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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Amos 6


WEEK 19                                               Amos 6

TUESDAY  Reflections


Ease and comfort are not bad things. Ease and comfort at the expense of others is very bad. Having it and ignoring the plight of others is. The people in the rich areas of Judah and Israel have everything they need plus more, yet they forget the suffering of others. This doesn't mean we can't enjoy wealth or nice things but if we do it without recognizing the needs or conditions of others then God is not pleased. Jesus pointed out in Luke 12:48 that to whom much is given much is required. Israel and Judah have received much and yet they aren't looking to help others. The result of this abuse will be judgment. 




Amo 6:1-14
(1)  Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!
(2)  Pass ye unto Calneh, and see; and from thence go ye to Hamath the great: then go down to Gath of the Philistines: be they better than these kingdoms? or their border greater than your border?
(3)  Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near;
(4)  That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall;
(5)  That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David;
(6)  That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.
(7)  Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed.
(8)  The Lord GOD hath sworn by himself, saith the LORD the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein.
(9)  And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die.
(10)  And a man's uncle shall take him up, and he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that is by the sides of the house, Is there yet any with thee? and he shall say, No. Then shall he say, Hold thy tongue: for we may not make mention of the name of the LORD.
(11)  For, behold, the LORD commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts.
(12)  Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow there with oxen? for ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock:
(13)  Ye which rejoice in a thing of nought, which say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength?
(14)  But, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the LORD the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entering in of Hemath unto the river of the wilderness.

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Monday, May 10, 2021

2 Kings 4


WEEK  19                                        2 Kings 4

MONDAY  Reflections

In this chapter we see God taking care of women. The first is a widow. The second is a woman who desires a son. Both of these women have been faithful to God, the first by supporting her husband as one of the sons of the prophets. The second by caring for Elisha's needs. These women were faithful to God and God helped them.

 

What really gets my attention is how things didn't go as expected. The woman whose husband was faithful to God died. The woman first got her son but then he died. When the woman approached Elisha about her dead son God didn't tell Elisha why she was there. When Gehazi laid the staff on the child nothing happened. In this chapter filled with miracles, there were a lot of disappointments. Several assumptions went unfulfilled. Yet, in all of it, God was faithful.

 

In our lives, things rarely go as expected. Bad things happen to good people and miracles don't go as expected. There might have been unrecorded reason which might give us understanding, but like in real life, we don't always get the answer. Correction, rarely do we get the answer. What we do see is in the middle of our broken and fallen world is a faithful God who meets us where we are.  




2Ki 4:1-44
(1)  Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.
(2)  And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.
(3)  Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.
(4)  And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.
(5)  So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out.
(6)  And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.
(7)  Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.
(8)  And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread.
(9)  And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually.
(10)  Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.
(11)  And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there.
(12)  And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. And when he had called her, she stood before him.
(13)  And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people.
(14)  And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old.
(15)  And he said, Call her. And when he had called her, she stood in the door.
(16)  And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son. And she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid.
(17)  And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life.
(18)  And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers.
(19)  And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother.
(20)  And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.
(21)  And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out.
(22)  And she called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again.
(23)  And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well.
(24)  Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee.
(25)  So she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is that Shunammite:
(26)  Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well.
(27)  And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told me.
(28)  Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me?
(29)  Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child.
(30)  And the mother of the child said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her.
(31)  And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked.
(32)  And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed.
(33)  He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD.
(34)  And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm.
(35)  Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.
(36)  And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son.
(37)  Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.
(38)  And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.
(39)  And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not.
(40)  So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.
(41)  But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.
(42)  And there came a man from Baalshalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat.
(43)  And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the LORD, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof.
(44)  So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the LORD.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Lamentations 4


WEEK  18                                       Lamentations 4

SATURDAY  Reflections

How has everything so good become so bad? This is the question that starts this section. How has everything so good become so bad? This is the question that starts this section. The answer is found beginning in verse 13. The reason things are so bad is Judah has been bad. Yes, everything is horrible but God has given them what they deserve.

 

This section ends with a warning to Edom. They have been the enemies of Judah and rejoiced when Judah faced its destruction. However, their time will also come. It always does.




Lam 4:1-22
(1)  How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street.
(2)  The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!
(3)  Even the sea monsters draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones: the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.
(4)  The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the young children ask bread, and no man breaketh it unto them.
(5)  They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills.
(6)  For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her.
(7)  Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire:
(8)  Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.
(9)  They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger: for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field.
(10)  The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children: they were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of my people.
(11)  The LORD hath accomplished his fury; he hath poured out his fierce anger, and hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath devoured the foundations thereof.
(12)  The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem.
(13)  For the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her,
(14)  They have wandered as blind men in the streets, they have polluted themselves with blood, so that men could not touch their garments.
(15)  They cried unto them, Depart ye; it is unclean; depart, depart, touch not: when they fled away and wandered, they said among the heathen, They shall no more sojourn there.
(16)  The anger of the LORD hath divided them; he will no more regard them: they respected not the persons of the priests, they favoured not the elders.
(17)  As for us, our eyes as yet failed for our vain help: in our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save us.
(18)  They hunt our steps, that we cannot go in our streets: our end is near, our days are fulfilled; for our end is come.
(19)  Our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of the heaven: they pursued us upon the mountains, they laid wait for us in the wilderness.
(20)  The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the LORD, was taken in their pits, of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the heathen.
(21)  Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz; the cup also shall pass through unto thee: thou shalt be drunken, and shalt make thyself naked.
(22)  The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; he will no more carry thee away into captivity: he will visit thine iniquity, O daughter of Edom; he will discover thy sins.

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Friday, May 7, 2021

Amos 5


WEEK 18                                               Amos 5

FRIDAY  Reflections

Amos calls this word against Israel a lamentation. It is breaking his heart as it breaks the heart of God. A good parent having to punish their child doesn't bring them pleasure but heartbreak, even so, this call for punishment is a reason for tears.

 

One other note as can be seen throughout Amos, God points out the abuse done by those in power. God had set up a system so the poor could work and a way for the helpless to receive assistance. God’s plan isn't being used and the powerless are being taken advantage of. God is never pleased when those who have take advantage of those who struggle. God isn't saying that everyone who has ever had riches takes advantage of people, but in Israel at this time abuse is the norm. Part of the reason they face judgment is because of this abuse. 



Amo 5:1-27
(1)  Hear ye this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel.
(2)  The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up.
(3)  For thus saith the Lord GOD; The city that went out by a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth by an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel.
(4)  For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:
(5)  But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought.
(6)  Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.
(7)  Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth,
(8)  Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name:
(9)  That strengtheneth the spoiled against the strong, so that the spoiled shall come against the fortress.
(10)  They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.
(11)  Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them.
(12)  For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.
(13)  Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.
(14)  Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.
(15)  Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.
(16)  Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the Lord, saith thus; Wailing shall be in all streets; and they shall say in all the highways, Alas! alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing.
(17)  And in all vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through thee, saith the LORD.
(18)  Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.
(19)  As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.
(20)  Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?
(21)  I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.
(22)  Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.
(23)  Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.
(24)  But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.
(25)  Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?
(26)  But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.
(27)  Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Matthew 18 Forgiveness?!


WEEK  18                                            Matthew 18

THURSDAY  Reflections

What happens if we refuse to forgive? The Lord's Prayer says "forgive us as we forgive." The The parable of the unforgiving servant makes it clear, we can't live a freed life if we refuse to forgive. Nothing anyone has done to us is equal to what we owe God for our forgiveness. Wesleyans and Calvinists can argue over if this will cause someone to forfeit their salvation, but neither can argue against the truth that unforgiveness hands us over to be tormented. Unforgiveness never hurts the other person as much as it destroys us. Study after study shows people holding grudges live a less fulfilling life. Testimony after testimony speaks to the freedom found in forgiveness, so why don't we? Jesus makes it very clear unforgiveness isn't God's way. Jesus even forgave those who put him on the cross so why won't we? We have to forgive if we want to be free in Christ.

 

Note: Forgiveness doesn't mean you forget or that you trust someone. Also if you want to read more lookup, Impossible to Forgive. The book deals with my struggles learning to forgive the person who I believe murdered my grandmother and yes, I had to learn to do it. 




Mat 18:1-35
(1)  At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
(2)  And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
(3)  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
(4)  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
(5)  And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
(6)  But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
(7)  Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
(8)  Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
(9)  And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
(10)  Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
(11)  For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
(12)  How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
(13)  And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
(14)  Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
(15)  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
(16)  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
(17)  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
(18)  Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
(19)  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
(20)  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
(21)  Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
(22)  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
(23)  Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
(24)  And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
(25)  But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
(26)  The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
(27)  Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
(28)  But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
(29)  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
(30)  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
(31)  So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
(32)  Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
(33)  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
(34)  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
(35)  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

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