because Herod stood in awe of Yochanan and protected him, for he knew that he was a tzaddik, a holy man. Whenever he heard him, he became deeply disturbed; yet he liked to listen to him.
Finally, the opportunity came. Herod gave a banquet on his birthday for his nobles and officers and the leading men of the Galil. The daughter of Herodias came in and danced, and she pleased Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you want; I will give it to you”; and he made a vow to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” So she went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She said, “The head of Yochanan the Immerser.” At once the daughter hurried back to the king and announced her request: “I want you to give me right now on a platter the head of Yochanan the Immerser.” Herod was appalled; but out of regard for the oaths he had sworn before his dinner guests, he did not want to break his word to her.
Herod understood that Yochanan the Immerser was a prophet from ADONAI and as such went to hear the Word preached by Yochanan many times. Yet rather than accept the Word as given to him, Herod put more importance on personal appearance and political power than his own salvation. His own selfish ambition overcame his desire for eternal salvation. Many like Herod hear the Word but for some selfish reason or other do not accept and follow God’s direction. Lord keep me from looking to immediate pleasures and selfish ambition but humble me and let me serve You as You would have me serve. I ask this in Yeshua’s name, amen.
He also said to them, “Pay attention to what you are hearing! The measure with which you measure out will be used to measure to you—and more besides!
These are the very words of Yeshua himself. Anything that we hear from ADONAI, whether it be in our prayers, a word of knowledge or what we have studied in the scriptures, we are responsible for. To learn of the heart of God and not act on it is to invite sin, willful disobedience into our lives. To be in that willful state of selfishness means you will lose everything. To submit in obedience means you will gain life forever. Lord let understand all that You show me and like Sh’mu’el not let one word of Yours drop to the ground discarded.
“But I know that my Redeemer lives,
that in the end he will rise on the dust;
so that after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then even without my flesh, I will see God.
I will see him for myself,
my eyes, not someone else’s, will behold him.
My heart grows weak inside me!”
Iyov never waiver in his trust in ADONAI. For all the pain both physical and spiritual he never once lost sight that his only salvation was in God and that he would one day stand before Him and behold ADONAI in all of His glory. Lord let me have the trust of Iyov so that I never waiver in these dark days ahead. I ask this in Yeshua’s name, amen.
My prayers as does millions of others go out to the Tree of Life congregation and the responding police departments that lost people to this man’s senseless hatred. It is unfortunate that we live in a time where congregations must once again arm themselves to protect their families from such madness. My heart wants to say so much and rail against this evil, but I just can’t find the words to make such statements. I am tired, I am broken, I am distressed. Please Lord let this be the catalyst to bring change to our cities, our country, our world. I ask this in Yeshua’s name, amen.
Acts 25:23, 26:24
So the next day, Agrippa and Bernice came with much pageantry; they entered the audience room accompanied by military commanders and the prominent men of the city. Then, at the command of Festus, Sha’ul was brought in.
But just as he reached this point in his defense, Festus shouted at the top of his voice, “Sha’ul, you’re out of your mind! So much learning is driving you crazy!”
King Agrippa and Queen Bernice along with Governor Festus appeared before the people with great pageantry. Using their wealth and position to impress the people and create an air of gravitas as they where there to decide the fate of Sha’ul. But Sha’ul trusting in ADONAI and inspired by the Ruach HaKodesh gave the whole of his testimony so that it overwhelmed those who were hearing. This is my own opinion, but I believe that Festus was being convicted in that moment but in his disbelief did not want to continue. Still Sha’ul’s testimony was so powerful that it would have gained his release save for the fact he had already asked to see the emperor. Lord let my own testimony come out so easily and inspired by Your Spirit so that it can convince others to trust in You. I ask this in Yeshua’s name, amen.
We went on ahead to the ship and set sail for Assos, where we were planning to take Sha’ul aboard—he had arranged this because he wanted to go there by land. After he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. The next day, we sailed from there and arrived off Chios; the following day, we crossed over to Samos; and the day after that, we reached Miletus. For Sha’ul had decided to bypass Ephesus on his voyage, in order to avoid losing time in the province of Asia, because he was hurrying to get to Yerushalayim, if possible in time to celebrate Shavu’ot.
I never caught this before, Luke was there! He is not just reporting what he has investigated and researched to his friend Theophilos, he is testifying to the truth of it. It is by the power of Luke’s testimony we know the speeches Sha’ul gave and the good counsel to the people as Sha’ul made his way to Yerushalayim! ADONAI provides all that is needed so we can trust His Word! It is the eyewitness accounts that we can testify to that will let others to trust in the sacrifice of Yeshua and lead them to the well spring of living water forever. ABBA I just praise Your Holy Name for allowing the testimony of people spread the Word for us throughout the world. Lord encourage me to be as bold as Sha’ul and Luke in sharing my own testimony with all You place in my life. I ask this in Yeshua’s name, amen.
“But ask the animals—they will teach you—
and the birds in the air—they will tell you;
or speak to the earth—it will teach you—
and the fish in the sea will inform you:
every one of them knows
that the hand of ADONAI has done this!
In his hand is the life of every living thing
and the spirit of every human being.”
We have lost sight and understanding of the testimony of ADONAI’s existence in the bounty of all creation. Every living thing point to the glory and power of the Creator, but we, as a people, ignore this and pursue the lifeless things we create, giving us, as a people, a false sense of power. Greed, pride, and selfishness has replaced faith, hope and charity and all for the lack of understanding the testimony of the creation to the Creator. Lord forgive us our folly and let us see with new eyes the love and caring You have for us. Circumcise our hearts so that we seek Your will in our lives. I ask this in Yeshua’s name, amen.
The next Shabbat, nearly the whole city gathered together to hear the message about the Lord; but when the Jews who had not believed saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and spoke up against what Sha’ul was saying and insulted him.
When conflict occurs inside the congregation look to the ones who act out of jealousy and resort to personal insults. If this is the foundation of their arguments, then avoid them and their heresy. These people are more concerned with collecting some fading visage of power that truly worshiping the Creator. Instead of rejoicing that Sha’ul and Bar’Nabba had brought the fulfilment of Torah and the Prophets, they looked to their own self interest and stood against the power and movement of the Word. Lord I know I am contentious and easily offended, wrap Your Word around me so that I don’t stray from Your sight. Do not let me get so lost in personal feelings that I become like these persecutors of Sha’ul and Bar’Nabba. I ask this in Yeshua’s name, amen.