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2022/09/30 – Jezebel’s Daughter Reigns in Judah & Good Priest Jehoiada


Sorry about missing several posts. Computer problems – plus getting Covid. Marion and I are doing all right, just minor headaches and weakness. Marion has also had some fever, especially in the evenings. Your prayers are appreciated! 

READING: 2 Kings 11-12 – Jezebel’s Daughter Rules Judah & Good Priest Jehoiada 

When Ahaziah, King of Judah, was killed by Jehu as he was visiting his cousin Joram, King of Israel, his mother, daughter of Jezebel, and Ahab seized the throne of Judah. Her son had died, and Athaliah attempted to destroy all the royals. Ahaziah’s sister saved a child of Ahaziah. Joash was the legitimate claimant to the throne. “He remained with her six years, hidden in the house of the LORD, while Athaliah, daughter of Jezebel, reigned over the land. 

In the seventh year, the good priest Jehoiada engineered a coup against Athaliah. At the changing of the guard each group had its task. They were to protect the king. Jehoiada brought Joash out, put the crown on him, and anointed him, king. The co-conspirators against Athaliah shouted long live the king! 

“When Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she went into the house of the LORD. She saw the King standing by the pillar, with the captains and trumpeters beside the king and all the people rejoicing and blowing trumpets. Athaliah cried, ‘Treason! Treason!'”

Jehoiada told the captains of the army to bring her out between the ranks “and kill with the sword any who follow her.” Jehoiada did not want Athaliah’s blood spilled in the Temple. 

Jehoash was seven years old when he began to reign. “Jeho” with his name means Jehovah; this change of his name suggests The LORD is ruling Judah. Jehoash reigned forty years in Jerusalem. He did what was right in the sight of the LORD, but he did not take away the high places where Judah continued to worship Baal. 

“Jehoash said to the priests, ‘All the money offered as sacred donations that is brought into the house of the LORD, the money for which each person is assessed – and the money from the voluntary offerings brought into the house of the LORD, let the priests receive from each of the donors; and let them repair the house wherever any need of repairs is discovered.”  

“But by the twenty-third year of King Jehoash the priests had made no repairs on the house of the LORD.”  

King Jehoash summoned Jehoiada and other priests and asked why they had made no repairs to the Temple. He suggested another approach. Assessments would continue, but work on the Temple would continue under separate management. 

Jehoida made a box with a hole in its lid. People would make donations, and when the box was full, the high priest and the King’s secretary would count the money, putting it into bags. These bags were given to the workers doing the repairs, but they did not ask for an accounting from those workers. 

It seems that the sin of Simony existed before Simon (See Acts 8:17-24). This sin continues in many churches when people are not held accountable for how they use the God’s money. 

How careful are we to have accountability in our use of the LORD’s money? 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF 

Abba, Father, Jehoash lived in a time of syncretic worship, worship of Jehovah and people still went to the High Places. Why did he not take the High Places down? It may be that even the King could not successfully take those idolatrous places down because as soon as he took one down, it would be rebuilt somewhere else. 

Father, help me to put all of my idols aside and worship only you. This, I pray, in the sweet name of Jesus, AMEN! 

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (AND FOR MYSELF) 

Oh Lord, in this world of sin where people are addicted to various idols, the chief of which are Mars, Venus, and Mamon, we too are tempted to adopt one of these or some other idol as our God. You have blessed me far more than I deserve, but I am still tempted. Preserve all who read this from adopting the idolatrous charms of living the American dream. It is in the precious name of Jesus that I pray for myself and all readers, AMEN! 

READING: 2 Kings 5 – Naaman, the Leper 


Naaman was the commander of the Syrian Army, but he was a leper. His wife had a young Israelite servant girl who said, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” Naaman went to his king and told him what the servant girl said; the king agreed he should go to Samaria, and he would write a letter to the Israelite king, which said, “I sent you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 

When the king of Israel read this, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy Justsee how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.” 

When Elisha, the prophet of God the girl had spoken of, heard the king had torn his clothes, he sent a message to him saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.”  

So Naaman went to Elisha’s home with his chariots and horses. Elisha sent a message out that Naaman should go dip in the Jordan River seven times, and he would be healed. Naaman turned away, saying, “I thought that for me he would come out and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy!” He also complained that the rivers of Damascus were cleaner than the Jordan. He left in a rage. 

His servant spoke with him, “If the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more when all he said to you was, ‘Wash and be clean?’” So, he went down and immersed himself in the Jordan seven times as Elisha commanded, and he was cured; his flesh restored “like the flesh of a young boy.” 

Then he returned to Elisha’s home where he said, “I know there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; please accept a present from your servant.” He offered Elisha presents of gold, silver, and rich clothing, but Elisha said, “As the LORD lives, I will accept nothing.” 

Naaman then asked if he could have two mule-loads of Israel’s soil, “For your servant will no longer offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god except the LORD.” He did ask to be excused if his king went to worship Rimmon leaning on Naaman’s arm, may the LORD pardon this. 

Naaman was a changed man. He had become a Gentile servant of the LORD. His servant wisely said, “If he had said to do some difficult thing, you would have done it.” 

Why not do this simple thing? 

Many balk at being baptized, saying they want to be saved by faith alone. Why refuse the Lord’s command to follow a penitent faith with baptism? 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF   

Father, I love the story of Naaman the Leper, something even Jesus referred to when He was in the synagogue in Nazareth. This shows You never intended Gentiles to be as excluded as many of the Jews thought they should be. In the new covenant, Father, you have opened the door wide to bring Gentiles in. That is good, but I would like to see more Hebrews come into Your Son’s kingdom. This is my prayer in Jesus’ name, AMEN! 

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself)      

Father, God, again I pray that each who reads this will think about Naaman and the lessons we can learn from him. Though a proud man, he humbled himself through the counsel of a mere servant. He also learned there is a real God in Israel, and that other gods are shams. He wanted to worship You and You alone, but he begged permission to go with his king to the house of Rimmon when his king leaned on his arm. I am confident you did not count that against him. I see your hand of mercy in this entire event. So, this is my prayer, for all who read this and for myself, in the Holy Name of Jesus, AMEN! 

READING: 2 Kings 4 – Elisha, Miracle Worker


Elisha saw Elijah go to heaven in the whirlwind and picked up Elijah’s mantle. Elisha now led the schools of the prophets and worked miracles too. 

A prophet’s widow came to Elisha; her husband’s creditor was taking her children as slaves. She had nothing except a jar of oil. Elisha said, “Borrow vessels from your neighbors, go in, and shut the door behind you, and pour oil into those vessels.” When the vessels were full, she returned to Elisha who said, “Sell the oil, pay your debts; you and your children can live on the rest.” 

A wealthy woman invited Elisha to eat with her. He stopped there for meals passing through. She asked her husband to build a room on the roof of their house where she put a bed, table, chair, and lamp for Elisha’s use when he stayed. Elisha asked what he could do for her in return. She asked for nothing, but Elisha’s servant, Gehazi said, “She has no son, and her husband is old.” Elisha said call her; when she came, he told her in due time, she would have a son. 

As the boy grew, he went to the fields with his father. One day, he complained, “My head! My head!” The father sent a servant to take him to his mother. The child died on his mother’s lap. She laid him on Elisha’s bed, saddled a donkey, and went to Elisha. The LORD hid what was bothering her from Elisha, but he could tell she was in bitter distress. He sent Gehazi with his staff, telling him to go straight there without talking with anyone, and lay his staff on the boy’s face. Meanwhile, she would not leave unless Elisha came too. Gehazi laid the staff on the boy’s face, but with no sign of life. Elisha met him coming back and heard his news. At the house, Elisha went into the room, alone. He prayed, then stretched himself over the boy, mouth to mouth, and hands to hands. The boy’s flesh became warm. The child sneezed seven times, and Elisha called for the Shunamite to come, take her son

Elisha was in Gilgal with a company of prophets; he told his servant to make stew in the large pot. One prophet brought wild gourds and put them in the pot, without knowing what they were. When they served the stew, they cried, “There is death in the pot.” Elisha threw flour in the pot and said to serve it. There was nothing harmful in the pot. 

A man brought first fruits of his harvest, twenty loaves of barley bread and fresh ears of corn. Elisha said serve the food. His servant asked how he could feed a hundred people without more food. Elisha said the LORD said, “They shall eat and have some left;It happened according to the word of the LORD. 

Elisha reminds us of Jesus in his miracles. 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF   

Father, I hear of Elisha’s miracles with wonder. When I think of all he did, in this chapter alone, I am amazed. It is not my lot to work miracles – but the miracle of salvation is these for all. And I can have a part in pointing someone to the Lord Jesus, my Savior. This is my prayer in Jesus’ name, AMEN! 

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself)      

Father, God, again I pray that each who reads this will think about Elisha’s miracles, some modeled after Elijah’s, the widow, her son, and the jar of oil plus meal for bread compared to the prophet’s widow and her jar of oil. The Shunamite’s son raised from death is also like Elijah and the widow of Zarephath and her son who died. And we can also compare this with those whom Jesus raised as well. It is natural to compare the one hundred fed with twenty loaves with the five thousand fed with but five loaves and two small fish by Jesus. If I will use all the Lord gives me to work with, could the work that any of us do be considered miraculous? I think it can when we realize that one Greek word for “heal” is also the word for “save.” Of course, Jesus is the Savior, but we can work with Him in pointing others to Him. So, this is my prayer, for all who read this and for myself, in the Holy Name of Jesus, AMEN! 

READING: 2 Kings 1-2 – Elijah Denounces Ahaziah & Ascends to Heaven                    


King Ahab had died and was succeeded by his son, Ahaziah, as King over Israel. “He did evil in the sight of the LORD and walked in the way of his father) and mother and in the way of Jeroboam who caused Israel to sin. He served Baal and worshiped him, provoking the LORD to anger, as his father had done” (1 Kings 22:52-53). 

After Ahaziah fell through latticework in his chamber, he sent messengers to “inquire of Baalzebub, whether I shall recover from this injury.” The messengers returned to the king, who asked why they were back so soon. They said, “A man met us who said, ‘Go to the king and say, ‘Thus says the LORD: ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you send to inquire of Baalzebub? You shall not leave the bed but shall surely die.” 

The king asked what sort of man it was. The messengers described Elijah’s clothing. Ahaziah said, “It is Elijah,” his father’s nemesis.  

Ahaziah sent three companies of fifty soldiers with their captains. The first two captains commanded Elijah to come down from the hill where he sat. To each, Elijah said, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down and consume you and your fifty.” Then fire came down. The third captain approached Elijah, fell on his knees, and begged, “Let my life and the lives of my fifty be precious in your sight.” Elijah went with him to Ahaziah to deliver his message of death. Ahaziah died, and Jehoram, his brother, reigned in Israel. 

It was time for Elijah to be taken up to heaven. Elijah went to Gilgal with Elisha, his understudy. Elijah told Elisha to stay there for God was sending him on to Bethel. Elisha said, “As the LORD lives, I will not leave you.” From Bethel, Elijah went to Jerico, Elisha going there as well.” In each city, the sons of the prophets told Elisha his mentor was leaving him. Elisha knew. From Jericho, they went across the Jordan. 

Then Elijah asked Elisha what he could do for his protégé before he left. Elisha said, “Let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” Elijah said, “If you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted to you.” They went on, walking and talking, when “A chariot of fire and horses separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven.”  

Elisha picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen and recrossed the Jordan by striking the water with the mantle, so the river parted for Elisha as it had for Elijah. 

Back in Jericho, the people said the location was good, but the water was bad. Elisha called for a bowl of salt. He threw it into the water and made it wholesome.  

The next to come in the spirit of Elijah preached repentance-baptism by the Jordan. 

How might we exercise the spirit of Elijah? 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF   

O Father in heaven, help me to pick up the mantle of one of Your noble servants, when his time to go to you comes. This is my prayer in Jesus’ name, AMEN! 

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself)      

Father, God, again I pray that each who reads this will think about how Elijah made such an impact on the kings of Israel, that idolatrous nation. Elisha was also a powerful influence in the northern kingdom. Help each of us to find the traits of these servants of Yours that we can imitate. This is my prayer, for all who read this and for myself, in the Holy Name of Jesus, I pray, AMEN! 

READING: Psalms 55-58 – More of David’s Psalms 


Psalm 55 likely was written about Absalom’s revolt against David. Things were falling apart for him, and he wants to hide in the wilderness, “Yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness.” He prayed, “O Lord, divide their tongues; for I see violence and strife in the city. Ruin is in its midst; oppression and fraud do not depart from its marketplace.” His lament was that “It is not an enemy who taunts me – But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend.” This was David’s lowest despair, yet he still relied on his God. “You, O God, will cast them down into destruction; men of blood shall not live out half their days. BUT I WILL TRUST IN YOU.”  

Psalm 56 was written when David went to the Philistine King Achish whose servants thought David was king in Israel. They repeated what the women sang, “Saul has killed his thousands and David his tens of thousands.” (1 Samuel 21:11ff). David feared for his life, and began acting like a madman and deceived the king who said, “Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to my presence?” He escaped and wrote this Psalm in which he twice says, “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?” He also said, “This I know, that God is for me.”   

Psalm 56 is another escape from Saul. The Psalm praises God while talking about the danger he was in as Saul was coming after him with thousands of men. In successive verses David wrote, “I lie down amid fiery beasts – the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” And again, ”Your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.” David knew his enemy; he also knew his God. 

Psalm 58 was likely written in David’s old age, but not necessarily. He saw the injustice of the rulers that surrounded him who spoke as if they were gods. “Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods?” Jesus used a similar passage to shut the Pharisees up (see John 10:34-35 cf. Psalm 82:6). These that David wrote of were indeed men who acted as if they were god. “In your hearts you devise wrongs.” He prayed that the LORD God would “break the teeth in their mouths; tear out the fangs of the young lions, O LORD… The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance…Mankind will say, ‘Surely there is a God who judges on earth.’” 

David knew and trusted God with his very life. 

How much do I trust Him? Do I trust as David trusted? 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF   

O Father in heaven, In these Psalms I can see why you called David a man after Your own heart. Can I become a person after Your own heart by listening to what Your Son says about you, and following His example? Can you show Your loving kindness to me as You showed it to David? This is my prayer in Jesus’ name, AMEN! 

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself)      

Father, God, again I pray that each who reads this will come to Your throne to bask in Your glory when we all learn to love You as David loved You. Help us to understand why the Messiah was known as The Son of David. I suspect there was more to that Name than the genealogical record! This is my prayer, for all who read this and for myself, in the Holy Name of Jesus, I pray, AMEN! 

READING: Psalms 51-54 – David’s Penitance, God’s Goodness, Fools Reject Him  


Psalm 51 is David’s confession to God concerning his sin with Bathsheba. It opens with a plea for mercy, but he takes full responsibility; “I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” He says his sin was against God (he broke three commandments – murder, adultery, and coveting another man’s wife). He admits he knows God wants truth in the heart and asks for wisdom. He asks God to, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” Rather than burnt offerings, “The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” David closes with a plea for God to do good to Zion, a plea for the nation, not for him personally. This psalm is a pattern to follow in our confession of sin. 

Psalm 52 begins, “Why do you boast, O mighty one of mischief done against the godly?” This refers to Doeg, the Servant of Saul who told Saul of David’s being at the Tabernacle, taking the holy bread, and receiving Goliath’s sword. David adds, “God will break you down forever,” and closes, “I will proclaim Your name, for it is good.”  

Psalm 53 is like Psalm 14, with minor differences between them. Each of these begins, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” But God is watching them “To see if there are any who are wise; who seek after God.” The answer is, “They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse; there is no one who does good, no, not one.” The two psalms close, “O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion! When God restores the fortunes of his people, Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.” With our minds, we know there is a God; that awareness does not always fill our hearts. Paul quotes this Psalm in Romans 3:10-12 as he builds a case that all sin and cannot be justified by law but must trust “the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:22-23). 

Psalm 54 is also from the time David was fleeing from Saul when the Ziphites told Saul David was hiding in their wilderness area. He prays for vindication. “Save me, O God, and vindicate me by Your might… The insolent have risen against me… But surely, God is my helper… He will repay my enemies for their evil… He has delivered me from every trouble.” Note that David is trusting God to handle his problems with his enemies. He is not taking vengeance upon them himself but prays that the LORD will vindicate him, and that will be his triumph. 

These four Psalms show David’s heart and his trust in God. 

How much do I trust God deep in my heart? 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF   

O Father in heaven, I have sins I need to confess to You as transparently as did David. May I learn to pray as he prayed in confession, pleading for mercy at Your throne, begging for a right spirit. This is my prayer in Jesus’ name, AMEN!      

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself)      

Father, God, again I pray that each who reads this will learn from David how to pray. Let us leave trite, insipid prayers aside, and pray in a way that wrestles with God as did Jacob, Moses, and David. This is my prayer, for all who read this and for myself, in the Holy Name of Jesus, I pray, AMEN! 

READING: Matthew 27-28 – Roman Trial, Crucifixion, and Resurrection


These two chapters of Matthew contain much of the story of Jesus. The Jewish Council’s desire to be rid of Jesus fails. Pilate’s attempt to save Jesus fails. Jesus died with a cry of victory on his lips after suffering deep agony. Joseph’s giving his tomb to Jesus was rewarded with its return the third day. The women went to the tomb to anoint a corpse only to find He had risen. The eleven apostles were given a Great Commission and a promise Jesus will be with us to the end of the age. 

Pilate was amazed Jesus gave no answer to the Jews’ charges, realizing the Jewish leaders acted from envy and that the charges were spurious. It was a custom to set a prisoner at Passover. Pilate offered Barabbas instead of Jesus. The crowd wanted Barabbas. Pilate asked what to do with Jesus. They shouted, “Let Him be crucified.”  Pilate washed his hands of the matter and turned Jesus over to his soldiers for crucifixion as the Jewish leaders said, “His blood be on us and our children.” 

The soldiers were the most innocent of all involved. All they knew was Pilate gave Him to them for crucifixion. Crucifixion was not only the cruelest form of execution devised, shame for the crucified was a message to others. They mocked Jesus as king of the Jews, for that was the charge against Him. They gave him a crown of thorns and dressed him in a royal robe as they spat on Him and sarcastically said, “Hail, King of the Jews” while kneeling to Him.  

Psalm 22 is mixed into the crucifixion of Jesus, from his cry, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” to the soldiers drawing lots to divide his clothes among themselves. The Psalm also said that “He cannot save Himself.”. They challenged Him to come down from the cross and they would believe in Him. (We believe in Him because He did NOT come down!) At the end, as He gave up his spirit to the Father, He cried out, “It is finished.” In Greek, this is one word, and that word “Is the victor’s shout.” It is the cry of the Man who has completed His task, won through His struggle, and come out of darkness into glorious light. 

After the Sabbath, women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ corpse. They left with joy because Jesus was alive. They were to go tell his disciples to meet Him in Galilee.  

The eleven apostles saw Jesus in Galilee, they worshipped Him, but some still doubted. Then He said He had received all power in heaven and on earth. They were to make disciples from all ethnicities, baptize, and teach those disciples. Then He gave the energizing promise, “Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

Those are still our marching orders. What am I doing about it? 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF  

Our Father in heaven, I thank you so much for how both You and Jesus did for us. Your heart was broken by my sin on Jesus’ shoulders. His agony was matched with Your own. Again, I thank you and pray that I may never break your heart again. This is my prayer in His Great name, AMEN!     

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself)     

Father, God, again I pray that each who reads this will think deeply about what You did for our redemption. We may talk about the Jewish leaders and Pilate, but You orchestrated this entire thing. Jesus, after Gethsemane, willingly suffered and died for us. For this, we thank You. This is my prayer, for all who read this and for myself, in the Holy Name of Jesus, I pray, AMEN!

READING: Matthew 26 – Last Supper, Gethsemane, Arrest, & Jewish Trials          


Jesus spent the final two days before the Passover quietly with friends in the home of Simon the Leper and the last night before the feast day with His disciples. During those days, the chief priests and elders conspired to arrest Him and kill Him. Judas, following the dinner in Bethany, went to the conspirators and agreed to betray Him for thirty pieces of silver. 

In the upper room where He went to keep the Passover, Jesus announced that one of the Twelve would betray Him. This created distress among them, each of them saying, “Surely not I, Lord!” Jesus said, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.” He also pronounced a curse on that man, saying, “It would have been better for that one not to have been born.” Judas said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” 

“While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and after blessing it He broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’” These familiar words are given to touch a chord within our hearts. “Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” The body and the blood, are brought together six times in the New Testament, four times in the gospels, Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20; and John 6:51-56, and twice in Paul’s letters, in 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 and 11:23-26. The breaking of bread is mentioned three times in Acts, 2:42, 46; 20:7. This is obviously an important memorial of Jesus.. 

Just as the Passover was a memorial for Israel, this breaking of bread and drinking the cup of His blood is a sacred, but joyful remembrance of Jesus. Israel celebrated the Passover as deliverance from slavery into liberty. There is redemption and salvation. The blood of the lamb placed on the door posts and lintels of their homes secured the safety of their homes from the destroying angel who took the firstborn of the Egyptians and their livestock. 

The blood of the covenant speaks of a new covenant between God and Mankind. Just as God established His covenant with Israel at Mt. Sinai, in this covenant He establishes a new relationship with us today, a covenant of forgiveness of sins and peace with God through the blood of the Lamb of God. 

Is it any wonder that the early church came together to break bread as in Acts 2 and 20? These symbols call to our memory of Jesus, His life, His death, and His resurrection.  

Before they went out, they sang the song, the Hallel of Psalms 113-118 and 136. These songs of praise, especially Psalm 114 speak of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. 

How do we praise God in this memorial? 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF  

Our Father in heaven, I thank you so much for the ritual of the bread and the cup that points us to what our Savior has done for all of us. His love on the cross is so great – and I am able to participate in the covenant of the blood and body of my Lord. The symbolism of this ritual keeps Him close to my heart. This is my prayer in His Great name, AMEN!     

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself)     

Father, God, again I pray that each who reads this will think deeply about what the new covenant in His blood really means. Without the union with Him, and our fellowship with one another, we would be adrift in this world of sin. In this gift of Your love, we find hope and fulfillment. This is my prayer, for all who read this and for myself, in the Holy Name of Jesus, I pray, AMEN!  

READING: Matthew 25 – Ten Bridesmaids, Talents, and Sheep & Goats        


These three parables teach us to be prepared for the Lord’s return. The foolish virgins did not bring oil to keep their lamps burning, and the wise virgins could not spare any of theirs. The men with five and two talents used the gifts their master gave them, while the one-talent man hid his talent and thought evil about his master who had given him a precious gift. The sheep fed the hungry, gave water to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger, and visited the prisoners, and in doing this for the least, they did it for Him. The goats did none of these things and thus did not do them for Jesus either. 

These are familiar parables to us, but this familiarity may cause us to assume too much about them. What is the oil that kept the lamps burning? What caused the master who gave talents according to each man’s ability to say the same thing to the man who gained five more talents and the man who gained but two talents? And why was the one-talent man called wicked when he kept the talent safe and brought it back to the master? Why were the sheep accepted by the Lord, but the goats rejected? Neither of them knew that doing what they did affect the Lord Himself, did they?  

The entire history of the Jews was a preparation for the coming of the Son of God. Yet, when He came, His chosen people did not recognize Him. This parable is directed at them, but it also has meaning for us. Some things cannot be borrowed from others. You have a relationship with the Lord, or you do not. You cannot borrow that relationship from others. The foolish virgins learned too late that this is so. 

It is not how many talents you have that counts; what counts is how you use the talent you have. We are not equal in talent; we can be equal in effort. This parable tells us that the reward for work well done is more work. To the five and two talent men, the master said “Well done. I will put you in charge of many things.” The man punished was the man who did not try. This parable tells us that to those who have more will be given and those who do not use what they have, even what they have will be taken from them.  

The sheep and goats are opposites. One gives generously in the simple things; to them, it is natural because they are most like Jesus. They give to help, not to get. The attitude of the goats was, “If we had known it was You, of course, we would have helped You.” But they treated those they could have helped as unworthy trash to be ignored. Such help is not generosity; it is outright selfishness. 

Which am I? A sheep or a goat? Wise or foolish? Diligent worker or too timid to try? 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF  

Oh, Father in heaven, teach me your ways so I will know what to do to be prepared. Give me oil in my lamp and keep me burning. May I not neglect the talents you give me, and may I always be ready to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, welcome strangers, and visit the sick and prisoners – especially those in prison for Jesus’ sake. This is my prayer, AMEN!     

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself)     

Father, God, again I pray that each who reads this will meditate on the three parables in this chapter. Each in different ways teach us how to be prepared when Jesus comes to reward His servants. May we learn the lesson of each parable so that we may be ready when He comes. This is my prayer, for all who read this and for myself, in the Holy Name of Jesus, I pray, AMEN!    

READING: Matthew 23-24 – Woes to the Pharisees & Destruction of Jerusalem  


Jesus publicly denounced the Pharisees in chapter 23. “They sit on Moses’ seat, therefore do whatever they teach you and follow it; but not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach.” They put heavy burdens on others but are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and fringes long. They love places of honor at banquets, in the synagogues, and to be greeted as rabbis. You are not to be called rabbi for you are all students. “Call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father – the one in heaven.” 

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You…” 

  • Lock people out of the Kingdom of Heaven. 
  • Cross sea and land to make one convert and make him twice as bad as yourselves. 
  • Say, “Whoever swears by the Temple is not bound, but he who swears by the gold of the Temple is bound by his oath.” 
  • Tithe mint, dill, and cummin and neglect weightier matters: justice, mercy, and faith. 
  • Clean the outside but leave the inside full of greed and self-indulgence. 
  • Are like whitewashed tombs: outside they are beautiful; inside they have dead men’s bones. 
  • Build tombs of prophets and say, ‘We would not have done what they did shedding the blood of the prophets.” You are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. I send you prophets, some of whom you will crucify so that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed from Able to Zechariah. This will come to this generation. 

Jesus said these things with tears, adding, “How often I would have gathered you together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not!” 

Especially toward the end of these woes, they point to the coming disaster in the city of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple itself. 

This is the end of Jesus’ speeches to the public. Chapters 24:1 – 26:46 are to His disciples alone. 

The things many people take as ‘signs’ of the end are not signs at all; wars, earthquakes, persecution, and the preaching of the gospel happen constantly. But they are not signs of the end because these things are always happening. 

When people say here is the Messiah, do not be deceived. The sign to look for is the coming of the “abomination of desolation” spoken of by Daniel (let the reader understand!), then you must flee immediately to safer places. 

Then Jesus morphs into a discussion of His final return. He did announce the fall of the Temple and Jerusalem in the current generation. 

Remember: Jesus warned, “Beware that no one leads you astray” and “No one knows the day or the hour when these things will occur, no angels, Jesus Himself, but only the Father knows.” 

The message for us is, “BE PREPARED.” 

Am I prepared? Are you? 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF

Oh, Father in heaven, keep me from becoming like the Pharisees as Jesus exposes them! The temptation to seek human admiration is strong. Let me never seek such but let me humbly serve where opportunities come. I pray this in the Holy Name of Jesus I make this my prayer, AMEN!    

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself)    

Father, God, again I pray that each who reads this will meditate on our need to be prepared when the LORD comes. This is my prayer, for all who read this and for myself, in the Holy Name of Jesus, I pray, AMEN! 

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