Sunday, September 23, 2018

Daily Bible Reading - September 23, 2018

Today's Reading:

1 John 2

2 Chronicles 35

Psalm 89:38-52

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

One of the most difficult things to face, as a parent, is the awareness that our beloved children are not right with God. In 1 John 2, we find the warning that we are not to "love" the "world" nor the "things" that are in the world. And if we love the world and its things the love of the Father is not in us. 

Bleakly, many of us are faced with the dreaded awareness that our children simply do not love Yahweh - but rather love the world. What are the signs? Maybe they are "good people" in most every way except that they do not worship God, keep His appointments, or spend any time with Him at all in order to foster a love relationship with Him. Maybe they are "successful" in their jobs and worldly pursuits, but their focus is on keeping up with Jones, paying bills, finding a love-relationship, choosing a career path. And when they come home at night from all their daily pursuits, they "unwind" with some RP (roll-playing) game online or watch a movie...  But whatever it is that they are doing, God simply isn't part of it. You may know what I'm talking about all too well... 

You are torn between being proud of your children for being "decent" people, while being deeply disappointed at their decided lack of interest in God, a Biblical-world-view, or anything spiritual which you tried to raise them to understand. You notice this "God-less-ness"...  It worries you...  It breaks your heart even! What happened to that precious little one that you used to take to church or read Bible stories with? Where is the knowledge of God in your children now? Are those seeds you spent their childhood sowing simply gone?

If God is the most central part of your own personal world, you find yourself loving your children (of course! - and deeply), but you cannot relate to them as deeply as you would if you shared the same values and beliefs. You try to comfort yourself with the belief that you did your best. Maybe you quote the Scripture that if you train up a child in the way he should go he will not depart from it...  You wonder if that means you will have to wait until your children are in their 50's before they will return to God and the Truth of His Word. What if the world doesn't last long enough?

Then guilt eats away at your soul. Deep down you worry that maybe you can't even claim that "train up a child" verse from Proverbs 22:6. After all, you look at your own failings in raising your children (let's be honest, we have all fallen far short of the perfect parenting mark!) You worry that maybe you didn't "train up a child in the way he should go..." You see-saw back and forth in a useless inner turmoil unsure whether you did enough.

But the reality is that all of this sorrow and inner turmoil can be a distraction. Its time to face facts and do something productive for the saving of your children. Instead of waffling around on the issue of whether or not they're saved or lost, fact up to it. If your children simply know of God, but do not honor or worship Him; if they are aware of Him, but do not have a personal relationship with Yahshua; they are not spiritually safe. In fact, they cannot be saved without have a personal connection with Christ as their personal Redeemer. So, the first step in being effective is to recognize the reality that they may be spiritually lost. Once the awareness of the full reality is allowed to sink in, we as parents, are motivated to stop "accepting" and "ignoring" what's going on with our kids. And we are motivated to move into spiritual S-O-S mode in daily prayer for the salvation of our children.

If your children are spiritually dead - ask Yahweh, Who raises the dead to raise them up (Hebrews 11:35).

If your children's hearts are far from you, as their parent, because they have rejected your Biblical world view - ask Yahweh to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers (Malachi 4:6).

Pray for your children, twice a day...  Labor in the prayer trenches on their behalves. Claim the Saviour's Blood over them while they are not repenting for themselves. Stand in the gap! Commit to praying twice a day for your children - not some weak, mamby-pamby prayer...  but full-on intercession. Here are some prayers to pray, first for yourself, and then for your children:

Warfare Prayer for Yourself
Dear Heavenly Father, as You have instructed me to do in James 4:7, I now submit myself to You and to Your will for my life today. As it is my desire to be wholly Thine, I lay my sins down before the foot of the Cross and seek complete forgiveness and cleansing from the unrighteousness of ______________ (List your sins completely and specifically at this point in this private prayer with God.) 
I now claim Your promise of 1 John 1:9, which says that if I confess my sins You are faithful and just to forgive me my sins to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Thank You for doing this mighty work in me just now.
I am currently under attack in the area of ____________ (state the Fruit-Test-failing emotion or other form of temptation at this time). Heavenly Father, because of what Jesus has done for me in defeating the enemy, You have promised to give me authority over all the hosts of hell in Matthew 12:29 and Mark 16:17. Thank You for these promises, and in Christ’s holy Name I claim them now.
Satan, where you have been attacking me in the area of ______________ I resist you in the mighty and powerful Name of Jesus Christ, my Saviour. In the Name of Jesus, I bind and rebuke you, Satan, and I command you to leave me. You and all your demons must leave me right now, because of the victory Jesus has claimed for me at Calvary.
Heavenly Father, I know that it is Your will for me to be victorious in this struggle with the enemy. Thus, I know I am praying according to Your will as I claim the precious blood of Jesus to be a mighty protecting shield be-tween me and the enemy at this time. And I ask that You will surround me with a wall of holy angels with flaming swords to drive back the forces of darkness that have been assaulting me in this way. By faith, I know that You are already fighting for me. And I thank You for this and for the deliverance You are providing me at this very moment.
All praise and glory for this victory I render rightly unto You my Heavenly King. For it is through Your power that I am enabled to stand right now. Thank You for Your love and for helping me to escape the onslaught of Satan and his evil angels. Thank You also for the freedom and victory You are giving me in answer to this prayer. In Jesus’s Name I ask it, Amen. 
Warfare Prayer for Your Child(ren)
(It is recommended that you pray the warfare prayer for yourself first before praying this prayer on another’s behalf). Dear Heavenly Father, in prayer I now come before Your throne because of Your wonderful invitation in Hebrews 4:16, where You have invited me to come boldly before Your Throne to find grace and help in time of need. Thank You for this promise and this invitation. I do indeed seek Your grace and help on behalf of ______________.
He/she does not realize it, but he/she is under attack from the enemy in the area of ________________. Thus, I come to You heavenly Father to pray and intercede for _____________ today. It may be that _____________’s own choices of friends or influences is giving Satan the legal right to attack as heavily as he is. Thus, as Hosea prayed for Gomer, I ask that You place a hedge of thorns around ________________. Cause the path of sin and all unholy influences to become a source of irritation to ________________. May he/she not find peace or comfort on this destructive path. 
Satan, where you are working to destroy ________________, in the Name and Blood of Jesus Christ, I bind and rebuke you and command you to take your hands off of him/her. Your legal rights to destroy ______________ are cancelled by the fact that I claim the sacrifice and victory of Jesus on ___________’s be-half against you. 
Heavenly Father, I ask that You will anoint _______________’s eyes with eye-salve that he/she may have spiritual discernment to recognize the spiritual battle that is going on. Please take the demonic scales from his/her eyes at this moment. May he/she have wisdom to recognize his/her need of You. Please pour out Your Spirit upon __________ in a mighty way just now to convict of sin and lead this precious one back into a right relationship with You. Because of Christ’s sacrifice on ___________’s behalf I claim His victory on the Cross for him/her. I ask that Your Holy Spirit will have all legal rights because of Christ’s sacrifice to work in a powerful way upon ________________’s mind. 
Draw _______________ to You in any means You see fit and most effective. Please spare nothing, but rather do all that heaven can do to save ______________________ from this and all demonic strongholds and influence to the saving of his/her soul. 
Thank You for hearing and answering this prayer. In Jesus’s Name I ask it, Amen.
Keep this up day-by-day. As Job prayed daily for his wayward adult children, don't quit! No one on earth is better able to pray for your children's salvation than you. Cry out to God for the strength and then stay in the prayer trenches on their behalves. And may God bless you for it as you stand in the gap, Heaven will gain the legal right to interpose in your children's lives. Prayer...  its the key. And be encouraged!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Daily Bible Reading - September 22, 2018

Today's Reading:

1 John 1

2 Chronicles 34

Psalm 89:19-37

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

In our reading from Psalm 89, we find the powerful promises which Yahweh made to David. Yahweh promised to sustain, amidst his enemies. He would prosper David and keep him. From David's end, Yahweh desired for him to stand faithful, no matter what. This perspective of David, his faithfulness to Yahweh, and the trials of being surrounded by enemies, reminds me of Daniel in Babylon. 

For all of us who love and follow Yahweh today, we have many points of inspiration and encouragements from both Daniel and David. We live in modern Babylon. And just as Daniel stood faithful amidst the pressures of Babylon, we too are empowered to be true to Yahweh while living in a culture that is saturated with Babylon.

Let's take a moment to consider what it means to stand faithful amidst the paganism and pressures of Babylon, by looking at the life and example of Daniel. This beautiful perspective on the life of Daniel is found in the Benham brothers' book, Living Among Lions: How to Thrive Like Daniel in Today's Babylon.

Daniel, whose name means "God is my judge," was likely a teenager when he was taken captive to Babylon. The southern kingdom of Judah - like the northern kingdom of Israel before it - had sinned against God and fallen under His judgment. After years of continued rebellion, even though God had sent prophets to warm them and encourage their repentance, the people continued in their depravity. So God raised up an enemy to defeat them and remove them from the Land of Promise.
The king of Babylon took many Jews into exile, choosing the "best of the best" to train and then serve in his court. Four of them were young men named Daniel (renamed Belteshazzar) and his three friends - Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abed-nego). They were from the royal bloodline and had mad-crazy wisdom and skills. They were the millennial rock stars of their day.
Upon arriving in Babylon, they were taken into the king's court for three years to be indoctrinated into their new culture. They would be served the finest food and wine available. Every day would be an all-you-can-eat buffet from the best five-star chefs in the region. Daniel and his buddies lived in the lap of luxury, treated with privilege and surrounded by the brightest and most beautiful people in the "Hollywood" of their day. Surely the temptation to melt into their new, pagan culture was present on many levels (Daniel 1:3-7).
But right out of the gate, these guys kept their form... Though they mixed in - learning the nation's history, principles, and language; respecting its government as much as possible; and versing themselves in all things Babylonian - Daniel and his friends still refused to blend in. They distinctly remained God's men (Daniel 1:8-17).
This concept of mixing without melting reminds us of a quote most often attributed to Thomas Jefferson but that is really of unknown origin: "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."...
At the time of Daniel's deportation in 605 BC, Babylon was the most powerful empire in the world - the cultural center for art and industry, creating great wealth and luxury for its citizens. This environment, coupled with blatant idolatry and fascination with the occult, created the perfect storm of sin and rebellion among its people.
...We googled phrases related to "comparing America to Babylon" and got almost twenty million results! Although there are major differences between America and Babylon, there are some alarming similarities: wealth, world influence, natural beauty, sexual promiscuity, increasing paganism, and more. So, if Daniel could live faithfully there, we can do it here.
During their three years of training, Daniel and his friends were fully indoctrinated into Babylonian culture, one that did not and would not honor their God. Persecution in those days wasn't a rude tweet or a mean Facebook post but actual, straight-up, cold-blooded execution.
These four young men knew God. They had studied the Law and the prophets and knew the Scriptures well. They were familiar with the Psalms, including the passage in which King David wrote: 
I am surrounded by lions;
I lie down with those who devour men.Their teeth are spears and arrows;Their tongues are sharp swords (Psalm 57:4 HCSB) 
David's God was their God. They were going to live faithfully just as David did before them, even among the lions... 
And because Daniel didn't conform, but stood faithful, the king of Babylon - and the pagan culture - encountered the true God through God's man. Because Daniel himself was transformed, he was able to transform his world!

So whatever you're facing today, remember what God can do through one submitted life. Can one person really make a difference in a world as pagan as ours? Yes! As Daniel demonstrated, Babylon can be transformed by the power of Yahweh in one fully submitted, completely Spirit-filled life! Won't you be that one? 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Daily Bible Reading - September 21, 2018

Today's Reading:

John 21

2 Chronicles 33

Psalm 89

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

Today, I would just like to focus on praising Yahweh. Praise is the Place where Yahweh is Enthroned. Praising Him transports us instantly into the very Presence of the Almighty. Psalm 89 begins with one of my favorite praise passages:
"I will sing of the mercies of Yahweh for ever: with my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations."
What has Yahweh done for you?  I'd like you to think about it, and then bless us all by sharing some of your personal testimony in the Comments at the end of this blog.

I'll start us off with making known the mercies of Yahweh and declaring His faithfulness in my life.  

The most dramatic mercy of Yahweh in my life was shown 1) at Calvary and 2) in the story recorded in my book, Escaping from the Dragon's Jaws.

Remembering the insidious attack of the enemy on my life makes me grateful to my Heavenly king. For the devil sent a woman, who was a high (low) witch, to feign Christianity, become my prayer partner, and infiltrate herself into my life and family deeply enough to become my best friend. 

Her influence was dangerous - deadly. And my life quickly left the realm of the "normal" and became increasingly paranormal. Science-fiction like things became commonplace. And yet, I was deeply deceived by this time. I was losing my soul.

Over a couple of years of continually planting seeds in my mind of ideas which were of witchcraft, but which were always couched in Scripture (twisted Scripture), making them appear right, this woman was used of Satan to remove me from the path of Scriptural truth and to nearly break up my marriage and destroy my family and ministry.

But God interposed. He stepped in and grabbed me as I was falling off the cliff and into a dark abyss from which I would never have seen the light again! He pulled me back, when I was too foolish and deceived to cry out to Him to do so. He saved me, when I didn't even realize that I needed saving.

But now, looking back on my story and experience, I can join with Psalmist to say, "Yeah, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death..." I have experienced the saving power of my Heavenly Shepherd's Rod. He reached down and pulled me up from the brambles of hell which were choking the life out of me. He carried me. He redeemed me! Yes:
"I will sing of the mercies of Yahweh for ever: with my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations." 
Now, won't you encourage us with your testimony? What has Yahweh done to demonstrate His mercies to you?

Daily Bible Reading - September 20, 2018

Today's Reading:

John 20:19-31

2 Chronicles 32

Psalm 88

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

Sennacherib's attack against Hezekiah and the kingdom of Judah was most insidious, as recorded in 2 Chronicles 32. It struck me how similar was his attack to a spiritual warfare battle which we face, when Sennacherib's messengers called out to God's people with words to get them to doubt the reality and delivering power of Yahweh. 

"Where is your God?" he asked. "Do you really think he can save you from me? Look what I have done to other nations! Their gods couldn't save them from me!"

What a horrible - satanic - thing to do! And how was Sennacherib's demonic doubt campaign defeated? Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah prayed - crying out to Yahweh for deliverance. And Yahweh heard their prayers and dealt with Sennacherib.

This story is much more than a historical account. It is a spiritual warfare lesson. Because the way Sennacherib attacked Judah is the way the devil attacks the people of God all the time!

So, how can we respond effectively to the words of satan, when he tries to convince us that God can't help us - and that we'd better let him have his way or he'll crush us like bugs? 
Let's look at the steps in the story from 2 Chronicles. 

Often times, when we are hit with a spiritual warfare encounter, we think we've already failed because the instant the attack comes, we don't sense peace - we are in distress. Judah, Hezekiah, and Isaiah were not peaceful about the words of Sennacherib either. They were troubled, prayerful and weeping!  

Similarly, when you are in a spiritual warfare attack, do not expect to start with peace. When you get troubled or upset, when attacks come, do not try to start with making your heart feel at peace. This is a mistake many people make. They try to conjure up some kind of feeling of peace within and succeed only in upsetting themselves more. Do not start with peace. Start with truth. Work your way back down through truth and righteousness and you will come out at peace. This is the way to begin.

Now let u s take a closer look at this battle. If we remind ourselves of these great truths, they ought to set our hearts at rest. But we all know that even though these truths often will set our hearts at rest, there are times when they do not. We are still depressed and filled with doubts.

Perhaps there is no good reason for us to feel this way. We may wake up in a blue mood even though we were happy when we went to bed the night before. There may be no good reason for our depression. There is nothing wrong physically (the physical elements of our lives can have a very great bearing on our feelings), but still we feel depressed.

Well, what is happening? We are experiencing What Paul calls here "the flaming darts of the evil one." These stratagems of Satan come to us in various forms. Sometimes they are evil thoughts and imaginations which intrude suddenly upon our thinking, often at the most incongruous times. We may be reading the Bible; we may be bowed in prayer; we may be thinking about something else entirely when all of a sudden filthy, lewd thought flashes into our mind. What is this? One of the fiery darts of the evil one. We ought to recognize it as such.

Sometimes these darts come as doubts and even blasphemies--sudden feelings that perhaps this business of Christianity is nothing after all but a big hoax or a dream. Perhaps we feel that it can all be explained psychologically or that Jesus Christ was a victim of self-delusion. Perhaps the world is not the way we have been taught to believe it is, and things are not the way the Bible says. You have doubtless experienced these times of doubt. All Christians have had this sudden feeling that perhaps it is all a fantasy. Again, these fiery darts may come in the form of sudden fears, anxieties, fleeting sensations that things are all wrong. We cannot seem to shake them off.
The Devil's Whispers

These feelings, in whatever form they may take, are always from the same source. They are the fiery darts of the wicked one. We are the biggest fools on earth if we do not see them in that light and deal with them as such. And in whatever form they may come to us, they always have two characteristics. First, they seem to rise out of our own thoughts. They seem to come right from our inner selves. We feel, "This is something I am thinking," and oftentimes it is a shocking thing.

But the Devil is really whispering to us. He is influencing us. Ah yes, but it doesn't seem like that to us. In our ignorance and innocence we blame ourselves: "How can I think a think like this if I am a Christian? Can a Christian have such a lewd and filthy thought as this? Can I really be a Christian if I think like this? I must not be one after all."

This, of course, is exactly why the Devil sent those thoughts to you. He wants you to think that way. If it is doubt (and we are always exposed to doubts, these sudden attacks upon faith, these sudden feelings that Christianity is not as sure and certain as it once seemed to us), we say to ourselves', "I must have already lost my faith or I would not think like this." What is the matter with me? How can I be a Christian and even have such a bought?" So we try to repress the thought. We think, There must be something wrong; we should not feel like this," and we push the thought down in-to our subconscious. But it is still there, lurking underneath, and we feel dishonest because we are not even willing to look at it and face it. This takes its toll on us in physical ways as well s in mental and emotional strain and tension.

We feel uncertain and confused because we are convinced that the opposite of faith is doubt. We think if we have doubts we cannot have faith and if we have faith we do not have doubts. Therefore, if we have doubts, we cannot be men and women of faith. We fail to recognize this as the lie of the Devil.

The second characteristic is that doubts are always an attack upon our position in Christ as the truth--as our  righteousness and our peace. These darts are always an insinuation of doubt about those matters-never about anything else. They are an attack upon those areas of faith.

This is always the way of the Devil. He said to Eve in the garden, "Has God said unto thee--did God say that?" There is the implication of doubt. He said to Yahshua in the temptation in the wilderness, "If thou be the Son of God, then turn these stones into bread." If! There is the insinuation that these things are not true. This is the way he raises doubts, creates guilt, arouses fear. These are the attacks of the evil one.
The Quenching Process

Now, what are we to do? How are we to combat these attacks successfully? Well, the Apostle says, "Take the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts, of the evil one." Notice that he did not say the "shield of belief." We have already reminded ourselves of our belief when we have put on the girdle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and--the equipment of the gospel of peace. That is our belief in what Christ is to us.

But faith is more than that. This is very important to see. Faith is acting upon belief in Christ and in His Word. Faith is decision, action, resolution. Faith is saying, "Yes, I believe the Word of God is the truth. Yahshua is my Righteousness, He is my peace. Therefore this, and this, and this, must follow." Faith is working out, the implications of belief. When you say "therefore" you move from belief into faith. Faith is particularizing; it is taking the general truth and applying it to the specific situation and saying, "If this be true, then this must follow." That is the shield of faith.

Now, have you learned how to take the shield of faith when doubts come? Do you say, "Christ is the truth. He is the basic revelation of things which really are. He has demonstrated it. Therefore, I cannot accept the thought that the Word of God is a hoax. I cannot believe that the Bible is the truth and that my doubts are true, too. I have committed myself to Christ because I have been persuaded that He has demonstrated truth fully. I stand on that ground. Therefore. I must reject this insinuation."

Do you reason that "the Word is the truth? Therefore I cannot believe this subtle philosophy which exalts man and makes God unnecessary in human affairs. I must reject it. Since I have found Christ true, I cannot believe this sudden feeling I have of unreality. I must regard it as what Christ says it is: from the Devil. God's Word says he is a liar from the beginning. Therefore this is a lie and I reject it."

Is this the way you think it through? Our problem is, that we have become so accustomed to believing our feelings as though they were facts. We never examine them. We never take them and look at them and ask, "Is this true?" We simply I say, "I feel this way. Therefore it must be true." This is why so many are constantly defeated; they accept their feelings as facts.
Rather, we are to say, "Christ is my righteousness. I am linked with Him. I am one with Him. His Life is my life and my life is His Life. I stand upon the Foundation of His Word. Therefore, I cannot believe this lie that these evil thoughts are my thoughts. They are not my thoughts at all. They are thoughts which come because of another force. It is not my thinking at all. No, it is the Devil again. I do not want these thoughts. I do not believe them. I reject them. I do not want them in my thinking; therefore the are not mine!" With this, we are using the shield of faith.

Using the shield of faith means refusal to feel condemned or to feel guilty. "God loves me. He says so. He says nothing will change that. Nothing will separate us! All right, then I will believe that, and I will not believe the thought that God does not love me and want me." You see, you cannot entertain both thoughts. "No man can serve two masters."

Christ is the ground of my peace. Therefore it is his responsibility to take me through every situation. So I  cannot, I will not believe this fear, this sudden anxiety which grips my heart. I will not believe that it is from me. It is simply sent to shake my confidence in Christ. It is an attempt to destroy my peace. But Christ is adequate for even this, and I refuse to change.
Proof of Faith's Reality

This is what James calls "resisting the devil." This is the shield of faith. It is refusing to believe the lie that if you have doubts you cannot have faith. Because that is a lie. Doubt is always an attack on faith. The fact that you have doubts proves that you have faith. They are not opposites at all. Doubt is the proof of the reality of faith. Therefore reexamine the ground of your faith and reassert it. Remember that feelings are not necessarily facts at all.

And James says further that if you keep on resisting the Devil he will flee from you (James 4:7). Think of that! He will flee from you. Resist the Devil again and again every time an evil thought or doubt comes back. Refuse to give up your position. And, sooner or later, inevitably, the doubts will clear, your feelings will change, the attacks cease, and you will be back again in the sunshine of faith and the experience of the love and joy of God.
That is what Paul is talking about when he says, "Take the shield of faith. It is able to quench every fiery dart of the evil one."   (adapted from on online article by Ray Stedman)
So when the devil comes to you with the insidious doubt tactics of Sennacherib, remember the stand up on the Word of God - and resist him. Pray! And believe God's Promises. The fiery darts of the wicked one can only burn, defeat, and destroy if you let them in! So, instead, use the shield of faith in God - and in His Word.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Daily Bible Reading - September 19, 2018

Today's Reading:

John 20:1-18

2 Chronicles 31

Psalm 87

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

In Psalm 87, we are reading about Zion today. To add to our understanding of this beautiful promise, here are a few verses on the Bible prophecy of Zion, which together paint a beautiful picture of what Yahweh is doing in and through His people:

Psalm 135:21
Blessed be Yahweh from Zion, Who dwells in Jerusalem. Praise Yahweh!
Psalm 76:2
His tabernacle is in Salem; His dwelling place also is in Zion.
Psalm 132:13-14
For Yahweh has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. "This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
Joel 3:17
Then you will know that I am Yahweh your God, Dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain. So Jerusalem will be holy. And strangers will pass through it no more.
Psalm 9:14
That I may tell of all Your praises, That in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in Your salvation.
Isaiah 52:1-2
Awake, awake, Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion; Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; For the uncircumcised and the unclean Will no longer come into you. Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; Loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
Lamentations 2:8-10
Yahweh determined to destroy The wall of the daughter of Zion. He has stretched out a line, He has not restrained His Hand from destroying, And He has caused rampart and wall to lament; They have languished together. Her gates have sunk into the ground, He has destroyed and broken her bars Her king and her princes are among the nations; The Law is no more Also, her prophets find No vision from Yahweh. The elders of the daughter of Zion Sit on the ground, they are silent They have thrown dust on their heads; They have girded themselves with sackcloth The virgins of Jerusalem Have bowed their heads to the ground.
Micah 4:6-8
"In that day," declares Yahweh, "I will assemble the lame And gather the outcasts, Even those whom I have afflicted. "I will make the lame a remnant And the outcasts a strong nation, And Yahweh will reign over them in Mount Zion From now on and forever. "As for you, tower of the flock, Hill of the daughter of Zion, To you it will come-- Even the former dominion will come, The kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.
Matthew 21:5
John 12:15
Zechariah 9:9
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Psalm 78:68
But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved.
Jeremiah 14:19
Have You completely rejected Judah? Or have You loathed Zion? Why have You stricken us so that we are beyond healing? We waited for peace, but nothing good came; And for a time of healing, but behold, terror!
Lamentations 2:1
How Yahweh has covered the daughter of Zion With a cloud in His anger! He has cast from heaven to earth The glory of Israel, And has not remembered His footstool In the day of His anger.
Isaiah 46:13
"I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off; And My salvation will not delay And I will grant salvation in Zion, And My glory for Israel.
Psalm 87:2
Yahweh loves the gates of Zion More than all the other dwelling places of Jacob.
Psalm 102:13-16
You will arise and have compassion on Zion; For it is time to be gracious to her, For the appointed time has come. Surely Your servants find pleasure in her stones And feel pity for her dust. So the nations will fear the Name of Yahweh And all the kings of the earth Your glory.
Psalm 133:3
It is like the dew of Hermon Coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there Yahweh commanded the blessing--life forever.
Psalm 132:13-16
For Yahweh has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. "This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. "I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her needy with bread.
Psalm 147:12-14
Praise Yahweh, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your sons within you. He makes peace in your borders; He satisfies you with the finest of the wheat.
...Thus Yahweh of hosts has said, "Zion will be plowed as a field, And Jerusalem will become ruins, And the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest."'
Micah 3:12
Therefore, on account of you Zion will be plowed as a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins, And the mountain of the temple will become high places of a forest.
Isaiah 1:8-9
The daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, Like a watchman's hut in a cucumber field, like a besieged city. Unless Yahweh of hosts Had left us a few survivors, We would be like Sodom, We would be like Gomorrah.
Jeremiah 6:2-5
"The comely and dainty one, the daughter of Zion, I will cut off. "Shepherds and their flocks will come to her, They will pitch their tents around her, They will pasture each in his place. "Prepare war against her; Arise, and let us attack at noon. Woe to us, for the day  declines, For the shadows of the evening lengthen!
Joel 2:1-2
Blow a trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, For the Day of Yahweh is coming; Surely it is near, A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness As the dawn is spread over the mountains, So there is a great and mighty people; There has never been anything like it, Nor will there be again after it To the years of many generations.
Psalm 46:4-7
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted.
Psalm 48:1-14
Great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised, In the city of our God, His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, Is Mount Zion in the far north, The city of the great King. God, in her palaces, Has made Himself known as a stronghold.
Psalm 125:1-2
Those who trust in Yahweh are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So Yahweh surrounds His people From this time forth and forever.
Isaiah 37:22-23
This is the word that Yahweh has spoken against him: "She has despised you and mocked you, The virgin daughter of Zion; She has shaken her head behind you, The daughter of Jerusalem! "Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? And against whom have you raised your voice And haughtily lifted up your eyes? Against the Holy One of Israel!

Zechariah 14:16
Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.
Hebrews 12:22-23
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
Romans 9:33
1 Peter 2:6
Isaiah 8:14
"Then He shall become a sanctuary; But to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, And a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Isaiah 28:16
Therefore thus says Yahweh GOD, "Behold, I Am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.
Hebrews 11:16
But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
Revelation 14:1
Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the Name of His Father written on their foreheads.

Daily Bible Reading - September 18, 2018

Today's Reading:

John 19:17-42

2 Chronicles 30

Psalm 86

Listen to the Bible







Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

In 2 Chronicles chapter 30 we read of a wondrous second Passover (taking place on the fourteenth day of the second month, instead of on the fourteenth day of the first biblical month) - a Passover in which Yahweh healed all the people who attended (2 Chronicles 30:20). It was a Passover so wonderful that they chose to keep it for fourteen days instead of just seven. And in that time, the people experienced the great joy of a an experience that was a foretaste of Heaven!
Hezekiah ranks as one of the best of the kings of Judah. In fact, the Bible chronicler puts him in first place:
2 Kings 18:5-6 - "He trusted in Yahweh God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave to Yahweh, and departed not from following Him, but kept His Commandments, which Yahweh commanded Moses".
Wow! What an inspiring testimony of a leader who honored Yahweh! What a blessing he was to the Children of Israel back then - in fact, his faithfulness to Yahweh is still blessing God's people even today! (For I am blessed and inspired by his testimony, aren't you?)
His chief claim to fame came from the early part of his reign when he brought about great reforms, especially in attempting to rid the country of idol worship...
The theme of this chapter deals with his re-institution of the Passover, which had fallen into general non-observance after the reign of Solomon approximately three centuries earlier...
Immediately upon becoming king, Hezekiah commenced a great religious reform. In eight days they had re-opened the great Temple of Solomon and cleansed it of defilement (2 Chronicles 29:1-17).
Hezekiah then proceeded to offer a burnt offering, which with the offerings of the people, totaled 600 oxen and 3,000 sheep. There were so many animals that the priests needed to draft the Levites to assist them in the ritual slaughter (2 Chronicles 29:33,34).
With the temple in order Hezekiah proceeded to send a message for the people to assemble to celebrate the Passover. He not only invited his compatriots of Judah, but the northern ten-tribe kingdom representatives through Ephraim and Manasseh. Hezekiah may have felt comfortable inviting his brethren of Israel since there was no king of the northern tribes at that time, Assyria having subjected them.
Since the cleansing of the temple was not completed until the sixteenth day of the first month (Nisan) and the Passover was due to be celebrated on the fourteenth, Hezekiah was faced with a dilemma.
Either they have to wait nearly a full year for the next Passover or celebrate it late. This would explain why he called a council to decide the matter.
Although the Law called for Passover in the first month, the judgment of God was given that in cases of uncleanness, it would be permissible to keep the ceremony the fourteenth day of the second month (Numbers 9:6-11).
The situation in Hezekiah’s day was of sufficient similarity to invoke the application of that judgment...
The proclamation was sent throughout the borders of both the northern and southern kingdoms—from Dan to Beersheba.
Since the northern tribes had already been taken captive by Assyria, the proclamation was addressed to "the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hands of the kings of Assyria." Hezekiah’s breadth of mind and scope of vision for a united kingdom were not deterred by the fact that his brethren had broken away from him. His was a liberality that reached out to all regardless of the slights and hurts of past history.
However, it was not a message of forgiveness without repentance. He was not asking them to acknowledge their wrongs to their southern brethren, he was pleading with them not to turn from Yahweh as their fathers had done. The message reassured the Israelites that if they would be faithful to their part of the reform, God would be faithful in bringing them back again into one fold...

The reaction to the invitation was mixed. Evidently the majority treated the news with scorn, but some from three tribes—Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun—were humble enough to come to the feast at Jerusalem. The trans-Jordan tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh, had already passed into Assyrian captivity and the Simeonites were scattered among the cities of Judah. Thus representatives of six of the twelve tribes—Judah, Benjamin, Simeon, Levi, Naphtali, and Issachar—made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, so that a great number were on hand for the celebration of the feast...

The first act of preparation was the removal of the idolatrous altars which King Ahaz had erected in each of the four corners of Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 28:24).     The stones of these demolished altars were thrown into the creek bed of the Kidron where they would be washed away by the flowing stream.
The solemnity of the ceremony was of such a nature as to cast guilt on the priests and Levites for allowing themselves to become ceremonially unclean. Before they began offering the animals of Passover, they performed their own cleansing rituals and offered the burnt offerings prescribed by law. Thus cleansed, they performed the ceremonial sprinkling of the Passover blood.
However, many of the congregation, specifically those of the northern kingdom tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, also had not gone through the required pre-Passover cleansing. Despite this, and probably not knowing the requirements since it had been so long since the last such observance, they participated in the feast.
Again, the magnanimity of Hezekiah was shown. Rather than berating them for disobedience of the Law requirements, he prayed for them, those who would prepare their hearts to seek after God. The word for pardon in this verse is the Hebrew kophar, meaning to cover or atone. It suggests an official removing of the guilt of the sin committed.
This story makes me wonder if there might be an End-time application in the antitypical Passover. Could it be that this epic Feast will involve Yahweh's people celebrating in the first month and then reaching out to uninformed, unclean mankind for a second Passover? Hmmm.... We do know that Yahweh's followers will perform the work of intercessors and mediators, helping others to turn to Yahweh in repentance.
...It is for these that the mediator will step between and intercede on their behalf, that the atonement will cover the sins of all who then will apply themselves to learn and do the precepts of righteousness.
The response of God is that Jehovah will hearken to these prayers and will heal the uncleanness of all who seek to learn and do the will of God, walking humbly up to perfection on the "highway of holiness" (Isaiah 35:8-10).

Though sadness for past neglect cast a pallor over the feast, it did not preclude glad songs of joy, accompanied by the temple musicians. Throughout the feast, as it will be throughout the kingdom, the spiritual Levites will teach them "the good knowledge of Yahweh."
And there was great cause for joy as Yahweh heard their prayers and accepted their repentance. He healed them! What a Feast!!!!
...As the congregation was so happy to have this feast renewed, the decision was made to continue it for another week. So restored humanity will be so pleased with the results of the Messianic kingdom they will continue the celebration by rendering continued obedience, not for another week or even another thousand years, but for eternity.
The immense size of the number of the gathered Israelites is further indicated by the number of animals that were given for the feast.
The offering of the king of 1,000 bullocks and 7,000 sheep was topped by the princes (perhaps representing the ancient worthies) with their offering of 1,000 additional bullocks and 10,000 sheep.
The "great number of priests who sanctified themselves" is in addition to the ones consecrating themselves in verse 15. A text which may shed light upon this second group of priests is found in Isaiah 66:19, 20 where we read of an exodus of Jews to Israel after their final battle.
Of these returnees he prophesies in Isaiah 66:21, "And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith Yahweh."
A priest is one who offers sacrifices or prayers on behalf of others. In patriarchal times this was a function filled by the first-born as the heir-apparent to the headship of the family. The patriarch Job fulfills this duty for his "comforters" in Job 42:8-10. In this way many who hear the Word of Yahweh will assist in the priestly work of teaching others and in  offering intercessory prayers (see Revelation 22:17).
It is also noteworthy that the celebrants included not only native-born Israelis but others as well... Likewise the blessings of God’s Kingdom apply not only to the saved from literal Israel but to all the families of the earth, who together make up the full spiritual Israel of the saved.
The joy and re-dedication that attended this Passover was not an end in itself, but merely a beginning in the larger reform of Hezekiah as outlined in succeeding chapters, as he sought to remove all idolatry from Israel.
...This is for us the great lesson of this event—to constantly invoke repentance and praise for the memories of God’s past deliverance of His people to rekindle the zeal to praise and serve Him afresh.