Monthly Archives: March 2023

Judges 9-11; Mark 13; Psalm 49

Jotham hid himself to protect his life.

Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, who followed him. And he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself.

Judges 9:4b-5, ESV

He ran away and fled.

21 And Jotham ran away and fled and went to Beer and lived there, because of Abimelech his brother.

Judges 9:21, ESV

Hiding and running away might not seem like brave acts, but when you’re being hunted (and outnumbered) by “worthless and reckless fellows” and a power-hungry brother out for literal blood, there’s wisdom and prudence in taking cover, of seeing a threat and acting on it.

22 Abimelech ruled over Israel three years. 23 And God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem, and the leaders of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, 24 that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers.

Judges 9:22-24, ESV, emphasis added

Jotham wasn’t able to fight for his life or avenge his brothers on his own. In God’s timing, and with God’s way, it was handled for him. It took three years. So Jotham lived in Beer for three years because of his brother, and I imagine he was always on guard.

The disciples are wonder-struck by the architecture of a temple. Jesus gives them food for thought to really wonder over:

And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

Mark 13:2, ESV

He goes on to tell them of things that will come–war, famine, persecution, hatred, deception.

These are but the beginning of the birth pains. But be on your guard13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved … 22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23 But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand … 33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”

Mark 13:8b-9, 13, 22-23, 33-37, ESV, emphasis added

Jotham didn’t know how long he’d wait. And Jesus tells us we also won’t know when the time will come when God will act and Jesus will return, but in his love he gives warning.

Lord, when I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? (Ps 56:3-4, ESV) Your word is hidden in my heart. I trust in you and your timing. I trust in your strength and your promise. Help me to live alert, expectant, and hopeful. I thank you for all the doors you’ve closed to protect me.

Be not afraid when a man becomes rich,
    when the glory of his house increases.
17 For when he dies he will carry nothing away;
    his glory will not go down after him.
18 For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed
    —and though you get praise when you do well for yourself—
19 his soul will go to the generation of his fathers,
    who will never again see light.
20 Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.

Psalm 49:16-20, ESV

Courtney (66books365)


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Judges 7-8; Mark 12; Psalms 52, 42

Depression can really wreck havoc in my life if I give it more reign than it deserves. It happens to the best of preachers who preach every Sunday and then have to face a depressed filled Monday.

My soul is in despair within me;
Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan
And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. – Psalm 42:6 NASB

What makes me a bit unique is that I have become comfortable coming to God and giving Him my despair. It is like I am looking at my depression outside my body and reporting it and giving it to God. While most will turn and run away from God, hence the 60% of ministers who commit adultery, why hide the problem from Him? I love how the psalmist points the way to healthy boundaries and relationships. Of course, there are the days where even when I run to God, somehow I do not sense He is there.

I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” – Psalm 42:9 NASB

Notice how I still call God my rock – my place of security, stability and strength? At the same time I am honestly bringing my feelings to God even though it looks like He might have forgotten me.

Yet Gideon said to them, “I would request of you, that each of you give me an earring from his plunder.” (For they had gold earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) – Judges 8:24 NASB

I know that I want the Holy Spirit to directly speak to me – not through emotion-filled revivals – just to know that He is there. When I do not wait for Him, I will begin to neglect the simple things He has asked me to do, like worship. Other things begin to fall by the wayside too, like prayer and church fellowship. Reading the Scriptures might seem boring and humdrum some days but it is better than creating something more flashy and exciting, like an ephod. I have to be in a place where I trust that God knows what He is doing.

Gideon made it into an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah; but all Israel committed infidelity with it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his household. – Judges 8:27 NASB

When my life get this bad, when idolatry has messed with my heart, how many people do I take down with me? I think that my relationship with God is like a marriage. Why is my relationship with God so important, why does it demand all of my life? If my walk with God is truly marital in nature, what sort of husband would brush it off if his wife kept multiple lovers? I cannot sluff off my covenant relationship with God – it is a marriage. It is up to me to decide how holy and pure it will be.

Father, Thank You for taking all of my despair into Your hands. If I keep it, I will be destroyed.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Judges 5-6; Mark 11; Ps. 39, 41

We are very close to Palm Sunday. This pivotal day in history. There are several passages of Scripture that are dear to me and this part of Mark 11 is one of them. Let’s read this together:

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:1-10 [ESV])

The triumphal entry of our Lord was prophesied hundreds of years before. And not only that it wasn’t as if it was prophesied that some day it would happen, but the prophesy gave the year and day. That is beyond incredible in my estimation.

The words the crowds cry out – Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! – come from Psalm 118, one of the Messianic Psalms. But, also, this event was prophesied in Daniel.

9:24 “Seventy weeks have been determined concerning your people and your holy city to put an end to rebellion, to bring sin to completion, to atone for iniquity, to bring in perpetual righteousness, to seal up the prophetic vision, and to anoint a Most Holy Place. 25 So know and understand: From the issuing of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until an anointed one, a prince arrives, there will be a period of seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It will again be built, with plaza and moat, but in distressful times. 26 Now after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one will be cut off and have nothing. As for the city and the sanctuary, the people of the coming prince will destroy them. But his end will come speedily like a flood. Until the end of the war that has been decreed there will be destruction. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one week. But in the middle of that week he will bring sacrifices and offerings to a halt. On the wing of abominations will come one who destroys, until the decreed end is poured out on the one who destroys.” (Daniel 9:24-27 [NET])

Daniel wrote these words some 600 years earlier than the Triumphal Entry. He writes, From the issuing of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until an anointed one, a prince arrives… That prophecy is fulfilled to the day it was declared.

We don’t have time here to unpack all the passages of Scripture that makes this prophecy true and fulfilled, but I can give you the following quote that summarizes the math and the exact day it did happen in history. “Sir Robert Anderson by a careful analysis of the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 calculated that Jesus, to the very day, fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy concerning the appearance of the Messiah. Dr. Alva McClain has written, ‘April 6, 32 A.D., therefore, is fixed definitely as the end of the era of the first 69 Weeks; and according to Daniel’s prophecy, it should mark the very day of Messiah’s manifestation as the Prince of Israel.’ Without attempting to enter into the clear but intricate chronological calculations set forth by Anderson in his book, The Coming Prince (Pages 95-105), I shall simply state his conclusion that April 6, 32 A.D., was the tenth of Nisan, that momentous day on which our Lord, in fulfilment of Messianic prophecy, rode up to Jerusalem on the ‘foal of an ass’ and offered Himself as the Prince and King of Israel.” Alva J. McClain, Daniel’s Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1969), p. 20.

So what you may ask. Well many times we talk about leaps of faith people need to make to believe in this whole gospel, Christian thing. Well because of passages like these we know there are no leaps or hops or steps. The gospel is plain and simply laid out for us in Scripture and that’s why we read the Bible through each year. We see more and more of God’s proof that what he says and does and true and trustworthy. April 6th is just around the corner. Set an alarm for that morning and remember what Jesus has done for us.

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Judges 1-4; Mark 10

“After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel. The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight and served the images of Baal. They abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They went after other gods, worshipping the gods of the people around them. And they angered the Lord.” Judges 2:10-12 NLT

The book of Judges is one of Israel’s darkest times. God sent Deborah to help usher in 40 years of peace. Where has God sent me to be a light for Him?

Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet who was judging Israel at that time. She would sit under the palm of Deborah, between Raman and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites would go to her for judgment…Then Deborah said to Barak, “Get ready! This is the day the Lord will give you victory over Sisera, for the Lord is marching ahead of you.” Judges 4:4&5,14 NLT

Deborah was a Mother of Israel, a spiritual leader, a guardian, protector and prophet. She’s the only judge that gets a song in her honor. She is a hero. She had conviction, bravery & boldness. She had a courageous faith. I see in Mark 10 that God rewards Faith…

What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. “My Rabbi, the blind man said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.” Mark 10:51&52 NLT

Jesus healed the man instantly. Some situations seem impossible, but God can change someone’s life in an instant. Do I have the faith to believe it? There are times when I am not just praying for physical healing. But, I am praying for eyes to be open and scales to fall off of them.

Dear Father, Thank you that you never give up on me. I pray that I would have this same heart towards others . Even when I don’t see a change, I know you’re always working. Help me to be bold and courageous like Deborah. Thank you that Your word never returns void. Amen.

“Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” Mark 10: 27 NLT


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Joshua 22-24; Mark 9; Psalms 44, 47

Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left,

Joshua 23:6 ESV

11 Be very careful, therefore, to love the Lord your God.

Joshua 23:11 ESV

Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness.

Joshua 24:14 ESV

The time has come for Joshua to say his good-byes. He addresses the leaders first and charges them to remain strong, a value he learned time and again throughout his years of leading the Israelites. He knows that living by faith is not answering a one time call, but is a daily decision that requires commitment and care. I love that he tells them to be very careful to love God. It is so easy to be careless about our faith. To follow God casually. To plod on relying on a long ago experience or decision to hold us, or rest in some arbitrary sense of goodness that gives us a leg up on our “competition.”

When Joshua then turns to the people, his message and delivery changes a bit, knowing he is speaking to a bit of a mixed crowd. However, the challenge to faithfulness remains. They had a choice to make. They even set up a little memorial, a stone, to confirm their commitment. Something physical to remind them in the future what they had spoken in that moment.

My faith takes careful handling. It is not a checklist or a one-time experience. It is not a facade or a group decision. I need to take these words to heart personally and daily. With sincerity and faithfulness. As they said repeatedly, I need to reaffirm my conviction, “The Lord our God we will serve, and his voice we will obey.” (24:24)

Lord God, I commit and recommit daily to follow you. Thank you for your years of faithfulness on my behalf. Your millennia of faithfulness to your people. Thank you for your word and the many memorial stones that literally and figuratively exist to remind me of my commitment and your love. Give me strength to obey and boldness to follow. I love you. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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