Daily Encouragement

April 1 – Is Mohammed the Promised Prophet?

April 1
Deuteronomy 18:1-20:20
Luke 9:28-50
Psalm 73:1-28
Proverbs 12:10

Today is National Atheist’s Day – also known as April Fools’ Day (Psalm 14:1)

Deuteronomy 18:4Throughout the Bible God says that it’s OK (and depending on the passage) even required to pay your ministers! While some groups (the Plymouth Brethren come to mind) cite Paul’s example in 1 Corinthians 9:18 as to their use of unpaid volunteers to minister, it is interesting the emphasis and “dollar value” that God gives to those in ministry. And as follow-up, God holds them to a high standard (Luke 12:48) and publicly shames those who don’t meet up (I Samuel 2:12, 8:3), and as we saw earlier, killed two of the sons of Aaron for not following directions (Leviticus 10:2).

Deuteronomy 18:9-12  – Note these are not “abominations to you” in the case of unclean meat, but these are “abominations unto the LORD.” Yet today we have abortion, Ouija boards, horoscopes, fortune tellers, Wicca, astrologers, vampires, and the occult – not to mention the increasing obsession of popular culture with these activities.

Deuteronomy 18:15 – This is an incredible Messianic prophecy about the Prophet who would come. Was this prophet Mohammed as Islam claims? No – it was Jesus. Let Us Reason shows 32 similarities between Jesus and Moses. Even though Jesus fulfilled this prophecy, He was accused of false prophecy before the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:61) – attempting to disqualify him under Deuteronomy 18:22.

Deuteronomy 20:8 – We see this in Judges 7:2-3 where the fearful are told to go home.

Deuteronomy 20:17 – Atheists today like to claim that they are more moral than God is. We’ve discussed this last week.

Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, Traditional site https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1579486

Luke 9:50 – This seems to contradict Matthew 12:30. Like the disciples, it’s often difficult to understand all the sayings of Jesus (Luke 9:45). But here, as usual, context is king. In Matthew he was talking to the Pharisees who tried to accuse him of being empowered by Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24), while in Luke he is talking to the disciples jealous of others siding with Jesus. Today in English we use many contradictory proverbs – all dependent on context.

Psalm 73:1 – I heard a great message on Psalm 73, entitled Asaph’s Slipping Steps. The cure for despair over the rise of the wicked is to enter into the Sanctuary of God (v.17). Like Job (Job 42:1-6), and Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3:2), when Asaph entered the Sanctuary he was grieved (v.21), realized his foolishness and ignorance (v.22), and realizes he has no one but God (v.25). Draw near to God! (v.28).

Proverbs 12:10 – The Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals was started by William Wilberforce. Wilberforce believed that a “Christian” nation should act in a Christian manner, and led the effort to ban the slave trade as well as the “reformation of manners” which included punishing animal cruelty.

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Daily Encouragement

March 31 – Duties of a King

March 31
Deuteronomy 16:1-17:20
Luke 9:7-27
Psalm 72:1-20
Proverbs 12:8-9

Deuteronomy 16:16 – What is this place that the Lord has chosen? 2 Chronicles 6:6 says the Lord revealed it to David – Jerusalem!  That is the city of the Great King! (Psalm 48:1).

Deuteronomy 17:14 – What are the duties of a king?

  • v. 14 God is prophesying I Samuel 8:20.
  • v. 15 God requires that the king be an Israelite, not a stranger
  • v. 16 the king is prohibited from multiplying horses,
  • v.17 prohibited from multiplying wives, silver, and gold,
  • v.18 required to copy out the Torah
  • v.19 required to read the Torah, and obey it
  • v.20 required to be humble

Luke 9:9 – Herod was curious about Jesus, but in a positive way (as opposed to his father’s “curiosity” about the new born king (Matthew 2). Perhaps Joanna and Chuza (Luke 8:1-3) were able to help lobby the king to take a friendly approach similar to Frederick the Wise and Martin Luther.

Luke 9:17 – The mosaic is from the traditional Church of the Multiplication. By Berthold Werner – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7973912

Luke 9:21 – Why didn’t Jesus want them to tell who He was? Because it was not the right time yet – He still had prophecies to fulfill. Prior to fulfillment, He could rightly be crucified as a false prophet.

Luke 9:23 – Complete self-surrender. One who takes up a cross, is not going anywhere else but to the hill where he will be crucified. Are you crucified with Christ? (Galatians 2:20).

Psalm 72:20 – This is the end of the “Second Book” of the five that make up Psalms. From the Pulpit Commentary:

Verse 20. – The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended. This is a note appended, either by the collector of the first two Books of the Psalms, or by the collector of the Third Book, who thus marked the difference between the previous collection and his own, the former containing sixty psalms ascribed to David in their titles, and the latter one only (Psalm 86). 


Proverbs 12:8 – From Gill’s Exposition:

Not according to his birth and pedigree; not according to his riches and wealth; not according to the places of honour and trust he may be in; but according to his wisdom, which he discovers in his words and actions, in his life and conversation.


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Daily Encouragement

March 30 – An exception to the Jewish Dietary Laws

March 30
Deuteronomy 13:1-15:23
Luke 8:40-9:6
Psalm 71:1-24
Proverbs 12:5-7

Deuteronomy 13:1 – What happens when the Antichrist comes with signs and wonders? (2 Thessalonians 2:9) Don’t hearken! Just because Pharoah’s magicians could duplicate some of the miracles was not cause to listen to them. Interestingly the phrase “dreamer of dreams” occurs only in this chapter, and not positively.

Deuteronomy 13:10 – Apostasy is to be punished with stoning. In John 10:31 the Jews sought to stone Jesus, for blasphemy (v.33).

Image from joyfullygrowingingrace.wordpress.com

Deuteronomy 14:21 – The dietary laws were not universal – they were just for the Jews. The strangers and aliens were not subject to the dietary laws. Circumcision on the other hand was a prerequisite for certain activities of strangers (Exodus 12:48, Ezekiel 44:9). To help you keep track of the changing dietary laws (based on the message God was communicating to the people at the time) here’s a helpful chart from your author. Obviously meats pre-Fall would require death. For the Jews abstention from certain meats were a symbolism of the holiness God called them to. The phrase “Others may, but I cannot” comes to mind for those whom God has called to a higher standard.

2018-03-28 (1)

Deuteronomy 15:3 – With the responsibilities of being an Israelite, comes the privileges of being an Israelite. A stranger was entitled to judicial fairness but not all the benefits of Israelite citizenship (see v. 12 also).

Deuteronomy 15:23 – We’ve seen the admonition now 12 times to not eat the blood. That’s why Jesus’ command to drink His blood (John 6:53-60) really bothered the Jews. They knew that the Torah prohibited it, and their forefathers were judged for eating the blood (I Samuel 14:33, Ezekiel 33:25).

Luke 8:41 – Let’s look at who reached out to Jesus in this chapter:

  • Demon-possessed Mary Magdalene (v.2)
  • Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod’s Chief of Staff (v.3)
  • Mary and Jesus’ half-siblings (v.19)
  • The faithless disciples (v.24)
  • The Demonic Legions of Gedara (v.27-30)
  • The unfriendly Gadarenes (v.37)
  • The now-clothed former-Maniac of Gedeara (v.38)
  • Jairus, ruler of the synagogue (v.41)
  • The anonymous unclean woman with an issue of blood (v.43)

While Jesus was besought of by the political elites (Joanna and Jairus), He also healed those who were suffering from the curse of sin (Mary Magdalene, the Maniac of Gedara, the woman with the issue of blood, and us!)

Psalm 71:1 – Earl Martin has set this verse to music:

Proverbs 12:5 – What are your thoughts like?

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Daily Encouragement

March 29 – Where do famines come from?

March 29
Deuteronomy 11:1-12:32
Luke 8:22-39
Psalm 70:1-5
Proverbs 12:4

Deuteronomy 11:1 – How do we show love? By trusting God. How do we keep his statutes? By obeying God.  We just need to trust and obey.

Deuteronomy 11:7 – Why should we trust God? Because we’ve seen what He has done.

Deuteronomy 11:17 – God warned that He would shut up the heaven. Did He ever do this after this warning? Yes!

  • Ruth 1:1 in Bethlehem (because of Judges 21:25)?
  • 2 Samuel 21:1 in the United Kingdom (why did it take David three years to ask God?)
  • 1 Kings 17:1 in Israel (because of 1 Kings 16:33)
  • 2 Kings 4:38 in Gilgal (on the whole, Gilgal hasn’t been a site of good things)
  • 2 Kings 6:25 in Samaria (not specified, general sinfulness)
  • 2 Kings 8:1 in Israel (God called it)
  • 2 Kings 25:3 in Jerusalem (because of 2 Kings 24:19-20)
  • Nehemiah 5:3 in Jerusalem (because of Nehemiah 1:7)
  • Acts 11:28 (prophesied)

How do you stop a famine? Hearken! (v. 13)

Deuteronomy 12:5 – What was the city that the LORD put his name there? (this is the first usage of this phrase).


Author’s photograph from the Mount of Olives

Deuteronomy 12:8 – This is the first usage of “right in his own eyes.”

Luke 8:24 – This is exercising the power assigned to God in Psalm 65:7, 89:9, 107:29, and attributed to God in Jonah 1:15

Psalm 70:5 – God uses the phrase poor and needy 17 times. If this Psalm seemed familiar, it looks very similar to Psalm 40:13-17 (like Psalm 53 and Psalm 14 being similar to each other), and Matthew Henry thinks that’s why it is called a Psalm of Remembrance. Sometimes in a hymnal it lists the verse and the chorus, and other times just the chorus. It could be that this “chorus” was used in worship by the Israelites as well. Spurgeon says “As we have the words of this Psalm twice in the letter, let them be doubly with us in spirit.”

Proverbs 12:4 – Good advice for the young man looking for a wife, and a great commendation to the woman who exemplifies virtue!

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Daily Encouragement

March 28 – Sinai U’s Commencement Speech

March 28
Deuteronomy 9:1-10:22
Luke 8:4-21
Psalm 69:19-36
Proverbs 12:2-3

Deuteronomy 9:4 – Let’s count: “Speak not…for my righteousness” (v.4)…. “Not for thy righteousness” (v.5)…. “not…for thy righteousness” (v.6)…. “ye have been rebellious” (v.7)… “the LORD was angry with you” (v.8)…. “ye had sinned against the LORD” (v.16)…. “all your sins which ye sinned” (v.18)…. “the LORD was wroth against you” (v.19)…. “ye provoked the LORD to wrath” (v.22)…. “ye rebelled against the commandment of the LORD” (v.23)…. “Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.” (v.24)… “the LORD had said he would destroy you” (v.25)…. “he hated them” (v.28)…. 13 times in 24 verses. Not your typical Commencement Address for graduates of Sinai U.

Deuteronomy 10:12 – Now we get to the summary:

  • Fear God
  • Love God
  • Serve God
  • Obey God.

Deuteronomy 10:19 – What are the commands for the Israelites to do for strangers? Have consistent laws (Exodus 12:49, Leviticus 24:22, Numbers 9:14, 15:15-16, Deuteronomy 1:16), Not oppress them (Exodus 22:21, Leviticus 19:33-34, 24:22), but love them (Deuteronomy 10:18-19), and do justice (Deuteronomy 24:17-18, 27:19).


Luke 8:5 – Have you been sowing lately?

Psalm 69:24 – Another imprecatory Psalm, not seeking personal revenge, but begging God to intervene and avenge us.

Proverbs 12:3 – An interesting parallel to the house of sand vs the house of rock.

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Daily Encouragement

March 27 – Meet Joanna!

March 27
Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20
Luke 7:36-8:3
Psalm 69:1-18
Proverbs 12:1

Deuteronomy 7:4 – God cares about who you marry. 2 Corinthians 6:14 warns about being unequally yoked. I Kings 11:2-4 reiterates this warning to Solomon and says that the women led him astray.

Author’s photo, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. Note the two missing corners, and the cracks on the two remaining corners.

Deuteronomy 7:5 – The LORD does not believe all roads lead to Heaven. He commanded destruction of pagan altars. In Judges 6:25 God commanded Gideon to destroy the altar to the false gods, as did Josiah in 2 Kings 23:8.

Deuteronomy 7:18 – We are commanded to remember the works of God.

Deuteronomy 7:25 – Sometimes we want to repurpose things used in the service of Satan to other purposes.  But God says we must utterly separate from the worship of other gods.

Deuteronomy 8:10-11 – On March 30, 1863, Abraham Lincoln echoed these words:

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Luke 8:3 – We are introduced to Joanna, the wife of Chuza, who financially supported Jesus. Throughout history God has used people of means to support His work – Frederick the Wise who supported Luther, John Thornton who partly supported John Newton, Cyrus McCormick who supported Moody, Lyman Stewart who funded the Fundamentals and started the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (B.I.O.L.A.), amongst others. Interestingly this financial support may be from gratitude – Joanna may have been the mother of the child healed by Jesus in John 4. Today many Christian ministries are supported by faithful older women who are grateful for what the LORD has done in their life.

Psalm 69:5 – Don’t be afraid to admit your faults to the LORD, He knows them already.

Proverbs 12:1 – What do you love?

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Daily Encouragement

March 26 – The Deuteronomy, the Shema, and the Mezuzah

March 26
Deuteronomy 5:1-6:25
Luke 7:11-35
Psalm 68:19-35
Proverbs 11:29-31

Deuteronomy 5:7-21 – If you missed this in Exodus 20, we have the Deuteronomy (Second Law). Why is this important? This was the covenant of verse 2, spoken by the LORD “face to face.”

Deuteronomy 5:29 – Why can’t people keep God’s commandments? They need a new heart! (Ezekiel 36:26).

Deuteronomy 6:4 – is the Shema:

The Shema is one of only two prayers that are specifically commanded in Torah (the other is Birkat Ha-Mazon — grace after meals). It is the oldest fixed daily prayer in Judaism, recited morning and night since ancient times. It consists of three biblical passages, two of which specifically say to speak of these things “when you lie down and when you rise up.” This commandment is fulfilled by including the Shema in the liturgy for Ma’ariv (evening services) and Shacharit (morning services). Traditional prayerbooks also include a Bedtime Shema, a series of passages including the Shema to be read at home before going to bed at night. –Judaism 101

  • v.2 – The best prescription for long life isn’t an herbal supplement but fearing the Lord and keeping his commandments!
  • v.5 is the Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:37-38).
  • v.6 says you should memorize this passage

Deuteronomy 6:9 – The Mezuzah is affixed to the door of devout Jewish homes (and hotel rooms)! What’s on the doorpost of your home?

Deuteronomy 6:25 – You can obtain righteousness by the law – IF – you fulfill all the commandments of the LORD. All 613, all the time. We can’t, but Someone did (2 Corinthians 5:21)!

Luke 7:22 – a reference to Isaiah 35:4-6

Psalm 68:20 – The one who obtained the righteousness of Deuteronomy 6:25, who preached salvation from Isaiah 35:4, as testified in Luke 7:22, was the God of Salvation of Psalm 68:20.

Proverbs 11:30 – Is this an ancient text for an evangelism conference? Yes!

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Daily Encouragement

March 25 – The House on the Rock

March 25
Deuteronomy 4:1-49
Luke 6:39-7:10
Psalm 68:1-18
Proverbs 11:28

Deuteronomy 4:2 – Interesting parallel to Revelation 22:18-19.

Deuteronomy 4:6 – What is the purpose of the law? Wisdom that transcends earthly wisdom. To make the nation a model for the nations. In Ronald Reagan’s farewell address, he referred to the Puritan vision of a shining city upon a hill.

Deuteronomy 4:8 – There is a purpose for the 613 laws we’ve read in the Pentateuch!

Deuteronomy 4:13 – This is the only mention of the phrase “ten commandments” in the Bible. Forget them? We’ll see them again tomorrow!

Deuteronomy 4:32 – In the 2,600 years from Creation to this passage – God had dealt with man in a unique manner. This chapter is emphasizing the uniqueness of His dealings with Israel. The system of dispensationalism recognizes that God deals with different people in different ways at different times. We’ve seen:

  • Innocence (God’s dealings with Adam)
  • Conscience (God’s dealings after the fall)
  • Government (God’s dealings with Noah)
  • Covenant (God’s dealings with Abraham)
  • Law (God’s dealings with Moses)

For the next 1,400 years, we’ll be under law until we see God’s dealings with all of humanity thru a new way that unites Jew and Gentile in one body, the church. But no matter what dispensation we find – there’s only one obligation – Obey! (v.40).

Luke 6:46 – Speaking of obedience – if we do not obey, why do we refer to Jesus as Lord?

Luke 6:48 – Being from Wisconsin, when I hear about the house on the rock, I think of

The House on the Rock, Dodgeville, WI

Whatever your mental picture of a house on a rock is, its surely more solid than the house built on the sand. And of course we have to share the Sunday School song:

Luke 7:8 – Speaking of Lordship, the Centurion who had favors owed to him by the Jews, sent to Jesus a message that conveyed that while others were under him, he was under Jesus. This faith was marvelled at by Jesus (v.9).

Psalm 68:15 – From the Treasury of David:

An high hill as the hill of Bashan, or rather, “a mount of peaks is Bashan.” It does not appear that Zion is compared with Bashan, but contrasted with it. Zion certainly was not a high hill comparatively; and it is here conceded that Bashan is a greater mount, but not so glorious, for the Lord in choosing Zion had exalted it above the loftier hills. The loftiness of nature is made as nothing before the Lord. He chooses as pleases him, and, according to the counsel of his own will, he selects Zion, and passes by the proud, uplifted peaks of Bashan; thus doth he make the base things of this world, and things that are despised, to become monuments of his grace and sovereignty.

Proverbs 11:28 – Reiterated in 1 Timothy 6:7.

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Daily Encouragement

March 24 – 38 Years of Waiting, a Night of Prayer

March 24
Deuteronomy 2:1-3:29
Luke 6:12-38
Psalm 67:1-7
Proverbs 11:27

Deuteronomy 2:14 – 38 years between Kadeshbarnea and the brook Zared. Waiting for the generation to die off.

Deuteronomy 2:36-37 – Nothing was outside their reach, except what was outside of God’s Will.

Luke 6:12 – That’s a powerful model of prayer.


Luke 6:22 – Paul Washer told a memorable story about this passage at the VCY Rally about the pastor who began to worry because nobody had persecuted him in a couple days.

Luke 6:38 – From Earl Martin –


Psalm 67:3 – From the beautiful Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, “Let All the People Praise Thee“, or for a more chorale version try this from the Atlanta Master Chorale.

Proverbs 11:27 – What are you seeking?

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Daily Encouragement

March 23 – A limited pool for courtship?

March 23
Numbers 36:1-Deuteronomy 1:46
Luke 5:29-6:11
Psalm 66:1-20
Proverbs 11:24-26

Numbers 36:8 – This might seem that your options are limited, but considering Numbers 1:35, there were 32,200 able-bodied men in the tribe of Manasseh, and a few of them should be eligible bachelors.

Numbers 36:10 – Numbers 26:33, 27:1, also talk about the daughters of Zelophehad, but the best thing that can be said about them, is that they obeyed the LORD even in an ‘arbitrary’ action. By marrying within the tribe, they protected the distinction of the tribes, so that by the time of the birth of the Messiah, it would be clear what tribe He was from.

Deuteronomy 1 – Moses is reminding the tribes of what they have seen, because the adults who rejected God’s offer had died off, and a new generation was being shown God’s mercy and grace.

Luke 5:30 – I’ve yet to see a positive use of the word ‘murmur’ in the Bible. Notice what happened to the murmurers in Luke 6:11 at the end of today’s reading.

Luke 6:1 describes a controversial Sabbath snack

Luke 6:6 – “And they were filled with madness.” Jesus took madness out of the possessed, yet the madness possessed others (similar to Mark 5:13). Ever notice today that the hatred of Jesus seems a bit irrational? It’s always been.

Psalm 66:1 – This is an echo of the classic Psalm 100.

Psalm 66:18 – Prayers not answered? Check in with 1 John 1:9.

Proverbs 11:26 – This seems to extol the virtues of Joseph, the manager of the wealth of Egypt.

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