Mother and Home by Pastor Matthew Swiatkowski

Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 23 – 25 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 19 – 20; Psalms 66 – 70; Proverbs 14)Read the “0514 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Note – This article was originally published in the Gospel Light Baptist Church Newsletter and was reprinted by permission.

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)

“Ma…I’m home.” That’s what I said when I came through the front door and stood there in the hallway. Right in front of me was the staircase leading to the second floor where the three bedrooms were along with the bathroom, and just off to the right was the hallway that would lead me to the kitchen. I stood there for a minute, but my mom did not respond because mom did not live there anymore. My parents sold the house 20 years ago and the couple who purchased it from them were selling it and having an open house. I couldn’t resist going down to the house and looking around. As I stood there in the front entranceway, I was flooded with memories, from the happy to the sad. I walked slowly down the hallway and to the right was a door that would lead to the living room and as I proceeded to the left was the doorway that would take me to the basement. And then right in front of me was the entrance to the kitchen. I made my way into the kitchen, which was large. There was a sink, range top, an oven, and plenty of cabinets and counter space on the left-hand side, and then a large area for a large table to accommodate the eight people who sat around it each evening for a meal. This large room and probably the largest in the house and was the meeting place. Tuesday night was company night; sometimes there would be as few as four and then sometimes there would be 20 people, lots of laughs, plenty of cake, and always coffee. As I stood there, I saw them all and I could hear the conversations and the laughter. Most of all I could see my mom and watch her having a good time. This kitchen provided more meals than any man could remember. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week 365 days a year. If ever a friend or guest came by at mealtime nobody was ever denied. As a teenager when I came home (and always at the time mom told me) I would make my way into the kitchen and find Mom sitting there reading. I would pour myself a Coke and grab a snack and sit down and talk with Mom, maybe for just 10 minutes or maybe for a couple of hours. My trip down memory lane was disturbed when the real estate agent tried to point out to me how large the kitchen area was. I looked at him and smiled. Yes, it is a very large kitchen.

I then walked into the living room and could see my dad sitting in his recliner with his one leg always hanging over the side of the arm of the chair, the sofa and loveseat with us sitting there watching a movie TV show or a Giants football game. Then through this door that led back to the hallway I went and made my way upstairs. I looked in the bedrooms and then stood there in the front room that belonged to my three brothers and me. I was already on shaky ground but here’s where I started to lose it. Here are the four of us shared this– room I remember it being much bigger and as I stood there, I tried to figure out how the four of us fit in that place, how long with dressers and a TV stereo system. In the bathroom was the built-in cabinet where Mom stored all the towels and bed sheets. I made my way into the basement and the backyard. The first 25 years of my life were spent in this house. My mother was born in this house and her grandfather purchased it in 1919. For all intents and purposes, this was my mother’s house. Mom and Dad purchased it when her grandfather died. Needless to say, it held a lot of memories. Everything about this house reminded me of Mom, hers was the dominant memory and they were good memories.

The real estate agent and the homeowner followed me as I made my way through the home and neither of them knew who I was or my history. I finally spilled the beans when I was done with my tour. The house and everything about it reminded me of my mother. I could tell you 1001 stories about her and the impact she had on my life. I thank God for her, and I sure do miss her. Dad broke his back to make this house possible and all its contents, but my mother made it home. It was a haven and one of the few places where I could be myself without fear of ridicule and mocking.

For 31 years Renee and I have made this apartment our home. It was the spring and Matty was a year and a half old, and Melanie was due in August. Ethan and Evan would come later but all four know this five-room apartment as home. Here their mother educated them and taught them to read and write. She taught them how to add and subtract. Here they learned the word of God and here they grew up and for three of them, they left for college and then into marriage. While I was out working first in the plumbing and heating business and then in the pastorate, she stayed home and made our house a home. Three meals a day seven days a week, 365 days a year and no guest ever denied a meal even when they stopped by unexpectedly. I thank God for the wife He has given me and the mother she has been to our children. She has loved them unconditionally and she gave them a foundation. I’m indebted to her for all her sacrifice.

The blessings of God often go undetected as the Christian is usually waiting for a large sum of money or the absence of problems. Many an individual is blessed with a good mother and when they are in their youth, they don’t realize what they have. Then as young adulthood hits, they get busy trying to find their place in life. They are still looking for that great blessing from God and overlook the jewel that God has placed right in front of them. Many a husband will break his neck working and struggling and praying for the blessings of God and if he has a good wife who nurtures and cares for their children and if he fails to realize the ruby that God has placed within his home, he is a foolish man. There is no greater joy than to have a peaceful and quiet home. Many a night I would be out working late either on a heating emergency or as a pastor making a visit. I would rush home and Renee would have the kids bathed and, in their pajamas, waiting for me. We would read a Bible story, laugh, pray, and tuck them in. Then with the kids asleep, Renee would break out the Haagen Dazs chocolate ice cream she had hidden in the freezer. We learned not to make popcorn after the kids go to bed. Because as we sat there in the living room eating it the kids usually got up and would poke their heads out of the door wiping their eyes and asking if they could have some popcorn. I could never say no. To me, it was a flashback to when I was a child, when I would be lying in bed, and I could hear the popcorn being made and the smell would drift upstairs. I would get out of bed and lean over the banister and yell downstairs, Ma, can I have some popcorn? She also never said no and like a flash I was down the stairs and running down the hallway sliding across the kitchen floor with my pajamas with the built-in feet and then devouring a few handfuls of popcorn and back up to bed. Anyway, Renee and I would talk and finish whatever we were snacking on.
To whoever has finished reading this article I remind you that if you’re a woman who has been blessed to have children there is no higher calling than to care for them. Every other job is a pay cut and a downgrade. The Creator is the one whose wisdom is far beyond our comprehension, He has designed and made motherhood. He wired you and made you for such a purpose and to despise it or neglect that sacred and holy responsibility is unwise.

To all the single moms who have raised their children due to the loss of their husband or failed marriage or out-of-wedlock pregnancy. I say to you to stay true to God and rest assured he knows where you are and the struggle. I think of how God remembered Hagar in Genesis 21:9-21
To have been blessed with a good mother is a gift from almighty God even if mom was not so good (and there are mothers out there who had no business having children if I can say that). Maybe you’ve been blessed with a wife who is a good mother. There is where you should be thanking God for the blessing, He gave you. If you have been blessed to have both mom and wife, you have riches you do not understand.

Scripture reminds us:

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Psalm 127:3

There is no greater responsibility, no greater goal, no greater joy for a woman than the care of her children. Every other career choice is a downgrade a step away from what a holy and wise God gave you.

“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:27 – 30)

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” (Proverbs 14:1)

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Let The LORD Do – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 19 – 22 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 17 – 18; Psalms 61 – 65; Proverbs 13)

Read the “0513 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Now when Joab saw that the battle was set against him before and behind, he chose out of all the choice of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians. And the rest of the people he delivered unto the hand of Abishai his brother, and they set themselves in array against the children of Ammon. And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will help thee. Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in his sight.” (1Chronicles 19:10-13)

Good morning. Joab was in a tight spot: he had the enemy armies in front of him and behind him. But Joab knew who he was fighting for, and who would give him the victory… “and let the LORD do that which is good in his sight.”

Joab could be valiant and courageous because he was fighting for God’s people and God’s cities. What are you fighting for? What ever it is, the only way to get the victory is from God.

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Corinthians 15:57)

God holds all the victories. Joab would have know this because king David wrote a Psalm about it…

“A Psalm. O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.” (Psalm 98)

Even when confronted with his sin off numbering the people, David put his trust in the LORD…

“And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly. For when David was up in the morning, the word of the LORD came unto the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, Go and say unto David, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee. So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me. And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man. So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men.” (2Samuel 24:10-15)

But it says that 70,000 men died, how is that merciful? Let’s step forward in time to see God’s mercy. September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center is attacked by Muslim terrorists. 3000 souls was the death toll. That’s just 1.5% of the 200,000 people who pass through the buildings on any given day: 911 could have been much worse, but the true, living God is a merciful God.

The whole thing is that God holds your victory in His hands. We should be doing things that are pleasing in His sight.

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:5-6)

If you trust God with whatever it is you are doing, He will give you the victory and He will be glorified in that victory. By the way, the LORD supplied the rest of the money to finish the addition to the our church: God gave us the victory! Let the LORD do His work through you, and the victory will come.


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Preparing for the Next Generation

Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 16 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 15 – 16Psalms 56 – 60Proverbs 12)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51

Read the “0512 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read previous posts from this passage – “Check With God First;” and “Taking Time to Rejoice.”

“Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in:” (1 Chronicles 17:4)

The thought for this morning’s devotion was derived from the today’s reading as well as what is discussed in chapter twenty-two. It was David’s desire to build a permanent structure to house the Ark of the Covenant and all of the other items that were previously part of the worship of the Lord in the Tabernacle. David had already moved the ark into Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 16:1), but the rest of the Tabernacle was still at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16:39). God did not permit David to build Him a Temple, however (1 Chronicles 17:4), but that didn’t stop David from doing everything that He could in order to make sure his son Solomon and all of the others in that next generation would have everything that they needed in order for them to build a place to worship the Lord. Even though David would not personally experience and enjoy the final product, he worked tirelessly so that his children would.

There are three thoughts that I would like to consider regarding this passage:

  1. David had a good attitude when God told him “No.”

“(16) And David the king came and sat before the LORD, and said, Who am I, O LORD God, and what is mine house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? (17) And yet this was a small thing in thine eyes, O God; for thou hast also spoken of thy servant’s house for a great while to come, and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, O LORD God.” (1 Chronicles 17:16-17)

In fact, though David could not personally build God the house that he wanted to for the Lord, God tells David that He is going to build David a house. Not a physical place to live, but a lineage of children and grandchildren that were going to sit on the throne in Jerusalem forever. The Lord Jesus Himself would physically descend from David through His mother Mary (Luke 3), and legally through His earthly guardian Joseph (Matthew 1).

2. David continued to fight the Lord’s battles so that the next generation would not have to.

Chapter eighteen is all about David conquering the enemy nations that posed a threat to the peace and safety of Israel. And, as David won these victories, he collected the spoils of war: gold, silver, and more, which would be put in the treasury in Jerusalem and then could be used as building materials in the future Temple.

3. David continued to plan and prepare for the Temple.

We are not there yet in the reading, but if you skip ahead to chapter twenty-two, you will see that David got everything ready, including his son Solomon, so that when he passed off the scene, the Temple could be built.

David worked very hard so that the next generation could have what he would never have. I find that type of sacrifice is missing in our culture today. It seems that many today are just interested in taking what they can today, often at the expense of the next generation. Our government is continually multiplying our national debt, which will have to be paid back by our children and grandchildren. What a shame. We ought to be working to pay off that debt and then build up a surplus as David did so that the next generation could enjoy it and then also build upon it for their children.

How about you? What are you doing today that will make the world a better place for your children and grandchildren? Let’s strive to leave behind something that will help the future generations fulfill God’s will for their lives.

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God’s Work, God’s Way by Amanda Olive

Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 16 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 15 – 16Psalms 56 – 60Proverbs 12)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51

Read the “0512 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read previous posts from this passage – “Check With God First;” and “Taking Time to Rejoice.”

“1 And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader. 2 And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the LORD our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us: 3 And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul. 4 And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.” (1 Chronicles 13:1-4)

As soon as I read, “for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people,” I knew things were going to go wrong. With that being said, God is very exact in his word. God made it clear how He wanted the ark moved in Numbers 4:4, 15, 17 – 20. And right from the start David seeks the go ahead from the people rather than seeking the Lord. David wanted to be a good King. We all have it in us to be liked. David was looking for recognition.

“7 And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart. 8 And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets. 9 And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. 10 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.” (1 Chronicles 13:7-10)

God smote him! Wow! Divine Justice. Uzza was probably thinking “grab it, it’s going to fall.” Reading deeper into this passage I realize that everyone in the whole procedure from David on down was guilty of disobeying God’s instructions regarding the most holy things. God’s way requires a working knowledge of Scripture. David was angry at first that the Lord had interfered with his plans. In David’s mind he thought he was doing right. God’s power and holiness made David doubt whether he was worthy to bring the ark to his city. Humility, “the fear of the Lord,” the absence of self.

I continued reading and David, with God’s help, had two victories over the Philistines in chapter 14. Then the ark is finally brought to Jerusalem without any hiccups, because the ark was transported in the proper manner and handled with fitting reverence. It was carried on the shoulders of the Levites, who  themselves were ceremonially cleansed. After the ark arrived, David and the people celebrated the event with sacrifices and feasting.

David was a man after God’s heart. He never blamed others for his mistakes, he didn’t make excuses, and he knew how to repent. We are all wretched sinners, our hearts are deceitful. If we aren’t in our Bible every day seeking and putting God first then we are either trusting in our  own self or seeking man’s approval. Try to stay humble and live for the Lord. God is the One and only One that knows what is best for us all the time. Seek Him! I pray this is a blessing.

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When the Going Get’s Tough …

Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 13 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 13 – 14Psalms 51 – 55Proverbs 11)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2

Read the “0511 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read previous posts from this passage – “God’s Will – God’s Way;” and Obededom – A Doorkeeper for the Lord.”

“Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps.” (1 Chronicles 15:28)

It is never easy to pick up the pieces and keep moving forward after blowing it “big time.” The natural reaction to failure is to just go hide under a rock somewhere and quit. That is exactly what David probably wanted to do after failing to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem the first time; a failure by the way which resulted in the death of an innocent man – Uzza.

The background to the story is complicated, but basically what had happened was that the ark of God had been taken in previous years by the Philistines in a battle they fought with Israel. The Philistines received the judgment of God because of it, so they returned it to Israel. For years the ark remained in Kirjath-jearim, but when David became king he wanted to bring the ark to Jerusalem (See 1 Samuel 4 & 5). David’s first attempt to bring the ark to Jerusalem is recorded in 1 Chronicles 13. There we see David with all good intentions and excitement because he believes that he is doing something that the Lord would be pleased with. David may have been doing what God wanted done; the problem was, however, he was not doing it the way that God had instructed. The ark of God was supposed to be transported by the Levites in a very specific way:

“[4] This shall be the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation, about the most holy things: [5] And when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall take down the covering vail, and cover the ark of testimony with it: [6] And shall put thereon the covering of badgers’ skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue, and shall put in the staves thereof. … [15] And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation.” (Numbers 4:4-6, 15)

When David moved the ark in 1 Chronicles 13, he placed the ark on a “new cart,” which may at first sound like a great way to honor the Lord and His ark, but it was not the way that God wanted it done. It was supposed to be carried by the Levites. When the oxen that were pulling the cart stumbled and the cart wobbled, Uzza did what any of us would probably do, he put his hands on the ark to keep it from falling off of the cart. God was very upset because nobody was supposed to touch the ark. Even the Levites were forbidden to actually put their hands on the ark itself; they were only permitted to touch the staves (or rods) that were inserted into the loops on the ark. The result of Uzza’s (and David’s) error was that Uzza was killed by God. The fault for Uzza’s death, however, lay more with David and the Levites who should have known better. They blew it.

David failed, and his failure resulted in the death of a good man. That would have been enough to cause many a good man to quit trying to serve God at all, but David took some time to recover, and got back up and tried again to get it right, and this time He was successful. He instructs the Levites to carry the ark as prescribed by Moses in the Law, and they get the ark to Jerusalem where it belongs:

“[1] And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent. [2] Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever. … [13] For because ye did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order. [14] So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel. [15] And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the LORD.” (1 Chronicles 15:1-2, 13-15)

The point of this article is simple: don’t quit. You are going to fail and will probably do so often. The only people that do not fail are people who do not do anything. Also, your failure may hurt other people who are completely innocent. Bad decisions often have horrible consequences. You will want to run and hide, but you must eventually get back up and keep doing what you need to do. Take some time to prayerfully reevaluate what went wrong, but if you know that what you are trying to do is the will of God, try again, but this time be sure to do it God’s way. “The tough keep going.” Good leaders are not people who do not ever fail, they just do not allow their failures to keep them from trying to succeed again.

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Just a Cup of Cold Water

Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 11 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 11 – 12Psalms 46 – 50Proverbs 10)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 47:1

Read the “0510 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read previous posts from this passage – God Spotted Him First and “Double Heart.”

“And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate! And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to the LORD,” (1 Chronicles 11:17-18)

Today’s passage reveals all of the mighty men that labored and served alongside of David, both before and after he became king. These men were with him as he was on the run and hiding from King Saul, and they continued to serve with him as he was given the kingdom of Judah, and then later when he became king over all of Israel. These men were faithful to David and to the Lord, and because they were in the will of God fighting the Lord’s battles, God blessed them mightily. It is amazing to see what these men were able to do in God’s strength.

Verses fifteen through nineteen tell a strange story regarding when David and his men were fighting against the Philistines. The likely account of this battle is found in 2 Samuel 5:17 – 21 and is the first victory David had after being made king over all of Israel. David was “in the hold,” the cave of Adullam, and he had enemy forces entrenched around him in the Valley of Rephaim. He makes a strange request, probably to no-one particularly; he was likely just thinking out loud. He expressed his wish for some of the water from the well back home in Bethlehem. He wasn’t asking or expecting that somebody would actually do it, he was just longing for some of that good water back home. Maybe there was no fresh or good water where he was, who knows.

Three of his faithful men, however, hear David’s request, and risk their lives to make it happen. David is doubtless shocked that these men would do this for him, but he is also very appreciative of their love for him. He does not accept the gift, but rather “poured it out to the Lord,” as an offering. I often wondered why David would not take the gift, especially after his men risk their lives to give it to him. However, David wasn’t about to enjoy that good water while the rest of his men were thirsty. He recognized his unworthiness for the gift, and he offered it instead to the Lord. This is reminiscent of Uriah the Hittite, who would not go to enjoy the company of his wife while the rest of Israel’s army was out fighting a battle (See 2 Samuel 11:11 – 13).

There are two thoughts from this passage that I would like to share. First, I appreciate these men who took great risks to express their love and devotion to their king. David was their leader, and he was the one whom God had chosen to be the king. And he was a good king. He loved his people, and served right alongside of his men. Our King is the Lord Jesus Christ, and we ought to be willing to do anything to please Him. But, we also ought to get better at expressing our appreciation for the people who are important to us. During this COVID-19 pandemic, many are finding creative ways to express their thanks to all of the necessary workers, especially those health care workers who are at the highest risk of contracting the virus. It is interesting that Jesus actually used the illustration of giving a cup of cold water as being deserving of a reward (See Matthew 10:42).

My second thought concerns David’s reluctance to take the gift. There are many leaders of men who would have selfishly demanded a lot more than just a drink of water. They see themselves as better than other men, deserving of more honor. They expect others to serve them, but are reluctant to be “servant leaders” themselves. David didn’t see himself this way. He considered himself completely unworthy of all that God had done for him. You and I are completely unworthy of all of the blessings that God has bestowed upon us as well.

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The Four Requests Of Jabez – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 3 – 5 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 3 – 4; Psalms 26 – 30; Proverbs 6)

Read the “0506 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.” (1Chronicles 4:9-10)

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

Good morning. Growing up. did you ever watch your dad work and were amazed by his knowledge and skill in getting the job done? I was. I had broken the shift return spring on my Yamaha 500 Enduro. I watched as he fashioned a new one from an old wire coathanger. It worked, and I never had any problem with it ever. The foundation in the house we lived in was starting to settle. A crack in the wall near the ceiling started to open. My dad installed several rods and turnbuckles in the attic fastened to a joist and a rafter. Using house jacks to lift the settling end, he tightened the turnbuckels and the crack was pulled back together. Amazing. We have a heavenly Father who tells us to call on Him, and He will show us great and mighty things. We will be amazed: they are great and mighty things which we do not know. Jabez called on the Lord and made four requests which God granted…

1) He asked that God would bless him.

2) He asked that God would enlarge his coasts.

3) He asked that God’s hand would be with him.

4) And he asked that God would keep him from evil, that it would not grieve him.

In researching this passage, I found that many were using this and repeating the prayer over and over as part of the prosperity gospel movement. You can have prosperity, but Jesus said…

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John16:33)

There will be times of tribulation, maybe all through your life. Doesn’t sound too prospering. But there is prosperity in tribulation when you know Jesus. In the world ye shall (it’s going to happen) have tribulation: but be of good cheer. Why? Because you have Jesus, and Jesus has overcome the world. Dr. Lester Roloff said, “Don’t sing to me songs in the light if you can’t sing to me songs in the night.”

The Bible says…

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

In times of trouble…

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1Corinthians 10:13)

The Lord told Jerimiah while he was in prison…

“Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying, Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. For thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword; They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city. Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth. And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.” (Jeremiah 33:1-9)

Prosperity gospel? Knowing that Jesus is with you through the good times and the bad – that’s prosperity.


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Reading God’s Word Requires a Response and a Call to Action by Nancy Wheeler

Today’s Passage – 2 Kings 23 – 25 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

Second Milers also read – Luke 23 – 24Psalms 16 – 20Proverbs 4

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “0504 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

The Law Read

2 And the king went up into the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the Lord. (2 Kings 23:2)

The King’s Response 

3 And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant. (2 Kings 23:3)

The King’s Action (vs. 4 – 25)

4 And the king commanded, 5 And he put down the idolatrous priests, 6 And he brought out the grove from the house of the Lord… burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, 7 And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, 8 And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense … (2 Kings 23:4 – 8ff)

I think you get the picture. God’s word read, requires a response and a call to action.

There have been times in my life where God has put a fire in me to devour his word. Either before a great sorrow or after. Looking back, I can see His goodness in my life. God is always good even in tragedy and death.

Several months before my husband Mike passed away was one of those times. I couldn’t seem to get enough of God’s word. I read for several hours a day. Searching for answers and comfort. There was a situation within my family that was heartbreaking, and I was sure God was speaking to me about that.  Looking back, He was preparing me for grief as well.

I was traveling to Missouri when I received the call that Mike was killed. I remember taking my dad’s hand and saying, “I need to pray”. My prayer was one of thanking God for Mike’s bold testimony and knowing he was in heaven with him. And then asking God to not let this be something that pulls me away from Him but draws me closer. I asked him for His grace. That I wanted to be present in everything that was going to happen in the next week. I believe that that prayer was born out of the reading of God’s word the past few months.  God was preparing me for action, to walk through grief.

After the funeral, God drew me to the book of Job. The first part where Job loses everything and the last part, where God tells Job who He is. When I remember who God is, that’s when I trust and obey his word.

Again, God is preparing me for two years later, when I am a blubbering mess. Worried about something out of my control. I am thankful for those that day that prayed with me, that morning. My Pastor Charles, Tina, Phil Sr., Phil Jr., and several friends. That night though is when I again came to the end of myself and remembered who God is. He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I can trust him in life and in death. I’ve learned that to live a life of trust requires reading God’s word and putting it into action.

You must know God to trust God to Love God. I am to be strong in the LORD, steadfast, serving the LORD until He brings me home. 

Nancy Wheeler

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. (Psalm 34:3)

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A Space of Grace

Today’s Reading – 2 Kings 20 – 22 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Luke 21 – 22Psalms 11 – 15Proverbs 3)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “0503 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read previous posts from this passage – “He Should Have Quit While He Was Ahead;” and “Have You Found the Book?”

“Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read: Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched. But to the king of Judah which sent you to enquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD. Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.” (2 Kings 22:16-20)

After the Word of God was discovered in the Temple while renovations were being made, King Josiah realized that the southern kingdom of Judah was far away from where she once was, and where she should have been. The king is a great man and desperately wants to get things right with the Lord, so he goes to a woman, named Huldah, a prophetess, who explained to him that judgment was certainly in store for Judah for the sins of her past. However, the good news is that the coming judgment would be postponed until after the days of King Josiah. Why? Because his heart was tender, and he was greatly humbled before God. He was determined to do what was right and lead the people of God to submit to whatever God commanded them to do.

Fast forward a couple of hundred years, way past the time of Josiah, and also past the horrible judgment that was prophesied by the prophetess as well as by others. Jerusalem had been completely destroyed, including the Temple, and the people of God had been living in captivity for seventy years, first in Babylon and then in Persia. God now opens up a window for the people of God to go back into the land of Judah, rebuild the Temple and the City of Jerusalem, and worship and serve the Lord as God had commanded them through Moses. Ezra the priest was leading a remnant of the people of God in worship, and explained to them that God had given them grace for a “little space.”

“And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens. Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day. And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.” (Ezra 9:6-9)

I believe that God will give America a space of grace as well, even though judgment is certainly warranted for our sins as a nation. We have forsaken God; we have tolerated, condoned and even promoted all kinds of vile immorality, and we have murdered the unborn by the millions. Our country certainly has judgment in its future, and it may be that we are experiencing some of that right now through the pandemic and all the hatred and division. But, we can also get that space of grace if we will simply humble ourselves and submit to the will of the Lord.

“If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)

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Subtil Jehu – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – 2 Kings 10 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 13 – 14; Proverbs 29; Psalms 141 – 145

Read the “0429 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

2Kings 10:18-19 – “And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, Ahab served Baal a little; but Jehu shall serve him much. (19) Now therefore call unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests; let none be wanting: for I have a great sacrifice to do to Baal; whosoever shall be wanting, he shall not live. But Jehu did it in subtilty, to the intent that he might destroy the worshippers of Baal.”

Good morning. If only the Baal worshippers knew what was coming. But they didn’t. They may have had some kind of bible, but they didn’t have the Word of God. Their god was one of stone. Their god had stone eyes that could not see, stone ears that could not hear, and a stone mouth that could not speak. We have the One and Only Living God.

Now everyone loves to go to a party or BBQ. Jehu called for a great sacrifice to Baal. He was trying to get all the Baal worshippers together in one place.

2Kings 10:21 – “And Jehu sent through all Israel: and all the worshippers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left that came not. And they came into the house of Baal; and the house of Baal was full from one end to another.”

2Kings 10:24-28 – “And when they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, Jehu appointed fourscore men without, and said, If any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, he that letteth him go, his life shall be for the life of him. (25) And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, and slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast them out, and went to the city of the house of Baal. (26) And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them. (27) And they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day. (28) Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel.”

It was almost like the Psychic Network: how come they didn’t see the bankruptcy coming? The priests of Baal didn’t see Jehu’s men coming in with their swords and slaughtering them. Jehu got the job done. Today, when you look at the government, you need to know your Bible: THE Bible: the Word of God. Does your party support the killing of babies? Abortion is nothing but modern day Baal worship…

Luke 17:1-2 – “Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! (2) It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”

Does your party support Transgenders, homosexuals, lesbians, and letting little boys decide if they are girls, and little girls if they are boys. And the devil just laughs. God is THE Perfect God. He made you a boy or a girl. If you try to change that, you are saying that THE Perfect God made a mistake, and God Almighty does not make mistakes.

Genesis 1:31 – “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

The time has come to get our country right with God. We should be voting for politicians who live and act and support the Word of God. They will lead our country in the right way we should go.


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