First Pres Joliet

A Daily Devotional from our faith community @


October 2020

Let the Redeemed of the LORD Say So

Psalm 107:1-7/ 33-37

Joshua 2:1-14

2 Peter 2:1-3

Psalms 107:1-7 “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so.” Starting this psalm the author is asking anyone who has been a recipient of any acts of righteousness, any saving acts of Jehovah, to stand up and say so. Any one who has been a receiver of the Grace of God should be willing to acknowledge that Grace. Do you not see and understand His guiding hand, how you had wandered in the wilderness, there was no goal in your life, everything was aimless. Yet when Jehovah bought you back from the evil, misguided ways of those who sold you a false hope, that you did not need Jehovah, that His ways were demanding and oppressive, He in fact led you straight way out of the wilderness to civilization, as it were.

Psalms 107:33-37 Jehovah in fact, changes a good productive land into a waste land when the people choose to follow evil men, and evil ways, over the peace and plenty of those who submit to Jehovah. And He can turn that same wasteland back to plenty when men repent. In short when we don’t acknowledge, testify openly of the goodness of God in our own lives, we open the door for deceivers to come in.

Joshua 2: 1-14 Israel was on the brink of entering into the promised land, and remember this is promised land. Joshua then, sent spies into the cities to spy. Two spies ended up in Jericho, and because there were no Holiday Inns, they were welcomed in by the prostitute, Rahab. In danger of being found out by the Jericho guards, she hid them, because of the word that was spread around about the might of Israels God, Jehovah. This is the God who had dried up the Red Sea when He brought them out of slavery to Egypt, and it was He who conquered the two kings of the Amorites, to Sihon and Og, who were utterly destroyed. Rahab believed the testimony of those who had heard of the exploits of Jehovah, and chose to side with Him.

2 Peter 2:1-3 Beware, even today there are liars, and cheaters, and deceivers, and false prophets who are among you, who appear true, but they twist the truth. Some are just ignorant of the truth, but some distort it deliberately. Some want your money, some want power over you, some go to great lengths to confuse you for their gain. Beware, don’t be ignorant, study the Word yourselves. Don’t be idle, or lazy, exchanging the truth for a lie, and if you can’t tell the difference, the blame lies at your door, for the scriptures are available to you, you have just ignored it, you were too busy perhaps to maintain your soul.

“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so.” If you say, “I have nothing to testify about,” then look around you and see what God has done, His work is apparent everywhere. If you arise every morning, that is one thing you can give thanks for, thereby acknowledging the goodness of God. If you have a job, or a retirement, that is another thanksgiving. Every time we are caught listening to Christian radio, that is a testimony. Every time we passively quote a scripture in conversation, that is a testimony. Even saying something about going to church, is a witness to our innermost desires, character, and beliefs. A person can go on and on about how to testify, and many aids and seminars are taught on the subject, but there is no magic formula. Testimony comes from the heart, from truly believing like Rahab did, and people really do desire to know about the Love of God.

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and every necessary thing for life will be given to you, and that’s enough to praise God for.


Joshua Succeeds Moses

Joshua 1

Review & Remarks: We come to a new book, Joshua, a book he supposedly authored … That does not mean he didn’t have help … Like celebrities, sports heroes, and politicians, etc. nowadays that pen a book … In either case, the Holy Spirit can still inspire the work … As It can work within each of us, causing us to act, even at the present hour! … Previously, Israel has been wandering and dying in the so called “wilderness” due to their lack of faith for 38 years (Num. 13-20, cp. Deut. 2:14) … After the death of Aaron, Israel becomes more devout towards YHWH and encamps itself on the outskirts of Canaan after conquests and treaties with its surrounding peoples (Num. 21-36) … Moses dies, Joshua assumes leadership over Israel (vv. 1-2) … The extent of the land given them is between the Mediterranean Sea and the Euphrates River (vv. 3-4) … Israel has never come remotely close to possessing said extents … Under Solomon they had their best days … “Land” to ancient peoples meant “life” – it’s resources, it’s grains, it’s animals were clearly appreciated … It’s the same today – that which is on and under the land is how we live … Technology has blurred moderns understanding of this simple truth … YHWH informs Joshua that no group of people will be able to withstand your leading of Israel so long as there is no do departure from the Book of the Law (vv. 5-9, cp. Deut. 31:26) … Joshua alerts his army to prepare for war with the peoples of Canaan, those west of the Jordan River (vv. 10-15) … The officers of the army fully follow Joshua’s command, those who rebel are put to death. Strength and courage are the order of the day ( vv. 16-18) … In effect, Joshua is king of Israel (cp. Josh. 8:35 with 2 Kings 23:1-3) … After the senseless wandering and subsequent loss of life, Israel aligns herself with the LORD and His Word, come what will.

There’s Life in Obedience

Psalm 119:41-48; Deuteronomy 26:16-27:7 ; Matthew 19:16-22

We read about God’s unfailing love, in Psalm 119, which is fresh and new each and every day. What the Lord commands is good and true. The laws and commands of God, as well as the scriptures are designed to strengthen our hope in the Lord.

On the edge of the Promised land (Deuteronomy passage) Moses speaks to God’s people to prepare them to enter their new land, a land flowing with milk and honey. They are to observe what God commands and remain faithful once they enter the Promised Land. They are also to remember to build an altar and worship the Lord.

Jesus, in the Matthew passage, reminds the rich young ruler that there is life in following what God commands. Eternal life, however, is a matter of grace. The rich young ruler is used to earning and getting what he wants. If he wished to be perfect, he is asked to sell his possessions, give it all to the poor and then follow Jesus. But he went away sad as he was incredibly wealthy.

God is gracious and full of unfailing love. The Lord does not expect us to be perfect. We are called to remember what God wants, remain faithful, worship the Lord, and seek forgiveness when we fall short. In our journey of faith we will discover that there is life in following the way of the Lord, which we see most clearly in Jesus.

Prayer: Lord God, we are grateful for your love and your commands which you give us. Help us to understand that your way of life is what is best. We make this prayer in Jesus’ name, Amen.

It’s Just How It IS…

Today’s Readings:  click here  –  Psalm 119:41-48; Exodus 34:29-35; James 2:14-26 (to open the scripture links – hover over, right click, open hyperlink)

Like many Psalms, they are reminders of God’s love, grace, mercy, salvation, and strength in keeping the ways of the Lord at hand, that leads to a life that glorifies Him and brings us peace.  As I read today’s verses,  it brings to mind, the many times I have felt tongue tied when I give power to those who seek to taunt, harm or distract me, causing me to stumble and spew words that make no sense or I later regret.   What I have learned to do, is pray for God’s protection in those situations. Praying for His strength and  words to encompass and prepare me to step aside and allow Him to take the wheel and see me through with honorable responses to unwarranted attacks and conditions. It’s just how it is.

Living a life of faith regards the laws and yet being free.  (2 Corinthians 3:7-18 ).  God’s laws do not inhibit or restrain us, which is sometimes what people fear when shifting toward a life of faith, when really they free us to be what God designed us to be. It is a choice we make, an oath to live according to God’s plan and laws to the best of our ability.  Seeking God’s  mercy, grace, salvation and forgiveness, harnessed with the freedom from sin and the repulsive and oppressive guilt that sin weighs on us. By living according to God’s laws and direction, we have freedom to fulfill His plan for our lives. It’s just how it is.

We should not be  ashamed of our life as Christians and how we live according to God’s will and ways. Together as Christians, we are accountable to each other to live a life of example that exhibits God’s light through us. We are called to be valiant warriors who speak Gospel truth to those who otherwise are blind to it, that they would see something good in us, and soon they too would seek and acquire that same light of peace, calmness and understanding that only comes from a deep and personal relationship with Jesus, who is the truth and the way to God our Father, in heaven.  It’s just how it is.

When we live a life of faith according to God’s written word in the scriptures, we seek His forgiveness when we mess up, AND WE WILL, sometimes more often than not.  But, thank goodness that  His unconditional and unending love covers us, making it so we can get back up and start again. (2 Corinthians 4:7-18 ).   His mercies are new each day!  (Lamentations 3:22-23).  When we are living a life of faith, trusting in Jesus, making time to be alone with God in prayer, reading the bible, and meditating, we too bear resemblance to the same holy radiant glow that Moses revealed when he came down Mt. Sanai with the 2 stone tablets after being in the presence of God.  We need to seize our strong and wholesome faith and raise it to a soaring standard of confidence that we too glow with God’s awesome power within us. When we look around with eyes wide open, we do see God in the big and little things of life. That alone bears the mark of God’s glow upon us, having such an effect on our life and who we are in Christ Jesus, that people will know we have been with God. It’s just how it is.

This amazing walk with our Lord Jesus instructs us that not only do we need to be faithful, prayerful, filled with God’s word, and to be still to hear and feel Him move within us, but we are called to good works and deeds, just the same.  It’s like talking the talk but NOT walking the walk.  What good is it if you’re just talking and not doing?  True faith transforms our conduct as well as our thoughts. If our life remains unchanged, then the faith we claim is in vain.  As faithful believers, we are called to a higher standard to work God’s field, caring for and feeding His people (John 21:15-19) with the good news of the Gospel, and setting examples of a life that is rich in relationship with Jesus, and glorifying God.  The way I see it, is this:  I am prayerful to be still to hear God’s instruction to fill my days with things that are holy and pleasing to God according to His will and plans for me.    I try to find the good and glory in everything, thus bringing me closer in relationship with Jesus, and my heart is full, and glowing!

True faith warrants a choice to cultivate a concrete  commitment of our whole self to God, with certainty and obedience. In turn, this results in a changed life, good and loving deeds, confirms our devoted life to God is genuine and validates our rooted faith in Christ Jesus.   It is not these good deeds that bring forth our salvation, but our true and contrite heart eager to love and serve our Lord.  When we are full and overflowing with love for our Lord, it becomes impossible to not act on good deeds and service. It’s just how it is.

Here are a few songs that relate to todays post for your spiritual listening and development!

 ‘Freedom Reigns’ by Jason Upton

‘Let Our Faith Be Not Alone’ by Robbie Seay Band

 ‘Live Like That’ by Sidewalk Prophets

‘I Have Decided’ by 7eventh Time Down

‘Do Something’ by Matthew West

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for always having my back, protecting and preparing me for situations and conditions I cannot handle alone. Let my thoughts, words and actions be driven by your will, not mine.  for you are my living God who reigns within me. I am confident and faithful all my days and I praise your name, Jesus.  Here me now, this prayer I raise. Amen.


We Need God Every Day

Psalm 90:13-17; Deuteronomy 32:1-14,18; Titus 2:7-8, 11-15

There is one main underlying theme in all of these verses. We can’t do this alone. We can’t try to fly solo in life and trust in our own feelings or beliefs to get us through. Every time throughout Biblical history that the people of Israel fell away from God and tried to do things on their own ended up in some sticky situations and went crawling back to God for help. Had they just stuck with God all along, they may not have ever gotten into those sticky situations. In Psalm 90, the writer is crying out to God to always be there and to guide him. In Deuteronomy, Moses tells us that people turned from God despite all that he had done for them. He reminds the Israelites about how God has been faithful and true to them, and calls his people to remain true to God. And in Titus, the writer, Paul, reminds us that God’s grace came to us in the form of Jesus, who provides salvation for all who believe. 

Today and always, remember who you truly need to rely on each and every day. It is so easy to get caught up in the trap that you (we) can accomplish so much because of our own talents or, dare I say, greatness. But our talents alone will only get us so far. We NEED God on our side. So, in conclusion, trust in the Lord. 

Blessed Are The Pure

Psalm 90

Deuteronomy 31:14-21

Titus 1: 5-16

Psalm 90 O Jehovah you are the eternal one, as the evolutionists declare the cosmos to be eternal, we who trust in You, Jehovah, understand that You are the eternal one. A day to You, is like a thousand years to mankind. Our life on earth is like the grass of the fields, it grows so quickly then withers and dies. Our twisted ways and secrets sins are ever seen by You. Though we live a mere 70 years and pride ourselves for a long life, You can teach us, O LORD, to value wisdom while here on earth, with a view to eternity. Be our satisfaction, and source of strength while we live in this evil and corrupted world, and may you find pleasure in what we do.

Deuteronomy 31:14-21 Moses is about to die and Joshua, chosen by Jehovah, is about to be commissioned to take Israel into the promised land. Jehovah tells Moses to write a psalm for Israel to remember, Chapter 32, to sustain them in their coming days of rebellion. They are about to enter the promised land, the land of Canaan, that Jehovah is giving them. Yet He knows their hearts. They will turn from Jehovah as soon as they are comfortable and fat. Such is the nature of the flesh. Uncertain and troubled times, or promises of gain are the only thing that holds Israel close to God. Like a child that is extra good just days before a birthday or Christmas, as soon as the gifts come, then bad behavior resumes. Perhaps the Song of Moses will come to mind in times of selfishness and rebellion, if nothing else it’s another record of the works of God.

Titus 1: 5-16 Paul has left Titus on the Island of Crete to teach the new believers, and appoint elders in the new church. They are to be men whose lives are above reproach. No one is to be able to find hidden sins in them, like a selfish nature, or quick temper, or addicted to wine, or money hungry, or looking for trouble, or immoral. Rather they should be known for their hospitality, common sense, love of justice, devotion to Christ, self control, knowledge of the Scriptures, from which they can teach sound truths. To the pure in heart all things are pure, things like money, relations with people, and even wine. To the shallow and unrepentant these same things are desired by them for their own consumption, for ill use, and twisted purposes.

To the alcoholic, the reward for getting through another day is a drink after work. To the salesman, every person he comes into contact with is a possible sale, by any means, nothing more. To the immoral, every person is another opportunity to lust after, or a possible conquest. To the covetous, every purchase is momentary, the need for more is never satisfied. These are all problems of the heart, they can be healed and those yearnings satisfied in Christ. But it’s spiritual, not the will of the flesh. As believers we have all the wealth of Jehovah, all of His strength, all the power, all the love, all the protection, all sufficiency, spiritual gifts, justification, reconciliation, forgiveness, provision, and redemption through His Grace. Grace is an enabling attribute of God that is the means by which He shows us His love. Love endures, Grace enables. It’s free to all who believe, who by faith take the gift.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they have received the Grace of God, and and are becoming complete in Him, not by the will of the flesh, but by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.


At Kadesh Barnea

Numbers 13-14

Review & Remarks: The LORD instructs Moses to spy the land of Canaan, one from each of the 12 tribes (vv. 13:1-16) … They are to report on its terrain, its cities, its land and its peoples (vv. 13:17-20) … They did said spying for 40 days bringing back grapes, pomegranates, and figs as examples of the lands bounty (vv. 13:21-25) … The land is summarized as good, but those living on it – the Amalekites, Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, and Canaanites as strong, their cities are big and well defended (vv. 13:26-29) … Caleb advises Moses to attack Canaan immediately and have faith that whatever obstacles they encounter, they will overcome (v. 13:30) … Other spies cite difficulties too great for them to overcome – their strength, their size, even “Amak giants” (vv. 13:31-33) … Upon their hearing the children of Israel express their fears to Moses and Aaron, wanting to retreat to comfort and safety of Egypt (vv. 14:1-5) … Spies Joshua & Caleb express their optimism regarding Canaan, citing the goodness of its land. Its peoples and their resources can be overcome with the LORD’s backing (vv. 14:6-9) … For their sayings, the rest of Israel begin stoning them. Coincidentally, a theophany of the LORD appears to all of them (v. 14:10) … YHWH expresses anger towards 10 instances of Israel’s lack of faith. Their punishment for these is those over 20 years old will die in the wilderness with the exception of Caleb and Joshua (vv. 14:11-30) … Their wandering is a 40 year death sentence, one year for each day spied in Canaan (vv. 14:31-38) … Moses reports, Israel morns and all are attacked driven back to Horeb by the Amalekites and Canaanites (vv. 14:39-45) … Doing nothing in a situation, or even retreating from it, still entails an element of risk, even of loss of life … A timely example is this with COVID-19 upon us … God’s plan was for Israel to suffer some casualties in its conquest of Canaan … With Israel’s cowardly rejection of God’s plan, they all perished, except Caleb an Joshua, walking in circles, accomplishing nothing outside of Canaan … Moderns don’t like to admit it but human progress, the way we currently live, is mostly the result of the sacrifices of previous generations … So that their children and their children might live better … In these sacrifices, YHWH approves.

God’s Support

Psalm 63:1-8; Numbers 12:1-9; Revelation 18:21-24

In all three passages we find God supporting and preserving his people. David (Psalm 63:1-8) is in the wilderness on the run from Absalom’s rebellion and attempt to take over and usurp David. David longs for God’s security and presence in a time of exceedingly, awful trouble; his life is on the line. The words of the Psalm remind us that God listens to our prayers and that we can share anything with the Lord. Indeed, God’s “love is better than life.” In Jesus we see and experience the fullness of God’s extraordinary love as Christ-Followers. David knew God’s gracious love in his life and was spared from the onslaught of rebellion and returned home to rule his people once more.

Moses (see Numbers 11) has all of the people complaining and angry with their situation in the wilderness and they actually begin to long for Egypt. Here in Numbers 12 his closest companions question and challenge his leadership at a pivotal time in the wilderness journey of Israel. The good news is that we see God being very clear to Aaron and Miriam about the quality and importance of Moses leadership. Moses is wholeheartedly supported by the Lord.

In Revelation 18 we read of God’s vindicating justice for his people. Babylon, is the pseudonym for Rome, in the book of Revelation. Rome (vs. 24) has remained a special and powerful antagonist of God’s people. In Rome, a number of Caesars murdered Church leaders and slaughtered Christians. There were Caesars who proclaimed themselves as the saviors of all the world. Here we find that God will punish such insolence, self-worship, and brutality of those who seek to be worshipped and who destroy his people. In the end, all of Babylons, all of the Romes, all of the nations, who defy God will be judged and destroyed. In vs. 22-23 we find a list of all of the pleasant and prosperous activities of Rome that will be found no more. One day God will say, No More to all that is evil and it will be no more.

But God’s people, the followers of Jesus will enter the eternal Kingdom of love, light, and live, which the Lord has prepared for all who love him. With Christians of every time we too pray, “Come, Lord Jesus, come!”

Prayer– Lord God, eternal ruler and Lord of All, help us to know your strong and loving presence today. Shine your light upon us, send your special grace to strengthen and preserve this day through your Holy Spirit. We make this prayer in Jesus’ name, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, our Redeemer and Savior, Amen.

Stronger Than Babylon!

Today’s Readings:  click here  –  Psalm 63:1-8; Exodus 40:34-38; Revelation 18:1-10, 19-20 (to open the scripture links – hover over, right click, open hyperlink)

Our Psalm today, much like Psalm 61 & 62, encompasses David’s quiet confidence and intense loneliness, seeking refuge from his enemies in the barren wilderness of Judah, during Absalom’s rebellion (2 Samuel 15-18). Wandering alone and longing for a friend he could trust and share his despair and fears with, he remained close to God, crying out how his soul yearned for Him, in such a dark and weary land.  This reminds us that when we too are experiencing loneliness and isolation in times of trouble, fear and doubt, our soul will ache for God’s comfort, strength and peace, so CRY OUT!  Like David, Let your heart recall all the ways God has been by your side, his faithfulness being your source of strength and power, blessing your exposed pain and sorrow, covering you with his mighty love and healing to take root to face each new day, again and again.

Our Exodus passage is the last chapter of the book of Exodus that began with gloom but finishes in glory, paralleling our progress through Christian life. We begin as slaves to sin, redeemed by God and end our pilgrimage through our salvation through Christ Jesus and eternal life with Him.   God’s presence day and night in the cloud that hovered over the tabernacle was the Israelites assurance of His promises, provisions and faithfulness.  We too can look to the beauty and splendor of the earth as our guide in life to embrace the same promises, provisions and faithfulness of God through His Son Jesus, who is our gateway and with us always!  With eyes wide open and hearts faithful to love and serve,  the bounty of God enriches us with His Glory everyday.

In our reading today in Revelation, it illustrates the complete destruction of Babylon and Babylon as a metaphorical name for the evil power in the world and all it represents, even today.  Our world continues to be infectious of the same sinful temptations of self-righteousness and evil as Babylon, spreading like wildfire through families, church communities, governments and nations.  We are warned to avoid Babylon’s sins, to not become complacent and deluded by the myth of our own independence , ignorance and pride. This is dishonoring to God. His judgement and wrath against it is harsh.

This chapter reminds us of forceful evil dangers lurking around every bend, tempting and enticing us for an easier, fuller, and richer life, that we soon become caught up in the material things of this world and take advantage of deceitful opportunities and others for selfish-gain while losing sight of God’s favor, protection and promises. We find ourselves no longer living according to our Christian values; service, giving, self-sacrifice, obedience and truth.  We become complacent in a luxury lifestyle at whatever cost, feeling invulnerable, in control, secure with no sense of needing God or anyone else.  We lose our way. We can’t seem to break free from Satan’s grip.  We, the righteous are most sought after by Satan so our battle is vicious.  His main goal is that we would turn our face from God and follow his sinful ways until we no longer can recognize ourselves. 

We must always be on our guard from these powers of evil destruction; through prayer, God’s word and church community. As I like to say ‘stop, drop and pray’ at any sign of temptation, wavering faith, conflict, questionable instinct, weakness or uncertainty. 

God always brings us right back to the basics, here’s a few spotlights:

Never compromise God’s Word or His Will – Do what is right no matter what the cost.

Consider the means of making money – If it feels wrong, it probably is – go with your gut;

Look to things that work for the good of others and build God’s kingdom not the world’s desires.

Love God, love others and yourself before material things – Our faith, character, and relationships are more important than any amount of money, power or pleasure.

Don’t let pride displace your plans and success – Give God all the glory, always!

Here are a few songs that relate to todays post for your spiritual listening and development!

‘Give Me Jesus’ by Jeremy Camp

 ‘The Basics of Life’ by 4Him   

‘Love God, Love People’ by Danny Gokey

‘Stronger’  by HIllsong Worship  

Prayer:  Lord, your love consumes me, your word strengthens me, your spirit flows through my veins, yet I live in the flesh with temptations and evil all around me. Every day is a challenge to remain strong in faith and character. Help me to keep my heart and mind on You Jesus, for you are The Way, The Truth and The Life. Let nothing  turn my face from you. I pray this in your mighty name, Jesus. Amen


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