First Pres Joliet

A Daily Devotional from our faith community @


July 2017


Micah 1-2

Review:  There is general agreement that the writing of this book (1:1) was during the time of Hezekiah’s (727-698 BC) kingship…..Micah begins with a prophecy against Israel (1:2-5) and continues, like Amos (Amos 1:3-2:5), with prophecies against Israel’s neighbors (1:6-16).  All of these places and their significance, with the exception of Jerusalem, is unknowable at this point…..The next section is a typical example of prophecy against social injustice of the “have’s” vs. “the have not’s” (2:1-5) as land was the primary source of of wealth…..Micah reports the criticism he has received (2:6-7) for his remarks (cp. 2:1-5)…..Micah is addressing those who are paying attention to God (2:7), not those who aren’t…..Deliverance is promised to the faithful (2:12-13).

Commentary:  This passage is typical of the entire Bible.  There are those on the side of God, and those opposed…..In Jerusalem, the LORD’s coming judgement (1:2-5) was not viewed as surprising…..As to the efficacy of Micah’s prophecy, Samaria fell in 722 BC to the Assyrian’s…..Jerusalem, due to it’s sinful leadership (2:1-4), fell too – over 100 years later…..One could say that Micah was right concerning Samaria, Judah, and Jerusalem, they did fall.  His timing was a bit of on Jerusalem…..Regarding the issue of time.  One might view the passage of time as an expression of God’s grace.  In effect, He is granting us more time to get our act together (2 Pet. 3:4-9) to delay judgement….. The principle of “might makes right” is brought into question by the LORD (2:3-5)…..The chief reason for the issue of false prophets (2:6) was the unpopular of messages of the true prophets…..”We must not only obtain Wisdom: we must enjoy her.” – Marcus Tulles Cicero


Hebrews 11:  “By faith…”  in the 60’s, Curtis Mayfield told us that “All You Need Is Faith” in the song he sang…the preacher of the sermon in Hebrews tells us the same thing, all you need is faith.  But what is faith?  Here, the preacher says that faith provides a guarantee…something you can hang your hope on – that hope is not some crazy dream…that there is substance and a sense of reality for the hearers of the sermon in the first century and for us today.  Faith provides a foundation that is strong and secure and that which guides us and gives us courage to move forward…stepping out into uncharted waters.

In this chapter, known as the “Great Hall of Faith” we find great stalwarts of faith like Noah, Moses, Abraham, Sarah.  When was the last time you read Hebrews Chapter 11? I encourage you to read it today…right now – just click on the “Hebrews 11” link above then consider the following devotional thought…

Devotional Thought:  What is the state of your faith today?

When you’re smiling …

Matthew 25:31-46

I was recently visiting someone in a nursing home, bringing flowers and a word of prayer along with me. I like to pray before I walk in the room every time I visit someone, in part because I am reminded that every time we walk in we bring with us the hope that we have in Christ. Every visit, every moment we spent in a room with someone in need, is a moment when God can enter their life.

I made a habit of praying that very thing, and this one day was no different that the other days. As I made my way to my appointment, I walked in a room where I was met by a huge huge huge smile. I blame it on the flowers 🙂  I spent some time talking with the person I was there to visit, said a prayer and started my walk back to my car. I really think that people might of wondered what was up with me, since I think I had the biggest smile on my face.

You see that visit, turned out to be a blessing for me. That welcoming smile, the understanding that Christ was present helped me  refocus my own life, and for a moment disconnect from all the norm and just be thankful for everything God is doing in my life.

I would pray that we all get to experience that feeling one day. And even more I pray that each one of us can have the opportunity to open a door where someone needs a smile, or a word of encouragement. You never know you might walk out of that room with a smile on your face.

Be blessed,

Bo M.

The Armor of God

Galatians 1:6-10

Matthew 7:15-20

Ephesians 6:10-18

Clearly, Paul is disappointed in the Galatian people at the beginning of his letter to them. Just a few years before this, Paul and Barnabas visited several towns in the province of Galatia to preach the gospel. In just a short amount of time, the churches established by Paul started to falter a bit and were reverting back to their beliefs that they needed to follow the laws of Moses in order to be saved, rather than living in the grace given to us through Jesus. So Paul starts out his letter by stating that no matter who comes along saying anything contrary to the one true gospel is not speaking truth.

Jesus warns of false prophets in Matthew 7. We are surrounded by these many false prophets daily. There are many influences in this world, both positive and negative. So how do we ensure that we are prepared to face these false prophets and not be drawn away from the one true gospel. In Ephesians, Paul tells us to put on the armor of God. This armor is built with an understanding of scripture. I know I am guilty of not reading and studying the Bible enough. I am not one who can quote scripture verbatim all that well. I know I need to be more committed to reading and studying God’s word. But every little bit helps. That is one of the many reasons why I am glad that First Pres has this blog to follow. In my busiest days, this blog might be my only interaction with the Bible and other believers.

So today, I give thanks for First Pres, the blog, and my opportunities to read, study, and share my thoughts with everyone.

Brotherly Unity



Psalm 133

“Behold,  how good and pleasant it is

For brothers to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious oil upon the head,

coming down upon the beard,

even Aaron’s beard,

Coming down upon the edge of his robes.

It is like the dew of Hermon

Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;

For the LORD commanded the blessing – life forever.”

Jesus, please help me to shine within my local body of believers, so that others may be drawn to you. May your family grow in this community.  Amen


Jacob & Esau

Genesis 27

Review: Having previously swindled Esau of his birthright (Gen. 25:27-34), Jacob with his Mother’s encouragement (vv. 1-17) obtains Esau’s blessing (vv. 18-29)…..Comically, Rebecca helps Jacob deceive his blind father, Issac (vv. 15-16)…..Esau has been swindled by his brother again (vv. 34-38)…..Enraged, Esau confesses revenge to his Mother (vv. 41-42) who then advises Jacob to “run for his life” to his brother Laban (vv. 43-46).

Commentary: No one’s words or actions appeal to my eyes…..Possibly the most interesting character in the OT is Issac – beginning with his unlikely birth (Gen. 21:1-8), continuing to his near murder by the hands of his father, Abraham (Gen. 22:1-14), to his curious courtship of Rebecca (Gen. 24), his lapse (Gen. 26:6-16) just like his “old man” (Gen. 20) – a “chip off the old block” he is, his controversial occupation (Gen. 26:17-22), his faith (Gen. 26:23-25) this Jacob & Esau  affair, and finally at the end of his life he makes peace with Jacob (Gen. 35:27-29)…..The Hebrew meaning of the name Jacob is crooked…..Jacob is a reprobate in today’s passage, beyond question…..Later on, he improved admirably (Gen. 35:1-15) and reconciled with Esau (Gen. 33:1-16)…..The “tale of the tape” for Esau is that of irresponsibility in the sale of his birthright (Gen. 25:27-34) and marriage to multiple Canaanite women (Gen. 26:34-35, cp. 36:1-3)…..God’s choosing to work through Jacob and Rebecca led to the formation of Israel (Gen. 32:22-32), eventually leading to Christ (Luke 3:34-38)…..This history is so sorted, couldn’t God had created a better, cleaner, formation of Israel?


Purpose that Prevails

Matthew 9:35-38 (NIV)

Proverbs 19:21 (NIV) 

Jesus tells his disciples that he is sending them into the world “as the Father has sent me” (John 20:21).  Here in Matthew 9:35-38 we find what Jesus does in the world.

Jesus teaches the people of God, proclaims the good news (the Gospel) of the kingdom beyond the walls of the synagogue (church), heals, and has compassion on people.

These are compelling and guiding purposes.  Jesus seeks to live in us and wants to send us into our church and world, as he was sent.  He wants others each day to see Him in us.  “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37).

Today, tonight, tomorrow, any day…will others see Jesus when they see us?  What do we want others to see?

    “Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
    but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).

May we always invite Jesus to live in and through us.

Craig Herr


2 Cor 5:17-21  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Devotional Thought:  We see ambassadors in many places, doing many things.  Ambassadors at hotels and resorts, car dealerships and college campuses.  The definition of ambassador is, “an accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country”; or, “an authorized messenger or representative”.  How do you see yourself as an ambassador of Christ?  How do you live each day as an ambassador of Christ to others?

If you are so inclined today…maybe you would like to share one way in which you are an ambassador of Christ in your daily life…..simply add a comment to today’s post.

God Will Provide


Genesis 22:1-19

Matthew 17:20

Have you ever noticed that sometimes, the harder you try to make something happen, the harder and harder it gets to make that thing happen? For example, when I write for this blog, the harder I work to find the words that I want to write, the harder it is to write. I think they call that writer’s block. It is also because I am by no means any sort of biblical scholar, so I have to work harder to find what I am looking for when I write. And also because I have a horrible disease called perfectionism. And that, despite the fact that I also know there is not really any such thing as perfect in this world. As soon as we reach what we may think is perfect, we find something better.

I think my struggle with faith is kind of the same way. Too often, I forget about simply having faith that God’s plan for me will work out. Even worse than that, the harder I try to have faith in God’s plan for me, the more I end up stressing and worrying about how things will work out. I guess it is kind of like when I have trouble getting to sleep, and the harder I try to sleep, the harder it is to get to sleep. If only I could let my mind go and not think so much about things.

I remember a coach from my childhood who would always say “don’t think.” As an athlete in a game, let’s say basketball, so much of the game is just knowing what to do and how to react to the defense because of the training that you have gone through at practice. Instead, you need to just do what comes natural, read and react to the opposing team’s defense, and make the play. If you overthink the situation, you are more likely to make a mistake or let your guard down and allow the defense to come in for the steal.

If only I had the same level of faith that Abraham had. Here is this man, who had to wait 100 years before having his first child. He finally has his first child with Sarah, and he is commanded by God to take that only child out to a place and give him up as a sacrifice. Without hesitation, Abraham takes Isaac to the place of God’s request. Along the way, when questioned by Isaac about where the sacrificial lamb is, Abraham’s response is “God will provide.”

If only I had that type of faith. I would never have to worry about how bills would get paid, how all of my work will get finished on time during the school year, how I will get the jobs around the house all finished. I wouldn’t have to worry about anything. Jesus said that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we could move mountains. I’m pretty sure much of the time, my faith is even smaller than that.

So my prayer for all of us today is that we grow in faith and trust in God’s plan for us. God will provide.

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