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As I read through Scripture each year, June is the month that I spend time in the Psalms and Proverbs. We are reminded at the beginning that a man who delights in the law of the Lord is blessed, rather like a tree by a stream of water. It is cared for by receiving plenty of nutrition, resulting in bearing fruit in the proper season. The person who goes to the Word of God daily will gain wisdom, thus prospering beyond any material gain.

We are also reminded what happens to the wicked who have no respect for God, but rather do things the way they want—being referred to as wicked, sinners and mockers. The path of the wicked sinner will lead to their destruction. If not in this life, certainly in the next.

Years ago, as a new Christian, I had memorized Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” I have fallen back on this Scripture many times through the years as a comfort in times of evil attacks. I know many of you have experienced such attacks, what Scripture do you fall on to strengthen you? We can always count on His Word and know He is there for us.

As we read through the Psalms, we can also see happenings of today as well (I’m sure many generations have been comforted by the Psalms). Psalm 78:32, 26-37 struck a pang of sadness for me as I read, “But in spite of this, the people kept sinning. Despite His wonders, they refused to trust Him. But all they gave Him was lip service; they lied to Him with their tongues. Their hearts were not loyal to Him. They did not keep His covenant.” Are we living in a time of promises and lip service and yet people’s hearts are far from Him.

Many that step foot in church on a regular basis, leave the church and continue with language and behavior that does not glorify Him and you would have no clue that they even go to church let alone claiming to be a child of the King! There is no way that, as a Christ follower, you should be using profane language as Ephesians 5 reminds us to stay away from sins of sexual immorality, impurity and greed along with obscene and foolish talk and course joking. I beg you, read Ephesians 4 and 5 over and over until it sinks in how we are to behave and talk as Christ followers.

The day is coming when He will “Rise up, O God, and judge the earth, for all the nations belong to You.” (Psalm 82:8) Even though in todays world, most of the nations have turned away from God, the day will come when He takes possession of all that is His. Be sure you are on the right side!

And then there are prayers in Psalms that I use often in my talking with Him. My paraphrase for Psalm 19:13-14 is “keep me from willful sin, don’t let them rule over me! Then I will be free from guilt and innocent of great sin. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, my Lord and my Rock!” Or how about Psalm 86:11 “Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor You.” And finally, my heart longs for the direction of our Lord as I pray “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Show me anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

May we remember that “He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with truth.” This is stated in Psalm 96:13 and repeated again in Psalm 98:9. Judgement is coming, we don’t know when but make sure you are right before the Lord. Make sure you don’t put off your surrendering to Him. That judgement will come when you are least expecting it—stand ready.

I will close today with Psalm 103: 17-18, “But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear Him. His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to His covenant, of those who obey His commandments.”

Be blessed my friends, and know I always look forward to hearing from you.

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Isn’t it amazing how much we read in a month? Years ago, I had made a commitment to the Lord to read my Bible at least as much as I read other materials (books, magazines and now I need to add time spent on the Internet). Yes, we need to spend more time with the Lord as we see our world falling apart, may we run and embrace Christ who gives us our strength and our hope and our peace of mind.

We start with looking at 2 Samuel 11:1-5 “It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.”

This decision to stay behind rather than going to war like David had done in the past, ended up bringing David to his knees. But before that happened, his sin was such that many would say that he had lost favor with the Lord. Certainly, after committing adultery and then killing the husband of the woman he impregnated should have humbled him but it seems it wasn’t until Nathan came to him with a parable that David cried out, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Sam 12:13)

And with that confession the Lord forgave David. David did not make excuses or justify his actions. Nathan confronted him with the facts and David confessed immediately. Immediately! May we be as quick to ask God’s forgiveness by confessing when we fall short. We are all vulnerable to some sort of sin that can pull us down to the pit of hell, ask the Lord to give you understanding to know and do the right thing.

Have you ever been betrayed by a trusted friend? We all have had a time when someone we thought was a dear friend used their words and actions to stab our heart and leave us bleeding. The most important part of such actions is that the Lord still wants you to forgive them. But we must remember that they are no longer to be trusted. Be careful who you invite into your inner circle; although all sin and fall short, not all use what they know about us to wound us. Guard your heart and trust it to people who stay close to the Lord Jesus Christ. And may we ask the Lord to keep us from wounding a friend.

I can never read 2 Kings 17:14-15 without at least making a small comment. I still go back to the New International Translation (c. 1997, not a later edition) which reads, “But the Israelites would not listen. They were as stubborn as their ancestors and refused to believe in the Lord their God. They rejected His laws and the covenant He had made with their ancestors, and they despised all His warnings. They worshiped worthless idols and became worthless themselves.” (emphasis are mine)

Let’s take it one step further, reading Acts 14:15 “Friends, why are you doing this (calling Paul and Barnabas gods)? We are merely human beings like yourselves! We have come to bring you the Good News that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them.”

These last two paragraphs pretty much sum up what is happening in the United States today—we have rejected God as a nation so we’ve lost the only Person who can truly give us esteem, worshipping worthless idols and now so many feel worthless. Our worth comes from no other source, only God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Today I finished day 100 in Faithful Promises of God and would like to close with the prayer:

Heavenly Father, You care deeply for me and allow me to go through the pains of life to help me mature in Christ. Help me to learn my lessons quickly so I am pleasing to You. In Jesus name, Amen

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I have many random notes since I last blogged so let’s get started. First, I want to know how you are doing with reading through the Bible. We’ve come through a difficult portion with lots of regulations, the

calling of Joshua, the death of Moses, the death of Joshua, a reminder of the history of Israel and so much more.

Are any of us like Achan, who confesses his sin but still suffers the consequences? Often, we hear false teaching that when we become a Christian, we won’t have problems, we won’t suffer but that is a lie. Peter reminds us “There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.” (1Peter 1:6-7a) Or we can look at James, “count it all joy, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:2) All this without having sinned but Achan did sin and I suspect he thought, like many of us, that that would be the end. But remember, we will suffer the consequences for our sin. Also remember, it is the right thing to do when you confess your sins to our Lord!

I’ve heard many make the comment that the Old Testament is of no use today but I implore you to continue reading because so often we can see ourselves (as we live our lives) in the behavior of the Israelites.

The Israelites were close to the Lord, wanting to do what He wanted them to do, but within a short time, we see they “did what was right in their own eyes” and that is never good, whether back then or today.

There is a time in Judges 16:20b where Samson woke up not realizing that the Lord had left him. That is so sad but again, we all struggle with the same thing. Life is going good and we stop reading our Bibles, we “get so busy” with life and don’t pray as often, and before we know it, we forget to seek the Lord in the most important situations of our life. Indeed, the Old Testament is of great relevance.

Ruth is a remarkable little book that does show us that God uses women. Not only does He use women, He uses women that aren’t one of His chosen. Let’s bring to mind that He used Tamar (Gen 18:1-30). When Judah did not keep his promise, she tricked him and became pregnant by him, giving birth to twins, one of which is in the line of Jesus. Ruth, a Moabite, also gives birth to a child in the line of Jesus, Obed the son of Boaz.

Next, we start through 1 Samuel and find that Israel is pretending to serve the Lord but didn’t pray about decisions concerning going into battle. They put on a show, a pretense of calling for the Ark of the Covenant and paraded it around the battlefield. Not only did they lose the battle but the Ark was taken by the enemy.

The importance of obedience is explain in 1 Samuel 15:22, “What is more pleasing to the Lord; your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to His voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” Not only does God ask the question, He gives the answer.

I also thought it important to remind us that God explains mankind as a whole. For those of you that are young, that means both men and women…never thought I would have to explain that. 1 Samuel 24:13 points out, “As that old proverb says, “from evil people come evil deeds.” Jesus makes the same point in Matt 7:16-20, “Beware of false

prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

Again, we see that the Old Testament introduces a subject and the New Testament confirms exactly what the Old Testament is teaching.

Finally, I was interested in seeing the subject of 2 Samuel 8 about David going into battle and the defeated people “became David’s subjects and paid him tribute money.” I cannot find a lot written on this in the commentaries but I wonder if that tribute money was like taxes being paid? What would that mean for our country where the citizens pay taxes every year and throughout the year? Instead of giving other countries our tax dollars, perhaps we should be having them pay a tribute. Following the Bible would bring blessings to our country but we are falling further and further away from God’s Word.

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