Category Archives: Judges

Judges 17-18; Psalm 21; Acts 1

Then Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will be good to me, because a Levite has become my priest.” – Judges 17:13 HCSB

A striking note to me today as I think how individuals like Micah, think God comes in good luck charms. I can easily fall into a combination of Heathenism, Judaism and Christianity. While I grasp the complex concept of the Trinity, why do I still find myself thinking that God has little interest in the affairs of this world, either in a way of present control, or of future retribution?

It happens when I miss God’s goodness and grace that comes to meet me all the time.

For You meet him with rich blessings;
You place a crown of pure gold on his head.
He asked You for life, and You gave it to him—
length of days forever and ever.
His glory is great through Your victory;
You confer majesty and splendor on him.
You give him blessings forever;
You cheer him with joy in Your presence.
For the king relies on the Lord;
through the faithful love of the Most High
he is not shaken. – Psalm 21:3-7 HCSB

The grace of God’s love loves me before I ever loved Him. His grace of restraint keeps me from committing sins that would put me more out of reach of the Gospel.

All these were continually united in prayer,[c] along with the women, including Mary[d] the mother of Jesus, and His brothers. During these days Peter stood up among the brothers[e]—the number of people who were together was about 120… – Acts 1:14-15 HCSB

I can see this grace resulting in change that took place in the lives of the disciples. Did they not argue, on more than one occasion who among them was the greatest? Yet after the resurrection of Jesus and His ascension, they no longer argued but were truly united because there was trust among them. As a follower of Jesus I must learn to trust other followers, being united together to fulfill the Great Commission.

I saw that they were not concerned about who was the greatest, whose sin was worst or least, they were only concerned on how they could fulfill that Great Commission. That brought unity – everyone had the same goal.

Father, I pray that I do not fall into thinking like the world does about You. I pray that Your grace will meet me each day and that Your goodness will walk with me always. I pray that I will have time to honour You for Your blessings and I look forward to Your presence that enables me to rely on You and experience Your love. I sense Your strength ensuring that in my life. May I enjoy the presence of other believers and together may we share the good news of Jesus to the world that needs it and are looking for You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Judges12; Acts 16; Jeremiah 25; Mark 11

I read a story that is still active and alive today. A story of a word – Shibboleth.

In order to keep the Ephraimites from escaping, the Gileadites captured the places where the Jordan could be crossed. When any Ephraimite who was trying to escape would ask permission to cross, the men of Gilead would ask, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” they would tell him to say “Shibboleth.” But he would say “Sibboleth,” because he could not pronounce it correctly. Then they would grab him and kill him there at one of the Jordan River crossings. At that time forty-two thousand of the Ephraimites were killed. – Judges 12:5-6 GNT

My mom would tell me stories during the war of how they could find out if an American spy, posing as a German, could be tested in order to find them out. I think, we in the church do the same thing in determining whether one is really a follower of God. It is by prayer that I believe I refrain from lapsing into the Pharisee’s censoriousness.

Why cannot I be free to move as the Holy Spirit moves me just as Paul and Silas were?

They traveled through the region of Phrygia and Galatia because the Holy Spirit did not let them preach the message in the province of Asia. When they reached the border of Mysia, they tried to go into the province of Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. – Acts 16:6-7 GNT

It is difficult to understand why I have to do something differently but there is a moment of faith where I can almost see God’s hand trying to show the 30,000 foot view of where the Holy Spirit is moving.

The same is so when it comes to my sin. I pray that I never take it lightly.

The Lord, the God of Israel, said to me, “Here is a wine cup filled with my anger. Take it to all the nations to whom I send you, and make them drink from it. – Jeremiah 25:15 GNT

I am so thankful that I can pray and ask for help in overcoming the temptations of judgement on others and in ignoring the move of the Holy Spirit. I pray for faith to believe and the power to forgive.

Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. For this reason I tell you: When you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for. And when you stand and pray, forgive anything you may have against anyone, so that your Father in heaven will forgive the wrongs you have done. – Mark 11:22, 24-25 GNT

Father, may my walk with You be based on faith and not of judgment, on believing in You and not in myself, and on forgiving so that I may find myself being forgiven. Amen

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Judges 11:12-40; Acts 15; Jeremiah 24; Mark 10

“Go sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.  Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” This amazed them.  But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God.  In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were astounded.  “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.  “Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible.  But not with God.  Everything is possible with God.” Mark 10:21-27 NLT

Mark 10:27 is such a familiar verse to me.  God has used it in my life to speak hope to my soul.  But, I don’t remember if I have read the entire passage before. It puts it in a whole new light.  It makes me question what I am treasuring.  What am I holding onto that won’t fulfill me?What is hindering me from fully following Him?

“God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us.  He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith.  Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through  them among the Gentiles.” Acts 15:8-12 NLT

What is my faith in?

“Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him.  A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road.  When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him.  But only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me.”  So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said.  “Come on, he’s calling you!” Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.  “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 10:46-52 NLT

The blind man continued to follow Jesus after he could see.  I can picture him walking the rest of his days with Jesus. Because he knew that He is the only place where true healing could be found.  I don’t think he was thinking about what he was giving up, but what he gained.  Not only his eyesight, but Jesus.

Dear Father, please forgive me when my heart is far from you. I am reminded of a song that says, “There is nothing better than You.”  I want to sing that and believe it, but sometimes I have to tell it to my heart. You are worthy. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

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Judges 19-21; Mark 16

Now in those days Israel had no king (Judges 19:1a, NLT).

These are the opening words to a tragedy. A story that ends with this:

25 In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25, NLT).


The tragic story in Judges 19-21 didn’t begin when the troublemakers of Gibeah beat on an old man’s door.

22 While they were enjoying themselves, a crowd of troublemakers from the town surrounded the house. They began beating at the door and shouting to the old man, “Bring out the man who is staying with you so we can have sex with him” (Judges 19:22, NLT).

It began here:

There was a man from the tribe of Levi living in a remote area of the hill country of Ephraim. One day he brought home a woman from Bethlehem in Judah to be his concubine. 2 But she became angry with him and returned to her father’s home in Bethlehem (Judges 19:1b-2, NLT).

Whatever happened between them, I don’t know. But something happened, and she reacted. Likely, he didn’t count the cost of his actions. Surely, she didn’t count the cost of her actions. Catastrophe starts small, with an unchecked thought, word or action.

I sit with words, watching a scene unfold, grimacing at the abandonment (a host abandoning his daughter; a husband abandoning his wife; troublemakers abandoning all decency and mercy), eyes widening in shock as deaths mount by the thousands in a warfare of tribe against tribe.

I can look all over these scriptures and point out places where there’s fault. And maybe there’s something to their opening and end:

Now in those days Israel had no king (Judges 19:1a, NLT) … 25 In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25, NLT).

Father God, you are Lord over all. Be Lord over my life. Be Lord over my heart. Be Lord over my words. Be Lord over my actions. I don’t want to be right in my own eyes. I want to live right by your standards. I only want your approval.

Courtney (66books365)

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Judges 9-11; Mark 13; Psalm 49

22 Abimelech ruled over Israel three years. 23 . . . 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. (from Judges 9 – ESV)

Abimelech ruled for three bloody years. He had his 70 brothers killed to secure the throne, destroyed families, ambushed groups of people, killed another 1,000 hiding in a tower, and captured and killed until a woman dropped a millstone on his head. And, as much as he wanted to avoid the disgrace, it is still recognized that a woman ended his reign of terror even though his armor bearer officially ended his life.

All that wickedness, and he was afraid that he would have the reputation of dying at the hand of a female. The least of his worries.

Sadly, the leaders bear some blame as well. Instead of standing up to Abimelech, they strengthened his hands. (Lord, give me the wisdom to recognize evil and the boldness to speak out against it!)

We assume that Israel had at least a bit of a change of heart as the next two judges fill a brief five verses at the beginning of chapter ten with their length of reign and a note about their death and burial.

Before long though, Israel goes her own way. How often do I also find myself repeating the same sins? How often do pride and self-righteousness and bad habits and laziness poke their noses into my choices? My issue might not be foreign gods, but I have plenty of issues.

I find a bit of comfort in Jephthah’s story, despite the tragic ending. God used him. Someone rejected by society because of his out-of-wedlock birth, still had a place in God’s plan. (reminds me of Ruth, Rahab, Mary, and Tamar) I love that God forgives and looks at us from His unique perspective as our Creator. If we repent and surrender, and even sometimes when we don’t, he shows a love for us that goes beyond comprehension.

Lord, speak gently to my heart and help me to learn my lesson before I need to cry out to you from a place of punishment. Help me remember Your saving hand in times of peace and blessing as well as times of challenge. Thank you for using the broken, even me. ~Amen

Erin (6intow)

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