Bible Readings for 3/8/2022

Deuteronomy 33

Psalms 55:16-23

Proverbs 19:1-18

Acts 21:27-40

1 Samuel 28:8-25

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 33 – Moses Final Blessings on Israel. The Lord G-d wanted only the best for the nation. Moses was proclaiming G-d’s blessings over the nation (27-29). Each of the 13 tribes was given a special blessing unlike Jacob’s blessing (Genesis 48 and 49). When they entered the land, the slate would be cleaned and they would start life all over again. It is for this reason that Moses spent so much time talking about G-d’s laws and talked at length about all of the things that had transpired since leaving Egypt. Personal Notes: Just as the nation was given a clean slate, so are we when we come to the Lord for forgiveness and to have the precious blood cover our sins and misgivings. The thing is, when we start over we need to begin with a copy of the law. Our children and grandchildren may never understand our logic or what led us to switch tracks until they too face the sad realities of life.

Psalms 55:16-23 – Cast Your Burdens On the Lord. The world has its ways and what it has to say is compelling to the soul of mankind. We have to choose for ourselves who we will listen to as for me, I will choose the Lord G-d and will listen to what He has to say (16-19). Where we run into problems is that our hecklers or “Naysayers” are usually and predominantly “our family and those we know” (20-21). It is for this reason Jesus said to his disciples “if a man comes to me and does not hate … he is not worthy of me” (Luke 4:26). Trusting in the Lord and casting your care on him is far more difficult to do especially when it comes to the family unit (22-23). Personal notes: When the Lord directs us to a course of action, He doesn’t always give all of the information we need in one conversation. The reason He does this is that He wants us to trust Him implicitly. Consider the case of the disciples when told, “you provide food for them”. When the men saw the extremely large audience in contrast to the few fish and a loaf of bread, they had to think “this man’s out of his mind” (Mark 6:36-41).

Proverbs 19:1-18 – Proverbs for Life. Integrity is defined as, being honest, having strong moral principles, and being morally upright. The moral imperative Wisdom is presenting is foundational to living a peaceful life free from fear. The problem is, the moral imperative is not the only way to live which is why you see both ends of the spectrum. Wealth garners many friends most of which are leeches trying to get their portion. The problem is when the money runs out so do the leeches (4,6-7, 14). Asking for help is important because it shares the burden and unites people the thing is, though, it is also important to carefully and prayerfully choose who we allow in to help us (5, 8-9, 11-13). Personal notes: Wisdom, as I have said in the onset is “universal”. Wisdom does not ask you about your ethnic persuasion, sexual orientation, and/or political affiliation. The only thing Wisdom wants from us is, to listen to what she has to say and choose for ourselves what pathway we will take. Understand this, Solomon for as many pearls of wisdom he spoke did not mean he was a “wise man”.

Acts 21:27-40 – Paul Arrested in the Temple. Just as he had disciples, Paul also had a band of hecklers. The hecklers hated Paul because he spoke the truth which would cut in on their source of income. Know this, the hecklers were small in number so they could not do anything against Paul. To get the populace on board with the charges, they had to use an age-old strategy “charge him with breaking the law against the Temple and the Mosaic law” (27-30). Paul was arrested by the soldiers to keep him being beaten to death before hearing what he had done (31-36). Being a Roman citizen, Paul was within his rights to defend himself in a court of law (37-40). Personal notes: “Mob rule” usually starts with a few people who want something and to get what they want, they need to appeal to the masses. The difference between Jesus and Paul was that Jesus was not Roman, he was a servant. Paul, on the other hand, was born a citizen of Rome and he was a member of the ruling class which was why he was treated differently.

1 Samuel 28:8-25 – The Witch at Endor – In his zeal for the Lord, Saul banished every sorcerer, medium, or spiritist from Israel. Because of this, he had to disguise himself so as not to be seen going to visit a medium (8). Saul was desperate for guidance and direction for the coming battle so, he was willing to go against his royal orders at the expense of his integrity and the woman’s life (9-12). Upon hearing the name “Samuel”, the woman became frightened because her mysterious visitor was none other than King Saul (13-14). Saul was desperate for guidance and direction because the Lord would no longer listen to what Saul said so he turned to his former mentor Samuel. What Samuel had to say to Saul was not complimentary it was judgmental. Accordingly, the battle confronting Saul would go sideways and he and his sons would be killed and the Israelite army would be handed over to the Philistines (15-19). After fasting for so many days, Saul became weak so the woman and his men talked him into eating and then was sent on their way to their deaths (20-25). Personal notes: Necromancing or calling up the spirits of the dead is very dangerous. The reason is, you have no idea who it is you are actually talking to. Know this, demons just like their master can be anyone and/or anything.

Bible Readings for 3/6/2022

Deuteronomy 32:48-52

Psalms 55:1-15

Proverbs 18

Acts 21:1-26

1 Samuel 28:1-7

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 32:48-52 – Moses’ Death Foretold. After leading the nation for over 40 years, having defeated the iron kings, and having done everything in his power to keep the nation together would end up with the “booby prize”. For all of his efforts, Moses would only see the land with his eyes and never step foot into the new land (48-49, 52). This would be the last time Moses would climb the mountain because when he got there, he would die. Just as his brother Aaron died because of breaking faith with the L-rd, so would Moses (50-51). Personal notes: Position in the eyes of the L-rd does not give us a license to break faith and have it overlooked. Moses was the L-rd’s anointed leader but at many points along the way, he was almost put to death because of his attitude.

Psalms 55:1-15 – Cast Your Burden on the L-rd. Sharing our burden does not make the problem go away or trivialize what we are going through (1-3). When we leave the presence of the L-rd after we share our burden, we are the same person we were before entering His presence (4-8). The difference between entering and leaving the presence of the L-rd is our attitude and outlook (9-11). David’s problem with this equation was that the person causing the problem was someone he knew and attended worship with (12-14). The hardest battle we will ever face is dealing with a close relationship and committing that person to destruction (15). Personal notes: Casting your burden on the L-rd means, “sharing the concerns of our hearts even if it seems trivial”. The L-rd wants to know what we are going through and to hear it from our lips. Scripture says, “there is not a word on our lips that he does not already know (Psalm 139:4)” so why should we give voice to our complaint? The reason is, we put our concerns in an audible form that we can understand the situation and the L-rd can help us.

Proverbs 18:1-11 – Proverbs For Life. How we govern the affairs of life will be the defining factor of whether or not we will succeed in our endeavors (1-5). Consider Saul who given his marching orders decided to alter the plan and then pass the blame off onto his men and turned a short-term gain into a long-term loss. Our mouth is a dangerous thing because by it we are blessed and cursed, heal and destroy, soothe wounds and rip them open (6-8). When we open our mouths, approach a project, and/or interact with people, we set a course that in most cases we are unable to undo (9-10). Money is the answer to everything or so we think (Ecclesiastes 10:19). Wealth can fill our homes, buy anything we want, and/or endear people to our point of view; the one thing it cannot do is buy peace in our home/life, buy us a 2nd chance, and/or restore people who have died because of our foolishness (11).

Acts 21:1-26 – Doctor Luke’s Journal. Paul knew what awaited him in Jerusalem but he wasn’t afraid to face it. He could have avoided the unpleasant events simply by listening to his disciples and the prophet Agabus but he knew all too well that saving one’s life would be a fruitless endeavor (1-16). When he got to Jerusalem, he was greeted by James and the elders (17). Paul related the events that occurred in the gentile towns and the people who were saved. The elders nominated 4 young men and had them vow to assist Paul by presenting the facts before the Sanhedrin. The caveat was that Paul was to pay the fees for purity and shave their heads (18-26). Personal notes: The vow the young men were under was called the “Nazirite vow”. To disprove the claim of the Sanhedrin and the people of Jerusalem, these young men and Paul had applied the Nazirite vow which called for the person to abstain liquor, sex and shaving his head (Numbers 6). The Nazirite vow is a holy calling and not something one takes without considering his/her actions (Nazir).

1 Samuel 28:1-7 – Saul and Medium of En-dor. These were the closing days of Saul’s life and kingdom. David was requested by King Achish to accompany him into battle and would be the king’s bodyguard for life (1-2). Samuel’s death would be felt by the entire nation because he had been the nation’s judge and had anointed the first and 2nd kings for the nation. Because Saul was disobedient to the L-rd, the Spirit of the L-rd was taken from him which created a void in Saul’s life. Saul wasn’t the same person that took command of the nation and led them in battles. This Saul was fearful, broken, and useless. When the L-rd refused to listen to Saul despite what Saul did by fasting and prayer (3-6). Saul’s servants suggested Saul seek guidance from the medium at En-Dor (7). Personal notes: Unless we are obedient, prayer, inquiring of the L-rd, and fasting will be of no value. When the L-rd abandons our hearts, the place will be clean and in order. The enemy will use the “void” as a place to establish his rule and lead us to our demise.

 

Bible Reading for 3/5/2022

Deuteronomy 32:34-43

Psalms 54

Proverbs 17:17-28

Acts 20

1 Samuel 27

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 32:34-43 – Moses’ Song. This song was a warning and encouragement to the nation. When the people took an oath to serve the Lord, a dual-edged sword was put in their hands. The sword was mighty in battle but to the fool, it was something that could and would bring disaster their way (34-35). Those who refuse to cave in to the whims of the world and remain faithful to the Lord will vindicate them by showing the truth (36-38). There is only one G-d the creator of everything and the one who can heal and restore the broken in spirit. The enemy of our soul only pretends to have power but the power and glory belong to G-d (39-43).

Psalms 54 – The Lord Upholds My Life. When we decide to follow the pathway of the Great Shepherd, we must steel ourselves against the threat of the enemy (1-2). Know this, the enemy will never stop his/her attack; he/she may stop for a time to regroup but will always come back. Serving the Lord does not mean that we will never see trouble but when our hearts are set on pilgrimage, the Lord will guide us (3-5). When we give our lives to the Lord, He will guide us through every storm and trial (6-7).

Proverbs 17:17-28 – Proverbs For Life. How we control ourselves, what we allow into our life, and the outcome of our choices will greatly determine our future (Mike Krier). There are “friends” that are more of a heel than a friend (17-20, ). What our children learn is more of an outcrop from our actions than from our words (21). We need to continually survey our hearts to know our motives, fears, pains, sorrows, and goals; if either of these is out of line with G-d’s best for our life, we need to change those things by repenting and letting them go (22-24). When we are foolish and sire a child he/she could potentially be a new generation of “Us” (25); when this happens, whatever could be said or done becomes a moot point. It is for this reason that it is so important for us to use words and actions with restraint. Certainly, we can do whatever we want whenever we want to whoever we want but the outcome will outweigh the need for our words and behavior (26-28).

Acts 20 – Dr. Luke’s Journal. After the events in Ephesus, Paul went to Macedonia and Greece where he spent a considerable amount of time speaking to the people and encouraging them in their walk. Like every city and town where Pau went, there were trouble makers who carried their “roadshow” to cause problems (2-3). In early spring just after Passover, Paul set sail from Philippi to Troas where he met his colleagues (5-6). In Troas, Paul spoke until after midnight about the Kingdom of G-d. During his lengthy oration, a young man named Eutychus became drowsy and fell through a window to his death. Paul calmed the audience and then went down and raised the boy from death which greatly relieved the boy’s parents (9-12). At Miletus, Paul called for the Ephesian elders to encourage them and to let them know that he was going to Jerusalem where he would meet his fate (22-23). Greater men might have gone to a city in enemy territory to hide but Paul understood his mission and would let nothing deter him from accomplishing it (24-29). After Paul’s death, vile men would come into cause problems for the people and dissuade them from adhering to Paul’s teachings (30-35).

1 Samuel 27 – David Flees to the Philistines. Knowing that the peace with Saul would not last, David and his men flee to the one place Saul would never go and that was to Philistia in Gath (1-4). Staying in the royal city Gath, I believe, would have ensured that David would be under the constant watch of the King. For this reason, David asked for a small country town for him and his men (5-7). While in Ziklag, David and his men attacked Transjordanian tribes Geshur, Girzites, and the Amalekites. These tribes should have been wiped out in the time of Joshua but the nation was unable to dislodge them (8). To ensure that there would be no one to tell King Achish what David had been up to, David put everything and everyone to the sword (9). The name Geshur should stick out in your mind because that is where Absalom’s mother hailed from (2 Samuel 3:3). To throw Achish off of the trail, David lied to him by telling Achish that he had been attacking towns in Judah (10-12).

 

Bible Readings for 3/3/2022

Deuteronomy 32:23-33

Psalms 53

Proverbs 17:1-16

Acts 19:1-20

1 Samuel 26:13-25

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 32:23-33 – Moses’ Song. This song was a testimony against Israel and it sounds dangerously close to “defeatism”. Understand this, Israel was entering an uncertain destination and, the Lord knew from Israel’s history what the nation would do with what they were given (23-24). At first, just like Saul, the sword of the Lord was valiant in the land until the Lord had to contend with the sin of the Israelites. Human logic says, “Why in the name of all that is Holy did the Lord allow Israel into the land?”. The answer to that question is, “The Lord promised an ancestor and He never breaks His promises” (25-27). For a nation known as “the chosen” it was like being called “Slim” when you were obese (28-29). To accomplish the mission that lay ahead, the people would have to change their ways quickly or they would end up running back to Egypt with a white flag of surrender. For this reason, the people needed to get a firm grasp of the power that is theirs in the Lord. The people that were in the land had the “vine of Sodom” which was pure evil and did not fear the power of the Lord G-d (30-33).

Psalms 53 – None Does Good. It is odd hearing this teaching from David because, when you consider his background and the condition of his family. In some ways, it sounds like David is lumping himself in with the world and others it is “judge not … baby” (1-4, Matthew 7:1). When evil pervades in our hearts, we image the worst not realizing “we have nothing to fear” this causes more problems and starts more fires than dry tinder can ever start (5). I believe David knew just as Moses knew, what would happen to his family in the years to come and desired that the Lord would use Israel to accomplish His purposes (6).

Proverbs 17:1-16 – Proverbs for Life. David came from a poor family in Judah but had more wisdom than the house of Saul. David’s connection to the house of Saul came first by union with Jonathan and then with the marriage to Michal (1-2). Like silver and gold, the Lord tries the hearts of mankind to see what is in them and what motives drive them (3). The malicious present arguments to connive people into supporting their cause by lies and misrepresentation of facts (4). The outcome of hard work and faithfulness is live-giving fruit that will feed the future generation whereas malicious talk separates close friends (5-7). The point to get across is that these axioms are based on real-world events. Israel was no different than the rest of the world because they struggled with sin like everybody else (8-16).

Acts 19 – Paul’s Journies. Ephesus was the center of commerce in the 1st century. The disciples in Ephesus had been bringing people to salvation based solely on John’s Baptism. Because of this the people were saved but not empowered which only comes by the Holy Spirit (1-7). After laying his hands on the disciples, a portion of the power that was indwelled in Paul was transferred to the disciples (1-7). Anytime there is a powerful movement of the Holy Spirit, the Devil’s minions will be present; this is why the rogues showed up to counter Paul’s work (8-10). The reason Paul was successful in imparting the power of the Holy Spirit on the disciples and defeating the minions was that he had the power of the Holy Spirit in his heart whereas the seven sons of Sceva did not (11-20). “You cannot impart power that you do not possess” (Howard G. Hendricks). There is a lesson that can be learned from the riot that broke out in Ephesus and that is, “sometimes a different approach needs to be taken despite religious objection” (Mike Krier). Despite the power that indwelled in Paul even he knew when it was best to be quiet and let someone else solve the problem (35-41).

1 Samuel 26:13-25 – David Saves Saul. After taking King Saul’s water jug and spear, David and Abishai set a distance between themselves and Saul and his army. Abner had fallen asleep instead of watching over the king which would have been a death sentence (13-16). Having recognized David’s voice, Saul woke up. David’s words to Saul resound with judgment. Because of Saul’s vengeance, David had lost everything including Michal who he had paid the marital wage (17-20). Remember, Saul’s anger was an outcrop from his disobedience leading to the loss of the Spirit of the Lord and was replaced by the spirit of the Devil. Saul’s spirit and David’s spirit have been at odds for all the generations of mankind and will continue till who knows when. When the Spirit of the Lord conquered the spirit of the Devil, the person who has the spirit of the Devil becomes repentant (21-25).

Bible Readings 3/2/2022

Deuteronomy 32:15-22

Psalms 52

Proverbs 16:18-33

Acts 18:18-33

1 Samuel 26:1-12

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 32:15-22 – Moses’ Song as a Testimony. This song was a testimony against Israel and a prophetic message about Israel’s future. It is unfortunate that the times we honor G-d the most are during the lean years. Jeshurun or Israel would become fat, dumb, and happy (15, ). In time, the nation that crossed the river would not be the same ones that would occupy the land (16-17). By the end of the 1st Temple period, just as it would be for the 2nd Temple period, and the end of the 1st century, the Rock would become just another part of a time that no longer existed (18). The gentile church of the 1st century was a fulfillment of prophecy (19-21). This was not G-d’s “Plan A” (22).

Psalms 52 – The Steadfast Love of G-d Endures. Having evil people in the world is not new to the 21st century. While the names and faces may change, the outcome rarely does. These people arise and proclaim how great they are only to have it all taken away so that not a penny remains (1). The Devil’s playground looks like fun from a mile or more away yet, when you get inside of it you will see the darkness that has always existed like backbiting, broken promises, and ruined lives (2-4). When we put our trust in the Lord people call us fools and fearful dolts yet, we are the same fools and dolts broken people come to see (5-8). Life in this world today as it has always been being having, and always will be confusing. Who can deliver me from such a mess? I Thank G-d (9, Romans 7:25).

Proverbs 16:18-33 – Decisions. David the 2nd King of the combined kingdom of Israel and Judah was told through a prophetic message from Samuel that he would ascend to the throne (1 Samuel 16:12). Armed with this information, David could have walked into Saul’s presence and told him, “move over King I want to measure the throne that I’ll sit on”. The problem was doing that would have rightfully guaranteed an appointment with the executioner not to mention how it would taint future events (18-19). Trusting in the Lord to do what He has promised takes time and patience something that is sorely lacking today (20-21). Having the good sense to watch over the gaping hole on our face called “the mouth” will guarantee peace in our life (22-23). The reason David enjoyed the victories he experienced was due to the condition of his heart (24-27). Knowing who to listen to and who to avoid is a difficult decision considering King Joash’s dilemma. While Jehoida was alive, Joash did that which pleasing to the Lord, afterward, he went astray (28-33).

Acts 18:18-33 – Paul Returns to Antioch. Antioch was special to Paul because it was his first missionary trip and the first gentile church to call themselves “Christians” (Acts 11:26). Antioch is located in southwest Turkey and was founded by Seluecias in  300 BC (). The church was planted around 41 AD during Paul’s first missionary trip and would return around 52 AD during the 2nd or 3rd trip (18-23, ). During the same time, Apollos had been speaking to the Hellenized Jews from the scriptures. Apollos was himself a Hellenized Jewish convert to Christianity and was an early church father (24-25, ). When Priscilla and Aquila heard Apollos speak, they noticed that he spoke from his understanding of John’s ministry and baptism; so they called him aside and taught the full gospel. With the church and the disciples’ blessing, Apollos was sent to Achaia where he spoke eloquently the Gospel of Jesus Christ and refuted the Jews in public (26-28).

1 Samuel 26:1-12 – David Spares Saul Again. The Ziphites were loyal to the house of Saul. There is no credible scripture that tells “why David was disliked by the Ziphites”. David never met the Ziphites and they never met him. The only reasoning I can come up with is that the house of Ziph was not chosen by the Lord to replace Saul which is not an uncommon problem. Once again the Ziphites tell Saul where David is (1-2). Saul went down to capture David only to fall under a deep sleep in the cave alongside Abner and his men. David and Abishai Joab’s brother (3-6). Abishai wanted to kill Saul so that David could assume the throne of Israel (7-8). The reason David would not let him was that he knew what would happen if he did and how his reign would be tainted by the blood of the Lord’s anointed (9-11). So David took Saul’s sword and water jar as evidence of him being in Saul’s presence (12).

 

 

 

 

Bible Reading 2/27/2022

Deuteronomy 32:1-14

Psalms 51

Proverbs 16:1-17

Acts 18:1-17

1 Samuel 25

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 32:1-14 – Song of Moses. This song was Moses’ farewell message given by the hand of the Lord. People listen to what I have to say, open your hearts to receive this message (1-3). The Lord’s work is perfect because it is founded on wisdom, honesty, and love. Through the course of 40+ years, the nation tried G-d’s patience and revolted although he did no harm (4-5). In repayment for all the Lord had done on behalf of the nation, the people rewarded him by being deceptive and crooked. For no other nation had the Lord taken them by the hand and led them to the place of His provision (6-9). The Israelites were slaves in Egypt and wanted by nobody but the Lord looked down on them in kindness (10-12). The nation learned corruption from the people who lived the “High Life” in Egypt and from Balak they followed the G-ds of the nations because they were more fun. The thing is the nation would enjoy the fat of the land of Canaan had they but listened (13-14).

Psalms 51 – Create in Me a Clean Heart. David’s Kingdom was the greatest among the nations of that time. The Devil knew if he didn’t do something, all of his plans for the nation would be in ruins. So, enter the woman Bathsheba whom I believe David had eyes on from the moment he first saw her. It didn’t take but a moment to turn his heart and the plans the Lord had for him were irrevocably altered (1-2). When the Devil tempts us, he doesn’t stop until we are caught in a trap for which there is no escape. For David that “no escape” was impregnating Bathsheba and having to face Uriah. Once Nathan confronted David, all pretense ended and all he could do was fall down on his face before the Lord in repentance (3-6). The blood guilt was forgiven but the pains would never end no matter how much David prayed or shed tears (7-12). This would be a life lesson for David to teach his sons and the nation so that they would not fall into the same trap (13-14). Sin strips away words of praise to the Lord and replaces them with fear, doubt, and depression just as it had been for David’s predecessor Saul (15). What does the Lord require from us? A broken and contrite heart that is not built on stones of false repentance (16-17). David’s conclusion was that his actions did not stop G-d’s plans for the nation (18-19).

Proverbs 16:1-17 – What Are You Looking For? Each of us has or had plans for our life which includes(d) our occupation, where we would live, and the lifestyle we would enjoy. The thing is the Lord also has a plan for our life it may not agree with our goals (1). We need to be prepared, just as David was, to do what was right so that the situations we face in life might not stop us from our goals (2-3). We have no control of the world around us but we can be a light in a dark place (4-5). When we sin, either on purpose or by accident, though we repent we may spend years showing our sincerity. It is for this reason that we are told to “sin not” (6). When we are in right standing with the Lord, even our enemies will become allies like the case of David and the Philistines (7). David could have become very wealthy selling his services but he chose to honor the Lord with the little that he had (8-12). What comes out of our mouth is just as important as the work that we do (13-15). Above all else, let Wisdom be your counselor so that your paths will not be places of regret (16-17).

Acts 18:1-17 – Paul’s Journies. During the reign of Seutonius Claudius Caesar, the Jews were expelled from Rome.  Paul went to Corinth where he met up with Priscilla and Aquila who were part of the Jews that were expelled (1-4, ). When Paul and Timothy who had arrived from Macedonia tried to reason with the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah, they were reviled by the populace so they did what Jesus had commanded the disciples, they shook the dust off of their clothes and moved on. Titius Justus led a household church welcomed Paul and Timothy into his home. Titius had also been evicted from the Synagog because of his beliefs (5-8). In a vision, Paul was encouraged to keep up with what he was doing despite what was about to happen because there were people in the town that would support him (9-11). In Achaia, which was a Greek province belonging to Rome, the Jews brought charges against Paul to the proconsul Gallio (12-13, ). This, of course, was “so what?” to Gallio because it didn’t concern him or the assets of Rome. In retaliation, the Jews took the synagog ruler and beat him which did not phase Gallio (14-17).

1 Samuel 25 – David and Abigail. While the servants of Nabal were in the wilderness tending the animals,. David and his army were a wall of protection. Regrettably, Nabal was not a good man like his ancestor Caleb (1-3). When the sheep were sheared, it was a time for festivities as the people enjoyed the fruit of their work. David used this opportunity to see if Nabal would give a free-will offering. When the men were sent away empty-handed and vocally abused, David prepared for war. If it had not been for Abigail’s wise and gentle words, David would have blood on his hands which would have tainted his kingdom (4-7, 12-13, 30-31). David honored Abigail’s request and returned to the mountain. The next morning after sleeping off his drunken stooper, Abigail told him everything that had happened including the provisions given to David. Upon hearing this, Nabal died. After that David asked Abigail to be his 2nd wife to which she agreed (36-43).

 

BIble Readings for 2/26/2022

Deuteronomy 31:14-29

Psalms 50:16-23

Proverbs 15:14-33

Acts 17

1 Samuel 24

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 31:14-29 – Joshua Commissioned to Lead Israel. Moses was at the end of his journey and Joshua’s was about to begin. The two men were called into the Temple where the Spirit of the Lord appeared (14-15). After all that Moses had done for the nation, it had to break his heart knowing what will happen after him (16-18). Moses’ word and words would not be for naught because it would be a testimony to the truth of the Lord and some of the people would turn back (19-23). The baton was now passed to Joshua and he was encouraged to be faithful, strong, obedient, and to take the word of the Law with him into the new land (24-26). One might wonder what is it important to be obedient when people would carve their own path, what it comes down to is, “be part of the solution or the problem” the choice is yours” (27-29).

Psalms 50:16-23 – G-d Himself is Judge. It is common in this age as it had been in all of the ages past for people to glom onto what is popular – this is called “Bandwagon Jumping”. In one age the people used Mosaic law as a platform for controlling the ignorant populace or to fill their coffers legally (16-18). The unethical and evil leaders used the words of Moses to give credibility to their claims – this is called “name dropping” something the Sanhedrin did continually (19). Because the Lord didn’t judge these fools immediately, they thought “I am getting away with murder” and would continue to do so (20-21). When a person in the caliber of Jesus Christ comes on the scene, this group of fools takes steps to hide their activities and ended up committing murder (22-23).

Proverbs 15:14-33 – What Are You Looking For? Whatever we look for in life we will find it unfortunately, we may not always like what we find like the case of Saul (14-15). While walking with the Lord will not fill our coffers, it will give our lives purpose, hope, and love (16-17). Wickedness has existed in this world since the very beginning and the fruit of it has remained consistent (18-19). Despite what the world does, we are held to a higher standard (20-24). While we are not immune to the troubles of this world, how we conduct ourselves through the storms will greatly determine how long we remain in the storms (25-33).

Acts 17 – Paul and Silas’ Journeys across Asia Minor. At Thessalonica, the two men preached the word. Because some of the people came to salvation, the religious leaders had to create a problem by bringing false charges against the men. Because the two men had escaped the city, the mob blamed Jason and held him responsible for Paul and Silas (6-8). Jason was an early convert to Christianity and is venerated in the Catholic and Orthodox beliefs. At Berea, Paul found a group of Jews who were open to the Word of G-d and spent time checking Paul’s teachings to see if they lined up with the Word (11-12). When the Thessalonican mob had heard where Paul was, the mob took their act to Berea to cause problems so Paul was taken to Athens (13-15). It was at Athens that Paul saw the plethora of idols to every known G-d of the age. Paul used the situation as a platform to reach lives for Jesus Christ (17). Just as it had been in every place that Paul preached, not everyone was willing to accept his testimony but he did reach a few and it was the few that Paul used to build the church (32-34).

1 Samuel 24 – David Spares Saul’s Life. Saul had gotten word that David was hiding in Ein Gedi so he took his army and pursued him (1-2). David had cornered Saul and could have very easily killed Saul (3-4). David’s conscience stopped him from raising his sword to kill Saul; his men, on the other hand, compelled him to kill Saul so that the prophecy could come true (5-7). Had David killed Saul, he would have usurped the throne instead of it being given to him by the Lord. David confronted Saul with the facts along with the evidence “the corner of his robe” (8-11). The hard part about prophecy is that it takes time for all of the pieces to fall into place (12-15). G-d’s timing is impeccable even though we may not understand the path He is taking us down (16-20). Saul’s only request was that David is kind to the house of Saul when he became Israel’s King (21-22).

 

Bible Readings 2/24/2022

Deuteronomy 31:1-13

Psalms 50:1-15

Proverbs 15:1-13

Acts 16:25-40

1 Samuel 23:15-29

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 31:1-13 – Joshua to Succeed Moses. The Parashat Vayielech is read every 7th seven or 49 years at the Feast of Booth’s “Pentecost” (9-15, The Parashat). Moses was not going with the nation into the new land so the baton would be passed over to Joshua Moses’ Aid to Camp or 2nd in command. While Moses’ journey was ending, it was a new chapter for the nation (1). The Lord had promised that He would send an Angel to lead the nation but “I Am” would not go because the nation would get destroyed for its duplicity (Exodus 23:20-21). The people were to follow the angel’s directions to the letter which required faithfulness and obedience. The people were not fear the nations being removed from the land no matter how big or imposing they were (2-6). Joshua was brought before the people and the authority given to Moses was passed down to Joshua (7-8).

Psalms 50:1-15 – G-d Himself is Judge. Zion, or the City of David, became the “one place” when David brought the judgment seat into the city (2 Samuel 6). All of the people in Jerusalem and those in the cities beyond were invited to the festival (1-2). The two stone tablets on which the law was inscribed were inside of Ark. It was from the law that the people were judged (3-4). To the faithful in the community, the Ark’s arrival was good news (5-6). In the preceding years, the people were under the illusion that “sacrifice” pleased G-d not understanding that it is obedience that pleases G-d more than anything we can possibly offer (7-8). G-d is a Spirit and so those who worship Him must do it in spirit and in truth. For this reason, He does not get hungry nor does He thirst or get sleepy (9-15, John 4:24).

Proverbs 15:1-13 – The Tone of Our Voice and the Sound of Our Heart. The tone of our voice tells a lot about our character. Being proud or arrogant propels people from our lives whereas a gentle tongue breaks a bone of contention (1-2, 4). Whatever we think, say, or do the Lord sees and it is from that viewpoint that we are either judged or condemned (3). As children, we have all received instruction that seemed to be “utter foolishness” only to find out in time how right the parent was and how wrong we were (5-6). As parents, our reward is rarely given in this lifetime but when the children walk in obedience to the Lord, it reflects well on the parent; equally, disobedience and sin are embarrassing. In America and around the world today, people point out other people’s flaws but when it comes to people pointing fingers at us, we run for cover (7-10). The Lord has seen Heaven and he has seen Hell because of that, he knows where our lives are heading if we do not change course. Equally, he knows why we are disobedient, what all of our triggers are, and contributing illnesses and diseases. Yet, He loves us and cares for us (11-13).

Acts 16:25-40 – The Philippian Jailer Converted. About the midnight hour, Paul and Silas were in prayer when an earthquake occurred which shook the prison foundation (25-26). The reason the jailer was about to kill himself was that when a prisoner escaped on your watch, the jailer would face a fate worse than death (27, Commentary). Paul and Silas could have escaped but then they would be fugitives from the law and it would have tainted their witness. As it was, the jailer upon hearing the prisoners were still in their cells, asked how he could be saved (28-30). The jailer then took the two men to his house to clean their wounds and the whole family got to hear what Paul and Silas had to say (31-34). In the morning the elders of the community in a magnanimous gesture told the jailer to release the two men. The problem was, Paul was a Roman citizen which gave him the right to a trial before being beaten (35-37, Roman Legal Procedure). The magistrate had no power to pass judgment so he lost the case and had to apologize and escort Paul and Silas out of prison (38-39). Before leaving the area, Paul and Silas stopped at Lydia to encourage the brethren (40).

1 Samuel 23:15-29 – Saul Goes in Search for David. The wilderness of Ziph was in the hill country in the seventh district of Judah (15, Ziph). Jonathan took his life in his hands when we went to strengthen David’s resolve. The brotherly love between David and Jonathan was not controlled by Saul’s anger, it was strengthened (16-18). The Ziphites, David’s relatives, were willing to hand him over to Saul for a possible reward. David did not know the Ziphites but had worked to help the community where he could (19-20, Reward). When Saul said “may you be blessed by the Lord …” he was using a cliché sort of like saying “Praise the Lord” when your heart is not in union with the Lord (21). Saul told the representatives to get an accurate layout of where David is hiding and then report back (22-24). Thinking he had the upper hand, Saul went to the hill country hoping for victory only to find himself chasing David around the mountain. The chase continued until the report that the Philistines were invading Israel (25-27). Upon hearing of the Invasion, Saul and his army broke off the chase and went to defend Israel. The Hebrew word for “Rock of Escape” or “Rock of Separation” is “Selahammahlekoth” (28). Ein Gedi is an oasis in the desert (29, Ein Gedi).

 

Bible Readings for 2/22/2022

Deuteronomy 30:11-20

Psalms 49:10-20

Proverbs 14:20-35

Acts 16:1-24

1 Samuel 23:1-14

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 30:11-20 – The Choice of Life and Death. You will notice that the Lord never makes demands of us nor does He give you one recourse, He lays out His commands like a fork in the road. When it comes to His commands, we can say “Yes” or “No” but beware we are held accountable either way. The commands He gives are not hard but man’s adaptations make it hard and drive people from following the Lord (11-14). He sets before us life or death, blessing or curse. If the people wanted to stay in the land for a lengthy peaceful time, then they needed to adhere to the laws and commands – that’s as simple as it gets (15-18). As the nation will find out centuries later, following the pathways of the wicked kingdoms and peoples caused the nation to compromise its values (19-20).

Psalms 49:10-20 – Pompous Mankind. Death is a reality for both mankind and animals without exception (10). In life, we gather things like wealth and property but when we leave this earth, none of that matters (11-12). When we boast about our future, we do so without understanding the tides of time and situations sort of like the present-day stock market (13). Like death, wickedness is also an ever-present reality but how we view it and how we allow it to impact us or steel us against its effects is up to us (14-15). So when people get rich through wicked paths, we are not to be afraid of it or think “the world is going to end”. When we chose to follow the narrow pathway, the Lord will help us to navigate the way through the mirky darkness (16-20).

Proverbs 14:20-35 – Righteousness Exalts a Nation (34-35). There are two ends of the financial spectrum: the rich and the poor. When a community favors the rich but looks down on the poor, it is said to be a “sin” (20-21). Devising and acting on evil plans leads people and communities astray (22-24). Telling the truth is not popular because you will not find it in this world where everybody sees it the same way (25, John 18:37-38 i.e.). By respecting the Lord’s commands, one learns to avoid the things that displease Him (26-27). The king does not make the country any more than the teacher makes the class. People can make or break the kingdom just like the students can make or break the class (28). The ability to exercise restraint in the face of opposition is invaluable (29-30). Wherever we live, whether in our home country or not, we are to treat others like we would like to be treated (31-33).

Acts 16:1-24 – Timothy, Paul, and Silas. In Lystra, Paul is introduced to young Pastor Timothy whose father is a Greek and mother is a Jew (1). Paul wanted to bring Timothy along with Silas and himself. Out of respect for Jewish customs and to alleviate concerns about “inappropriate conduct”, Paul had Timothy circumcised (2-3). Having Timothy along helped Paul to reach the Greeks. Add to this, Paul had have known his time was short and so it was important to train in a replacement while he was alive (4-5, ). Paul received a prophetic vision of a man from Macedonia calling for him to come and help them (6-10). Macedonia is located NE of Greece bordering Bulgaria. In Thyatira, Paul baptized Lydia a seller of purples (11-15). “Selling Purples” meant that Lydia sold dies for the royals so she was well off financially (). While in Thyatira, Paul set a young girl free from demonic oppression. The girl provided her handers with a steady stream of income which was why they brought the heinous charge and riled the community (16-24).

1 Samuel 23:1-14 – David Saves the City of Keilah. The reason David helped defend the lowland city of Keilah was that it belonged to David’s ancestral tribe – Judah (). When the Philistines attacked Keilah, David checked with the Lord to see if it was in His will to do so (1-2). Because the men were afraid to attack with so few in number, David reconfirmed with the Lord and then left to help Keilah (3-5). Abiathar, the last living relative of Eli, joined David and the army in Keilah and brought with him the ephod which is used to make decisions (6). If David had stayed too long in Keilah, it would have put him in a precarious place and possibly be captured by Saul. Fortunately, David was listening for the Lord’s direction and would know when it was time to leave (7-14).

 

Bible Readings for 2/21/2022

Deuteronomy 30:1-10

Psalms 49:1-9

Proverbs 14:9-19

Acts 15:22-41

1 Samuel 22

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 30:1-10 – Repentance and Forgiveness. When you read the curses and the Lord’s response, you might think that the punishment comes immediately but it doesn’t. The thing is, when the punishment doesn’t come on our time, we tend to think “somebody was lying”. When it comes to the Lord’s commands, He never embellishes His commands and expects the prophet to repeat them verbatim. Adding to His commands or deleting from them creates confusion. Sin leads people astray from the truth and creates internal conflict just as the people witnessed in the multiple episodes of being sent into exile. The only way to rectify sin in G-d’s eyes is to return to Him with our guilt offering which tends to be “our broken lives and families” (1-3). Sin separated the nation into factions in the same way it separates family members; repentance may compel them to come back but it will not be seamless and nor will it be immediate (4-5). Redemption is a process that requires cooperation on the part of the offender and the offended (6). The nations and people who watched our implosion and cheered will also implode with no one to help them (7-8). The Lord’s plan for our life is that we prosper in everything we do but prosperity ends where there is unrepentant sin (9-10).

Psalms 49:1-9 – Why Should I Fear in Times of Trouble? The first act of a wise person is, “listen to the words of the wise (1-4). Why should  I be afraid when the wicked prosper? The answer is, “I shouldn’t” but it doesn’t mean “I won’t”. When we have the most to lose by the actions of others, those wicked plans could very well end us if our security is in anything or anyone other than the Lord and His grace (5-6). No matter how much money we have or how powerful our connections are, we have no power nor authority to rescue people from sin much less the grave. As parents, we want to buy our kids out of trouble but there will never be enough money to keep them on the pathway of righteousness that is between the child and the Lord (7-9).

Proverbs 14:9-19 – The Fool and the Wise. A guilt offering is offered when the conscience is tormented by guilt (Guilt). How many times have you heard “gee I’m sorry” but the tone is not reflective of guilt but of pacifying the offended party (9). Every one of us has a conscience the defining difference is how often it is listened to or ignored (10-11). In the end, we pay the price for our actions whether we accept the punishment or not (12-14). Listening to Wisdom is a conscientious choice and it may require going at life alone (15-16). Angry outbursts just like evil actions are diabolical because it hurts those you love, consider how the children are hurt, wicked parent(s) (17). When you plant a seed, one of three things is going to happen: the plant will grow up, it will turn to weeds, or it will die before it breaks from the seed. In the same way, when we are foolish, righteous, or wicked, we plant seeds. The righteous person hopes the plant will grow from it and produce fruit. The wicked and/or foolish hope that either last two, preferably the last one, occur(s) especially when it comes to our offspring (18-19).

Acts 15:22-41 – The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers. After the council handed down their verdict, a letter was drafted and sent back with Paul, Barnabus, Barsabbas, and Silas (22-23). The intent of the letter was to address the church’s confusion over the hardline teachings they had received from the other teachers. The reason for sending the additional evangelists was to confirm every word written by the Apostles (24-27). To please the Lord, the people were to abstain from meat with blood in it, food sacrificed to idols, and abstain from sexual immorality (28-29, 2 Peter 1:10-11). After the reading of the letter, the four men went to Antioch to read the letter to the church and encourage the church (30-35). Paul wanted to go back to visit the churches that they had planted. So, Barnabus wanted to take John Mark. Earlier, John Mark had abandoned Paul when they needed him the most (Acts 13:13-43). This led to an argument between Paul and Barnabus so they separated for a time (36-41).

1 Samuel 22 – David at the Cave of Adullam. David hid in the cave in the city of Adullam which is about 22.5 miles southwest of Jerusalem; the city was given to Judah as an inheritance after the conquest (Adullam). 400 men came to David while he was in the cave which meant, that there were over 400 people in the cave and aligned with David. David became their Commander (1-2). From Adullam, David went to Mizpah which belonged to the Benjamites and the Moabites. At Moab, David requested that the king give his father and mother asylum (3-5). At Gibeah, Saul’s hometown, Saul set up court his fellow tribesman about David’s pact with Jonathan instead of honoring the King (6-8). When Doeg the troublemaker and executioner ratted David out and he would put the priests to death without compunction (9-19). Abiathar, the last remaining ancestor of Eli escaped to David (20-23).

Bible Readings for 2/20/2022

Deuteronomy 29:16-29

Psalms 48

Proverbs 14:1-8

Acts 15:1-21

1 Samuel 21

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 29:16-29 – The Covenant Renewed at Moab. In Egypt, the nation was abused but there were small pockets of the nation that thrived in the land. Those that thrived were servants in the palace, task-masters, and various other jobs. The problem was that when the nation left, everybody without exception was thrown out of Egypt. It was not uncommon in Egypt for people to worship the idols of the land. At Horeb and again in Moab it was a time of shedding the indecencies of Egypt to turn to the Lord and never leave Him (16-17). Turning back to the worthless idols, although a personal decision, would have long-range repercussions for the entire nation (18-19). Invoking the name of the Lord in a covenant implied “I will follow the Lord’s laws without exception” (20-21). It would be the young who would bear the brunt of their parent’s mistakes in judgment. When we sin, our world is altered, and the higher the profile the greater the disaster (22-28). Why the Lord requires us to honor His laws doesn’t matter what does matter is the law has been established and we need to honor it (29).

Psalms 48 – Zion the City of our G-d. Mount Zion, which is currently, “no man’s land” located between Israel and Jordan, has a rich history. This place was the city David conquered from the Jebusites. IT was on this mountain where the first temple was built on Mount Moriah (place of the wind) or the highest point overlooking the city. It was on this same hill where Jesus was crucified and the permanent temple was established (Mount Zion). It was for this reason and many others that Zion is so prominent in the book of Psalms (1-3). It was at this place where the armies gathered to fight against Israel but the Lord took His stand and the armies were frightened away (4-8). Each and every time the nation honored the Lord, He guided them through the treacherous waters (9-11). So walk about the city, consider all that the Lord has done that the next generation might hear the glorious works of the Lord (12-14).

Proverbs 14:1-8 – Who’s Building Your House? The wise woman builds up her home and, in a way, considers it her baby. The foolish woman tears her home down one piece at a time and could care less who gets hurt in the process (1). When we walk with the Lord, he shares with us the things we need to know so that we can place those pearls in our hearts (2-3). When we choose to ignore the Lord, the manger of our heart is cleaned and put for the next occupant (4, Matthew 12:43-45). The Lord is not responsible for the condition of our home, we are so we need to be careful of who we employ and what we use to build our (5-6). As the homeowner, we have G-d given responsibility for hiring builders who honor the Lord (7-8).

Acts 15:1-21 – The Jerusalem Council. In every group, there is a Doeg whose job is to cause problems. At this point in time, the Pharisees had not completely died out, they had morphed into quasi teachers. The group went around telling the gentile believers that they needed to be circumcised which at the age of the believers would be a painful procedure sort of like the events at Bethel (1, Genesis 34:25). This event caused conflict in the church which, I believe was the intention (2). To solve the problem, a delegation was sent to ask the council at Jerusalem what their decision was (3-4). Present in the council were members of the party of the Pharisees who argued the importance of adhering to the Law of Moses (5). Peter gave the short version of the incident at Joppa and the Lord’s word on the matter (6-11). James, the brother of Jesus, seconded Peter’s testimony pointing to another scripture (12-18). The Council judged the matter and concluded that the evangelists were not to make it hard for people to come to the Lord (19-21).

1 Samuel 21 – David and the Holy Bread. Ahimelech was the great-grandson of Eli. When Samuel was a boy he was given to the Lord to train up as a Priest. Because Eli and his sons had behaved wickedly, Samuel was told that their ministry would end (1 Samuel 3:13-14). When David came to Nob looking for food, he asked for and received the day-old Holy Bread (1-6). Present that day was Doeg who was a descendent of Esau who was a trouble-maker. Doeg was one of Saul’s valiant men and he ran to tell Saul about the doings in Nob (7). David then asked for a sword and was given the sword that belonged to Goliath (8-9). After this, David went to the one place Saul would never dare to come, “Gath” the hometown of the former giant (10-11). Knowing that his life was in peril, he pretended to be insane so that people would think that he was harmless. The King of Gath was told that David had come to town and what he was doing but the king thought nothing of it (12-15).

Bible Reading for 2/19/2022

Deuteronomy 29:1-15

Psalms 47

Proverbs 13:14-25

Acts 14

1 Samuel 20

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 29:1-1 – The Covenant Renewed in Moab. Moab was named after Lot’s son, means “From the Father” (Moab Meaning), and is in present-day Jordan. For over 40 years the nation had walked in circles after their journey from Rameses in Egypt to Herob (1-3). The people were not able to understand why the Lord was making them work so hard nor why the laws were necessary (4-9). The Lord’s purpose for all that the nation went through was that these people would become the people that belonged to G-d (10-15).

Psalms 47 – G-d Is King over All the Earth. In every gathering, there will be those who encourage and those who discourage. The easy thing is to follow the nay-sayers and ridicule the people who are encouraged by the Lord’s report. The Lord didn’t say, “jump on the band-wagon”, He said, “follow me” that is, “His example” (1-4, Matthew 4:19). Whether or not the learned accept the Lord’s testimony or not, is immaterial. No matter what happens in life, we can either choose to raise our voices in triumph or be the ground the world walks on (5-7). G-d owns this world and can give his land to “whosoever” whether it is the man in the vat crushing the little he has or the evil King who is bent on conquest (8-9, Judges 6).

Proverbs 13:14-25 – Listen to the Wise. A teacher’s job is to convey valuable information to the student. It is the student’s responsibility to accept or deny the information (14). As the student, how we see, hear, and do is on us (14-16). When we conduct the affairs of our life inappropriately, we reap the results (17-18, Galatians 6:7-9). When we work to achieve our goals through positive action, it is sweet to the soul and encourages us to take on greater challenges; of course, there will be those who see us reject wickedness as being “foolishness”. The defining line will always be in the outcome (19-20). When we sow the seeds of righteousness, we will reap the reward despite the cries of wickedness. No matter where we find ourselves in our walk with the Lord, we will succeed and leave an inheritance for our offspring. When we sow wickedness, everything we gain will be lost (21-23). Wisdom needs to be passed down to our children whether or not they receive it and put it to use in their life (24-25).

Acts 14 – The Divided Cities. At Iconium, Saul and Barnabus spoke to the gentiles and greeks (1-3). In every city, these two went, and Iconium was no different, some accepted the message, some opposed it, and some were troublemakers. Not wanting to start a civil war, the two left the city (4-7). At Lystra, a lame man was healed (8-10). When the people caught sight of the man who was now healed they thought, “My Lord the G-ds have come to town” (11-13). Paul and Barnabus could have accepted the adulation, the foods of the G-ds, and the undying praise of the city but that’s all they would have received (Matthew 6:2). So, Paul and Barnabus confronted the people and let them know that they were not the incarnate G-ds as they had been led to believe. The problem was not everybody believed Paul’s report and continued to offer sacrifices (14-18). When troublemakers came from Antioch and Iconium to rile up the crowd, they stoned Paul. Believing their work was done, the troublemakers left town. When the disciples gathered around Paul, he got up from the ground and after encouraging them they left for Derbe (19-23). Paul spoke to the disciples about the events in the cities they had visited (24-28).

1 Samuel 20 – Jonathan Warns David. When David reported to Jonathan what Saul had in mind for David, it came across as a surprise (1-3). Jonathan wanted to hear from his father’s mouth the truth of the matter before taking any action which, is wise (4-7). Remember at this point, Jonathan had only heard David’s side of the argument. An agreement was put in place for Jonathan to give his report (8-11). The proviso was that David was to never forget what Jonathan had done for him and when David became the King, he would provide for Jonathan and/or his family (12-17). The New Moon feast was the first day following the sighting of the new moon and it lasted three days (Hebrew Encyclopedia). David followed the plan to the letter and would be faithful to the covenant (18-23).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bible Readings for 2/17/2022

Deuteronomy 28:52-68

Psalms 46

Proverbs 13:1-13

Acts 13:13-52

1 Samuel 19:11-24

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 28:52-68 – Sin’s Crushing Blow. To go from having high fortresses with the world catering to you to mere urchins scrounging for what little food is left is a frightening prospect (52-57). Adhering to the Law is invaluable. If we do not fear the Lord G-d, we will follow the G-ds of this world to our untimely end (58-63). Once sin has started to dismantle a nation, it will continue until there isn’t a single brick stacked upon another (64-68).

Psalms 46 – G-d is Our Fortress. The Devil uses the smoke screens of fear, trouble, desperation, and illness to invoke fear in our hearts. If we will refuse to let these things alter the faith we have in the Lord the Devil will lose at the end (1-3). Our G-d made the world and everything in it because of that, He knows what it will take to heal the land and everything in it. The problem is, we have our timing and G-d has His. When we rely on our timing, sort of like Saul and the unauthorized sacrifice, whatever G-d has in mind for us is irrevocably altered (1 Samuel 13:8-12). If we hold on to the word that was given us whether, the promise to David or the word of Daniel, G-d will bring things to their ultimate conclusion (4-7, 1 Samuel 16:12-13, Daniel 9:1-3). When we grab hold of the horns of the altar through the storms and trials, we will have reason to rejoice when the storms clear and the trials end and our joy will not be taken away (8-11, John 16:21-22).

Proverbs 13:1-13 – Wisdom’s Academy. Listening to wisdom is often met with resistance because it doesn’t jive with our modicum of life. The thing about wisdom is that much of her understanding comes from a heap of bad decisions that brought its subject to the brink of ruin (1). The mouth is an abyss that needs to be guarded against what goes in and what comes out (2-3). Attending Wisdom’s Academy requires the student to research its information and apply the truth to their life before telling others how to live (4-6). Wealth is seen as a fortress in that it protects its owner from all harm the problem is, “it’s all an illusion”. People will cater to the rich and influential to get some of the funds or to ride their coattails. Where the wheels come off the axel is when the rich and/or influential get themselves into trouble (7-8). Righteousness’ reward is seen in the outcome that defies the storms the person faced (9-10). Life’s reward is watching her students grow strong in faith, proper use of funds, and applying the skills she provides (11-13).

Acts 13:13-52 – The Age-Old Story. At Pamphylia, which is located in southern Anatolia, John Mark went back to Jerusalem for an unknown reason. Paul and Barnabus went to the Synagog on the Sabbath in Pisidia (13-14). After reading from the Law and the Prophets the Synagog leader asked Paul if he had a word of encouragement (15). So Paul tells Israel’s story which would have elicited “pride and patriotism” (16-25). The problem arose when Paul tied in Christ’s connection to the story (26-39). To further complicate the problem, Paul cites one of the revered prophets Habakuk (40-41, Habakuk 1:5). Among the Jews as well as Islam, Jesus is not accepted as the Messiah by portions of the nation. So when the entire community showed up for the next week’s service, the Jews became jealous just as Saul had been jealous of David (42-45). After giving the word to the Jews first, Paul turned to the gentiles which elicited praise and spontaneous worship (46-52).

1 Samuel 19:11-24 – Saul’s Quest to Kill David. Envy and Jealousy had gnawed at Saul’s heart to the point in which everything David did was seen as an attempt to steal the throne. Michal, David’s wife and daughter of King Saul helped David escape Saul’s clutches; to give him enough time, she put the head of a G-d in David’s bed (11-12). When he was told that David was ill, Saul said “Bring him to me in his bed so that I may put him to death” (13-17). Having escaped Saul, David met up with Samuel in Ramah. This would seem to be a strategic error but the Lord G-d had a plan for Saul. The men Saul sent to kill David were caught up in the spirit of prophecy alongside the company of prophets. Having had two failed attempts, Saul went on the third trip and he too was caught up in the spirit. The events at Ramah should have forever cemented in Saul’s thick head that David was the Lord’s anointed and was not to be touched sort of like what happened with Elijah (18-24, 2 Kings 1:9-15).

Bible Readings for 2/16/2022

Deuteronomy 28:36-51

Psalms 45

Proverbs 12:15-28

Acts 13:1-12

1 Samuel 19:1-10

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 28:36-51 – Curses For Disobedience. Disobedience to the Lord’s commands would cause the people to lose the land. If the current occupants could be removed although they had been in the land for centuries, Israel could be removed no matter how long or how well entrenched they might become (36-40). The problem, though, would not be with the parents that were going into the land it would be with their children (41-42). The nations that would become Israel’s servants could and would become the master and Israel the slave (43-44). The curses would not be an immediate “about-face” it would take time and conditions to occur (45-51).

Psalms 45 – Your Throne, O G-d, Is Forever. This Psalm was written by the sons of Korach and is a wedding Psalm for the King who is marrying a foreign woman (1-3, ). The King has the responsibility and accountability for the kingdom. How manages it is how he will be judged (4-5). If we want our kingdom to be seen as being “righteous”, we must learn from the King of Righteousness what pleases Him (6-9). To the foreign-born bride, she is encouraged to forget her people, their beliefs, and traditions and truly marry the King (10-12). The Queen would receive all that she would need to live in the land. Her sons would become princes in the land and one would become the next King of Israel (13-17).

Proverbs 12:15-28 – The Two Outlooks. As I said before, the fruit will always tell the quality and type of tree. You will not go to an apple tree to harvest pears nor a pear tree to harvest carrots; when it comes to the fool and the wise, it is the same thing. A fool will not listen to advice unless it is a word that confirms their beliefs (15-16). For truth to be spoken, there first must be the understanding that the “truth” is not a matter of “like or dislike”. In the same way, relationships are harmed more by lies than by the telling of the truth (17-18). One can tell a lie and make it believable until the facts are presented and the lie falls apart (19-22). There are times when we will withhold information either because we are not sure it is correct or it is not the right time (23). It is an oddity about the word of G-d in that it speaks of “end results” and on rare occasions, a timeline is given (24-25). The righteous person will carefully consider what comes out of his/her mouth and the pathway he/she is taking where the fool has no such concerns (26-28).

Acts 13:1-12 – Barnabus and Saul Sent Off. While at Antioch, the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophets to have Saul and Barnabus for a special assignment. After prayer and fasting over the decision, the two men were prayed over and then sent off for what would be Saul’s first missionary trip (1-3). Sailing from Seleucia, which is located in Turkey, they sailed to Cyprus which is located in Greece in what was the “Ottoman Empire”. At Salamis, which is located in Cyprus and is a principal city (4-5). At Paphos, they encountered a false prophet called Bar-Jesus who had a strong influence on the proconsul. The proconsul, Sergius Paulus invited the missionary team to give a word of encouragement (6-7). Elymas used the opportunity to heckle the missionary team so that his target, Sergius, would not come to faith. Saul, now called Paul, put Elymas on notice that he was under the power of the Devil and that for a time he would be blind just as Paul had been before Ananias touched him (8-12).

1 Samuel 19:1-10 – Saul Tries to Kill David. Saul had given the command that David was to be put to death. Under normal circumstances, this command would have been carried out if not for the relationship David had with Jonathan (1). Jonathan interceded for David and convinced his father to relent by reminding his father of the good that David had done so Saul did (2-7). David and Saul’s relationship had been restored until war broke out and David successfully routed the Philistines once again. The spirit of “Jealousy” overcame Saul’s good senses and because of it, Saul tried to pin David to the wall (8-10).

Bible Readings for 2/15/2022

Deuteronomy 28:15-35

Psalms 44:17-26

Proverbs 12:1-14

Acts 12

1 Samuel 18:17-30

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 28:15-35 – Curses for Disobedience. Disobedience is the act of listening to the law but choosing not to obey it. When we choose to not listen to the Lord’s instructions, whatever He was trying to save us from will become the end result (15-19). Once we start down the road to disobedience, we will face nothing but trouble even if we plant honestly or give graciously. Eventually, the evil plans we have laid will be the bed we will be made to sleep in (20-24). The Lord’s method of destroying us is by the hands of old enemies (25-31). The biggest problem by far is that our children pay the price for our actions either by being excluded or looked on disfavorably (32). When everything we have worked so hard to accumulate is given away like one would clothing to the Good Will, you will know that there is something wrong (33-35).

Psalms 44:17-26 – Come to Our Help. When a disaster occurs in our life, we owe it to ourselves to search our souls to see if we caused the problem (17-19). There are people in this world that want nothing to do with peace and will do everything within their power to crush peace (Mike Krier). These people go out under the cover of darkness to plant seeds that will overtake peace (20-22). It is in these times that we need to go to our knees and seek the face of G-d (23-26).

Proverbs 12:1-14 – Planting Season. Israel is an agrarian society (Agrarian). Planting and nourishing good seeds of faith and integrity will guarantee good produce in time (1-3). How we treat others will either cause us to be seen as a “cad” or a “prince” (4-5). Having weeds crop up in our garden is not an indictment on us unless we allow the weeds to continue to grow and mature (6-7). While we cannot stop weeds of bitterness, hatred, envy, etc .. we do have the power to overcome it by positive action (8-11). The question we need to ask ourselves is, “what plants do we want coming from our lives?” (12-14).

Acts 12 – James and Peter. James was killed by King Herod. Herod Agrippa was a vassal king to Emporer Caligula. In his zeal for Orthodox Jewish teachings, Herod tried to snuff out Christianity (Britannica). Peter was imprisoned by Herod to have him publically executed (1-5). In response to Herod, the church prayed corporately and personally for Peter’s release. An angel was sent to free Peter (6-11). After being freed, Peter went to the home church to share the good news and then left the city (12-17). The next morning the soldiers were investigated and then put to death (18-19). Herod was killed by an angel while he was in Caesarea (20-23). The church, though, continued to survive and grow (24-25).

1 Samuel 18:17-30 – David Marries Michal. Being offered the first-born daughter of the King to be your wife was the highest honor that could be paid. The problem with Saul’s offer was that he had ulterior motives and that was, to have David killed by the hands of the Philistines (17-18). David was a humble man who never sought glory for himself nor did he laud his position over his family. So, he turned down the offer however much it would have benefited him (19). The form of the word “love” that Michal had for David was, “ahab” or “human love” which could be applied as a family or sexual love. I believe that the intended meaning was that Michal lusted after David in the same way that Potipher’s wife loved Joseph (20, Genesis 39:7-8, Blue Letter Bible). The King’s intention was always to have David killed without having to get his hands dirty in the same way David had Uriah killed (20-21). David did not trust Saul so Saul had people who David trusted urge him to marry Michal (22-25). David returned to Saul having killed and skinned the requisite number of Philistines and by it thwarted Saul’s plans (26-30).

 

Bible Readings for 2/13/2022

Deuteronomy 28:1-14

Psalms 44:1-16

Proverbs 11:12-31

Acts 11

1 Samuel 18:1-16

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 28:1-14 – Blessings of Obedience. Obedience to the law is more than a spiritual decision, it will bless your home and your personal life. When the community adheres to the law, peace ensues and the community prospers (1-6). Our enemies or those who oppose us will start fights with us or find a reason to destroy us. In our finances, we will lend to people but borrow from none. We may not live an opulent lifestyle but our needs will be met when we are careful to ask for them (7-14).

Psalms 44:1-16 – Come to Our Help. When we are in trouble, we need to ask for the Lord’s help. What the Lord has done in ages past is passed down through stories (1-3). If the Lord is not “your Lord” when life is at its best, how can we expect His blessings in times of trouble (4-8)? The thing is, not all times of rejection and trouble come as a result of disobedience, some come to test our courage and conviction (9-16, Case of Job).

Proverbs 11:12-31 – Troubling the House. Whatever we do in life will either bring credit or disaster to our homes. Problems in a community or home usually start small and then gather steam (12-15). Causing problems for others will eventually touch our lives as well (16-18). Righteousness will lead away from traps if we are listening to the voice of the Lord (19-23). Being generous and loving has its own fruit and those who do so will be blessed in their time of need (24-26). While it is easy to find the bad in people, it takes greater effort but better fruit when we look for the best in people. In the same way, when we bless others we also bring blessings to our home (27-31).

Acts 11 – The Fire is Kindled. Peter had eaten and talked with the gentiles and, because of the Jewish law, this was a sinful action. Peter explained his actions beginning with the vision that he had received. Peter’s report soothed the concerns of the elders and opened the door for reaching the gentile nations that would be fulfilled by Paul (1-18). Antioch which is located in ancient Syria became ground 0 for the Christian church. Evangelists who left Cyprus and Cyrene due to persecution came to Antioch to share the good news with the Hellenists (19-20). Once the fire was started, it spread to the people which gave birth to the Christian church. Upon hearing of the growth in Antioch, Under the tutelage of Saul and Barnabus the infant church prospered (21-26). Agabus the prophet prophesied of a great famine. Having this knowledge in mind, a plan was put in place to provide for the church during the famine (27-30).

1 Samuel 18:1-16 – Setting the Stage. The anointing that was on Saul was now on David. The void in Saul’s heart was then filled with envy and jealousy. Giving David his cloak and sword was the highest honor that Jonathan could give David according to Eastern culture (1-4, Jamieson and Fausset). Because the Lord was with David, where ever he went and whatever he did, he succeeded. David became the nation’s champion (5). Because of these events, Saul became jealous of David and didn’t help that David was credited with more kills than he was (6-9). The harmful spirit knew that David was the Lord’s anointed so it compelled Saul to kill David. After being unsuccessful, Saul did the next best thing he got David out of his sight with hopes that David would die in battle (12-16).

Bible Reading 2/11/2022

Deuteronomy 27:9-26

Psalms 43

Proverbs 11:1-11

Acts 10:34-48

1 Samuel 17:41-58

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 27:9-26 – Mount Ebal. One member from each of the 12 tribes would be represented to utter the blessings and curses; Representatives of Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali would utter the curses from Mount Ebal. Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin would stand on Mount Gerazim to utter the blessings. The remainder of the nation would stand in the middle and say amen to the blessings and curses (9-14). When we are disobedient in any area of our life, we cause problems for ourselves, our homes, and our communities. The word “curse” means to invoke a solemn oath for a supernatural power or inflict harm. The curses that are listed are from Israel’s past failures or, “real-world events” (15-26).

Psalms 43 – Send Out Your Light and Truth. Taking a stand in life is very difficult because it could very well mean that we will stand alone. Walking in step with the world does not guarantee the same results for everyone it’s part of the “unfairness of life”. Walking in obedience to the Lord may not get you uber-rich but, you will have peace in your life even when troubles invade your life (1-2). For this reason, we need the Word of G-d operating in and through our lives so that no matter what happens, we will know the truth and be set free by it (3-4). When not “if” trouble comes, we need to place our trust in Him and not lose faith (5).

Proverbs 11:1-11 – The Righteous and the Wicked. When it comes to life, there are two paths both of which go somewhere. Unless we have walked a certain pathway before, we do not know what we will encounter along the way or where it leads to. In the same way, when it comes to the “wicked” or the “righteous” pathways, we have no idea what lies ahead. G-d’s Word promises that He will bless obedience but what we forget is that the pathways have pitfalls. One of the pitfalls comes in how the world views “success”. Consider how the drug dealer or porn distributor enjoys an opulent lifestyle. The problem is that the Devil has an end game that comes when mankind least expects it. Remember, having the peace of Christ Jesus dwelling in us is worth every penny and every hardship that may come our way (1-11).

Acts 10:34-48 – Peter Shares the Good News. Jews meeting with gentiles was forbidden by Jewish law. Yet, the Lord sends Peter to tell the group of gentiles the good news. Standing in the presence of the gentiles sharing the good news were an eye-opener and a word of confirmation to Peter (34-35). Part of the reasoning for trusting what Peter had to say was that they had heard rumors and snippets of what Jesus had done in his lifetime (36-38). Peter and many others had been witnesses to everything that happened from day 1 to the death on the cross (39-43). Because of Peter’s obedience to the Lord, salvation came upon the group of gentiles. The power that overcame Peter and the disciples also came upon the rag-tag group of gentiles (44-48).

1 Samuel 17:41-58 – David and Goliath. Goliath of Gath was a formidable man who many feared because of his height and when he put on his armor, no one challenged him. David, on the other hand, was not imposing and many including his brothers thought him to be nothing more than a “sheepherder”. So when Goliath caught sight of David, he thought “that’ll be too easy” (41-44). David had faith in the Lord G-d that was unmatched (45-47). The Philistine armies had counted on their champion so when the stone from David’s sling knocked the champion out, it created havoc in the camp. It was then that the armies of Israel found their courage and attacked the enemy in force (48-52). Taking the giant’s sword, David cut the Philistine’s head off and returned to the Israelite’s camp with the sword in tow (53-54). From this point on, David became part of Saul’s army (55-58).

Bible Readings 2/11/2022

Deuteronomy 27:1-8

Psalms 42

Proverbs 10:22-32

Acts 10:1-33

1 Samuel 17:31-40

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 27:1-8 – The Altar on Mount Ebal. Moses summoned the people to the altar and gave the command “Obey the whole law” (1). When the people entered the land, they were to gather the stones and plaster to erect a  Peace memorial (2-4). The people were to build the altar by hand and were not to use any iron tools. The reasoning behind the stipulation was that iron tools were used as weapons, this was a “peace memorial” (5-7,  ). Once the altar was completed, the people were to write the entire law on the stones in clear distinct words (8). The reasoning behind this was that once Moses and the elders were gone, the people would forget what was said or misinterpret the words.

Psalms 42 – Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul? According to an online article, a deer pants for water as a way of cooling itself off while it is in search of water (1, ). In the same way, our soul longs for the Living G-d. The problem is, we don’t recognize the need because the symptoms do not shout out, “I need ____” (2-3). When we are thirsty, our body mistakes the notion to mean “I am hungry” and so we eat (Mixed Signals). When we have stayed away from the throne room for lengthy periods, our soul begins to deteriorate, and like the sentence above, our soul becomes hungry for the Word of G-d and reacts in ways that decry what our soul longs for by being even more sinful (4). We have a choice, though, we can stay in a deteriorated status or, we can go back to the place where we have been fed life-giving food and the water of the Holy Spirit to quench our thirst (5-8). The thing is, G-d has never forgotten about us, and nor has he given up on us (9). The enemy uses this inherent weakness in mankind to taunt G-d’s servants by telling them, “you can’t go back to G-d, He’s all through with you”. It is in these times we need to remind the enemy who is the defeated foe and who is the victor (10-11).

Proverbs 10:22-32 – The Righteous and the Wicked. Living a righteous life is not limited to the Jewish nation nor the Christian, it is universal. The lifestyle live is a personal choice. Following the course of the world is an easy choice, “just follow the trampled on pathway” (22-23, Matthew 7:13-14). David could have cowered alongside the other soldiers but, he took a stand at the chagrin of his brothers (24-28, 1 Samuel 17:28). The thing is, there is a difference between “talking righteous” and “living according to our conviction” (29-32).

Acts 10:1-33 – Peter and Cornelius. Cornelius was a Roman Centurian who provided for the poor, feared the Lord, and prayed daily for his nation and for the Jews. This, of course, probably went over like a lead balloon by the Roman leadership (1-2). While he was in prayer about the ninth hour or “evening prayer”, the Lord told him to call for Peter who staying in Joppa. Cornelius sent two of his servants to request Peter’s presence (3-8). Remember this, anytime the Lord calls you to do something He will also provide the needs. In Peter’s case, the Lord gave him a vision of the animals, told him to rise and eat them. Peter was a true Jew in that he did not eat unclean animals. The Lord told Peter, “don’t call unclean what the Lord calls clean” (9-16). This, of course, confused Peter because of what the law said. When the men arrived, the Lord let Peter in on the particulars (17-23). The next day, Peter went with the Centurian’s servants out of obedience to the Lord (24-29).

1 Samuel 17:31-40 – David Prepares to Fight Goliath. Word had gotten to Saul that a “sucker” I mean, “warrior” had agreed to take on Goliath (31). So, the King requested David’s presence. Remember, David was just a boy barely over the age of 17. When Saul got sight of David he had to think, “either this kid is a braggart or a fool” (32-33). David relayed his credentials and the King had no further objections (34-37). Because the only armor David had was a slingshot, Saul had him put on the King’s armor which was several sizes too big for him. The armor would have been a liability because it would have slowed him down and would be unable to lift the sword. So, David took it off and with a sling, five stones, and an unshakable faith in the Lord (38-40).

 

Bible Readings for 2/7/2022

Deuteronomy 26

Psalms 41

Proverbs 10:10-21

Acts 9:32-43

1 Samuel 17:12-30

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 26 – Offerings of Firstfruits and Tithes. The purpose of the “first fruits and tithes” was to show evidence of the Lord’s provisions. SO when they got into the land, the people were to plant their crops and harvest them. The feast of “Firstfruits” was called “Pentecost” or the 50th day after last year’s harvest. The people were to take the fruit, put it in a basket and take it to the “One place of worship” (1-4). When they got to the “One place” they were to recite, “A wandering Aramean was my father …” (5-11). What was left after paying their tithes would go to the Levites, the widow, orphan, and sojourner (12-13). After providing for the above, the person would recite what I call the “honesty pledge” Ananias and Sapphira forgot about (14-15). The reason the Lord was so specific in His commands was that when He provided for us, He didn’t without anything good from us, and nothing that he gave came with “strings attached”. For us to be “His treasured possession”, we must act like it and show it by being the “difference” (16-18).

Psalms 41 – O Lord, Be Gracious to Me. When we are ill or in dire straights, we will go to the place where our needs will be met. In Jesus’ time, people thronged from all over the area to have the healer touch their wounds. Hezekiah had become ill to the point where he was near death. Instead of turning to the doctors, he turned his eyes to the Lord and was healed by a poultice (1-4, 2 Kings 20). Throughout his life, Hezekiah had served the Lord faithfully which had to put him at odds with the nations that fought against Israel. So, when he was near death the nations were salivating over a new king who would capitulate with them (5-9). The Lord shows his delight in us by “long life (10-13, Psalms 91:14-16).

Proverbs 10:10-21 – Proverbs of Solomon. Unfortunately, our greatest source of trouble is usually our mouths and the second greatest is our eyes (10-11). The enemy of our soul knows that if he can get us to “hate someone”, the seeds of strife will be planted and all they will need is a little bit of water and fertilizer to get hate to grow (12). Wisdom and love are also seeds that when planted require watering and fertilizer (13). The wise at heart carefully weigh out what seeds they allow planted in the garden of their heart (14). Wealth nor lack of it determine the quality of one’s life but how that wealth or lack of it is applied (15-21).

Acts 9:32-43 – The Healing of Aeneas. Aeneas had been paralyzed for eight years before his encounter with Peter (32-33). When Peter spoke to this man, he didn’t ask “how’d you get like that” or, “do you repent of your sins”, he said, “Jesus heals you get up and make your bed” (34-35). This required the man to make an act of faith. This single act sparked a fire in the community. Dorcus had been the light and spirit of the community and her death was felt by the entire community (36-39). Peter was called upon to come and revive Dorcas. When he arrived, he did not make a big show of things, he simply put everyone out of the room. The first thing Peter did was kneel down to pray so that the credit for the healing and restoration would be the Lord, not Peter unlike what happened at the rock of Meribah (40-43, Numbers 20:2-13).

1 Samuel 17:12-30 – Goliath’s Challenge. As I said yesterday, Goliath had no fear of any man because he was an imposing giant of a man. When lining up for battle, all Goliath had to do was walk to the line, lift his spear, and wear his battle armament (12-23). The men in Saul’s army took their cue from him on how to react to Goliath’s presence. Unlike the other men in Saul’s army, David didn’t run when he saw Goliath, he was ready to take him on in battle (24-27). David’s brother Eliab was less than amused when he heard what David was saying. Eliab had thought David was spouting off and would run the first time Goliath shook his spear. The difference between David and Saul is the same difference between walking by faith and by sight (28-30).

 

Bible Readings for 2/6/2022

Deuteronomy 25

Psalms 40:9-17

Proverbs 10:1-9

Acts 9:26-31

1 Samuel 17:1-11

Mike’s Notes

Deuteronomy 25 – Miscellaneous Laws. The purpose of punishment is two-fold, it lets the criminal know that his/her works will be judged and, it lets the community know that evil will not be tolerated. When punishing an individual with a whipping, the maximum number of lashes is no more than 40 (1-4). Levirate marriage ensures that a deceased man’s lineage would not die out; according to commentary, this law has been rescinded. The practice of “taking off your sandal” is a legal transaction. The practice of spitting in the face is a sign of contempt (5-10, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Jstor stable 3266188). The keyword for the community was “honesty”. Remember this “the Lord’s cherished people”. If they were dishonest, what does it say about the Lord (13-16)? As stated earlier, the nation was in no condition to take on Amalek but when able, they were to deal with the nation for its inhospitable acts (17-19).

Psalms 40:9-17 – My Actions in view of the Lord’s Mercies. Because I call myself “a child of G-d”, I must act accordingly. When I do that which is evil like the Priests at the tail end of the 1st Temple period, I am in fact misusing His name. When I speak and act with mercy to those I encounter, it is His love that is displayed. From this, people come to the Lord despite the mess that holds them bound (9-10). When we are merciful to others, we can enter His throneroom knowing that we will extend the scepter toward us (11-12). When we sin, the world will use us as the butt end of their jokes; the Lord, however, will accept us and the blood covers our iniquities (13-15, 1 John 1:9). May my life be an example of your forgiveness and may I always offer the same grace and mercy to those who offend me (16-17).

Proverbs 10:1-9 – The Proverbs of Solomon. Living a sinful life although expedient and bringing with it a fair share of thrills and fun, has a nasty aftertaste to it. The reason it is expedient is that living in sin requires no thought, “just do what the Romans do”. Living a righteous life requires constant watch over our actions, thoughts, and words. The difference between the two worlds is, “the outcome”. If we live a slothful life, in the cold of winter we will have no food to eat (1-5). Our children and the people we represent pay the ultimate price for our actions like the difference between Jesus and Judas (6-8). Maintaining our integrity is important if we want peace in our life (9).

Acts 9:26-31 – Saul in Jerusalem. Saul’s aversion to the disciples was well established in Jerusalem. Before leaving for Damascus he was out to kill anyone who worshipped the Lord. The new Saul was on fire for the Lord. So, you can imagine the fear the people had towards him. Barnabus “son of encouragement” brought Saul before the Apostles and told them what had happened in Damascus (26-27). In Jerusalem at that time, there was a mixture of beliefs sort of like the church systems in America. Saul debated with the Hellenists. Remember by this time the Jews were caught in an “identity crisis”. The Hellenists believed they were the “true Jews” as did the Hebraic Jews. In the same way, when we come to the Lord, there are competing churches that say “Jesus lives here” (28-30, ). Because of Saul and the disciples, there was peace in Jerusalem, Galilee, and Samaria (31).

1 Samuel 17:1-11 – David and Goliath. Goliath was a giant of a man and he frightened Saul and the Israeli armies. The victory would be decided by the outcome of whoever defeated or was defeated by Goliath. The giant was confident in his size and the armor he wore and he thought no one could beat him so he chided them continually. To Saul and the armies, Goliath was taller than their faith and outweighed their obedience. That is why no one took Goliath up on his challenge. Saul was no pipsqueak, he was taller than the people he served. Where there is no faith, there will be fear and it will circumvent everything we have been taught (1-11).