Friday, December 30, 2016

Putting a Puzzle Together

O. T. #895  "Putting a Puzzle Together"
Dec. 30, 2016
1 Chronicles 10
Nothing is impossible for God.  Luke 1:37


If you have ever put together a thousand piece puzzle, like me, you know it is hard to see the big picture while putting together only sections and pieces at a time. This book of the Bible is the bigger picture, of which we only see sections. We can stand back and get a bigger glimpse of how it all comes together, piece by piece, section by section.

What has happened between the time of those 40 kings of Israel and Judah in 2 Kings and 1 Chronicles? Israel was conquered by Assyria and later Babylon, then Judah was taken captive to Babylon for some 70 years. Then the Meads and Persians took over the Babylonian empire. The king of Persia, Cyrus, released the Jews to return to their land and city of Jerusalem. They went in three different groups, repairing the walls around Jerusalem and rebuilding the Temple, reestablishing a government and worship system for God. We can see God's hand in Israel as His story is given.

The historical books of 1 and 2 Samuel, Kings and Chronicles are similar. The purposes of Ezra, the priest of Israel and writer of this book, was to make sure the returning Jews knew about their heritage, King David's promise from God to always have a descendant upon the throne, and Israel's faith in God, including God's faithfulness and blessings.

In chapters 1-9, we read of the heirs and their families of the promises made to and through the patriarchs. Ezra listed the genealogy of David's family. The tribes Judah and Benjamin remained under David's grandson's reign (Rehoboam), with other kings in the Davidic line and dynasty. This was so important in that some 500 years later, Joseph, the adopted father of our Lord Jesus, is referred to as a "son of David" in Matthew 1, making Jesus the rightful heir to the throne of David.

Do we see God's Sovereign hand upon the lives of people throughout the Bible? What about our families? Can we see God weaving through the lives of our ancestors? To bring home, do we see God's hand moving upon our life and our family?


Now the rest of this book is centered around King David's reign over Israel, before Israel split into two kingdoms of Judah and Israel. Before David became king, Saul reigned as Israel's first king. Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin, while David was of the tribe of Judah.

Here is the tragic end of Saul and his sons. While Israel and these men fought against the Philistines, Saul's three sons were killed in battle. Then archers hit Saul and wounded him. Saul told his armorbearer to kill him before the enemy came and tortured him, but he refused. Saul took his sword and fell upon it, ending his life.

The next day, the Philistines found Saul and his sons dead in the field. They cut off Saul's head and stripped off his armor. Then they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan and his head to the house of Dagon, where they worshiped the false god. When the Israeli men at Jabesh-gilead heard about this, they rescued Saul's body his sons' bodies and buried them. (verse 11)

Ezra left out the details of Saul's life, presuming that his readers wee acquainted with the failure of his life. In verse 13-14, we find out that the LORD slew Saul because of the transgressions he committed against the LORD. Saul had enquired advice from a medium and familiar spirit instead of asking the Lord what to do. Saul's rebellion and disobedience was judged. (Deut.17-18)

What can we learn from this story?

It is not enough just to avoid what is wrong; we need to actively purse what is right. (Life Application Study Bible)

Only by the grace of God through the death of Jesus is anyone spared from death, the natural consequences of disobedience. (David Jeremiah)

This demonstrates that human behavior is under the ultimate control of God, who achieves His purpose through the actions of people.  (MacArthur)

Henry Blackaby tells us that true worship of God is life-changing. True worship results in repentance, obedient submission, and a desire for holiness (Isaiah 6:1-8). The one who truly worships God will have a sense of peace and a confident expectation of what God is about to do.


Worship God in spirit and in truth.

Repent, submit, and seek holiness.

Believe that nothing is impossible for God.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Before and After

O. T. #894  "Before and After"
Dec. 29, 2016
1 Chronicles 9
They were very able men for the work of the service of the house of God.  1 Chronicles 9:13


Do you have a before and after time in your life when some major event occurred? Probably mine would be those years and experiences when we moved from our hometown, the before, and then when we returned, the after. Both of our mothers passed away within a year of our returning.
Israel's main event was their being taken away in captivity to Babylon-the before this and after this.

The genealogy of Israel and Judah was concluded here, before they were carried away into captivity in Babylon. Then the focus shifts to the first inhabitants after the captivity and those who returned to Jerusalem, which logically should have appeared at the end of this book, but did not.
They were the three groups of workers at the Temple:
  1. Priests who were descendants of Aaron, offered the sacrifices and cared for the Holy Place.
  2. Levites were a broader class of religious workers, who served in many way-practical, artistic, and spiritual.
  3. Nethinims were special servants given to the Temple.

People who went to dwell in Jerusalem with the intent of restoration were of the tribe of Judah, with some of the children from Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh tribes.

Even though the northern kingdom of Israel never returned from dispersion in 722 B.C., many from the ten tribes which made up that kingdom migrated south after the division in 93 B.C. The result was that Judah, the southern kingdom, had people from all tribes, so that when returning from captivity "all Israel" was truly represented. (MacArthur)

The importance of worship was renewed. Ezra wrote these names of the returnees as a concern for a nation to return to what made them great in the first place-obedience to God.

What is your before and after a significant event?


In verses 10-32, we read of the responsibilities of the Levites and the roles of the gatekeepers, 212 in number, were Levites who guarded the Tabernacle at the 4 gates to preserve its holiness. They lodged all around the House of God since they opened the doors in the morning for those who wanted to worship. Also, the responsibilities of the gatekeepers included the serving vessels, furnishings, wine, oil, incense, fine flour, and spices. Their fathers had been the keepers of the entranced to the camp of the LORD.

Last, the genealogy of King Saul, Israel's first king, before and after him are listed. His genealogy continues for 12 generations, but crashed when David was established as king. (Saul's family continued to live in Jerusalem, according to verse 38.

Whatever our role of service in the church, it is of importance to God. Our faithfulness and attitude is of importance, no matter the role. As the gatekeepers had to be reliable, honest, and trustworthy, so should we. Do we stop to thank those people who keep our church in order and presentable? Is our focus upon worshiping God when we enter the church's doors or gates?


May I honor You, Lord Jesus, as I served in our church.

Help me to be faithful in teaching Your Word and a faithful gatekeeper.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Different, Yet the Same

O. T. #893 "Different, Yet the Same"
Dec. 28, 2016
1 Chronicles 8
Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God unto him?
2 Samuel 9:3


I have a cousin who has been my dear friend throughout our lives. In spite of our differences, we still talk to each other often. The love we developed early in childhood has remained in our hearts. So it was with David and Jonathan in the Bible. They were different, yet the same.

More details about the genealogy of Benjamin (Jacob's youngest son) are given in this chapter than in chapter 7.
MacArthur says that it is likely because that tribe's important relationship with Judah in the southern kingdom. These two tribes taken in captivity together and the Levites make up the returning remnant in 538 B.C.
Most of their settlements were in the area of Jerusalem, which was the main area that the returning exiles came to in the days Chronicles was written. Benjamin as a tribe was second in importance among the 12. (Guzik)
Notable men in his family include:
  • Gera, the father of Ehud, and the left-handed judge who killed Eglon, king of the Amalekites in Judges 3:15.
  • Saul was Israel's first king. He pursued David, trying to kill him after David killed the giant Goliath, due to jealousy.
  • Jonathan was King Saul's son and David's best friend. He helped David escape from his father.
  • Mephibosheth was Jonathan's crippled son, whom David provided for and gave his grandfather's land.
  • Sons of Ulam were mighty men of valor (strength) and archers, having military skill.
The number of descendants indicated the blessings of God. Yet, what a contrast between father and son. The father sought to kill the friend of the son, who protected his friend.
This shows how we can be different from our family by living godly.


In 2 Samuel, David made an oath with his friend Jonathan. He promised to show the kindness of God to Jonathan's children whenever David became king (1 Samuel 20:42). By allowing Mephibosheth to eat at the king's table, though he was a cripple, illustrates to us the hope we have as a cripple in sin, allowed to eat spiritual food at our King Jesus' table (now n His Word and later in heaven).

Did you ever think about David being of the tribe of Judah and Jonathan being of tribe of Benjamin? Two different families, yet related to the same man, Jacob. Different bloodline, yet the same heart.

What a beautiful story of kindness and love, as well as faithfulness. Do we have those qualities?


Show kindness and love to others.

Remain a faithful friend throughout my lifetime.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Just Ordianry People

O. T. #892  "Just Ordinary People"
Dec. 26, 2016
1 Chronicles 7
Ad these were the children of Asher, heads of their fathers' houses, choice men, mighty men of valor, chief leaders. And they were recorded by genealogies among the army fit for battle; their number was twenty-six thousand.


We tend to focus on the tribe of Judah, through whom King David came, instead of other sons of Jacob, although it is very important. There were 11 other tribes, too. David had other sons than Solomon also. Some were not so significant as others. Do we find it that way in our ancestors? Some were just ordinary people, and then others had positions of importance. However, God loved them too.

As a review, we read about the genealogy of the patriarchs of the nation of Israel and Judah-Adam to Abraham to Judah to David. We discovered that the line of King David led to Joseph, the adopted father of Jesus, came through David's son Solomon. (Matthew 1)
We don't want to leave out the family of Mary, Jesus' mother. Her line leads back to Nathan, son of David. (Luke 3) Being in the family of David, that gave Jesus the line of kings.

Also, we have been reading of the genealogy of 12 families/tribes of Jacob (called Israel):
  • Judah, through whom King David came,
  • Simeon, whose family dispersed into Judah and Benjamin and faded,
  • Reuben, lost his firstborn status in Genesis 35, settled by the Dead Sea on the eastern side of the Jordan River,
  • in chapter 5, Gad's family was part of the great military,
  • the half tribe of Manasseh (one of two sons of Joseph of Israel) settled with the tribe of Reuben and Gad on the eastern side,  who were first to be capture by the Assyrians,
  • Levi, was the tribe chosen to be the line of priests in Israel; included Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, Zadok and Elkhanah (Samuel's father), the high priests through Aaron, and musicians in the Tabernacle, (chapter 6)


Chapter 7 lists the genealogy of the tribes of Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, western Manasseh, Ephraim, and Asher.
  • Issachar was the ninth son of Job and the fifth son of Leah, were counted as soldiers.
  • Benjamin, the youngest son of Jacob, was the tribe of whom King Saul, Israel's first king came; Paul, the writer of most of the New Testament, was from this tribe. (Only Benjamin's first 3 sons are mentioned here.)
  • Naphtali, the sixth son of Jacob, settled in Galilee. Apparently they were not significant in that they only had one verse mentioning this family.
  • Western Manasseh, Transjordan, the family has women mentioned 5 times here in verses 14-19.
  •  Ephraim, was the tribe through whom Joshua, Moses' successor, came. He lead the people into the Promised Land. There were 10 generations between Jacob and Joshua. Their territory included Gaza. It was a rival to the tribe of Judah and one of the leading tribes.
  • Asher was Jacob's eighth son. His tribe was located north on the coast. It was secondary of importance. A descendant, prophetess Anna who was allowed to see the baby Jesus and promised Messiah in the Temple.
David Jeremiah, in reference to verse 40, describes a godly man as being:
a man of character, a courageous warrior, and a competent leader.
A godly man is known by:
what he flees from, what he follows after, what he fights for, and what he is faithful to.

I think those qualities can apply to women, also. Are we women of godly character, courageously standing for the Word of God, and a competent leader? Do we flee from temptation of sin, follow after God's standards, do we fight for our brethren, and are we faithful to our commitments?


Be an ordinary person with godly character.

Fight for God's Word and God's people.

Friday, December 23, 2016


O. T. #891  "Music"
Dec. 23, 2016
1 Chronicles 6-Part 3


I love singing the old Christmas carols and new songs, too. It lifts my heart bringing  Joy to the World. We have hope for eternal life through the baby who lay Away in the Manger secluded from the busy world. Angels, We Have Heard on High that a Savior was born in a Little Town of Bethlehem. We Three Kings brought gifts to the newborn King, Jesus. Mary Did You Know that the baby you held was the Son of God sent to be your Savior and our Savior, and the One who holds our soul's everlasting life in His hands? Music adds to my life. I am so grateful or it. It cheers a heavy heart, boasts a burdened soul, gives light in dark times.

The tribe of Levi, one of the 12 sons of Jacob (Israel), was chosen as the tribe of priests. Only those descendants of Levi could serve in the Tabernacle and Temple. Levi had 3 sons: Gershom, Kohath, and Merari. Each of these three lines had distinct duties I the worship of God.
The most crucial line was the one that led to Aaron (Moses' brother). His line stemmed from Kohath. Yet, not all of Kohath's descendants were priests-only those who could trace their lineage back to Aaron.
The list is incomplete, but a few names we recognize as having been influential, such as Eleazar, Phinehas, Zadok (served under King David), Hilkiah (found the Book of the Law after the destruction of the Temple),  Elkanah and his son Samuel. the priests became scattered throughout the nation of Israel because it was no feasible for everyone to go to Jerusalem for the religious feasts and worship.

In verses 16-21, the list of Levites were not of the priestly line.  King David instituted music in the Temple. Three main musicians were: Heman (Ps. 88), Asaph (Ps. 50, 73-83), and Ethan.  They came from the 3 branches of the sons of Levi. (verses 33-47) and were the musicians in the Lord's House.

Not only are the pastors in our churches important, but also musicians. Do we remember to show appreciation to them?


We read of Aaron and his sons offering sacrifices and making atonement for Israel according to Moses' words from God. (verses 49-53). The rest of the chapter tells of the places, cities, where the Levites settled in the 12 territories. Notice that Aaron, of the family of the Kohathites, were given Heron in the land of Judah. This is parallel with Joshua 21.

One think I learned here was that Uzzah was a priest. He was the man God struck dead when he touched the Ark of God being transported on a new cart from the Philistines to Jerusalem after it had been captured. This was due to David and the men being in disobedience to the directions God laid out for the transportation of the Ark on the shoulders of the Levites. From this we learn that we should not be selective in our obedience.

This was quite a task for Ezra to list all these descendants of Levi and cities where they lived, don't you think? There were 48 cities given to the Levites instead of a territory.

Do you think it is just as important for us to live in the place that God has purposed for us?
In John 14:3, Jesus tells us that He has gone to prepare a place for us (in heaven).



Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands; sing forth the honor of His name: make His praise glorious.  Psalm 66:1-2


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Celebration Time

"Celebration Time"
Dec. 21, 2016


CELEBRATION TIME, come on and join me. Today is a day of celebration for me. It was 15 years ago today that  almost died after surgery. I stopped breathing and my lips turned purple when my husband discovered my situation. Doctors were able to revive me, obviously. I am so grateful to God for allowing me  these 15 extended years of life. (I feel like Hezzekiah.)  I try to remember to thank God daily for my breath of life. Here are some verses that speak to my heart:

Psalm 150:6 says, Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

Job 33:4 states Job, The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

I do not want to be like King Belshazzar to whom Daniel told in 5:23d, and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified.

When the Spirit of the LORD carried Ezekiel to the valley of dry bones, God spoke to those bones, Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live. Then in verse 6, ...and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

Do we ever think about our very breath being in God's hand? Do we take time daily to praise the Lord? To thank Him for life and breath? To glorify His holy name-Almighty God, El Shaddiah?
Aah, I KNOW that I KNOW, that the baby born in Bethlehem so long ago, died on the cross so I may have eternal life with Him. Folks, that is why I can celebrate my extended life!!!
May my bones never cease to praise the LORD, my Breath of Life! The gifts from God which I have received are salvation and the breath of life. They alone give me sheer joy!
CELEBRATION TIME, come on and join me. For unto us a Savior is born...


So much I would have missed out on had I died on December 21, 2001: knowing my  7 grandchildren, helping so many children come to salvation in Jesus, experiencing joy as others come to Christ,  missionary trips to teach God's Word around the world, meeting so many beautiful people, developing friendships and family relationships, church member relationships, watching my children develop into caring adults, and sharing so many years with my wonderful husband. Also, getting to walk by faith with you through the Word of God.

Yes, this Christmas is a special time for me. Not only the celebrating my Savior's birth, but reviving me.


                              ...of my  fears, problems, challenges, sorrows, troubles, sadness, and let God fill
                                  me with joy and gratitude and love and praise to my Savior and God.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Special Plan for a Little Town

O. T. #890  "A Special Plan for a Little Town"
Dec. 20, 2016
1 Chronicles 6-Part2
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.  Micah 5:2


Hey, I missed something back in chapter 4 that kept jumping out at me for attention. It is found in verses 1-4. One of the sons of Judah, named Hezron, had a son named named Hur. This Hur, along with Aaron, held up Moses's arms all day so Israel would have victory in a battle with Amalek in Exodus 17.

Hur's mother was named Ephrath, whose family was from the town of Bethlehem. What I found was Bethlehem was also called Bethlehem-Judah and Bethlehem Ephratah (mentioned in Micah 5:2, predicted Jesus birth some 700 years before). I hope I am getting this all straight, since there were so many branches on Judah's family tree.

Anyway, I recalled several notable things about Bethlehem in Israel's history according to Young's analytical concordance to the Bible:
  • It was the place where Rachael as buried.
  • Rehoboam fortified or rebuilt it.
  • David was born there, so it is called the city of David.
  • It is celebrated as the birthplace of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Also, it was located about 6 miles south of Jerusalem. (Daniel 9 predicted Jesus the Messiah.)
  • In Hebrew, Bethlehem means House of Bread.

God chose the least of all cities to host the birth of His Son, and chose the least of society (shepherds) as the first witnesses. (David Jeremiah)

Why was Jesus born in Bethlehem and not in Jerusalem?
Luke 2 tells us that the Roman Empire took a census and collected taxes at this time (about every 14 years). Mary and Joseph had travel about 80-100 miles from their hometown of Nazareth to Bethlehem because Joseph was of the lineage (a descendant) of David. That is where David was born, so Joseph had to go there to register his family.

I think it illustrates that Jesus came in humility, not born in a palace as a king, but in a barn/stable in a little insignificant town of Bethlehem, a servant of God. This was no coincidence as it was the time for Mary's delivery, either. God had it all planned out, the time and place of our Savior and Jewish Messiah. Little Bethlehem became a significant in biblical history.

Do we stop to think that God has a special plan for our life, and a place and time for our birth and death? He has a plan for our life to have influence in our little world? For some it may be far away from our place of birth, as my husband's case. He was born several hundred miles from where we live.


Now back to chapter 6. Ezra jumps around in his chronicle. He leaves the family and sons of Judah, and speaks of the family of Levi. He was Judah's brother. Levi's lie was chosen to be the line of high priests in Israel.
Verses 1-15 records the first section of those born before the exile to Babylon. The second section, verses 16-30, records the clans of Levi, detailing 7 sets of 2 generations  and 1 set (Kohath) for 10 generations.

It was the children of Aram, Levi's son, who were Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. It was Aaron's linage that is important in the priesthood.

Some notable priest mentioned in biblical history are:
  • Eleazar, served as priest during Moses and Joshua's time. 
  • Phinehas, son of Eleazar, also served Joshua.
  • Zadok was the first priest to served under kings David and Solomon.
  • Hilkiah was the one who discovered the Book of the Law during Josiah's reform of the Temple. These were of the line of Aaron.
Descendants of other Levites included a man named Elkanah, husband of Hannah and father of Samuel. Samuel had a huge influence  Kings David and Solomon.

 What kind of influence will our families have in kingdom work? It may skip generations so don't get discouraged if our children or grandchildren are not active in the ministry.  Let's pray for God to use our family through generations to come. I continue to pray for mine and hope t be able to live long enough to see those prayers to come to fruition.


Pray for God's will to be carried out in my children and grandchildren, as well as my great grandchildren.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Go Back In Time

O. T. #889  "Go Back In Time"
Dec. 19, 2016
1 Chronicles 4-6


I wish that I could go back in time and ask my grandparents about their life growing up and the struggles they went through as adults. They were born in the late 1800's. We have the statistics but not the details of their life. Thinking of them, I wish I knew how their faith in God helped them during the hard times and trials. In the next few chapters, we read of names, but no details. Ezra skips around there, going back in time.

Many people are listed in this chapter. Some have exciting stories written about their life in the Bible, with life lessons for us. Some are ordinary people living ordinary lives, like you and me.

Life Application Study Bible teaches us about those in the linage of David and Jesus:
  • Abraham found that faith alone makes one right in God's eyes.
  • Isaac learned that seeking peace brings true respect.
  • Jacob (Israel) was known as "deceiver," endured that while our sins may haunt us, God will honor our faith. 
  • Judah discovered that God can change the hearts of even the most wicked people.
  • Perez knew that your background does not matter to God. He was born as a result of deception and adultery.
  • Boaz learned that those who are kind to others will receive kindness themselves.
  • Jesse was shown to never take lightly the impact you may have on your children.
  • David discovered true greatness is having a heart for God.
So much for us to learn, right? Things like faith, peace, forgiveness, changed hearts, who we were  isn't important,  kindness, a heart for God.


Othniel was the first judge in Israel and mentioned here. Also is Caleb, one of the 12 spies for the Promised Land. Then Ezra the writer gives the genealogy of the 12 sons of Judah, who became the patriarch of the 12 tribes of Israel.
Now we read of the genealogy of each:

  1. Simeon has included with his family the towns and regions, presumably to show that its land was part of Judah.
  2. Reuben was the firstborn, but defiled his father's bed, so Joseph's two sons were given his birthright. (chapter 5)
  3. Gad's family, plus half tribe of Manasseh, and Reuben's families lived east of the Jordan River. Due to their desertion of Israel, they were captured by the Assyrians.
  4. Levi was the line of the priests in Israel. In chapter 6, his clans are detailed in 7 sets of 2 generations and 1 set of 10 generations. God set the Levites aside to serve Him in the Tabernacle (Numbers 3-4).
[Resource: The Jeremiah Study Bible]


Keep walking by faith.

Ask my older generation family how God has worked in their life.

Friday, December 16, 2016

God's Hand

O. T. #888  "God's Hand"
Dec. 16, 2016
1 Chronicles 4-Part 2
Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4


Jabez was more honorable than his brethren. We can conclude that he was a believer in God because of his prayer.
In her book, The Prayer of Jabez for Women, Darlene Wilkinson gives us this insight:
  • First, he asked God to bless him. God blessing can be either internal or external; can take place in the midst of difficulty; is not selfish.
  • Second, he asked God to enlarge his territory. God will expand your territory right where you stand; by asking you to step up; and by asking you to step up into someone's life.
  • Third, Jazeb asked that God's hand would be with him. Throughout the Old Testament, the "hand of God" represented His power, His presence, and His provision for His people.
  • God's hand is at work in your ministry opportunities. He will provide just what is needed when you ask.
  • God's hand is at work in your family. He can give us insights to hand family problems.
  • God's hand is at work in your marriage.  He will enable us to encourage and assist our husbands to be everything God wants them to be.
  • God's hand is at work in the marketplace. He is in the midst of the challenges you face during a busy day at work.
  • God has strategically placed us right where we are for this time in history according to His plan. 
Will we ask God's hand to be upon us, guiding us and directing us to do His will today, wherever we are?


  • Fourth, Jabez asked that God would keep him from evil. He desired that God not let him approach that which will tempt him to sin. Also, God would  temptation from even knocking on our door.
  • Believe the truth, not the lie-we can be victorious over temptation by letting Scripture restore God's Truth to our mind.
  • Take your thoughts captive, to he obedience of Christ. (1 Cor. 10:5)
  • Choose to be humble.
  • Fifth, Jabez asked God that he may not cause pain. Consequences of sin always include pain.
 In conclusion, Jabez's requests  granted by God. What can we do to break through to blessings?
  • Determine to be persistent in asking God.
  • Remember that God's answers are individual.
  • Make prayer a part of your family's lifestyle.
  • Keep a record of your prayer journey.
  • Make yours a Jabez lifestyle.
God wants to bless us, use us, empower us, and protect us as we do kingdom work. Life with God is an endlessly exciting adventure. Do we want to miss a moment of it? I certainly don't.


Please Heavenly Father, bless us today as we strive to live for You, doing Your will Your way. Show us the needs of others and share Your love today. Help us to recognize temptation and turn to You for strength to resist it to sin.
In Jesus' name I pray,

Thursday, December 15, 2016

From Pain to Prayer

O. T. #887  "From Pain to Prayer"
Dec. 15, 2016
1 Chronicles 4


In verses 1-23, we read of other descendants of Judah. This genealogy  seems to have fragments and supplements as other branches on Judah's tree. some of the names were actually places.

One relative mentioned is Jebez in verses 9-10. His mother bore him in sorrow; that is why she named him Jabez.
He was more honorable than his brethren. Little do we know about this man, except he was quite a praying person.
This believer in God has his prayer recorded in Scriptures here, in one verse (10):
  • 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!
What does an ancient and simple little prayer have to say to the modern-day woman who longs for God's powerful touch on her life?

Darlene Wilkinson, wife of Bruce, wrote a book The Prayer of Jabez for Women to explain:
  • Jabez believed that God's nature was to bless and that God not only could but also wanted to reach down to bless him-and bless him a lot! Your past doesn't have to be a picture of your future! Indeed in the Hebrew language was used like 5 exclamation points or writing it in capital letters and underlining it. God lifted Jabez up out of the ordinary and "granted him what he requested" (1 Chronicles 4:10).
  • Bless in the biblical sense means to impart supernatural favor. The Bible doesn't record how god blessed Jabez, just that He granted his request. Ephesians 3:20 tells us He is the only One who is "able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think."
  • Jabez left it entirely up to God to decide what shape-how, when, and in what form-His blessing would come. Who knows better what to give us than God?
  • God's blessing can be either internal (spiritual or emotional) or external (seen and experienced on the physical level).
  • God's blessing can take place in the midst difficulty.
  • It is not selfish. Our blessings overflow to others.
Will you ask God to bless you?


  • Next, Jabez asked God to enlarge his territory.
  • He asked more than just acres of dirt and more goats. He wanted more business, more responsibility-to multiply that which God had already given him.
  • Your territory begins with the place where you live and work. It include the people you are in a position to impact (family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, strangers ho cross your path).
  • Your territory includes your possessions-not only material belongings, but also your unique gifts and talents.
  • Territory can be translated coast or borders.
  • God will expand your territory right where you stand. The most important territory we are given is our loved ones and our closest friends.
  • God will expand our territory by asking you to step up. A new opportunity, a bigger arena may extend from your home to your church and community. Use the lessons you have learned and the talents He has given you.
  • God will expand your territory by asking you to step into someone's life. You may momentarily minister to or help a person in some way. You might call these Jabez Appointments.
  • Pray for wisdom and ask the Holy spirit to guide you. Bring God honor and glory.
Are we ready for God to enlarge our territory? Ask.

Three more parts of Jabez's prayer are left. Continue with me tomorrow, friends.


Bless me Lord so I can be a blessing to others.

Enlarge my territory of influence for You.

Use my talents and gifts for Your glory, God.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Adopted Child

O. T. #886  "Adopted Child"
Dec. 14, 2016
1 Chronicles 3-Part 2
For ye have not received the spirit of fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  Romans 8:15


I know of several adults who were adopted as a child. How fortunate they were to have loving families provided for them. Jesus was adopted by Joseph, Mary's husband. Today we read more of His lineage through Judah and David.

King David had six sons born by 6 different wives while he lived in Hebron 7 1/2 years. The rest of the 33 years as king, David lived in Jerusalem, where 13 sons were born and a daughter Tamar.
David did some sinful things, including adultery, murder scheme, then trying to hid it. Once he was confronted with his sins by Nathan, then David confessed his guilt and grace was shown. The consequences of his sins remained in David's family as his sword never departed from his house.

The kids-Amnon, Tamar's half brother, raped her; then her brother Absalom killed Amnon; Reuben lost the birthright because he violated his father's concubine.

The main reason the Davidic line is mentioned in details is for us to see the line of Christ through David and to Adam. Although we know that the Messiah was not a physical child of that line, but adopted into it.

Paul speaks of our being adopted children of God in Romans 8:15, 23; Galatians 4:5 and Ephesians 1:5. It is through the blood of Jesus Christ that we become His child. It is this time of year that we especially proclaim the story of the Savior's birth, sing of His love, and share grace by exchanging gifts.

Are you an adopted child of the king, King Jesus?


Jesus' birthright came through his mother, Mary, who traced her line to David through his son Nathan, not Solomon (Luke 3:31). (MacArthur)
We read Nathan's name listed in verse 5 among David's sons.

In verses 10-16 we read of the family of Solomon, a son of David, who seceded him as king. We remember Solomon for building the elaborate Temple of God, which took 7 1/2 years to complete. He was a very wealthy and wise king of Israel. However, it was during his reign that the kingdom split into two nations-Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Each had 20 kings through time, although few remained faithful worshipers of God, instead worshiping idols. Israel became captured by Assyria.

Keep in mind that the author of Chronicles focuses on the line of Judah, an ancestor of David. Judah had three kings who were faithful to God-Hezekiah, Manasseh, and Josiah. After them came 4 kings who were idolaters and thus Judah was taken as captives to Babylon.

In verses 17-24 we read the lineage of David and Judah after the exile, which includes Zerubbabel, a hero who took Jews back to Jerusalem to rebuilt its wall for protection. His story is found in the book of Ezra.

Are we remaining faithful to God even if those around us are not?


Thank You God for adopting me to be Your child.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Little Thing Becomes a Big Thing

O. T. #885  "A Little Thing Becomes a Big Thing"
Dec. 13, 2016
1 Chronicles 3
And thou Bethlehem, Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.  Micah 5:2


Whoa there! This chapter jumps to listing King David's sons and skips a few years. I don't want to skip over them. We can see the hand of God working in David's life and a few life lessons for us if we don't overlook them:
  • God has a plan and purpose for each of our lives. David was born the youngest of 8 sons and 2 daughters of Jesse. (Why does our society look down on large families? My mother was the last of 6 children, while my father was the second of 6 children. Also, our daughter as 6 children. I wouldn't send any back.)
  • God can train us in solitude, obscurity, monotony, and reality of life. Although we may be unknown, unseen, unappreciated, and unapplauded in our simple job, God can use it to train us for something of significance in kingdom work. Little David in the fields was a faithful  shepherd of sheep who became acquainted with the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. 
  • Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. He is looking for spirituality, integrity, and humility in His servants.  God saw David's heart and heard his songs of praise among the hills. He was a man after God's own heart. David stayed close to God and knew what was on God's heart.
  • God can take an ordinary day and change it into an extraordinary day in our life. David was  anointed as God's chosen king over Israel, His chosen nation. But, it was not time for him to take the throne from Saul, which happened about 15 years later, so he returned to the sheep. He had some training for David.
  • Be faithful in the little things. Whatever we do, do it for the glory of God.
  • God's solutions are often strange and simple, so be open. David was given strength and faith to kill lions and bears as he protected his sheep. He would soon be a strong warrior and faithfully trusting his God to bring down a giant Philistine.
  • The battle is the Lord's! David recognized that Goliath the Philistine giant was mocking God. David turned over his weapons, skills, fears, worries, and confusion over to God. He can handle anything, as was demonstrated when David killed a 7 foot giant.
  • God's promotions are usually sudden and surprising, so be ready. David was taken to the palace to be a musician for King Saul, but would one day live in the palace.
  • God's selections are always sovereign and sure, so be sensitive. When God wants to use us, He may have to move us. Being a nobody in a field became a somebody over a kingdom that everyone noticed-King David.
  • Let God open the doors. David became Saul's armor bearer. and later a great warrior.
A little baby was born to an insignificant family one night in a manger and in an obscure town. That baby became a Savior and Messiah named Christ the LORD, who was born in Bethlehem, foretold by the prophets. He did such a thing in order to live a perfect life and to die on a cross to be our substitutionary sacrifice for us and our sins. Such unconditional love He bestowed upon us.

Now that was what I call a little thing that became a big thing.

[Resource: David, A Story of Passion and Destiny written by Charles R. Swindoll]


Another aspect of David's life we can earn from as to with his friends:
  • We need an intimate friend to walk with us through the valleys of life. David developed that close intimate friend in Jonathan.
  • A intimate friend is willing to sacrifice. Jonathan gave his robe, armor, sword, bow, and belt of a prince.
  • An intimate friend is a loyal defense before others. Jonathan defended David from his own father who tried to kill David.
  • Intimate friends give each other complete freedom to be themselves. A good friend hurts, weeps, and listens when you need it, as Jonathan did.
  • An intimate friend is a constant source of encouragement. Jonathan's father, Saul, was a hit man after David, his best friend. Satan is always pursuing our friends to destroy and discourage them. God used people in David's life, such as Jonathan, Abigail, Samuel, 400 misfits that were fellow cave dwellers. Those distressed and degenerate men became mighty men of valor and David's cabinet when he became king.
  • David's bad decisions are not mentioned here-sin with Bathsheba and their son died, moving the Ark of God on a cart instead of the shoulders of the Levites resulted in death of a man, a king's pride cost 70,000 lives, having multiple wives that destroyed his family.
  • God can take a nobody, love then with an unconditional love available for anybody and everybody, and change them into a somebody.


                                ...of conditional love and share God's unconditional love with others.

                                ... of loneliness and become an intimate friend of encouragement to those in need.

                                 ... of my being a nobody and let God develop me into a somebody for His glory.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Past or Present

O. T. #884  "Past or Present"
Dec. 12, 2016
1 Chronicles 2-Part 2
Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.  Psalm 16:11


If we look deep enough into our family history, can we all probably find some messy people, right? Yep, I have a deserter of  war in my background, as well as a president. Yet, is it the good or bad of the past ancestors that shapes us into who we are, or is it our present? We have a choice today. Will we experience God's presence in our present? His loving presence is His gift (present) to us.

As review, we read of the patriarchs-Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel). Those were the descendants of King David.

A patriarch is a ruling ancestor who may have been a founding father of a family, a clan, or a nation.
(Holman Bible Dictionary)

Another thing, there were some women of bad reputation in David's ancestry and Jesus' lineage:
  • Rahab, the harlot, who aided the Jewish spies, became the wife of Salmon and the mother of Boaz;
  • Ruth, who was a Moabite, married Boaz, and they had Obed; Obed was the grandfather of David, through the line of Joseph.
  • Tamar, the daughter in law of Judah who disguised herself as a harlot, which resulted in her being the mother of twins, Pharez and Zerah. Pharez (Judah's son) was the father of Hezron, in David lineage.
Do we see God's grace that He showed these women? Although they were women of bad reputation, God made them a part of the lineage of David and Jesus. He can change hearts, in spite of our past, and use our life for good. What a privilege they had as they were named in Matthew 1.


There were some scoundrels that were men in this list, too:
  • Nimrod, the rebel who established the Babylonian Empire;
  • Er's sin resulted in his being killed by God, and refused to marry his brother's widow, Tamar;
  • Achan, the one who stole the spoil of Jericho, that had been dedicated to the Lord. Achan and his children were stoned to death as a result of his sin.  
Despite those sinful men, and relatives of David, God blessed his ancestry. We are a people who are imperfect and so are our relatives. We are all sinners in need of a Savior.

Whether it was Abraham moving his family to who-knows-where, Noah riding out a storm, or Jacob wrestling with an angel, we all have our challenges in life, a testing of our faith. Do these times of trials change our heart for good or bad? Will we learn from the lessons of others?

Will we be a man or woman after God's own heart as David? Are we walking and talking with Jesus as we go on our journey?

                    ... of the past and live in the present.
                              ... of sin and reach for the Savior full of grace and mercy.
                              .. of others' past and experience His presence in my present.

*I had a virus keeping me down last week, friends. Hopefully I'm on the mend.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Family and Faith

O. T. #883  "Family and Faith"
Dec. 8, 2016
1 Chronicles 2


Do you have any information about a line of faith in your family? I know that my grandparents on Dad's side were Christians. My Dad and some of his siblings sang gospel songs on the radio as Grandma played the guitar, and my uncle by marriage preached. Throughout the years, my generation and younger ones have attended the same local Baptist Church which my grandparents did. We have been a family of faith.

I don't know about you, but it is difficult for me to keep straight the name in my lineage once we pass my great grandparent, much less David's. It was of most importance for the Jews to know through which line their family came.  Are you ready? Let's dive in...

We looked at a long genealogy list that takes us down through the ages, from Adam to Noah, and Abraham to Isaac.

The twelve sons of Ishmael developed Twelve Tribes and settled the great northern desert of Arabia and became Arab peoples. (MacArthur)

Unfortunately, I focused on the families' names and who was born next, leading us down to the Isaac.
After reading comments of J. Vernon McGee, I become aware of these things:
  1. Adam's sin led his children to sin, which leads to death. 1 Corinthians 15:22 NIV tells us For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. It is through belief in Christ as Savior that we have eternal life. He became the propitiation for our sins and the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2) Propitiation means atonement, which means to be covered. Romans3:25 states Jesus Christ is Whom God hath set forth to be  propitiation through faith in His blood to declare His righteousness for the remissions of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.
  2. Since we have all sinned, being a descendant of Adam, we need God's mercy, which Adam found as an animal shed it's blood to provide a covering for Adam and Eve to wear. We receive mercy when believing in Jesus Christ as our propitiation, covering of sin.
  3. Enoch was saved through faith.
  4. Noah was a good man, but was not saved because of that. It was by faith that Noah prepared an ark to the saving of his house.
  5. Abraham believed God and that was counted unto him for righteousness.
Have you received that mercy from God yet? What about your loved ones?
What a great opportunity we have at Christmas time to share the gospel and the true meaning of Christmas-a Savior has come to save the souls of mankind. It is not who we are, who our family is, nor of works, but through faith that we obtain grace and mercy.


Now we are brought up to the family of Jacob (Israel) and the 12 sons he had.whose sons became the 12 tribes of Israel, a chosen nation of God. It was to them the Promised Land and covenant with God, the Law and sacrificial system were given. God dwelt among them and blessed them while they worshiped Him alone, not idols. (Read Genesis 29-50 for the story of this chosen family.)

It was through Judah's line that David was born, the great king of Israel. Let's take a look at verses 3-15 in comparison to Matthew 1, Jesus' lineage through Joseph:
  • Judah
  • Perez (Pharez)
  • Hezron (Esrom)
  • Aram (Ram)
  • Aminadab
  • Naasson (Nahshon)
  • Salmon (Salma)
  • Boaz
  • Obed
  • Jesse
  • David.
There we have King David's family going back to Judah, so of Israel (Jacob), going back to Abraham, Noah, and Adam. Judah was the  kingly line while Levi was the priestly line. Whew!
The tribes of Judah and Levi remained more faithful to God than any of the others.

Our faith being passed down to our grandchildren? Are they being taught the true meaning of Christmas? Mine is, friends. How about yours?


Be faithful to God as my ancestors were.

Teach my descendants about faith in Jesus as Savior.

Tell of  the blessings He has given to us as we have remained faithful to serving God.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Children and Families

O. T. #882  "Children and Families"
Dec. 6, 2016
1 Chronicles 1
The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David the son of Abraham. (Matthew 1:1)


Genealogies-they can be boring, huh? They might be interesting to us personally so we can clam being related to a president or movie star. It seems uninteresting to the young folks, but the older we get, we tend to want to know where our roots lie in the family tree.

It was essential to the Jews for their family records to be accurate. You see, they had to know their tribe, clan, and family to whom they belonged because property ownership was supposed to stay within the tribe. They had to be able to prove who they were since the firstborn son received twice the inheritance as others and a kinsman redeemer could rescue a poor person if they were a near relative. Also, the priests and Levites had to prove they were of the tribe of Levi in order to be permitted to serve as such.

So don't get too bored with the first nine chapters. I will try to glean a nugget of wisdom for us to apply in our lives. so hang in there with me, please. Feel free to make a comment, too.

Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the Old Testament explains:

These hundreds of names, some of them difficult to pronounce, represent people whom God used to maintain the "living link" with the promises and covenants of the past. The Jews were chosen by God and given promises that would ultimately affect all the world. Had there been a break in this chain of "living links," the Savior could not have been born into this world.

Mostly, the people were unknown, forgotten people who helped the few famous people get there and remain faithful to God along the way.
One thing I found interesting is that the rejected lines are mentioned first and then those of promise/importance are mentioned.

Special attention is devoted to the tribe of Judah and the Davidic line, as well as the descendants of Levi. (Falwell)

Are we a living link to one of our descendants or others coming to know Christ as Savior? Do we realize how important our life is?


With all that said, shall we dive into the Word? Note that there are sometimes a variance in the spellings of names. Some will be familiar and some not, which we have studied so long ago.

  • The logical place for this Chronicler to begin is with Adam the first created man. His genealogy is traced down through the tribe of Judah, through whom Jesus would come (Joseph's line). These first 4 verses cover the history of Genesis 1-9, and an abbreviated form of Genesis 5:1-32, Falwell indicates.
  • Seth represents the ongoing hope after failure. He was born to Adam and Eve after Cain killed his brother Able.
  • Enoch walked with God and was translated, did not die, to heaven.
  • Methuselah was the man who lived the longest being 1,650 years.
  • Next we notice the name  Noah and his three sons-Shem, Ham, and Japheth. It is a wicked world and Noah obeyed God and his family was saved, along with the animals. He had such strong faith in what God said would occur, since it had never rained before the flood.
  • Through Ham came the Philistines and Nimrod of the Babylonians.
  • It is through the line of Shem that Abraham came. It is through him that God called out to follow Him by faith, not knowing where he was going, but would his family would receive and inherited land known as The Promised Land.
  • Abraham had several sons, of which were Isaac, the son of promise, born to Sarah in their old age; Ishmael was born to a Sarah's slave girl.
Through Isaac came twin sons-Jacob (later named Israel, the blessed son) and Esau (whose descendants became the Edomites and settled east of the Jordan River). Enemies of Israel are being born and nations formed-Amalek had the Amalekites who attacked Israel on the way to the Promised Land; through Seir's marriages to pagan women came the Edomites in verses 38-54. (We will begin with Jacob's family in chapter 2.)
Whew! What a long list of families. since they are listed here, we can see that God is interested in individuals as well as nations. Isn't it astounding to think of the billions of people born since Adam, and God knows them all He remembers the name and face of each person. Included are those alive now. We are special people whom God loves and knows, His chosen children.

Are we sharing His love with others so they can become a part of God's family, believers in Jesus Christ as Savior?


Thank you God for my Christian heritage.

I appreciate Your placing me in a family of believers in Jesus.

Use me to share Jesus and His love with those who have not been so blessed.

Monday, December 5, 2016

A New Day

O. T. #881  "A New Day"
Dec. 5, 2016
1 Chronicles Introduction

I woke up at 5 this morning, so I got  up and did my chores. One is cleaning the pellet stove so we have heat. In the meantime, I got my little heater at my feet plugged in. It was freezing outside, with everything looking white with frost. (There is frost out on the pun'kin, someone else's pumpkin, because I don't have one.) :)
It is so beautiful, Lord. You have blessed me with life and breath today, surrounded by Your beauty and Your presence. Yep, it's a new day which You have made for us. I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Folks, just when we thought we were finished with the historical writings on Israel, we find out we are not. Wait. Please continue to walk with me on this journey through the Old Testament, friends. I need some company here. I got my mug of hot peppermint tea and commentaries around me, including my Bible. May I suggest you get a cup of something, too and join me?

Well, shall we take a look at an overview of the first of these two Chronicles?

I.   Genealogies (chapters 1-9)
II.  Saul's Reign (chapter 10)
III. David's Reign (chapters 11-20)

The chronicler was probably the priest/scribe Ezra. (According to Jewish tradition) He either lived during the time of Babylonian captivity, which lasted 70 years or during the exile, writing these two books of history.

It is not just a history of facts and figures, but it is His story, emphasizing God's hand in Israel. (David Jeremiah)

J. Vernon McGee contrasted the two books of Kings and the two books of Chronicles:
  • a palace versus a Temple;
  • political history versus religious history;
  • man's viewpoint versus God's viewpoint.
McGee goes on to describe the Chronicles as an interpretation of Kings, with details and emphasizes on important things of 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings. 

The MacArthur Bible Handbook informs us:
This history is exclusively about the southern kingdom of Judah instead of Israel, the northern 10 tribes, because of Israel's complete wickedness and false worship. Three basic failures by the kings of Judah brought God's wrath: personal sin, false worship/idolatry, and /or trust in man rather than God.

MacArthur shows us God's character found in 1 Chronicles:
God is:
  • glorious 16:24),
  • holy (16:10),
  • merciful (16:34),
  • powerful (29: 11,12),
  • a promise keeper (17:23,26),
  • provider (29:12),
  • unified (17:20),
  • wise (28:8).
Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God. (22:19)

These were David's departing words to his son Solomon, Israel's new king. He was relaying what should be the most important thing is Solomon's life and the way to begin his kingship.

Do we seek the Lord the first thing in our new morning of the day?
Will we make today better than yesterday?
Is our relationship with God top of our priorities?

Can we say to our Lord Jesus that we will deliberately set our heart today to seek Him, serve Him, follow Him, please Him?

Joy to the world, the Lord Jesus has come!!!

Holy Father, You are glorious, merciful and powerful, unified, and wise. You are my promise keeper.
You are my Provider. Thank You for loving us so much that You became a man to show us that love by dying on the cross so we can live eternally with You.

Have a blessed day, y'all.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Surrounded and Overwhelmed

O. T. #880  "Surrounded and Overwhelmed"
Dec. 5, 2016
Summary of 2 Kings
"Alas, my master! What shall we do?"  So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them."  2 Kings 6:16


It is a sad, often violent,  story mad bearable only by the unconditional promise of God to King David that his throne would never lack for one of his descendants (Acts 2:29, 30). That final seed of David will one day sit upon that throne-the Son of David, Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 1, 12, 21-22). (David Jeremiah)

After David reigned as king, his son Solomon ruled. Following his reign over Israel, God's kingdom separated into two kingdoms. Israel was the northern kingdom and made up of 10 tribes, with Jeroboam taking over as king, who set up idols to worship. Israel had no good kings of the 20 who led the nation in idolatry. Because they would not remove idols from the land, God removed them from the land. Assyria conquered Israel and took many Israelites captive in 722 B.C. Israel endured evil kings for 130 years before they were conquered.

The southern kingdom, Judah, was form by the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, as Rehoboam became king. Of their 20 kings, Judah only had 8 who were good and righteous ones-Jezekiah and Josiah were the two we recall did the most good.

If you want to mark those good kings of Judah, they were:
  1. Asa, who ruled 41 years, destroyed pagan altars and restored the altar of God (1 Kings 15).
  2. Jehoshaphat, who ruled 25 years, worshiped the Lord and destroyed idols. (1 Kings 15, 22)
  3. Joash, who reigned 40 years, repaired the Temple. (2 Kings 11-12)
  4. Amaziah, who reigned 29 years, was basically good although he did not completely wipe out idolatry. (2 Kings 14)
  5. Azariah, called Uzziah, was king for 52 years, constructed reservoirs and fortified towers, though he violated the priesthood laws and God struck him with leprosy. (2 Kings 15)
  6. Jotham, who ruled 16 years, rebuilt the Upper Gate of the Temple, walls, and cities, though he permitted idol worship. (2 Kings 15)
  7. Hezekiah reigned 29 years in Judah, restored the Temple and their worship system, was given 15 extra years of life, foolishly showed Babylonian messengers wealth in the Temple. (2 Kings 16, 18)
  8. Josiah was king for 31 years, repaired the Temple, destroyed idol shrines, and loved God with all his heart.
Let us be challenged to be the good among the bad in our society.

Judah existed for 129 years after Israel fell captive to Assyria. Then, Babylon captured Judah and took most people away as  captives. Even throughout all those years, God continued to love His people and sent 30 prophets to proclaim His judgment was coming if they did not repent.

Elijah and Elisa, Isaiah and Jeremiah and  were probably the most significant. Jeremiah relayed the message of a future and a hope for God's people I chapter 29. God was the One in control of Israel and Judah's destiny as the Sovereign God. After 70 years of captivity by Babylon, the Medo-Persans allowed Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their city, wall, and the Temple.

God revealed Himself  in our verse above. He gave protection and provision to His faithful servants, even when surrounded by their enemies.
Anyone feel surrounded or overwhelmed by circumstances? Keep our eyes of faith focused on our King Jesus, instead, for hope, courage, and a future.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  (Jeremiah 29:11-13)


When surrounded and overwhelmed, do not fear.

Emmanuel, God is with me.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Can It Get Any Worse?

O. T. #879  "Can It Get Any Worse?"
Dec. 1, 2016
2 Kings 25-Part 3


Can it get any worse? How many times have you and I asked that question? It has been said, things happen in threes. I don't know it there is any truth to that saying or not. It seems like that when we scrape the bottom of the barrel, we are forced to look up, though. We cling to the Lord with hopes of things getting better. We pray and repeat verses of promise. I can truthfully say that I do not know. God is in charge and each situation is different. He knows what is best and I do not. That is where trust comes in.
Your will, Your way, today, I pray.

Judah was scraping the bottom of the barrel. Their empty barrel would last for 70 years, unfortunately.

A Babylonian officer had the Jewish nobles slain (verses 18-21). The only ones to remain in Judah were the poorest people-farmers of the field and vineyards. King Nebuchadnez established a system of governors in the land in n attempt to provide political stability. The first governor as Gedaliah.

Who was he and what transpired during this time?
  • Gedaliah's grandfather, Shaphan, was Josiah's secretary, who implemented that king's reforms (22:3)
  • His father, Ahikem, was part of Josiah's delegation sent to Huddah (22:14) and a supporter of the prophet Jeremiah. His family helped Jeremiah and was devoted to the prophet.
  • Gedaliah faithfully administered Babylon's policies.
  • He established a reasonable amount of safety, peace, and security for those left behind.
  • The jealousy of Ishmael (probably a distant relative of the king) let a plot and murder of Gedaliah (Jeremiah 40-41).
  • Ishmael was in the line of David and may have been angry that he was passed over for governor.
  • Two days later 80 Jewish en went to Jerusalem to worship God. Ishmael probably had the killed for the money and food they were carrying.
  • Without a king, no law and no loyalty God, Judah was subjected to complete anarchy.
The king was dethroned, the people were deported, the city was destroyed, the Temple was disgraced, and the land was left desolate. (Wiersbe)

Can it get any worse for Judah? Possibly so. We know that their captivity in Babylon lasted 70 years. That is a whole generation. but there was a remnant who stayed faithful to God during that time.


Well, some Jews migrated to Egypt, even after Jeremiah advised to not do so. (verse 26 and Jeremiah 42)
How does this book of 2 Kings end?
  • After Jehoiachin had been in captivity for 37 years, there was a new king in Babylon, Evil-merodach.
  • He gave freedom to the Jewish exiles and Jehoiachin.
  • Jehoiachin was given a prominent position, new appropriate clothes, and daily rations of food.
Getting back to the 70 year captivity, I learned this:
 Chronicles 36:21 says This fulfilled the word of the Lord through Jeremiah and the land enjoyed its Sabbath rest all the days of the destruction until 70 years were fulfilled.

To explain, one year of every 7 years the law said it was to remain fallow, not worked and rest from crops. (Ex. 23:10-11) The 70 year captivity allowed the land to rest, 1 per Sabbath rest it did not have.

God keeps His promises of blessings and promises of judgment.
When everything is stripped away from us, we too still have God, His Word, His presence, and His promises.

Even though our life can get worse, it can also get better. It got better for the Israelites when Babylon was conquered and Cyrus the king allowed Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city, the wall, and the Temple.

So let us keep the faith my friends. Often times it gets worse before it gets better.


Work through my situation and lay it at the feet of Jesus.

Just let it go and look up.

Accept whatever He deems best.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Burning Houses or Burning Bridges

O. T. #878  "Burning Houses or Burning Bridges"
Nov. 30, 2016
2 Kings 25-Part 2


Babylon struck Jerusalem and Judah. If only they had worshiped God alone and not idols. Oh, Jerusalem, the beloved city of God, if only you had repented.

Falwell sums up verses 8-10: Nebuzaradan, captain of the Babylonian guard, sacked Jerusalem, burning both the Temple and palace and breaking down the city walls (23:27).

Burned houses instead of burned bridges-as Babylon burned the Lord's House, the king's house, and the people's houses, Judah could have repented, stopped worshiping idols, thus burned their bridges behind them. But no, it did no happen that way. Only a few remained faithful to the God of Israel.

MacArthur explains the details:
  1. First, Jerusalem's most important buildings were burned. (verse 9)
  2. Second, the Babylonian army tore down Jerusalem's outer walls, the city's main defense. (verse 10)
  3. Third, Nebuzaradan organized and led a forced march of remaining Judeans into exile in Babylon. (verse 11)
  4. Fourth, the items made with precious metals in the Temple were carried away to Babylon. (verses 13-17)
  5. Fifth, Nebuzaradan took Jerusalem's remaining leaders to Riblah, where Nebuchadnezzar had them executed. (verses 18-21) This insured that they would never lead another rebellion against Babylon.
Only the unskilled laborers were left behind to tend the vineyards and farm the fields.
The Jews thought God would protect them from invasion because of the presence of the temple in Jeremiah 7.
Everything made of gold, silver, or brass, vessels dedicated to the Lord, in the Temple was taken as spoil. Certainly, the glory of the Lord had departed the Temple (Ezekiel 8:11).


Years of warnings of this coming destruction was given to Israel and Judah. Yet they would not return to Him. I'm sure it must have sadden the Lord to have to allow all of that destruction on His children. Jesus felt this sadness again later.

Jesus said to His disciples and the multitude in Matthew 23:37-38:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stoned those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see Me again until you say, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."

We know that the Jews went on to kill the Messiah sent to them. They did not recognize Jesus as their Savior, whom  they were expecting to come. They looked for Him to come free them from the ruling Romans. A King of the Jews came, but they crucified Him.

Do we have any bridges that we need to burn behind us-ill feelings, unforgiveness, blame, jealousy? Isn't it time to burn them?
Isn't it time to move forward with Jesus?
Friends, let us adore and worship our King Jesus as Christ the Lord. Shall we let His love fill our hearts today?


Be a vessel used for God's glory.

Burn those ugly bridges behind me and go forward with Jesus today.

Love Jesus and others.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

When the End is at Hand

O. T. #877  "When the End is at Hand"
Nov. 29, 2016
2 King 25


What do we do when the end is at hand? Perhaps it is news from the doctor on test results that leaves you studded; maybe it comes when the boss drops a bomb that you have been terminated at your job; or the slamming of the door when a spouse leaves your marriage. What happened? What did I do wrong? What caused my world to shatter into pieces? How can I fix this? Is it my fault? I can do better. Oh, I know all things work together for my good and God's glory. Good verse, huh? What do I do when the end of _____ is at hand? Is it the end of life as it once was? Is it the beginning of the end? What now? So many questions, so few answers. Are you there? Is a loved one there?
Friends, it is not always our doings that causes these situations. sometimes it due to the sins of another.

Judah's end was at hand and it was their fault. God had given them a nation, a land, an everlasting love, and all they needed. All they had to do was love God, obey His commands and statues. Yet, with all their blessings, Israel and Judah turned away from God to idol worship, for years and years, for king after king.
Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 lay out the rules for blessings and cursings.

I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. (Lev. 26:12)

Now God was going to use Babylon to bring about judgment to His people for their sins. Here we go, the bow is coming.

When Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, besieged Jerusalem, which was Judah's capital, King Jehoiachin and the royal family, and 10,000 citizens were led away into captivity. The treasures n the Temple and king's house were also taken. Only the poor sort of people remained. Then Babylon's king made Zedekiah those people's ruler. He was the uncle of Jehoiachin, Josiah's son and brother of Jehoiakim.

Zedekiah did what was evil in the Lord's sight. The Lord's anger was upon Jerusalem and Judah until He cast them out is presence. (24:20)

Judah's experiences during the siege can be read in Jeremiah 37-38. However, Jerusalem endured for 11 years. Hezekiah's tunnel provided fresh water supply for the city. But, the food supply ran out after 2 years. Just as Israel had been invaded 3 times by Assyria, so was Judah by Babylon. Hmm

What happened next?
  • The city wall was broken up;
  • all the men of war fled by night between the two walls near the king's garden, giving access the Kidron Valley, scattered and separated from their king;
  • the king went with them and fled toward the planes of Jericho.
  • Before Zedekiah could cross the Jordan River, he was captured by the Babyonian army, then taken to their King Nebuchadnezzer at Riblah.
Did you catch that-the king of Judah fled away when the end was at hand? Jeremiah had warned Zedekiah this would happen (Jer. 32 and 34).

What will we do when the end is at hand for us? Will we flee from our faithful God? Will we stick out on our own? Or will we cling tighter onto His right hand which holds us?


What occurred to Zedekiah when he stood before the Babylonian empire king?
Verse 7 answers that question: And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon.

The last thing Zedekiah was permitted to see before he was blinded and taken to Babylon was the death of his sons. There were no claimants left to the throne. (Falwell)

Zedekiah did not see Babylon, as foretold by Ezekiel and Jeremiah. He did see King Neb though. We know that Judah spent 70 years in captivity, too.

What will we see before our spiritual eyes go blind? Or will we close them? Will we keep them open and continue to remain faithfully trusting in our Great King Jesus? Isaiah predicted His coming to earth. We believe it happened by faith. We feel His presence by way of the Holy Spirit confirming it in our heart.


Praise to King Jesus, who left heaven to become a man in order to provide for my salvation.

When the end is at hand, trust God.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Swept Away

O. T. #876  "Swept Away"
Nov. 28, 2016
2 Kings 24-Part 2


This chapter tells us of the final and last 3 kings of Judah. Johoikim, who reigned 11 years; His son, Jehoichin, reigned 3 months; and Zedekiah (Mattaniah), who was Jehoichin's uncle, ruled 11 years. All here did evil in the sight of the Lord. Had they listened to Prophet Jeremiah, then the outcome of Jerusalem would have been different. Babylon came in and took them captive. They had defiled their God-given land with blood and idols. They were not fit to live upon it, so God swept them away in order to purify the land again. It was like sweeping dirt off my front porch. (Of course, it accumulates again since I live on a dirt road.)
The people were deported in three groups, with the poorest people left behind to manage things under the direction of their own governors. The good news is that the captive Jews were allowed to live together. This made it possible for them to return as Ezra recorded.

How do we react wen things or loved ones are swept away from us? Are we going to keep ahold of God's hand in our life?


Falwell gives us an interesting note about Zedekiah: Though he ruled as king, Zedekiah was never recognized as king by Ezekiel or by God (Jeremiah 22:30), for the last legitimate king, Jehoiachin, was still alive, though in captivity.

David Jeremiah said that the Prophet Ezekiel was likely among the second group of Jews to be deported to Babylon as captives.

Do we let things like not so good test results from the doctor, money spent on car repairs, the oven quits, and it is raining today effect our attitude and mood for the day? (I'm speaking to myself, folks.)
It's a happy time of the year. So many things for which to be thankful. Nothing can change God's love for us. So I'm not going to let my happiness be swept away by those challenges. It's time to pit on Christmas music and get decorating.

Luke 2:12 says: For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

My Savior, your Savior, our family's Savior was born to bring us goodness and light and eternal life. Now that is something put a smile on our faces.


Sweep away those humbug feelings and let joy come into my life again.

Trust Jesus for all my needs.

Friday, November 25, 2016

No Longer Fit

O. T. #875  "No Longer Fit"
November 25, 2016
2 Kings 24


There were 3 more kings which reigned in Judah before they were taken captive to Babylon-Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah.
Jehoiakim reigned 11 years. Like his brother, he did not follow the ways of his godly father. He burned the scroll of Jeremiah, but could not destroy God's Word, nor stop judgment from coming. It is not a happy time in Judah.

The hour of judgment finally arrives, and God keeps His Word by bringing terrible wrath upon His people in the kingdom of Judah. God had given them a throne, a temple, a city, and a land, and upon each of these He poured out His anger. (Wiersbe)

King Nebuchadneezzar of Babylon came against Judah in 605 B.C. When his plans for taking Jehoiakim captive were altered, he made Jehoiakim a servant instead. This was the first deportation according to Daniel 1:1. He was a servant for 3 years before rebelling. Bands of enemies harassed and weakened Judah, contributing to her fall to Babylon. but this was done at God's command because of Judah's sin. (Falwell)

You will recall that King Manasseh did evil in God's sight-took idols into the Temple, worshiped idols, and even offered children to idols. He involved Judah, also. These are the sins which prophets predicted God would judge Judah for doing. God demands first place. That is why he made he first 2 commandments listed first.

No one mourned nor gave an honorable burial for Jehoiakim according to Jeremiah 36.

God keeps His Word. do we?


Jehoiachin, son of Jehoiakim, only reigned over Judah as king for 3 months. He was age 18. He did evil in God's sight, and reaped the consequences of his father's rebellion.
Nebuchaddnezzar beseiged Jerusalem and took the king, as well as his royal family, as permanent captives of Babylon. This was the second deportation.
They stripped the Temple and palace of valuables, and 10,000 citizens including Ezekiel were led captive to Babylon. The Jews were allowed to live together, stayed united, and later returned under Zerubbable and Ezra. . The nobles, princes, soldiers, craftsmen were included. Only the poorest people stayed behind to manage things as the governors, but King Neb won their loyalty.

The people had defiled their God-given land with blood and with idols; they were no longer fit to live upon it. God had to "sweep them away" that He might be able to purify the land once again. (Wiersbe)

Do we sometimes feel like we are no longer fit to serve God when we have disobeyed?
Grace brings us back to a loving Father.


                       ...of my plans and my ways, to follow God's plans and ways for me.
                                   ...of a life of pleasure and ease to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow

*So grateful for 44 years of marriage to my husband. We are celebrating today in Branson.