Josiah and the Book of the Law / Paul Preaches in Rome: July 11th 2021

2 Kings 21:1-22:20

Manasseh became king after his father, the relatively righteous Hezekiah. Manasseh was terrible. He reinstated the pagan worship sites that his father had destroyed. He built idols and worshipped the ‘starry hosts’. He performed child sacrifice and practised sorcery and divination. He provoked God to anger but unusually reigned for a long time (fifty-five years) for someone so evil.

Manasseh defiled the Lord’s temple with pagan altars and idols. Manasseh led the people astray (2 Kings 21:9). It is incredible that a son can act so badly and not follow the shining example of his father. It is a worry to all of us who have children. However, we have to let our children forge their own relationships with God. We can only provide a good example for them and be always willing to counsel them.

God pronounced his judgement on Manasseh through his prophets (2 Kings 21:11). God would bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah ‘that the ears of everyone who hears about it will tingle’ (2 Kings 21:12). Manasseh had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood from end to end and God would not forgive this (2 Kings 21:16).

God would wipe out Jerusalem ‘as one wipes out a dish’ (2 Kings 21:13-14). We can’t buy our way into heaven with our good behaviour – eternal life is an unearned gift (grace) from God. God justifies us guilty, condemned sinners through our faith in Christ. We were made righteous in God’s eyes through the shedding of Jesus’ perfect blood when he died for us on the cross. However, these passages show that our bad behaviour can incite God to punish entire nations.

Amon succeeded his father, the evil Manasseh. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord as well. It is amazing that the kings of Judah after Hezekiah had learnt nothing from the inhabitants of Israel being exiled to Assyria due to their sins. Amon was assassinated by his officials, who were in turn killed by his former subjects and his son Josiah was crowned in his place.

Josiah was a good king who followed the Lord (2 Kings 22:2). He organised repairs to the temple, trusting the supervisors to faithful manage the funds.

Hilkiah the High Priest ‘found the Book of the Law in the temple of the Lord’ (2 Kings 22:8), presumably during the repair work. It may have been Manasseh or earlier evil Judean kings who had tried to destroy all copies of the law. MacArthur (2021) notes that the scroll Hilkiah found ‘could have been the official copy laid beside the ark of the covenant in the most Holy Place (Deut.31:25-26)’. Imagine if we had lost all copies of the Bible and then someone found one buried in a pillar in a cathedral generations later. It would be a sensation.  

The Book of the Law was a revelation to King Josiah who tore his robes in anguish as he realised how angry God must be with them. (2 Kings 22:13).

Josiah consulted the ‘prophetess’ Huldah, who confirmed that things were as bad as he thought. Note that the gift of prophecy was not just confined to men in the Old Testament. These days we probably aren’t allowed to use the word ‘prophetess’ just as we can’t use ‘actress’. The prophet Huldah said that God’s anger could not be quenched due to all the idol worship the people of Judah had engaged in. As Josiah had been personally horrified at the nation’s failure to conform to the law and had humbled himself and wept, he would not experience God’s full wrath. The Lord would bring ruin on the people of Judah after his death.

The countdown to disaster had started.

Acts 28:17-31

Paul preached at Rome even though he was under guard. He called together the leaders of the Jews. He told them that the Romans had wanted to release him but that it was ‘because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain’ (Acts 28:20).

Paul’s accusers had not followed him to Rome – unsurprising considering the gruelling nature of the journey. The Jewish leaders were eager to hear what Paul’s views were because everyone was slandering Christianity – which they considered a ‘sect’ (Acts 28:22).

From morning to evening Paul preached to the leaders and some believed. They began to disagree with other and leave after Paul quoted Isaiah: hearing but not understanding and seeing but never perceiving. Many people today have calloused hard hearts. They hardly hear with their ears and have closed their eyes. We are blessed when the Holy Spirit moves into our bodies and gives us a heart of flesh rather than stone.

I was reading about Eucharistic miracles yesterday. The Mother Church has declared throughout two Millennia that the bread and wine at the Holy Mass are transformed into the actual body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. This can’t generally be perceived by the general public. However, after I was confirmed into the church, I could feel waves of radiation coming from a consecrated piece of bread (host) when I sat in front of it.

On rare occasions, God allows us to miraculously experience with our human senses that transubstantiation has occurred. Scientists have tested samples of the miraculous tissue that the bread has turned into. The most comprehensive study was carried out on a host that transformed in 1996 in the parish of Saint Mary in Buenos Aires. The bread had transformed into heart muscle, from the left ventricle – the muscle that gives life to the whole heart and body. The transformed host was proved to be living heart muscle. The Buenos Aires human tissue (transformed from the bread) revealed it had come from someone who had gone through intense pain, had experienced long periods of time when he could hardly breathe, had immense strain on his heart and had been stabbed in the left side. The tissue had white blood cells in it – which shows it was alive and pulsating. Consecrated hosts that have had their blood group tested indicate that Jesus had AB blood. AB is the rarest blood group and is the universal recipient for other people’s blood but for plasma, it is extra special. It is the universal donor. https://dowym.com/voices/5-incredible-eucharistic-miracles-from-the-last-25-years/

Millions of people do not believe that they can experience the real physical presence of Jesus in a Catholic mass and take him into our bodies so we physically transform into him. They need to understand with their hearts and turn to Jesus so that he can heal them.

Paul proclaimed that God’s salvation had been sent to the Gentiles and they would listen (Acts 28:28). Do all Christians actually listen and more importantly obey the word of the Lord?

Paul boldly preached without hindrance the word of God for two years in his own rented house, welcoming all who came to see him.

Proverbs 16:28-17:4

‘Gossip separates close friends’ (Prov.16:28). Pope Francis says that ‘gossip is worse than Covid’ and the devil is the “biggest gossiper” seeking to divide the church with his lies.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/06/pope-francis-says-gossip-is-a-plague-worse-than-covid

Unlike the wicked and the liars, we should try not to listen to those with evil lips and we should pay no attention to those with malicious tongues (Prov.17:4). We should ignore the enticements of violent men.

Grey hair is attained by a righteous life and is a crown of splendour (Prov.16:31). It’s amazing how many people dye their grey hair when the Bible says we should be proud of it.

If we purse our lips we are bent on evil (Prov.16:30). I will remember to stop in my tracks and reconsider my intended actions if I ever purse my lips again. People who wink are plotting perversity. Solomon knew what he was talking about when he wrote these proverbs.

It is a blessing to remain patient and to be able to control one’s temper.

Strife can ruin many a hectic family celebration even when there is plenty to eat and drink. It is lovely to sit quietly in the peace of nature even though we may only have meagre rations (Prov.17:1).  

Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/32495192@N07/10807709276

The Wedding at Cana / Jesus Clears the Temple: May 1st 2021

Joshua 19:1-21:19

Lots were drawn and the newly conquered territory in the promised land was allocated to the remaining tribes of Israel. The land was split up fairly and efficiently without tribes greedily acquiring more than they needed: ‘The inheritance of the Simeonites was taken from the tribe of Judah, because Judah’s portion was more than they needed (v.9).

After the land had been divided into allotted portions the leader of the Israelites, Joshua, was given the town he had asked for, Timnath Serah (v.50). We need to remember to adequately reward our hard-working leaders and pastors.

The Israelites gave the priestly tribe, the Levites, thirteen towns to live in with pasture-lands for their extensive collection of livestock (21:8,19).

The Israelites founded six cities of refuge to where anyone who had accidentally killed someone could flee before they were killed in a blood vendetta. They could then face a fair trial in regards to the accident. We might be critical about our health and safety culture these days but as least we don’t need six cities to house all those accused of manslaughter. However, we have seen quite a careless attitude towards other people’s health recently. I was a very early adopter of a Covid mask as it made perfect sense to wear one when surgeons always wear a mask whilst operating. It would be manslaughter if we gave someone else fatal Covid just because we selfishly neglected to wear a mask or accept a vaccination. When we pray for our sins to be forgiven we pray both for things we have done and things we haven’t done to care for our fellow citizens.

John 2:1-25

Mary pointed out to Jesus that there was no wine left at the wedding at Cana (v.3). How embarrassing.

Jesus intimated that he was not going to help, ‘My time has not yet come’ (v.4). But Jesus never turns down a valid request for help.

Jesus converted a vast volume of water into the best wine as his first public miracle. The servants had to join in with his miracle by following his instructions exactly. They filled large jars with water to the brim and took some of the new wine out to take to the master of the banquet. They would have looked stupid if it was still water when he tasted it. They took a risk based on Jesus’ word. The master praised the bridegroom for his generosity in providing an abundance of even better wine at the end of the banquet rather than at the start. Rather than being embarrassed in front of his family and friends, the bridegroom’s reputation was enhanced. What a fantastic start to the couple’s married life. We should always invite Jesus to our wedding by holding it in his church. He knows all about marriage. He is the eternal bridegroom to the eternal church.

Christians have an uneasy relationship with alcohol. Many don’t drink at all. This story doesn’t really help as prodigious quantities of the best wine are produced so that people can have a massive celebration. Jesus loved a party. Alcohol is something we just have to keep a very tight rein on. It can easily take over our lives. I don’t tend to have it in the house unless I am holding a dinner party and then I will buy a specific bottle of wine just for that evening. I would never have a wine cellar – I would regard it as a challenge to empty it just as I challenged myself to empty our massive chest freezer full of ancient food during lockdown. There was frozen fish in there that was so old it might actually have been coelacanth. We should always be in control of ourselves and never actually drunk. If I was dining with Pentecostal friends, I would enjoy drinking grape juice with them. We shouldn’t make our guests feel uncomfortable. If I was dining with Catholic friends, I would have a glass of wine if I wasn’t driving. There often comes a time when things get so serious in our lives that we need a completely clear head and a good night’s rest. At these times, it is best not to drink at all. When Jesus was preparing to face the cross, he cleared away frivolous distractions: ‘Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God’ (Mark 14:25)

Of course the most marvellous transformation of wine is at the Last Supper when Jesus took the cup, gave thanks and said: ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins (Matt. 26:27-28). This is repeated at every Holy Mass, when the Holy Spirit changes ordinary wine into the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ for all the faithful to drink. This has been wrecked by the Covid pandemic. The days of an entire congregation drinking from the same cup of Holy Blood seem long gone. Each drop contains Jesus’ body, blood, soul and divinity and so it can’t be put into hundreds of individual containers as traces would be left behind. Maybe this is why the devil allowed Covid to circulate freely to devastate Christian worship and the reception of the Blessed Sacrament.

Through the Holy Spirit working within us we can come up with new prophetic words, new interpretations of God’s word and new miracles. As in this wonderful song, we can pray to Jesus to bring new wine out of us. The best worship songs are serious prayers asking God to change our lives and work through us.

Jesus went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples (v.12). Of course, Jesus didn’t actually have any blood-related brothers. Mary, his mother, stayed a virgin all her life. She had been dedicated to the temple as a virgin by her parents, Joachim and Anne, at a very early age. It was her vocation to be a virgin for the whole of her life. Joseph, ‘her husband’, was an elderly man and had been asked by the temple authorities to be her guardian. Joseph had children by a previous wife and was a widower when engaged to Mary. These ‘brothers’ therefore had neither the same father as Jesus, as he was the son of God, nor the same mother. The world would have considered them as ‘half-brothers’ to Jesus. However, Jacob had twelve sons by 4 different women and they are described as brothers. The word ‘brother’ is often used for ‘half-brother’ in the Bible.

Jesus drove all the merchants out of the temple. It is amazing how many souvenir shops and market stalls congregate around a famous religious shrine. These locations can also attract some interesting characters. When tourists are queuing up outside the Vatican, they have to run the gauntlet of pickpockets who saunter up and down the queue looking for a distracted victim. Kathleen Beckman (p.300-301) warns that we should not linger or stare into the eyes of such people. She was cursed by an evil eye spell outside a cathedral by a woman selling trinkets and became paralysed as she knelt down to pray inside the cathedral. Fortunately, she was with a charismatic priest who prayed a deliverance prayer over her and she instantly recovered. Holy places can attract unholy people.

Jesus prophesied that his body (this temple) would be resurrected three days after he died. Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit if we have been born again through baptism.

Jesus was so empowered with the Holy Spirit he knew what was in each person’s heart through supernatural words of knowledge. Most employers don’t bother asking for references any more when interviewing candidates for a job. Many firms are scared of giving a negative reference – for fear they will be sued – and a glowing positive reference could mean that a current employer is trying to offload that particular member of the staff. Jesus was the best ever manager and excelled at recruiting disciples. Of course, Judas turned bad of his own freewill but he must have shown interior promise when Jesus first recruited him. No-one can hide the intentions of their heart from Jesus.

Psalm 54:1-7

King David knew that God was his help and sustained him (v.4). He prayed to God to always hear him, save him and vindicate him.

In many of David’s psalms he asked for serious harm to come to his enemies but David lived in tough times and his life was often in mortal danger. He was often attached by strangers (v.2). We are more likely to be attacked by people we know.

We usually live in less risky circumstances and so it should be easier for us to pray for blessings on our enemies as Jesus commanded.

David had confident faith in God. He pledged to sacrifice to him and praise his good name in the future. God would eventually deliver him from all his foes and all his troubles (v.7).

We need to look back on how God has delivered us in the past to have full confidence in him repeating his saving miracles time after time in our future. God will never leave us or forsake us.

Image: Paolo Veronese, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Reference:

Crossing the Jordan / The Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ: 23rd April 2021

Joshua 3:1-5:12

Joshua was full of faith in his new role as leader. He told the Israelites to ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you (v.5).

The Lord told Joshua that the priests, carrying the ark of the covenant, should stand in the river Jordan. The river was in full flood – the worst time of the year to cross it. God loves a challenge. Joshua prophesied that the water flowing downstream in the river would ‘be cut off and stand up in a heap’ (v.13).

The water piled up ‘a great distance away, at a town called Adam’ (v.16). The priests carrying the ark of the covenant stood in the middle of the river bed, while all Israel passed by on dry ground. This shows how God can manipulate the elements just as Jesus walked on the water. Water has a very special role and significance in the church. The Israelites passed through the Red Sea to their new life away from slavery and this foreshadowed our freedom from sin when we are baptized in water. The Israelites were once again ‘baptized’ by walking through the Jordan – after a forty year sentence for disobedience. They were back on the right track being led by God. It was an auspicious new start. How did this miracle work? Did the holiness of the ark of the covenant repel the water? Water is a creature of God and can be affected by positive or negative spirits. God built his greatest mysteries on water. The church blesses water and priests can also exorcise it for use in baptisms, exorcisms etc. If water requires exorcism, it can obviously be affected by negative spirits: https://www.romancatholicman.com/exorcism-blessing-for-salt-and-water/

Exorcism and Blessing of Water

P: O water, creature of God, I exorcise you in the name of God the Father (+) Almighty, and in the name of Jesus (+) Christ His Son, our Lord, and in the power of the Holy (+) Spirit. I exorcise you so that you may put to flight all the power of the enemy, and be able to root out and supplant that enemy with his apostate angels, through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire.

R: Amen.

Joshua appointed a man from each of the twelve tribes to pick up on their shoulders a stone from the middle of the Jordan and set them up as a memorial in their camp (at Gilgal). The Bible says ‘they are there to this day’ (v.9) but according to the internet, not many people know where they are. Maybe they have been submerged in mud from the flooding of the Jordan? https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/304063412312620676/

It must have been terrifying for the inhabitants of Jericho to see the major river next to their city dry up and watch 40,000 hostile fighting men marching towards them across the dry river bed. This awesome miracle made the hearts of all the Amorite and Canaanite kings sink and they ‘no longer had the courage to face the Israelites’ (5:1).

As soon as the priests, carrying the ark of the covenant, set their feet on dry land the river waters ‘returned to their place and ran in flood as before’ (v.18).

This one miracle from the Lord sealed Joshua’s reputation and the Israelites ‘revered him all the days of his life’ (v.14).

Most people would have had a joyous party to celebrate crossing the Jordan in this manner but the Lord was preparing the Israelites for battle. All the fighting men now had to be painfully circumcised to seal the covenant with God. None of the young men had been circumcised during the forty years the Israelites had been compelled to wander about in the desert, which shows how disobedient they had been. This was a clear breach of the Abrahamic covenant with God and I am surprised that Moses had let it happen as he was nearly killed by God at the start of his ministry for not insisting that his own son was circumcised. The whole nation had let standards slip over the previous forty years. Imagine if spies from Jericho had sneaked into the camp to see what the Jews were doing to be faced with 40,000 bloody, adult foreskins. Actually, 39,998 because Joshua and Caleb would have been circumcised before they left Egypt. This act made them renewed in the sight of God again, freed from the slavery of Egypt and delivered into the promised land. It signalled a new start for them.

Now that the Jews had been circumcised, they were able to celebrate the Passover. The day after they ate some of the produce from the promised land, their daily supplies manna stopped raining down from heaven. After forty long years of directly supplying their food, God had brought them into the promised land, a land overflowing with milk and honey, and it was now up to the Israelites to subdue it and sustain themselves from it – with assistance from the mighty hand of God. As soon as the Israelites had a secure supply of food, God stopped feeding them. He didn’t want the Israelites becoming lazy. They now had wonderfully productive land and could support themselves. As soon as I had enough money to retire, God arranged for me to stop my secular job. I could have built up more in the bank – but I didn’t need it. He gave me exactly the right amount of money to lead a comfortable, healthy life but he didn’t give me excess riches to lead a lazy, ostentatious lifestyle. God doesn’t waste resources. Immediately, I had sufficient funds he diverted his money pipeline to someone else. Praise the Lord for his infinite wisdom.

Luke 22:1-38

Judas agreed to betray Jesus – the most notorious betrayal in history. There are many theories as to why he did this. Maybe Jesus had not turned out to be the military, violent leader that Judas had hoped for. He may have held the traditional view that the Messiah would arrive to kick the Romans out of Israel and had witnessed that Jesus didn’t match that stereotype. Maybe, Judas just loved money. Verse 3 says that ‘Satan entered Judas’ and that totally evil demonic presence whispering to him all day wouldn’t have helped. However, Judas could have simply turned to Jesus, the Chief Exorcist, for help. God always gives us sufficient grace to resist any temptation and Jesus never turned down a request for healing. Judas could have been forgiven, rescued and redeemed by Jesus but he chose not to be. It was prophesied that Jesus would die and God had planned this to happen to redeem us from our sins, but Judas had free will not to be the one that betrayed our Lord.

Jesus ate the Passover meal with his disciples in the upper room – the last supper. He gave thanks, broke the bread and gave it to them. This represents his holy body being broken on the cross for us all, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me’ (v.19). The cup of wine was ‘the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you (v.20).

Jesus said, ‘I am the living bread that comes down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live for ever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world’ (John 5:51). The following text means a lot to Mother Church Christians: ‘Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them (John 6:53-56).

This passage and others in John Gospel clearly back up the Catholic church’s claim that the bread and wine during the Holy Mass are taken up to heaven by the angel who is permanently stationed at the altar in a Catholic church and he brings back down from heaven the actual body and blood of Jesus for the faithful to eat. The bread and wine, which humans made on earth, become the holy body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is immense. In fact, we should really approach the church on our knees in trembling awe because some of Jesus’ actual body and blood is permanently stored in the tabernacle. I cross myself whenever I go past a Catholic church in respect. When I first became a confirmed Christian, I could feel the supernatural power coming from the body and blood. Sometimes, a consecrated wafer (the Holy Body) is displayed in a round circular glass case, a monstrance, which is ornately decorated and displayed on the altar. This is called ‘Veneration of the Blessed Sacrament’. In my early days as a new Christian, I could feel waves of radiation coming from the Blessed Sacrament throbbing against the temples of my head. However, I was still heavily demonised having just come out of forty years in the spiritual wilderness, which could have been a factor in this spiritual discernment. Often a possessed person can’t go into a church or eat the Blessed Sacrament, probably because they are terrified of the actual presence of Jesus within it.

The tragedy is that apart from Catholics, the main segment of society that believe that the actual body and blood is present in a Catholic church are witches and devil worshippers. To join many witchcraft covens, a person has to steal a consecrated wafer, the actual body of Jesus, and take it a Satanic ceremony for it to be abused / profaned. In olden days, the priest would place the body on your tongue and you would have to eat it in front of him. Now, in the days of hygiene, a priest will lay it on your hands and so it can be easily smuggled out of the church. This is a mortal sin – which will send a person to hell if they do not renounce and repent their actions before death.

The irony is that many Catholics, who piece by tiny piece consume the body and blood of Jesus and so, in theory, turn their body physically into Jesus’ body week by week often show very little life and enthusiasm when it comes to worship. Whereas Pentecostals, who use any bread and sacrilegiously use grape juice instead of wine are absolutely full of the Holy Spirit and brimming with life and good works. I cannot deny that my lovely Pentecostal brethren are born again, saved and in the queue for heaven. That’s why I hang around with them and try to take back some of their enthusiasm to the Catholics – so far with little success. This week, I tried to organise a six week Catholic course on Baptism in the Spirit, to activate the tiny dormant seed of the Holy Spirit that my Catholic brethren have received at baptism and done absolutely nothing with. I did not get a single subscriber to my totally free and professionally produced course. So if you belong to any denomination and want to know more about activating the gifts of the Spirit, contact me. Just as Gentile Jews were sent to make to the Jews jealous with their spiritual gifts, I think spirit-filled denominations like the Pentecostals are here to make the Catholics jealous. However, it it very difficult to get them to even listen to the message that there is more to eternal life than their standard miserable Lent-like, low-intensity worship. Many Catholics never access more than a tiny fraction of the spiritual power and life that they have privileged access to.

I became a Knight of Saint Michael a few years ago, which is a religious order with a specific aim of fighting the devil and his minions. One of the side benefits of being in this army, is that the angels take special care of you and accompany you en masse at specific times. Whenever I get up from my pew in a Catholic church to walk up to receive the Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, I have an angel from each of the nine choirs accompanying me. Literally, I say, ‘Lets go, guys’ to the immensely powerful Seraphim, Cherubim, Throne, Dominion, Power, Virtue, Principality, Archangel and Angel who are with me. The angels must look on with awe as I eat Jesus’ Body and Blood. They would love to do it themselves. They must be totally shocked at how millions of Christians spurn the opportunity to do this through distrust and unbelief in their Mother Church.

Jesus chose to lay down his life, to die for us all. He knew Judas was about to betray him. Jesus could have saved himself and left the city. However, Jesus always submitted obediently to God’s plan for his life and death. We are justified and made righteous in God’s eyes through the precious blood sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Everyday, pray for Jesus’ precious blood to be poured out on you, your family, your fellow church members and everyone you know. It will bring healing, deliverance and faith.

Even at a wondrous occasion like this disagreements can take place. A dispute arose as to which disciple was the greatest (v.24). Jesus came to serve, not to be served.

Satan had asked to sift Simon Peter ‘as wheat’ (v.31). The most evil demon in existence knew precisely who Peter was and wanted to use all his powers to make him lose faith. Jesus knew that Peter would deny him three times but he prayed for him to recover without his faith failing, ‘And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers’ (v.32). Jesus and the Holy Spirit have highly effective prayers. God the Father listens to them above all others. Peter would go on to lead the fledgling church after its first birthday at Pentecost, becoming the first Pope. Peter could have resisted denying Jesus three times but he was weak. Supported by Jesus’ prayers, he recovered. Once the Holy Spirit entered him at Pentecost, he became supercharged in the faith – the rock on which the entire Christian church was built.

Jesus told the disciples to equip themselves with money, luggage and weapons. It was nearly time for him to depart and for the disciples to start spreading the gospel around the world. Jesus would always be with them but missionaries do need to make practical plans to support themselves.

Psalm 50:1-5

Everything in creation, from the rising of the sun to its setting, obeys predictable natural laws because of the word of God (v.1). He is our righteous judge and will gather us, the ‘consecrated ones’ (v.5) to him. He made a new covenant with us through the blood sacrifice of his precious only son, Jesus Christ.

God didn’t need the Israelites to sacrifice animals to him because every creature in the world belongs to him already, including us. He is not dependent on us but wants to be our most trusted friend and father. God likes us to honour him with our worship, praise and thanksgiving.

He particularly likes it when we recall how awesome he was rescuing the Israelites from Egypt and safely delivering them to the promised land.

If we make a vow to God, he wants us to fulfil it (v.14).

When we make God the centre of our life and worship him alone it is second nature to call on him when we are in trouble. He will deliver us and we will honour him (v.15).

Image: https://pixabay.com/photos/maundy-thursday-last-supper-6145303/

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