse. I saw the “Thinking of You” sticker on the back of the envelope and thought, “This can’t be for me! It must be for my sister who is recovering from surgery.”

I opened it and found a check with my name on it! The card said, “Enjoy this gift! Buy your Kitchen-Aid and any accessories you need!”

Seeing the check, David said, “It’s like God added a zero to the check I just mailed to the missionary and gave it back!” (I pray that God adds a zero to this check and gives it back to the giver!)

“When you witness a miracle, do you skeptically dismiss God’s power or rejoice and tell everyone you know?”

New English Translation note on Luke 8:26-39

Hey, everyone! I’m getting a Kitchen-Aid mixer!

My heart desired it and I wouldn’t even admit it to myself but God knew!

God is not like Santa Claus but He loves blessing His children. Why not share the desire of your heart with Him?

Give. Save. Ask.

Join me in reading the 2023 Rainbow Bible Reading Guide. I would love to hear from you in the comments section below!

©2009-2023 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Following Jesus

Led by the Spirit

Matthew 4:1, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” NASB

When people talk about being “Spirit-led,” it is usually something wonderful: A chance encounter, a close parking spot, a good deal, or a miraculous blessing. But that is only part of being “Spirit-led.”

The other part is times of testing, places that force you to grow, crossroads where you walk away from something, and difficult journeys. These rub off your hard places making you more like Jesus Christ.

The key to being “Spirit-led” is knowing the Bible. The answer to every test is in there. You will find direction, correction, strength, as well as wisdom, fail-proof business principles, secrets to wealth accumulation, and retention. (Jesus answered every test by quoting scripture.)

Luke 4:1, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness.” NASB

In the wilderness, Jesus learned to follow the Spirit. It’s a dry, barren land. And vast! The only water I saw was at En Gedi. You couldn’t drink the water from the Dead Sea. I’m sure the Spirit led Him to water in places only God knew about.

Luke 4:14, “And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district.” NASB

Jesus returned from the wilderness in the power of the Spirit! On the other side of our testing, hard times, crossroads, and difficult journeys are more power, resolve, determination, and clarity.

What was the news about Him? He hadn’t performed one miracle. He hadn’t preached. He just walked through the desert forty days and forty nights – without food – and marched out stronger!

Good Fruits

Luke 3:8-9, “Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, … 9) …so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” NASB

What are the good fruits?

  1. Give your extra coat or bread to him who has none, 3:11.
  2. Collect only what is required, 3:13.
  3. Avoid extortion, 3:14.
  4. Testify truthfully, 3:14.
  5. Be content with your wages, 3:14.

Ignore Debris

Mark 2:1-2, 4, “…Jesus came back to Capernaum… 2) And many gathered together, so there was no longer space, … 4) …they removed the roof above Him; …” NASB

This is between the White Synagogue and Peter’s house in Capernaum. You can see how compact and close together the houses were.

In Nazareth, we saw homes with thatched roofs. It had beams, a layer of flax stalks, a layer of leafy branches, and finally, a layer of dirt.

The paralytic’s friends dug through the dirt, and removed one layer at a time, piling them on the sides of the hole. When they reached the beams, they removed one and let the cot down.

Debris must have been trickling down on those below. Jesus brushed it off and kept teaching.

Perhaps falling debris caused people to leave. There was no longer room, v. 2. Yet, after Jesus healed him, the paralytic got up, picked up the pallet, and went out of the house in front of everyone, v. 12.

Ignore debris; a miracle is coming!

Moses’ Writings, Jesus’ Words

John 5:47, “But if you do not believe his [Moses] writings, how will you believe My [Jesus] words?” NASB

This is why it is important to read the Old Testament. The Passover lamb was a type and shadow of things to come – Jesus, The Passover Lamb. The prophecies are recorded in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament.

It’s exciting to read the red letters of the Bible. They are Jesus’ words. But the explanations are found in black and white in the Old Testament. There are so many connections that you could read the Bible every year and still not see them all!

I’ve been blogging for over a decade and find something to ponder every day. The principles from the Bible give me the answers I need for today!

I believe Moses’ writings and Jesus’ words!

See Isaiah 40:8; Isaiah 46:10-11; Isaiah 55:10-11; and Hebrews 4:12.

Come to Jesus

John 3:2, “This man came to Jesus by night…” NASB

If you are uncomfortable coming to church, then watch the sermon at night. Jesus is your only hope and the Source of hope.

Come for His teachings, v. 2, and stay for salvation. (See, “Save Me, Jesus, Prayer.”) Being born again, vs. 3-8, is like Christmas, New Year’s, and your birthday all rolled up into one! A new life, a new year, and new experiences in bright, fresh colors.

The day you pray that prayer is your spiritual birthday. Record it on your calendar on repeat. When you feel hopeless or mess up, look at that date. Jesus forgave all your mistakes – past, present, and future.

We tell Him we’re sorry and receive forgiveness again. His lovingkindness and mercies are new every morning, Lamentations 3:22. (My spiritual birthday is January 25th!)

See Isaiah 1:16-18; Isaiah 43:25; Isaiah 44:22; Isaiah 54:10; Isaiah 55:7; 2 Chronicles 7:14; and Ezekiel 18:32.

“Do not dwell on the past…I am doing a new thing.”

The Word for You Today 12-29-22

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Join me in reading the 2023 Rainbow Bible Reading Guide. I would love to hear from you in the comments section below!

©2009-2023 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

God Rewards My Work

Seven Days

“I have so much to do before Christmas. It’s overwhelming. Some things I planned to do last week didn’t get done.”

Judges 9:52-53, “So Abimelech came to the tower and fought against it, and approached the entrance of the tower to burn it with fire. 53) But a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head, crushing his skull.” NASB

Abimelech had just killed a thousand men and women by setting a tower on fire, Judges 9:46-49. He planned on doing the same thing here but a woman fought back!

She didn’t kill him but she wounded him. He asked his armor-bearer to kill him. He didn’t want people to say a woman killed him.

Whatever situation you face – never give up! Do something. One small action may diffuse the entire situation. With God, nothing is hopeless.

***

Six Days

“I finally finished Laura’s quilt. It took me 13 years to embroider the signatures on her tee shirts, sew them together, and make the quilt.”

Judges 13:12, “Manoah said, ‘Now when your words come to pass, what shall be the boy’s mode of life and his vocation?'” NASB

The angel didn’t answer Manoah because God gives that information to each child. He will guide them and train them for their life’s work.

I was sure Luke would be a preacher. He practiced preaching to Laura! Derek told me that he would join the army.

Luke is a career soldier and Derek earned a Certificate of Ministry. He is my boss on the worship team!

***

Five Days

“I made the candy that I planned to make yesterday. The fudge was set up before I got all of the sweetened condensed milk stirred into the melted chocolate. I had to beat it and it still has lumps. It doesn’t look good. I didn’t get the cookie dough made.”

Judges 14:2, “…get her for me as a wife.” NASB

In Biblical times, a son did not choose his wife. His parents arranged marriage from their own tribe. Parents wanted their children to live close by. Both parents, v. 3, asked why he wanted a Philistine wife.

His reply? “She looked good,” 14:3.

***

Four Days

“I need to take cookies to the E3 Party tonight. I mixed them up and chilled them for two hours. They were the consistency of toothpaste. I couldn’t roll them out. I finally texted the team that my cookies flopped. Christy offered to have her teens make extra. Thank God for Christy!”

Judges 17:6, “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.” NASB

Proverbs 21:2, “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.” NASB

***

Three Days

“I rolled out, cut, baked, and frosted the cookies. While mixing up “Merry Cherry Bars,” one beater stopped completely. I tried to finish with one beater. When the bars were in the oven, I made the pie for David’s bosses.”

Judges 20:22, “But the people, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves, and arrayed for battle again in the place where they had arrayed themselves the first day.” NASB

When 400,000 Israelite soldiers couldn’t overpower the 26,000 Benjaminite soldiers, they encouraged themselves and tried again. When they were unsuccessful on the second day, they wept, fasted, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, v. 26.

Why were they unable to overcome the Benjaminite soldiers?

Because they were “slingers.” They could stand in a protected area and sling their stones. They never missed. Seven hundred of them were left-handed. The stone would come from the side you were not expecting, 20:16.

The only way to win the battle was to draw them out of the city.

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

The Benjaminites fought for the right to do whatever they wanted – including gang-raping which killed the concubine, 20:5.

***

Two Days

“I planned on making two lasagnas for our Christmas Dinner tomorrow. Mom’s recipe used Laury’s spaghetti mix. It is no longer available. I decided to make my homemade marinara. I doubled the recipe. I forgot that I always double the recipe. I quadrupled it! I had just enough celery for the “Bucket Salad” and enough carrots and broccoli for appetizers. God knew what I needed.”

“This beautiful Old Testament story gives new meaning to our prayer, ‘Give us this day, our daily bread,’ as well as incredible insight when the baby Jesus (the Bread of Heaven come down) is placed in a manger (a feeding trough) in Bethlehem (House of Bread). It is hard to imagine that all these parallel elements are an accident. Our Great Kinsman Redeemer is ready, waiting for the return of His longed-for Bride and willing to redeem.”

Introduction to Ruth, The Founder’s Bible, The Origin of the Dream of Freedom, p. 429

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Ruth 1:9, “‘May the Lord grant that you may find rest, …” NASB

Seek God, find rest.

Ruth 2:12, “May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.” NASB

God rewards my work. He pays my wages.

***

Ruth 3:2, “Now is not Boaz our kinsman, with whose maids you were? …” NASB

Boaz could have married one of the maids. But he didn’t. Perhaps his father Salmon instructed him to wait for the bride God had chosen. His mother was Rahab. She hid the spies and converted to the Hebrew faith. Salmon “redeemed” her. As the wife of an Israelite, she had a position of respect.

Boaz was not a young man, Ruth 3:10, but he was rich. He waited a long time for his bride and prepared well.

Ruth was not known as a foreigner, or a poor widow, she was called “a woman of excellence,” 3:11. The first two were facts but the truth of her character trumped the facts.

“If you’re having a tough Christmas, don’t beat yourself up. Remember, you can get through anything for one day. (See Deuteronomy 33:25). Jesus understands. He came to ‘heal the heartbroken,’ so turn to Him this Christmas and ask Him to restore your peace and joy.”

The Word for You Today, 12-23-22

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One Day

“Our family Christmas is today. I was up at 3:30 a.m. My daughter had to work in the morning and she dropped off her gifts and food before driving to work.

After devotions, I cleared the table and set it. I decluttered the buffet and laid out towels with tablecloths over them. (Then I don’t need hot pads.)

It’s zero degrees. I had to wash our long johns. When the laundry finished, I set out the supper items on the washer and dryer. I put the ham in the Crockpot and plugged it in.

Back upstairs, I cleaned the house and put the lasagnas in the oven.

The pretty Christmas paper plates could not handle the lasagna. It burnt our fingers and left marks on my wooden table. After we ate, I put most of the food away and changed clothes for practice.

Right before the service, Derek reminded me that I was supposed to play a Christmas Carol for communion. I forgot. I ran to an extra piano and pounded out the chords to “Away in a Manger.”

I had asked Lois to play “Silent Night” during the candlelight part. I panicked when I couldn’t see her. She was behind me in the wings. She did great!

Back at home, I found the power bar that the Crockpot was plugged into was not on. (Sigh.) Luke rescued me by cutting the ham in half and cooking it in the Instapot.”

Luke 1:1, “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us. …” NASB

Luke wrote it:

  1. Exactly as he heard it by eyewitnesses and students of the word, v. 2.
  2. Appropriately, v. 3.
  3. Investigated it carefully, from the beginning, v. 3.
  4. In consecutive order, v. 3.
  5. To share the exact truth, v. 4.
  6. About the things you have been taught, v. 4.

Luke 1:17, “…to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” NASB

Mary, Elizabeth, and Zacharias were filled with the Holy Spirit, Luke 1:35, 41, 67.

“Everyone gathered up their gifts and took some food home. I put the perishables in the refrigerator and went right to bed. I couldn’t have survived this week without the Holy Spirit.”

***

Join me in reading December’s chapters and the 2023 Rainbow Bible Reading Guide. I would love to hear what you learned in the comments section below!

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

Peace

Harod’s Spring (Gideon’s Spring)

Judges 7:1, “Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon), and all the people who were with him, rose early and camped beside the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.” NASB

Harod’s Spring is still the site of camping. The streams coming from the spring are rock-lined with strategically large, flat rocks on which to cross. I could easily imagine soldiers bedding down around them.

The spring is in the cave behind our tour guide, Elle.

Today, people picnic, wade in the streams, hike the trails, view the memorial to Israel’s fallen soldiers, and climb to the lookout at the top of Mt. Moreh. In the evening, they gather around the bonfire area or relax near their RV or tent. It’s a peaceful place.

“…’Harod’ means timid, fearful, trembling. The men who gathered with Gideon at this spring were experiencing different types and degrees of timidity and fear. Many trembled in terror at the prospect of a battle where they would be so hopelessly outnumbered. Had they known that it was God’s intent to reduce the ratio of the fighting forces from one to four (1:4) down to one fighter for every 450 Midianites (1:450), imagine their terror! This quiet spring witnessed trembling, testing, and trusting. Here God ensured that the glory would be His (Judges 7:2). When we tremble at the foe, we can remember Ein Harod – the battle is the LORD’s, we need not fear the foe. …”

Dr. David Dunn, Representative (Ret.), BFP Canada

***

Judges 7:8, “…So the 300 men took the people’s provisions and their trumpets into their hands, …” NASB

Joshua had 300 men but he had the provisions of the tens of thousands who left.

Judges 7:10, 11, “But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp, 11) and you will hear what they say; and afterward your hands will be strengthened…” NASB

Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting despite your fears. When Gideon heard what the man said, Judges 7:13-15, his fear was replaced with peace. He still had a battle to fight, but he had peace.

Judges 8:4, “Then Gideon and the 300 men who were with him came to the Jordan and crossed over, weary yet pursuing.” NASB

Gideon didn’t lose one man!

Isaiah 54:14, “In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you.” NIV

Isaiah 9:4, “For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressors.” NIV

Judges 6:24, “Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it The Lord is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.” NASB

Isaiah 54:13, “All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace.” NIV

I Learned:

  1. God makes room for families, Joshua 15:1; 17:15-16.
  2. Joshua settled in the land of Ephraim, Joshua 19:49-50.
  3. The Kohathites, who carried the holy things, were assigned to live in the land of Ephraim, Joshua 21:5.
  4. Not one of the good promises of the Lord failed to come to pass, Joshua 21:45; Isaiah 54:10.
  5. The Lord is the source of our rest, Joshua 23:1.
  6. We are tested to see if we will continue to walk in the Lord’s way, Judges 2:22.
  7. Deborah judged Israel sitting under a palm tree named after her in the land of Ephraim, Judges 4:5.

I pray for peace for you and your children.

Merry Christmas!

Join me in reading December’s chapters. I would love to hear what you learned in the comments section below!

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

Miracle in Jericho

Rahab Had a Miracle

The wall of the city fell flat except for one section. Rahab’s house was on that section. She was living on the wall, Joshua 2:15.

It was stable enough for the two spies to go into the house. They identified Rahab and brought her, her family, and all that she had out.

Joshua 6:17, “…only Rahab the harlot and all who are with her in the house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent.” NASB

I saw the rubble from the wall of Jericho. At God’s command, the mud-brick wall came apart – except Rahab’s house.

“Scripture tells us she remained with Israel, marrying Salmon and giving birth to Boaz, a wealthy and godly leader of the Jewish people, who would someday marry Ruth the Moabitess. As a pagan woman who embraced the God of Israel and risked her own safety to support His people, Rahab was blessed with life, prosperity, and the honor of a place in the lineage of King David and Yeshua (Jesus). If the stones of Jericho could speak, they would echo Rahab’s declaration, “The Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath” (Joshua 2:11), reminding us that the faithful One who gave Rahab life will continue to care for His people as He has promised. Deliverance and life abundant await those who will follow Him and be a blessing to His people as well.”

Rev. Cheryl Hauer, International Development Director, Bridges for Peace

***

After Sunset

Joshua 8:29, “…at sunset Joshua gave command…” NASB

After sunset, Joshua:

  1. Buried the king of Ai under a heap of stones, v. 29.
  2. Built an altar, v. 30.
  3. Offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, v. 31.
  4. Wrote a copy of the law on the stones, v. 32.
  5. Gathered all Israel, with women and little ones, v. 33, 35.
  6. Read all the words of the law, v. 34-35.

After sunset, I usually eat, sit down on the couch, and fall asleep. I feel convicted!

I Also Learned:

  • If you diligently obey the Lord, He will set you high, Deuteronomy 28:1.
  • Keep the covenant that you may prosper, Deuteronomy 29:9.
  • God’s covenant was also for those who are not with them, Deuteronomy 29:14-15. (The promises are for those not yet born.)
  • The secret things belong to the Lord, things revealed belong to us, that we may observe the words of this law, Deuteronomy 29:29.
  • He offers life and prosperity or death and adversity, Deuteronomy 30:15. (Death brings adversity. Life is linked to prosperity.)
  • The Lord threw large stones from heaven, and more died from the hailstones than those the sons of Israel killed, Joshua 10:11. (The battle belongs to the Lord, 2 Chronicles 20:15.)
  • It was the Lord who hardened their hearts so that He might destroy them, Joshua 11:20.

Join me in reading December’s chapters. I would love to hear what you learned in the comments section below!

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

2023 Rainbow Bible Reading Guide

Thirteen years ago, I published my first Yearly Bible Reading Guide. I wanted to publish the 2023 Rainbow Bible Reading Guide on the anniversary.

The color coding shows the different focuses on the guide: Words of Jesus, Kings and Prophets, Easter Week, The Early Church, The Beginning, and Christmas.

To print:

  1. Highlight just the Bible Reading Guide.
  2. Change from portrait to landscape view.
  3. Choose “Print on Both Sides.”
  4. Choose “Flip on the Short Edge.”
  5. Choose “Selection Only.”
  6. If the preview shows 4 pages, print only pages 2, and 3.

©2009-2023 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

Why Give the Priests the Stomach?

On Tubi, there are four BBC series that I have been watching. They follow two archeologists and a historian as they live on a farm for a year. On the “Victorian Farm,” they dress as Victorians, used Victorian Equipment, and solved problems using Victorian methods.

They did the same on the “Edwardian Farm.” I just finished that series.

In one episode, they burned iron ore and made iron. The stones were small and reddish brown. They were melted over an extremely hot charcoal fire in a homemade mud-covered oven.

They even had to make that charcoal! They piled oak and covered it with straw. Then they covered the straw with dry dirt. They had to add dirt to any cracks that formed. They topped it with branches and more dirt.

Then, they made a shelter because it took 5 days and 4 nights to “cook” the charcoal. They had to seal all the cracks as they formed.

In another episode, the camera followed them down a copper mine and they blasted out the ore just like the Edwardians did.

Farmers watched the wind direction to determine the weather. A southwest wind meant rain. A wind from the northwest meant a dry season. They needed a week of dry weather to harvest their oats.

Using the iron, cooked from the iron ore, the blacksmith made a stand, four arms, and the letters N E S W for the directions. He also made a copper chicken to put on top and spin in the wind.

He covered the copper with gold leaf. Using his beard, he created static electricity by running a paintbrush over it. The static electricity picked up each square of gold leaf and he placed it on the copper chicken. Then he brushed it to adhere it to the copper.

They put their weather vane on top of the barn. When the wind finally changed, they harvested the oats.

England is a long way from Israel. America is on the other side of the world. And in each country, God placed iron ore above and copper ore below. Just as He promised.

Deuteronomy 8:9, “A land where you will eat food without scarcity, in which you will not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper.” NASB

***

Keep his commandments carefully, 8:1; walk in His ways and fear Him, 8:6. And He also promised:

  1. To bring you into a good land, v. 7.
  2. A land of brooks of water, fountains, and springs, v. 7.
  3. Water flowing in valleys and hills, v. 7.
  4. A land of wheat and barley, v. 8.
  5. Vines, fig trees, and pomegranates, v. 8.
  6. Olive oil and honey, v. 8.
  7. You will eat and be satisfied, v. 10.
  8. Build good houses, v. 12.
  9. Herds and flocks will multiply, v. 13.
  10. All that you have will multiply, v. 13.

We Are Blessed to Help the Poor

Deuteronomy 15:10, 11, “You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. 11) For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore, I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'” NASB

***

“…Scripture that addresses meeting the needs of the poor are directed at individuals. …Leviticus 25:25, 35, 39; Deuteronomy 15:7-8, 10-11. …a primary lesson He wants to teach His people through fasting and prayer is for individuals to learn to take the responsibility of caring for the poor… (Isaiah 58:6-10; Matthew 25:34-40).

…when a poor individual is unable to meet his obligation, the priests were instructed to examine that person, determine the extent of his needs, see what part of them he was capable of paying, and then grant proportional relief (Leviticus 27:8; Esther 9:22; Acts 4:34-35; Galatians 2:10; Romans 15:26).

…Government is charged to provide justice to the poor and maintain their rights whenever they utilize the civil process, but government is not charged with meeting their material needs, (Exodus 23:3, 6; Leviticus 19:15; Proverbs 29:14).

…According to the American Institute of Philanthropy, a charity’s effectiveness is ‘acceptable’ if 60 percent of what it collects reaches its’ intended charitable mission…

…So, what percentage of every dollar collected by the government for the poor actually reaches them? A dismal 30 percent.

…Biblically, taking care of the poor is to be done by individuals, churches, charities, etc. – but not the government.

…Jefferson said that care for the poor should be undertaken by those closest to them, (Matthew 6:1, 3-4). …we cannot relieve all the distressed, we should relieve as many as we can… (Luke 21:2-3).

…Benjamin Franklin likewise helped those in need, and he viewed his gifts as if he were planting a seed that might sprout and multiply. …”

“Caring for the Poor: Whose Responsibility is It?”
The Founder’s Bible
The Origin of Freedom
pp 311-318

***

“God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.”

“Giving is the Good Life” by Randy Alcorn

***

Why the Stomach?

Deuteronomy 18:3, “Now this shall be the priests due from the people, from those who offer a sacrifice, either an ox or a sheep, of which they shall give to the priest the shoulder and the two cheeks, and the stomach.” NASB

***

The shoulder of an ox could feed a family for a month and the sheep a week. They made stews, not steak.

During the Victorian age, the head of a butchered animal was preserved and cooked at Christmas. It was a prized delicacy.

And the stomach? It was the most important piece of meat because “rennet” comes from the stomach. You use it to make cheese!

The priest was given meat to feed his family, a delicacy for celebrations, and a rennet to make cheese. He also received the first grain, new wine, oil, and a hide of a sheep. He would have bread, wine, oil for light and cooking, and wool to make clothes for his family.

Inheritance Offerings

Deuteronomy 18:6, 8, “When a Levite comes from any of your towns… 8) They shall eat equal portions, except what they receive from the sale of their father’s estates.” NASB

***

The money from the sale was to be distributed to the priests serving that tribe. They would spend the money at local merchants. This way the wealth of the tribe was reinvested in the community. The same coin that bought the land, blessed the priests, and was spent in the community.

Marriage and Divorce

Deuteronomy 21:15, “If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other unloved, …” NASB

***

Marriage is bringing two people together with love and making them one body. Sex is bringing two bodies together without love. A man can have intercourse with only one woman at a time. When he had two wives, with one he would make love, and with the other, he would have sex.

Love is a choice. A man chooses a woman, marries her, makes love with her, and they become one body. Every day, for the rest of his life, he chooses to love her and she chooses to love him.

Deuteronomy 24:1, 3, 4, “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes… 3) and if the latter husband turns against her… 4) then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, …” NASB

***

To avoid divorce, a man should make sure his wife knows she is his favorite. He prizes her over everything else.

He must constantly keep turning toward her. When he turns away, he will eventually turn against her. Many things pull his attention from her, but he chooses what he focuses on.

In Bible times, women were an asset. A father would arrange a marriage to provide for his daughter. But many marriages were to make an alliance. Or to increase the family’s wealth. Or to become a business partner.

When her father died, her brother or uncle arranged her marriage. It could be lucrative for them to give her back to her first husband. But it would not benefit her.

I also learned:

  1. Do what is right and good and it will be well with you, Deuteronomy 6:18.
  2. We are holy because God has chosen us, Deuteronomy 7:6.
  3. God is faithful and keeps His covenant and loving kindness to a thousand generations, Deuteronomy 7:9.
  4. Our sons and daughters will see the discipline of the Lord, His greatness, His mighty hand, and His outstretched arm, Deuteronomy 11:1, 2.

Join me in reading December’s chapters. I would love to hear what you learned in the comments section below!

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