Peace is with you . . .

Jesus said,] “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”John 14:27


A Gift of Peace – Jesus knew that as long as we live on planet Earth, there will be things that can disturb our peace and cause us to be troubled or afraid. All we have to do is turn on the news or open a newspaper to see countless reasons for us to be troubled. Remember the scares related to Y2K, and UFOs, and mad-cow disease? violence, terrorism, and the threat of biochemical warfare?

The hormones doctors thought would protect women’s hearts have been shown not to do so. Food is tainted with pesticides. It’s easy to see that this world and its circumstances won’t give us the peace our hearts long for. But we don’t have to live in a state of despair. Jesus has left us with a great gift—peace of mind and heart right in the middle of this troubled world. It doesn’t come from positive thinking or repeating affirming mantras but from the person of Jesus Christ, who said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We can enter into his peace because he has already provided a way through the Cross.

JESUS, thank you for the peace of mind and heart that you provide for me. In the midst of my circumstances, I want to receive your peace for my life. I love you for overcoming the world through your work on the cross. Help me to keep my eyes fixed firmly on you and to enter into your peace.


A GREAT MANY PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO MAKE PEACE, BUT THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE. GOD HAS NOT LEFT IT FOR US TO DO; ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS TO ENTER INTO IT.D. L. Moody (1837–1899)

The One Year Bible Readings for today are 2 Samuel 7:1–8:18; John 14:15-31; Psalm 119:33-48 and Proverbs 15:33.

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More specifically Saying . . .

Verses 12–19
If the slothful are to be condemned, who do nothing, much more those that do all the ill they can. Observe how such a man is described. He says and does every thing artfully, and with design. His ruin shall come without warning, and without relief. Here is a list of things hateful to God. Those sins are in a special manner provoking to God, which are hurtful to the comfort of human life. These things which God hates, we must hate in ourselves; it is nothing to hate them in others. Let us shun all such practices, and watch and pray against them; and avoid, with marked disapproval, all who are guilty of them, whatever may be their rank.
Henry, M. & Scott, T., 1997. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

 

Proverbs 6:16–19 (ESV)

16  There are six things that the Lord hates,

seven that are an abomination to him:

17  haughty eyes, a lying tongue,

and hands that shed innocent blood,

18  a heart that devises wicked plans,

feet that make haste to run to evil,

19  a false witness who breathes out lies,

and one who sows discord among brothers.

Avoiding Appeasement

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.Ephesians 4:15

Marriage experts have discovered some common communication patterns that are detrimental to communication. One such pattern is what is sometimes called the Dove. In this pattern, one partner placates the other in order to avoid his or her wrath. It’s the “peace at any price” syndrome. Typical statements from a Dove are “That’s fine with me” or “Whatever makes you happy makes me happy.”

Doves are always trying to appease the other person, often apologizing for things that may have upset the partner, no matter how insignificant. They almost never disagree with their spouse openly, no matter how they feel. Often the Dove pattern grows out of low self-esteem. The placater may think, My ideas are not worth anything, so why express them? He or she may also fear the spouse’s response to disagreement.

It should be obvious that this pattern of communication does not build authentic marriages. Honesty honors God and reflects his image. Psalm 31:5 even refers to the Lord as “the God of truth” (niv). We must learn to speak the truth—with grace and in love, to be sure, as the apostle Paul encourages in the verse above—but we must speak the truth.

Lord God, it’s clear from Scripture that truth is of paramount importance to you. Help us as a couple to commit to speaking the truth to each other, lovingly. Let me not be afraid to say what I think or what needs to be said.

We should act as though we live to the promise of a higher power. . .

Devotional of the day

Great Expectations – Have you ever had a teacher who expected a lot out of you? What about a parent or relative who assumed that you would act responsibly and morally? People who believe in you usually expect a lot of you—your conduct and your work. Although it may be frustrating to have someone hold you to such high standards—not to mention trying to live up to them—it can be very…
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Judges (11 – 15)

Judges1

   

 Judges

 Brief Biography

 Elon Elon, which also appeared as Ahialon in other translations, was one of the judges in the land of Israel. His name was of Hebrew origin, which meant “strong” or “oak”. In Latin, he was referred to as Ahialon. This judge served in Israel after Ibzan, and his successor was Abdon. According to the Book of Judges 12:11, Elon came from the Tribe of Zebulun. He also became a judge for a period of ten years. 

Accounts on Judge Elon In the Bible, Elon was a Zebulunite. The length of time that he served as a judge in Israel was ten years, which was from 1073 to 1063 BC where  he is listed on the Bible Timeline Chart. When he died, he was burried in the land of Zebulunites, which was in Aijalon. Other than these details, there were not much mentioned about this man in the Bible. However, there were eight other men who also had the name Elon, based on the scriptures.

OakTree

Beautiful and strong Oak tree the meaning behind Elon.

Abdon AbdonAbdon was the twelfth Judge of Israel. “After him (Elon) the Pirathonite Abdon, son of Hillel, judged Israel. He had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy saddle-asses. After having judged Israel for eight years, the Pirathonite Abdon, son of Hillel, died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim on the mountain of the
Amalekites.” (Judges 12:13-15).

 Samson

SamsonSamson, a member of the tribe of Dan, was one of the Judges of Israel. He Judged Israel for 20 years. Samson’s mother received a visit from an angel, who told her she would give birth to an unusual son, a Nazirite, and not to cut his hair. Samson had great strength, he killed a lion with his bare hands, and later killed 1,000 Philistines with a jawbone of a donkey. He had romantic encounters with three Philistine women.

He fell in love with one of the women, Delilah. The five leaders of the Philistine nation went to Delilah, and demanded that she find out from Samson what made him so strong, so they could subdue him. She eventually found out it was because his hair had never been cut. While asleep, Samson’s hair was cut off. Losing his strength, he was captured by the Philistines, who gouged out his eyes, and made him grind grain in prison.

Later, the Philistines stood Samson in the center of a temple during a celebration, his hair had now grown back. Samson was placed between the two main pillars of the temple. He asked God to strengthen him one more time “so that I may pay back the Philistines for the loss of at least one of my eyes.” Then Samson pushed against the pillars with all his might. “Let me die with the Philistines,” he prayed.

samson_and_the_pillar_by_bearinglightThe temple crashed, killing more Philistines at the time of his death, than during his entire lifetime. His brothers brought him back home and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol, where his father, Manoah was buried. The story of Samson is found in the Book of Judges, chapters 13-16. The name Samson means “Little Sun.” 

Eli

Eli was High Priest, in the line of Ithamar. He was also Judge of Israel, at Shiloh, for 40 years. It was to him that Hannah entrusted her son, Samuel, to be raised (1 Samuel 1:21). Although he was High Priest, Eli failed to curb the sinful behavior of his sons, Hophni and Phinehas, who were priests.samuel.jpeg

God told Samuel that Eli’s family would be punished for blaspheming God. Samuel told Eli about this and Eli said that the Lord should do what He thinks is best (1 Samuel 3:18). Later, Eli’s sons were killed as they accompanied the Ark of the Covenant into a battle against the Philistines. When Eli had heard the news, he fell backwards while seated in a chair, broke his neck and died. He was 98-years old at the time.

Eli’s descendants continued in the office of High Priest up until the time of Solomon. At that time, Abiathar, who had supported Adonijah’s bid for the throne, was replaced by Zadok, thus bringing an end to Eli’s line (1 Kings 2:22, 35). This event is mentioned in 1 Kings 2:27 as the fulfillment of the prophecy against the house of Eli. The name Eli means “The lord is exalted.”

Samuel

Samuel, the son of Elkanah, and his wife Hannah, was a prophet and the last of Israel’s Judges. Samuel grew up under Eli, who was the priest at Shiloh. He served a variety of roles in Israel. He was a prophet, a judge and a military leader. He was widely recognized throughout the country (1 Samuel 3:20). His home was in Ramah, were he headed groups of prophets.Eli

At this time in Israel’s history, about 3000 years ago, the nation was ruled by judges who settled disputes, not kings. But the people demanded to have a king, like other nations. Samuel was opposed to having a king rule over Israel because he interpreted that as an act of apostasy and a rejection of the Kingship of God. God told Samuel to anoint Saul, son of Kish, as king, and so the people got what they wanted.

However, in time, the relationship between Saul and Samuel deteriorated and Saul took over certain functions that had belonged to a priest, not a king. In addition, Saul disobeyed God after the battle with the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:1-23). God had Samuel anoint young David to be the next king.

King Saul grew jealous of David. David fled from Saul and was given refuge by Samuel in his home in Ramah. David eventually succeeded Saul as king, but Samuel did not live long enough to see that. The story of Samuel is found in the book named 1 Samuel, chapters 1-25.

 

 

Judges (7-10)

Tola

The 7th  Judge Called by God

Tola-7

“After the death of Abimelech there rose to save Israel the Issacharite Tola, son of Puah, son of Dodo, a resident of Shamir in the mountain region of Ephraim. When he had judged Israel twenty-three years, he died and was buried in Shamir” (Judges 10:1-2). That’s all the Bible says about Tola, the seventh Judge of Israel.

Jair

The 8th  Judge Called by God

Jair the 8thJudge

“Jair the Gileadite came after him (Tola) and judged Israel twenty-two years. He had thirty sons who rode on thirty saddle-asses
and possessed thirty cities in the land of Gilead; these are called
Havvoth-jair to the present day. Jair died and was buried in Kamon.” (Judges 10:3-5). That’s all the Bible says about Jair, the eigth Judge of Israel.

 

Jephthah

The 9th Judge Called by God

Warrior-LargeJephthah was the ninth Judge of Israel. Being an illegimate child, he was kicked out of the family by his half-brothers to prevent him from sharing in the inheritance. He fled to “the land of Tob”, and gathered a group of “worthless men” and engaged in raids throughout the surrounding area. The elders of Gilead asked Jephthah to free them from the oppression of the Ammonites. He insisted on a position of leadership in Gilead if he succeeded in fighting the Ammonites. He was assured of this, and went to war. He launched an attack through Mizpah of Gilead and defeated the Ammonites
“with a very great slaughter.” Alexandre_Cabanel_-_The_Daughter_of_Jephthah_1879_Oil_on_canvas
Jephthah had made a vow to God, that if he was able to return home in triumph from war, he would sacrifice whoever first appeared at the door of his house. Unfortunately, it was his daughter, his only child, who greeted his victorious return “with timbrels and with dances.” Jephthah tore his clothing in distress as he realized the terrible rashness of his vow. The following verses seem to indicate he followed through on his vow, but some scholars believe the verse means she was kept as a virgin dedicated to special service to the Lord for the rest of her life.

Before his six years of judging had ended, Jephthah had to put
down an uprising by the men of Ephraim, his fellow Israelites, who were angry by his failure to ask them to join the fight against the Ammonites. The two Jephthahand daughterwhohe vowed to kill
armies went to battle, and Jephthah’s army, the Gileadites, killed 42,000
Ephraimites. Although, his weakness was his rash, thoughtless behavior, he’s
listed in the Book of Hebrews as one of the heroes of faith (Heb. 11:32). After
his death, he was buried in a city of Gilead. Jephthah’s story is found in Judges chapter 11, and chap. 12:1-7.

 

 

 

Ibzan

The 10th Judge Called by God

Isban

Ibzan was the tenth Judge of Israel. “After him (Jephthah) Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Isral. He had thirty sons. He also had thirty daughters married outside of the family, and he brought in as wives for his sons thirty young women from outside the family. After having judged Israel for seven years, IBzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.” (Judges 12:8-10).

 

 

A Totalitarianism Judge

Abimelech

6th  Judge Selected by God

GideonFamilytree

 

Ambilech-7

Abimelech (Abimelek), the judge, was the son of Gideon and became a Judge of Israel, but it was not by God’s will. He was Gideon’s son by a concubine from Shechem. He tried to become king, and he did reign over Israel for threeyears (Judges 9:22).Abimelech was one of 70 sons of Gideon’s many wives. With a great desire to lead Israel, and with the help of his mother’s clan in Shechem, he
assassinated all his brothers but one.
Only his youngest brother, Jotham, escaped. The people of Shechem got tired of their king once he moved his residence south to Arumah, and they turned to
Gaal son of Ebed, who stirred up a rebellion against Abimelech. Abimelech retaliated with a strike at Shechem, and razed the city. He then fought the rebels at Thebez.

Ambilech_stoneofthebez_copyThere was a strong tower in the middle of the city, in which all the men and women of Thebez fled and shut themselves in, going up to the roof of the tower. Abimelech came right up to the door of the tower to set it on fire. But a woman dropped part of a millstone down on Abimelech’s head,
and it fractured his skull.

 

 

Ambilech_killed

 

He immediately called his armor bearer and told him to kill
him, so that no one would be able to say that he had been killed by a woman. His servant then killed him with a sword. These events are described in Judges 9:50-56, which
is in the Old Testament of the Bible.