chronological day 98 :)

For today, we are reading Ruth 4:13-22, 1 Chronicles 2:9-55, 1 Chronicles 4:1-23, and 1 Samuel 1:1-8.  Lots going on – what stands out to you as important?

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Big day – hard to pick one thing to highlight. Don’t miss our first mention of David – part of Ruth’s harvest (Ruth 4:17)! And there’s Jabez in the middle of all those “son of”s! Fight the urge to skim – we’ve got treasures in these Words!  

“And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So God granted him what he requested” (1 Chronicles 4:10 NKJV)

As we move into Samuel (another favorite of mine!), I notice that Hannah could “expect to the taunted” every time she went to the sanctuary of God….

“her rival wife taunted her cruelly, rubbing it in and never letting her forget that God had not given her children. This went on year after year. Every time she went to the sanctuary of God she could expect to be taunted” (1 Samuel 1:6-7 MSG)

But I notice this as well: she still kept going. Year after year, she could expect this treatment in the sanctuary, but year after year she was still there! People can be cruel, but God is always kind. Don’t allow a “church hurt” to keep you from church.  Don’t allow people actions/words to have such influence that you stop seeking the Lord – Hannah’s persistence through pain paid off, and yours will too!

chronological day 97 :)

Good morning, my friend! Please read Ruth chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4:1-12.  Is this a favorite history for you too?  I love this book!

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At what seemed like the end of everything (their husbands dead, three women left alone), the Bible says that Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem. I like when they arrive, look at this:

“And so Naomi was back, and Ruth the foreigner with her, back from the country of Moab. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest” (1:22 MSG)

Emphasis mine –  they arrived at the beginning and I love that!  Not only the beginning – the beginning of the harvest, when it’s the season of gathering in crops. It’s not the end until God says it’s the end.  Imagine the joyful moment when they realized that God hadn’t abandoned them, still loved them:

“God hasn’t quite walked out on us after all! He still loves us, in bad times as well as good!” (2:20 MSG)

We ought to stand in awe and gratitude and wonder of His love every day! He still loves us, in bad times as well as good!

chronological day 96 :)

Please read Judges 19-21 this morning.  Let’s visit!

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

After today’s reading, my response is (this isn’t spiritual, but) “no duh”. Clearly they just do whatever they feel like doing – this is craziness.  I am glad that they don’t want to see an entire tribe go extinct, but I don’t think they have any true direction on how to move forward.

We know people like this (to be honest, we have been people like this at times, haven’t we?). People who know what the right thing is, but have no idea how to get there.  We have no choice but to depend on the Holy Spirit to guide us – to depend on Him like our very life depends on it, because truthfully it does.

Thank You, Lord, for grace. Thank You, Lord, for Jesus. Thank You, Lord, for not turning us over to our own evil inclinations. Keep us near the Cross.

chronological day 95 :)

Please read Judges 16-18, and head on back.  Let’s see what we get into today! Are you finding that reading the Word daily is helping you understand better? I hope so! Let’s stay close to our Father God by getting familiar with His character through His Word! 

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Delilah made no secret of what she was doing and the motive behind it:

“Delilah said to Samson, ‘Tell me, dear, the secret of your great strength, and how you can be tied up and humbled’ ” (Judges 16:6 MSG)

From the first time she asked Samson for his secret, she said why she wanted to know: to make him weak.  He still entertained conversation with her, and eventually lost the ability to hear from God – the Word said that he didn’t know that God had left him.

“When she got him to sleep, his head on her lap, she motioned to a man to cut off the seven braids of his hair. Immediately he began to grow weak. His strength drained from him. Then she said, ‘The Philistines are on you, Samson!” He woke up, thinking, “I’ll go out, like always, and shake free.’ He didn’t realize that God had abandoned him” (Judges 16:19-20 MSG)

How sad – that’s the bigger loss here, bigger than losing his strength: losing the presence of the Lord. Don’t miss it, don’t skim: “he didn’t realize that God had abandoned him“. This can happen to us.  God doesn’t abandon us, but we lose the ability to hear His precious voice if we allow voices of others to be more important than the voice of God in our lives.

chronological day 94 :)

We’re reading Judges 11:29-40, Judges 12, Judges 13, Judges 14, and Judges 15 today.  Let’s get it done!  Here’s what I am thinking about this morning:

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Jepthath’s story is so sad – he made a rash vow:

“Jephthah made a vow before God: “If you give me a clear victory over the Ammonites, then I’ll give to God whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in one piece from among the Ammonites—I’ll offer it up in a sacrificial burnt offering.” (Judges 11:30-31 MSG)

Beyond unfortunately, this cost him his only child.

“Jephthah came home to Mizpah. His daughter ran from the house to welcome him home—dancing to tambourines! She was his only child. He had no son or daughter except her. When he realized who it was, he ripped his clothes, saying, “Ah, dearest daughter—I’m dirt. I’m despicable. My heart is torn to shreds. I made a vow to God and I can’t take it back!” She said, “Dear father, if you made a vow to God, do to me what you vowed; God did his part and saved you from your Ammonite enemies.” (Judges 11:34-36 MSG)

His daughter had to be grown, to understand what would have to happen.

Sometimes I wish the Bible gave us more emotion, but I know that God knows best. Words are important.

chronological day 93 :)

For today, we are reading Judges 9:22-57, Judges 10, and Judges 11:1-28.  Does anything strike you as important or valuable today?

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It seems like the Israelites are only faithful to God based on their current circumstances.

“And then the People of Israel went back to doing evil in God’s sight. They worshiped the Baal gods and Ashtoreth goddesses: gods of Aram, Sidon, and Moab; gods of the Ammonites and the Philistines. They just walked off and left God, quit worshiping him. And God exploded in hot anger at Israel and sold them off to the Philistines and Ammonites, who, beginning that year, bullied and battered the People of Israel mercilessly. For eighteen years they had them under their thumb, all the People of Israel who lived east of the Jordan in the Amorite country of Gilead. Then the Ammonites crossed the Jordan to go to war also against Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim. Israel was in a bad way! The People of Israel cried out to God for help: “We’ve sinned against you! We left our God and worshiped the Baal gods!” (Judges 10:6-10 MSG)

If the “land is quiet”, they forget about God; when they get into trouble, they cry out for His help. Consequences aren’t always immediate – we should be faithful regardless of our circumstances.  When a situation drives us into our prayer closet, we shouldn’t let relief of that situation drive us back out. Lord, help me to be faithful all the time!

chronological day 92 :)

Please read Judges 7, Judges, 8, and Judges 9:1-21.

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When Gideon made the ephod that the people were seduced by, it made me think of the golden calf – both the calf and the ephod were made from golden earrings (I’m not suggesting a connection, just reminded me).  

“Gideon made the gold into a sacred ephod and put it on display in his hometown, Ophrah. All Israel prostituted itself there. Gideon and his family, too, were seduced by it” (Judges 8:27 MSG)

I wonder if Gideon knew he made a mistake in the attack on the Midianite kings and was trying to create some type of the presence of God for himself. An ephod is the clothing that the priests wore… was he trying to win back favor in the wrong way, then let the ephod itself become some sort of idol? The people of Israel had chance after chance after chance to return to God and STAY. 

It’s sad that Gideon could experience the Lord in such a mighty way and still be seduced by an idol.  God help all of us stay strong.

chronological day 91 :)

This morning, we’ll read Judges 3:31, Judges 4, Judges 5, and Judges 6.  

images (3)God can use men AND women – whoever is willing. Because He is willing to use whoever is available and obedient, don’t miss your chance to bring Him glory!

“Barak said, “If you go with me, I’ll go. But if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.” Deborah said, “Of course I’ll go with you. But understand that with an attitude like that, there’ll be no glory in it for you. God will use a woman’s hand to take care of Sisera” (Judges 4:-9 MSG)

I’m getting a little weary of the people of Israel, are you? They continue to rebel, even after seeing God’s faithfulness on their behalf.

“Yet again the People of Israel went back to doing evil in God’s sight” (Judges 6:1 MSG)

As Gideon was putting out his fleeces, I’m thankful for the benefit of the Holy Spirit. We don’t need to put our fleeces or make bargains with the Lord, we ask for direction and He guides us. Thank You Father!

chronological day 90 :)

Good morning!  Please read Judges 1, Judges 2, and Judges 3:1-30. 3 months in and you are doing great!

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When the people entered the promised land and failed to oust the Canaanites, it shouldn’t have been a surprise when their children failed to serve the one true God. Joshua has passed away, and – 

“Eventually that entire generation died and was buried. Then another generation grew up that didn’t know anything of God or the work he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10 MSG)

So sad! After everything they’ve been through, so many years, so many trials, so many victories, so much poured into them by Moses…. Imagine a generation being raised with this other people, their culture, their false gods…. even if they were just laborers, they were still a presence. If you were raised there, you’d probably just accept it.

(I also notice that Moses continually poured into Joshua as he led the people of Israel, purposefully mentoring him to be the next leader.  I don’t notice that Joshua grooming anyone…. is this significant?  Who are you pouring into? A leader duplicates him/herself).

What is that saying – “what you tolerate becomes your standard”? So important to live by God’s standards AND teach them daily to your children.

chronological day 89 :)

Please read Joshua 22, 23, and 24.  Lots going on today – it’s hard to just hit a few highlights!  What would your highlights be today?

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When the Reubenites, Gadites, and half tribe of Manasseh built the altar, the people misunderstood and spoke against them. But notice: these tribes were not offended by the misconception nor did it stop them!

“He knows and he’ll let Israel know if this is a rebellious betrayal of God. And if it is, don’t bother saving us. If we built ourselves an altar in rebellion against God, if we did it to present on it Whole-Burnt-Offerings or Grain-Offerings or to enact there sacrificial Peace-Offerings, let God decide. But that’s not it. We did it because we cared”  (Joshua 22:22-24 MSG)

Sometimes we are also misunderstood – but we can’t let those times cause offense or stop our progress. It hurts to be misunderstood sometimes! I like it when we get to familiar verses (choose this day who you will serve) in their own context – so powerful!

“choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15 NKJV)

Throughout chapter 24, Joshua recounts his journey like Moses did, leaving a legacy for the people. It’s important to remember the past as a matter of warning or encouragement. It’s equally important that we not dwell in the past or let the enemy use past mistakes against us to stop our progress.

“After all this, Joshua son of Nun, the servant of God, died. He was 110 years old” (Joshua 24:29 MSG)