Daniel 4: King Nebuchadnezzar

What an amazing testimony we have a chance to look at today in today’s reading of Daniel 4. King Nebuchadnezzar had authority over many nations and people of different languages. He had many leadership traits, people who worked under him, and resources to support his kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar could stay in his palace, be content, and live prosperously. I’m sure many would want to be in this position. Still, with it, all King Nebuchadnezzar lacked one thing, he didn’t acknowledge that God is Most High, sovereign over all.

Our Lord Most High reigns. Psalm 93:1

How did this life transformation take place? It started in a dream. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that terrified him. So he commanded all the people that he felt were wise or could possibly interpret it to come to him. They all came, and none could interpret until people told him about Daniel. Daniel listened to King Nebuchadnezzar to share his dream. Verses 10 through 17 share this dream. At first reading of these verses, you can understand why no one else could figure it out. Chopping trees, animals, roots bound with iron and bronze, and given the mind of an animal. In steps, Daniel ( also called Belteshazzar) and bravely interprets this dream. It was probably something that Nebuchadnezzar didn’t want to hear. He was the tree being chopped, and that the king had to renounce his sins and be kind to the oppressed.

Our Lord Most High reigns. Psalm 96:10

How would King Nebuchadnezzar respond? A year later he was still living his own lifestyle not acknowledging what God had said. God then fulfilled Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. He was transformed into the mindset of an animal. I had a conversation with a parent this evening about learning. We talked about how we all can learn differently sometimes. Some people listen and make the right choices following directions, others have to learn the hard way. King Nebuchadnezzar learned the hard way until verse 34.

At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward Heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified Him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; His Kingdom endures from generation to generation.

Our Lord Most High reigns. Psalm 97:1

He reigns, our Lord has great plans for us when we listen. He has great plans for our leaders. Will you pray that we listen, that our leaders, as well as us, acknowledge that our Lord Most High reigns. Psalm 99:1

Now I, (Insert name here) Nebuchadnezzar praise and exalt and glorify the King of Heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble.

David

At first, when I saw I would be writing about David I had to laugh. What were the chances? God always has ways to make you laugh and to draw you closer to Him. It also could have been planned out by BJ as he set our readings up? Either way, I get to share the story of David.  Now before I looked at the readings for today I figured it was going to consist of some OT that looked at his courage as a young man or king. There was also the chance we looked back at the time where David was involved in some terrible sins. When my eyes read across the page revealed the readings for today are Psalms 3-8, Psalms 32, and Romans 4:6-8.  Did you know that out of the 150 Psalms seventy-three psalms are associated with David?  In Hebrew, the Book of Psalms is tehillim which means “praises”. The Book of Psalms can also be seen as a hymnbook. 

So what hymns or praises would David be singing about? Let me start by going to part of the Romans verses that were the bookend for today’s readings.  

Romans 4:6-8 “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them”.

David had felt tremendous guilt for some of the terrible sins he had committed.  And yet he had experienced amazing joy in the forgiveness. We all have sinned. I truly feel like I grew up making many wrong decisions that selfishly were based on my own desires. Even today these desires to do it my way or by my terms can cause this pain. David reminds us all that you don’t need to hold on to this guilt. That when we quit denying our guilt and recognize our sin, admit to it and ask God for forgiveness, we can let go and trust that God that He will and has covered our sins.  I know, easier said than done. Maybe you contemplate the severity of the sin or who it may have involved. Just remember God sent his son for us, even when we were sinners. Jesus already paid the price. We just have to take them all to Him and trust.

1 John 1:9 says that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive, and to cleanse us. 

This statement is a reason to sings songs of praise. Now goa head and read through Psalms 3-8, and 32.  In these Psalms, you will be reminded of how we need to trust in God for protection and peace. That when we have this confidence we can call on Him anytime and he will listen and provide the comfort we need.  God will defend you, He will deliver you in times of trouble and rescue you when you need it. I David, just like David, need rescue. Forgiveness brings true joy. Walk away from the pain of guilt into the arms of our Father who provides comfort and relief from the mistakes of our past.  

 

Psalm 32:1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Psalm 32:10 Many are the woes of the wicked,  but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. 11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!

 

Have a blessed day Biblejournal family. 

 

David 

Asa

Today we get the opportunity to hear and learn from the life of another king in Asa. While you read through 2 Chronicles 14-16, it has made sense to put these three chapters into two parts. In Asa’s 41 years of reign, after taking over for his father Abijah, Asa for many of his years did what was right and good in the eyes of the Lord, and then towards the ending reign of his life, allowed his walk to drift away from the Lord, making a difference in his ending days.

Part 1

2 Chronicles 14:2 Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God.

Here were some of his actions while Asa first reigned.

  • He removed the alters
  • He smashed the sacred stones
  • He cut down Asherah poles
  • He commanded others to seek and obey Lord

After Asa had done these things, the Lord gave him rest. During this rest, an army formed against Asa and his army. Asa and his army weres outnumbered and under-resourced in the chariot department. Then Asa gives a prayer that would provide victory for any Christian.

2 Chronicles 14:11 Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you.”

This prayer provides absolute confidence in God. The numbers didn’t matter when you have God on your side. There was a total commitment to God, and they gave themselves into God’s hands to accomplish His purpose. Asa and his army had courage in the Lord’s name and reminded the Lord how mere mortals wouldn’t prevail against Him.

What odds are you facing today? Have confidence, commitment, and courage that the Lord can have victory in whatever you are facing.

Part 2

2 Chronicles 15:1-2 The Spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded. 2 He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.

The 35th year of Asa’s reign. He took silver and gold out of the Lord’s temple and gave it to Aram. Avoiding a battle, he pays of Aram. Seer comes and says Asa had messed up.

Verse 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”

Asa becomes mad and brutally oppresses others. Thirty-nine years afflicted with a disease in his feet, verse 12, didn’t seek help from the Lord, only physicians. In Asa’s 41st year as king, he died.

How could this be? A king who stood so tall in times of victory gave a prayer to the Lord of full commitment. Still, Asa forgot who had trusted throughout his life. Sadly, Asa was eventually afflicted with a disease in his feet.  At this time, he only looked to physicians and not God as he had before.

As we live on this earth, experiences can either draw us closer or farther to our Lord. Unfortunately, we can stray if we start to rely on our strength and pride. We can’t let days slip away; we are not walking with God. We need to make the daily choice to trust God with everything.

Dear God our Father,  We pray for courage, commitment, and confidence in everything you have for our lives. I pray that through our days we don’t lose sight of you and rely on ourselves.  Help us to share this trust and confidence with others through our commitment to you in all aspects of our life. Amen

Saul

Today we get a chance to read and reflect on the life of Saul. I must admit it was a little difficult when thinking back to all the recent people of faith we have been sharing. Another side of me found it hard because of what you will realize about Saul when you read today’s readings of 1Samuel 18-19.

A few nights ago I was up in the middle of the night thinking of the life of Saul in these two chapters, it was marked by disobedience. When you look back at 1 Samuel 15 the Lord was not happy with Saul and how Saul had turned away from the Lord and didn’t follow any instructions from the Lord. He didn’t obey.

1 Samuel 15:22-23 says

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, Saul’s
and to listen than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has also rejected you from being king.”

Once Saul made the decisions to not obey the Lord. Evil entered Saul’s body. 1 Samuel 18:10. Then enters fear, jealousy, and selfish desires to have David killed. Saul tries this numerous times but without success. My wish was that we would read further and see how this disobedience changed, but we don’t. Saul continues to live his life this way eventually losing everything and even taking his own life. 1 Samuel 31

There are many things we want to do, places to go-lives to change. But I realize that the first action God wants from us is to obey. God has given us His Living Word so we know exactly what He desires from us. As I looked in the back of my bible for the word obey, obedient, obeyed, obeying there are 116 (if I counted correctly) verses on obeying the Lord or His word. I encourage you to look at this in the back of your bible now. Here is one of my favorite verses.

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” — Luke 11:28

I just want to obey. I need prayer for this daily. We see the results of what happens when we don’t. When we allow ourselves to make the decisions. We stumble and fear, jealousy, or selfishness enters. When we obey, we will receive His blessings. When we obey, others we are blessed. When we obey the Lord, we will never be disappointed.

What’s your go-to verse on obedience? Do you have one?  Look back and find one that speaks to you today.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Just like I ask my own children daily to obey me, please help me to obey you. Our temporal world speaks lies that we can do it ourselves and that our way is right, but we see and know that the only way is through you. God, we ask for a mind, heart, and body that says yes to all the things you ask and desire through your Living Word.
Amen

Rahab

Today we get the opportunity to read about another person who put their faith into action.  That in this faith they trusted God to fulfill His promise. These men and women of Hebrews 11 tell how by our faith, God is pleased.  Hebrews 11:6.

Hebrews 11:1-2 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation.

Today’s Readings is from Joshua 2 and Joshua 6.  The story of Rahab is shared. As I have reflected on the story of Rahab and her faith I’m reminded of a few points we can apply to our lives today.

  1. God loves us, He uses the most unlikely people to build His kingdom.  Rahab was a prostitute who lived in part of the city wall. Joshua 2:1.  What sin has held you back? Do you know anyone who thinks that God couldn’t love them because of choice they made? Let today be the day that you tell them for the first time or remind them that Jesus was sent to Earth to die for their sins and ours. Yes, just like Romans 3:23 says, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  still God takes us wherever we are at. Whatever sins we have made, and washes us clean.  Hebrews 10:22 says let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 
  2. Rahab risked her life for the Lord. The king of Jericho could of easily had her killed if he knew she was lying or would of got caught.  Still she had faith.  Maybe, our lives may not be in danger in America but there are many places where that is still real.  Today, we are blessed with the opportunity to show our faith freely, will you take that opportunity.  You may not need to hide people in your attic, but could you share your faith with someone? After all, you never know if the courageous conversation will plant a seed to change the eternal destination for them. 1 John 5: 11-13 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.
  3. Rahab feared the Lord, that their hearts melted in fear.  She says that the Lord our God is God in heaven and on the earth below. Joshua 2:11.  God wants us to fear Him.  A fear that reminds us through the day that He is in control.  A fear that provides us with the trust and faith that He does reign in heaven and here on earth. In Ecclesiastes 5 and 12  I’m reminded that there are so many meaningless things that we pursue and make part of our lives.  Solomon says, Fear God and keep his commandments. 
  4. Rahab was given a new life. Her faith and fear of the Lord saved her and allowed her and her family to live.  We have been given an new life.  Our faith in God takes our past, washes us clean, and leaves us with the opportunity to share this new life with others until the day comes where He comes to bring us home.  Will you have the opportunity to share this new life with someone?  1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 

Dear Almighty Father,

Thank you for sharing this story of truth with people of faith like Rahab.  Knowing that our sinful past is washed clean through our faith, love, and the relationship we have with you. Thank you for this new life.  We pray that we can be a testimony and witness to others today.  We love you. Amen 

Noah

Good Morning and Happy Tuesday Bible-journal family,

Today’s readings is Genesis 6:1 – 9:17. (Noah)

Last week I asked my oldest son who Noah was? He said he built the ark and brought all the animals with him.  I said that was a great start, and followed up with, Do you know why Noah was chosen for this? Why did God have this flood happen? Response… I forgot.  So…to answer my own question and for his answer lets reflect on the life of Noah in these few chapters, lets dig deeper into his life as we will see who Noah was and why he was chosen by God to build the ark and why the flood happened.

Let’s look back at chapter 5 for a look at the creation of mankind.  Genesis 5:1-2 says that, “when God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them.  And he named them “Mankind” when they were created.”   This was God’s plan for how mankind would be.  In the likeness of God! Verse 3 says, “When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.” Do you see the difference? God created Adam and Eve in His image.  Once sin had entered the world, Adam’s son was made in his likeness, in his own image. This would include all the people that were on the Earth when the flood happened.

When made in our own image we can be very selfish.  Personally, I daily pray about my own selfish battles.  Many days have ended in repentance from a sinful worldly focus.  I continue to ask for prayers to seek His will and not my own in all things!

So why the flood? Why Noah? Let’s get to chapter 6-9.

 

Genesis 6:1-3 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with[a] humans forever, for they are mortal[b]; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.

God had seen how His beautiful, perfect world,  and people change. He was hurt, and at the time sorry that He had made man. As I looked at the various population growth formulas its amazing to think of the number of people that were on the earth.  Depending on the formula it ranged from 750 million to 4 billion people. Wow! At this moment is when God decided he was going to wipe everyone out.  Well deserved with our sinful nature.  Yet, God saw hope, he saw favor in someone that proved he was staying faithful and righteous for our Lord. Noah.

Verse 8  But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord!  Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.

Thank you Noah for your faithfulness. Through God’s grace,  Noah was chosen, He found favor in the eyes of the Lord.  I’m so thankful for this grace that God showed Noah then and the grace that God shows us in our flood of sins.

Ephesians 2: 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Still Noah’s obedience is amazing. I pray for obedience like this when God is telling us to follow His will. The work put in to build the ark is indescribable. Building, remaining faithful when I’m sure the onlookers thought he was crazy. From a worldly perspective doing everything Jesus asks can seem frightening.  What will people think? I pray for boldness for us all to live like the righteous Noah God saw, in the face of others today.  Be the example of kindness, love, joy, and thankfulness for all that God has given us.

Genesis 7:5 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.

Noah, his wife, his three sons Shem, Ham, and Japeth, and their wives entered the ark in addition to all the creatures. They listened to the Lord. According to the Flood Chronology of my bible the total time on the ark was 370 days, from Genesis 7:1-8:17.  Of course in that time was the 40 days and 40 nights of straight rain.

1 Peter 3:20 reminds us of Noah… God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. (the above noted) 

So after the 370 days what would you do?

Noah’s first action after exiting the ark was to give thanks.  Build an alter to the Lord thanking Him for the Lord’s deliverance of him and his family. Thank you Noah for the reminder of how grateful we need to be for God’s deliverance every day.  Will you thank God today.  God has created us, saved us, and has promised a place for us to be eternally.  So with our faithfulness, when the floods come, we can find peace that God will be there.

God thank you for your child Noah, who remained faithful.  Help us to remain faithful in our doubts.  To be obedient in following your will for our lives and not our own. We love you and are sorry for our selfish ways.  Help lead us back to you.  Amen

Converted Coward

And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

Are you a converted coward? When I first read this I had to read the chapter a couple times before I landed on this word fear tucked in at the end of verse 17.  The word fear I would associate with coward.  The words fear and coward are not popular these days.  It seems often you should’t show fear or let anyone call you a coward because you won’t say or do something.  But here, Peter talks about fear as a healthy respect for an all-powerful Lord. That ultimately God, who is the only judge, will one day make an eternal decision. In having the reminder of eternal decisions I reflect on 2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in my infirmities, in reproach, in needs, in persecution, in distress, for Christ’s sake. For when i am weak, then I am strong. 

 

So how am I passing the time while I’m on this Earth? What does our pilgrimage on Earth look like? Honestly, many days and hours I can take for granite when I get caught up in my own desires.  My prayer is to consider this short time on Earth. Like verse 24 say, All people are like grass, and all their glory is like flowers on the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall This reminds me that the kind of fear Peter is talking about encourages a healthy reminder of God’s holiness and judgement as believers.    It’s been timely to land on 1 Peter 1 for today’s reading.  Peter provides encouragement for any suffering we may be going through as Christians.  Maybe you have some suffering going on today.  I would encourage you to continue to read 1 Peter 1 & 2.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We pray to be converted cowards.  To be reminded daily that you are coming back and each day is our opportunity to live out our lives obeying your truth with sincere love. That in each day we are fully alert to your presence and the promise that you are coming back and our hope is set on You! We believe in your words and ask for belief in our unbelief moments.  Lord, in our struggles we can reminded that you are near.  We love you and thank you for people like Peter who was there through your suffering and suffered himself when he struggled with his own beliefs.  Help us to remember our identity in you, that we may seem like exiles on this earth but will be part of your family eternally.  God I can selfishly fall short, please continue to build a coward that fears you and makes a difference in how I live.

Amen

Rome at last

Today’s Reading: Acts 28:16-31

During the summer months many people attempt and make successful family trips to various places. Some may be right in your backyard while others take you to far off exotic places.  Now, I’m not even going to try to connect these trip to that of Paul’s journey to Rome in Acts 28, but want to just dig a little deeper into Paul’s legal trip to Rome and highlight the influence he had in a specific place God divinely brought him to, in order to influence others.

Mindset’s, or lets say faith-sets make a difference. Paul’s trip to Rome was a “legal matter“, he was a ward of the military system and placed on house arrest and guarded in Rome for two years. What did he do? Paul thanked God, he took courage. verse 15 This wasn’t the way Paul planned to reach Rome but knew God had blessed him by allowing him to get there.

What is my response?  So…maybe the trip you take for work, or the family vacation to “not your ideal location“, or a stay at the your in-laws or your own extended family is like house arrest or a trip that you don’t have any control over.  Maybe its sitting at the practice or game with other parents? Talking outside with neighbors?  Either way, let’s make these summer trips or even just our daily routines like we have the mindset of Paul.  Our journey today may not include chains, being shipwrecked, and the many other trials in a physical sense or maybe it has? We all have a story and trials we face daily. So if it has felt that way like it did for Paul, trust that God is working all things out for good (Romans 8:28) for you as well.  God may not always allow us to feel comfortable and secure, but He provides us the opportunity to do His work.  Look at the work Paul was doing. When our journey is feeling difficult, we need to lean in a little closer to God and trust in His plan for our varied journey’s or storms like Lynden mentioned yesterday.

God called Paul to see and speak with both Jews and Gentiles in Romes.  Paul knew that the hearts of the people were calloused, ears were dull for hearing, and their eyes were closed (Acts 28:26-27) still, Paul would speak of God and speak of the glorious message that can convert a heart,can heal deafness, or any loss of sight. This is the same message that have changed our hearts, opened our eyes, and opened our ears to hear His Living Word.   These verses are originally quoted in Isaiah 6:9-10 where God was using Isaiah in Jerusalem to convert hearts.

God uses Paul, He used Isaiah, He is using us to share His message.  That even today in the spaces and places where it may seem hard or not favorable to share because of hardened hearts, closed ears, and blind eyes. Jesus will use His words spoken through us to convert, change, and heal those who are hurting. Those who feel like they have nowhere to go. Those who have lost all trust and faith in others… you can point them t to God.  Maybe this was your story? I know it was mine.

This summer we have some mini trips planned, many days will be spent around our home and neighborhood. some days will be spent at work, at the pool, practices or games.  Although, we may not be on house arrest, the fact is that without others knowing about God and His love for us, many will be in a lot worse place then jail for eternity. I’m humbled and amazed to think that Paul wrote letters like Ephesians, Colossians, and Philippians, (the Prison Epistles) during this time. Paul wrote these letters for the millions that have read them through the centuries, he wrote them for you and me. Paul wrote while changing the hearts of many who were in his presence in these years at Rome.  Rome, a place that had many gods, similar to the many gods that we can focus on today.  Let’s not let these worldly things get in our way.  Let’s take today, and every day in our short lives here on Earth to preach about the Kingdom of God, and those things which concern the Lord Jesus, with all boldness and without hindrance.

Welcome to Rome biblejournal family, don’t worry about the words to say, God is with you, go with boldness.

 

Preparing for the end

Today’s Readings: 1 Thessalonians 3 and 4

Its difficult to think about death and when our end is to come. I would honestly say, I take my life for granite most days. Selfishly, I have three children under the age of eight and would love to see them grow up to be both wonderful men and women of God. I just celebrated our 10 year anniversary and would love to have at least 50 more. But, I realize that I’m not the one who will decide that.  God will!  I recently attended a funeral for my late Uncle Rob Voltz, which was a reminder of the brevity of our lives. I haven’t attended very many funerals, they are hard to attend. Since putting my faith in God, I tend to reflect and wonder about any opportunities I could of had to share how much I cared for them and the promises God had made for those who believe.  I remind myself of Psalm 90:12 which says Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Even now as the rest of my family is in bed, I think about the lost opportunities today to share Christ in actions, words, and love.  

Uncle Robs card showed him hitting a golf ball into a beautiful sunset.  It said,

“Lord, when my last putt has dropped into the cup and the light of my last day has faded, may I be able to turn in to You, a scorecard to show I did my Best. 

This quote reminds me of one of my favorite verses written by Paul in 2 Timothy 7 where he knew his life was coming to an end as he sat in prison.  He said, ” I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”

How will you finish the race? How will you turn in the scorecard showing your best?

1 Thessalonians 3 and 4 share wisdom from Paul earlier in his ministry that tells the Thessalonians and us as believers how we should prepare for His coming.  And, even though we don’t know the precise moment when Jesus will return we know that our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. Romans 13:11. 

A few reminders from Paul in preparation for this day are;

  • Keep the faith – that we will face trials in this life still our endurance comes from our hope in the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 That we pray for any area that is lacking faith. verse  3:10 Read more in 1 Peter 4:12-19
  • Live in order to please God –  God’s will sanctified – verse 4:1-3.
  • Live in a way that controls your own body and is Holy and Honorable.  verse 4:4-7. Read more in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.
  • Lead a quiet life – not stirring up conflict, living peacefully in the midst of trials.
  • Be sanctified by God. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 Let the Holy Spirit lead your life.  Allow him to change you from the inside out.

 

Dear Awesome Father,  We love you.  May our lives reflect the truth even in the face of difficulties. That in our day to day interactions with our family, friends, and strangers we model a fearless faith-filled attitude that pours out love to theirs. That in our moments where we are lacking in faith you lift us up.  Lord, as we wait and prepare for your coming gives us courage to share with others your promises and how you have changed our lives; and as you call us one by one God, we can be sanctified awaiting to be in your presence.  Amen 

The last temptation

Happy Tuesday June 4, 2019

Today’s Reading Mark 15

Mark 15: 29-32

29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!” 31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself!

The last temptation. I know that at any point Jesus could of taken himself off the cross that day.  But He didn’t.  He was obeying His father, and following through with the plan had set since His humble birth. As a human, Jesus was tempted many times by Satan. Look back at Matthew 4: 1-11 after He was just baptized. Jesus never gives into the temptation. He understands how we are all tempted by the world daily. Temptation from Satan was coming in in the moments when Jesus hung on the cross, still, in this last attempt from Satan, Jesus kept himself on the cross for the sins of those present then and for everyone since then. Amen!

How is Satan tempting you today? For me, is it by the way I’ve been responding to my children 1 week into summer break? Is it the times I take my wife for granite daily instead of loving her like the church? Is it in my thoughts as I judge others in their various circumstances? Is it in my workload and my selfish ambitions to attain and do more? Is it the entertainment factor from a TV or phone that keeps me mindlessly engaged in time that has no eternal impact… for anyone? The list can go on and on.  We see, feel and are tempted.  We have been tempted since Adam and Eve and have failed just like them in Genesis 3. We are broken.  Still, Jesus knows this, says in these temptations, turn to Me.  Am I doing that? Are you doing that? Through all the temptations Jesus went through, He turned to His Father. Does someone you know right now going through some circumstance where temptation is staring them in the face? Maybe its you today?

Turn to God’s words.  Turn to Him in prayer.  The world is full of worldly things that tempt us daily.  On this day in Mark 15 the temptation to take Himself off the cross was there.  Soldiers, onlookers, priests saying hurtful mocking words and acting out in violence towards Him. Telling Jesus,  Take yourself down from the cross if you are the Son of God.  The human side of me would of pulled myself down and shown them, maybe even in my moments of displaced anger I would of did something to these mockers just to set an example.  Yet,this final mockery of Jesus on the cross to abandon His sacrificial death didn’t succeed. Jesus stayed on the cross to pay for our sins. Revelation 2:10 reminds me how Satan is always putting us to the test and Jesus wants us to remain faithful.

We are wrestling with various sins and temptations? Go to battle against them, let others know.  Know that we have a Father who has already declared victory when we turn our life over to Him.

Dear Jesus this fleeting pleasure pales in comparison to the joy and satisfaction we have in you.  Today, I choose an obedience to you then this temptation put before me.  Better is one day in your courts, then thousands elsewhere. We long for this day, please remind us in our struggles of this hope, strength, grace, and love you have for us always.  Thank you for your Son Jesus to be our perfect example of how in the flesh He resisted the temptations. I pray to draw closer and closer to His presence daily.  We love you! Amen

I love this song by Matt Maher because it reminds me of how much I need Jesus every day!