Daily Encouragement

March 21 – The Exodus Route

Numbers 32:1-33:39
Luke 4:31-5:11
Psalm 64:1-10
Proverbs 11:22

Numbers 32:29 — This will be fulfilled in Joshua 22:2.

Numbers 33 — While there are many theories of the Exodus, www.bible.ca has a nice map and possible details of the route.

Numbers 33:38 — Aaron has had an interesting life, and now it has come to an end, just a few months before entering the Promised Land.

Luke 5:5, 8, 10 — Simon the passionate always has to have the first word … and the last word too! But God was able to use him, and He can use you too!

Psalm 64:10 — Are you glad in the LORD, or are you not trusting in Him?

Proverbs 11:22 — A vivid comparison, no?

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Daily Encouragement

March 20 – Is God Immoral?

Numbers 30:1-31:54
Luke 4:1-30
Psalm 63:1-11
Proverbs 11:20-21

Numbers 30 — It’s amazing that a string of words coming out of our mouth can be so significant that God spends an entire chapter on it. On a side note, in Rhetorical Criticism class in graduate school, we discussed communication theory, and it was noted that there are debates as to whether words have inherent meanings. That God cares about your words is obvious not only in the Old Testament but also in the New (Matthew 5:33-37). Ligonier Ministries has an interesting commentary:

Understanding common first-century Jewish practices helps us see what our Savior was getting at in His teaching on oaths and vows. To keep people from breaking the law’s rules regarding our promises (Num. 30:1–2), Jewish teachers and leaders invented a system by which they could determine whether a vow had to be kept. Extrabiblical literature indicates that many rabbis did not consider it a sin to break a vow if it was not made explicitly in the name of God. Oaths made in the name of heaven or even the gold of the temple were not regarded as ultimately binding. As we might expect from sinners, this led to people making oaths by persons or objects other than God to give them an out in case they did not keep their word …

Jesus’ teaching leads us to conclude that it is better not to make a vow than to swear an oath that we have no intention of keeping. It also reinforces the point that oaths and vows should not be made on just any occasion, but they should be reserved only for occasions of great import and lasting significance. In other cases, we should let our yes be yes and our no be no. But in all circumstances, we must strive to keep our word.


Numbers 31:17 — This sounds like a violent, capricious leader ordering his followers to do something grossly immoral. Is the God of the Bible that told Moses to kill the Midianites (vs. 2) any better than the Allah of the Koran that commands his followers to “slay them wherever you find them (Sura 2:191)?”

If God were just our “fellow man,” He would have no right to command the death of His “fellow man.” But God is not a “fellow man” – He is our Creator (Genesis 2:7). By virtue of His creation of us, we are His property. The historical rights of property include possession, use, and disposition. God, our Creator, has the right to use and dispose of us how He wishes. Throughout the New Testament, the concept that God is our slave master is evident (Matthew 23:10, John 13:3, Colossians 4:1, Ephesians 6:9).

Our Creator and Master has set the “laws of nature” and has warned us from day one that sin results in death (Genesis 2:17). He has the right to call in the judgment on us at any time, but He has been so merciful to us by not exercising His wrath immediately. Yet, justice delayed is not justice denied. And the death of the Canaanites was just the beginning of the troubles they would face. After death, they would enter Sheol. As we saw earlier, sin is so repugnant to God that the Israelites would offer over a million sheep to the Lord as part of their corporate reconciliation, not counting the individual offerings. Death is a consequence of sin.

But the Good News is that if we believe on the only begotten Son, we shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). How is that possible? Because while we were yet sinners, God’s Son died for us in our place (Romans 5:6)!

Unfortunately, this is not a popular message today. I was talking with a friend of mine that did not know Jesus and He was so offended by the idea that God had ownership rights to him and would allow His Son to die for him, that he said he’d rather go to hell than serve a God like that.

Ary Scheffer, The Temptation of Christ

Luke 4:7 — Revelation 11:15 says that all the kingdoms of the world will become the kingdoms of Jesus Christ. Satan’s offer is something that will be coming in due time, but Satan will offer it faster (by at least 2,000 years) and easier (without the cross). Satan’s shortcut is often offered today, e.g. the joys of marriage before the commitment of a wedding, or maybe financial gain without work.

Luke 4:20 — Jesus closed the book in the middle of the verse. Isaiah 61:2 continues, “… and the day of vengeance of our God.” Jesus was not fulfilling the second half of the verse, only the first half. When He comes again, He will fulfill the second half.

Luke 4:29 — On most tours of Israel, you will see the Mount of Precipice, the location where this event happened. Good preaching gets results, sometimes positive, and sometimes negative.

Psalm 63 — John Zimmer recorded a beautiful song based on this text. Enjoy it!

Proverbs 11:21 — As we saw with Jesus’ temptation, though the wicked look like they will be successful at a faster rate, God will deliver the righteous and punish the wicked!

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Daily Encouragement

March 19 – The Feast of Trumpets

Numbers 28:16-29:40
Luke 3:23-38
Psalm 62:1-12
Proverbs 11:18-19

Numbers 29:1 — The Feast of Trumpets is known as Rosh Hashanah – the “Jewish New Year” according to Jews for Jesus.

The Feast of Trumpets has a prophetic significance per GotQuestions.org:

In the New Testament, we see that the Lord’s Second Coming will be accompanied by the sound of a trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Each of the judgments in Revelation 8-9 is also signaled by a trumpet. Just as the shofar called the Jewish nation to turn their attention to the Lord and ready themselves for the Day of Atonement, so will the “trump of God” call us to heaven and warn the world of coming judgment.

Prophecy experts may distinguish the Lord’s Second Coming (post-tribulation) from the Rapture of the Church (pre-tribulation).

Luke 3 — Why does Luke’s genealogy differ from Matthew’s? Was Matthew or Luke wrong? Or as Zondervan Academic poses:

  • One of the genealogies is actually Mary’s, or
  • One genealogy is a royal/legal genealogy while the other is a physical genealogy, or
  • Joseph’s father adopted Joseph, or
  • Joseph was following levirate marriage (Deuteronomy 25:5)

Psalm 62:1 and 5 — Waiting upon the Lord is a theme of John Donne’s poem “When I Consider How My Light is Spent,” published in 1673:

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.

Proverbs 11:19 — As Moses said, “Choose Life!”

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Daily Encouragement

March 18 – One Million Lambs

Numbers 26:52-28:15
Luke 3:1-22
Psalm 61:1-8
Proverbs 11:16-17

Numbers 27:8 — Is God saying that women have less rights? Not at all, rather, He’s saying that the males have the responsibility to provide for those of their family. If they don’t provide for those of their household, they are worse than infidels (1 Timothy 5:8)! While they had the privilege of inheritance, they also had the responsibility of redemption (Leviticus 25:47-55). This is best seen in the Book of Ruth.

Numbers 27:18 — Joshua was called by God to lead the people of Israel. Even though he was a faithful spy, so was Caleb. We mentioned this earlier – sometimes you’re the one in charge, and sometimes you’re not, but submission to whoever God has put in charge is a biblical duty.

The Sacrificial Lamb, Josefa de Obidos

Numbers 28:3 — In addition to the other required sacrifices, every day there would be two lambs offered as a sacrifice. 720 lambs a year (Israel was under the lunar, not the solar calendar). Adding in the Sabbath lambs (vs. 9 – another 100, specifically additional per vs. 10), the new moon offerings (vs. 11 – 10 animals X 12 months = 120). From the entrance to Canaan in 1406 BC to the fall of the Southern Kingdom in 586 BC, that is roughly 770,800 animals sacrificed as a result of this chapter. Add to it the Second Temple (516 BC to 70 AD), that is another 550,840 animals. 1,321,640 animals sacrificed, of them 1,271,024 were lambs. Over a million lambs!

God spoke to Israel, Bring me a sacrifice
Morning and Evening, Every day
Offer a spotless lamb, Without a blemish
This is my command, You must obey.

Sing Hallelulah, Praise to Jehovah!
Worship the God of Abraham!
Sing Hallelulah, Praise to Jehovah!
Once for all is slain God’s Perfect Lamb!

No longer bring a lamb – Jesus has paid the price!!!

Luke 3:1-2 — Dr. Luke is writing here, and like the medical doctors of today, Dr. Luke tends to be detail-oriented. Maybe I should say that I hope today’s doctors are detail-oriented (I don’t want the wrong leg amputated!). This “fifteenth year” is considered by many to be A.D. 26; there’s an interesting discussion at StackExchange.com.

Luke 3:4 — Prepare the way of the Lord! In the New Testament, this is the Greek word Kuriou, but the Hebrew that is quoted is from Isaiah 40:3, not a generic “lord”, but the “LORD” (transliterated as Jehovah or Yahweh). And what especially was coming? The Salvation of God (Luke 3:6)! And what does the name “Jesus” mean? “The LORD is Salvation!”

Psalm 61:2 — When your heart cannot reach the destination, God can lead you to the Rock that is outside your reach.

Proverbs 11:16 — The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown commentary states:

Honor is to a feeble woman thus as valuable as riches to men.

Even if you do not have strength or riches, you can have honor!

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Daily Encouragement

March 17 – Truly Scared Parents

Numbers 26:1-51
Luke 2:36-52
Psalm 60:1-12
Proverbs 11:15

Numbers 26:11 — This is the mercy of the Lord that overtakes His justice (Exodus 20:6, 34:7).

Luke 2:37 — It has been said that retirement is not found in the Bible. Thankful for senior saints like Anna!

Luke 2:44 — Joseph and Mary were entrusted with the Messiah, and not only had they lost Him, but they didn’t know it until they were already a day’s journey out of Jerusalem. They let the Father down, but Jesus didn’t. He was about the business of His Father (vs. 49).

Psalm 60:9 — Matthew Henry shares:

 Now, (1.) David is here enquiring for help to carry on the ark: “Who will bring me into the strong city? What allies, what auxiliaries, can I depend upon, to make me master of the enemies’ country and their strongholds?’’ Those that have begun a good work cannot but desire to make a thorough work of it, and to bring it to perfection. (2.) He is expecting it from God only.

Proverbs 11:15 — Earlier this year we were warned about being surety for a friend (and we talked about NPR’s story on suretyship). If you didn’t get the message then, Solomon is repeating it!

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Daily Encouragement

March 16 – The Stars of Israel and the Star of Israel

Numbers 24:1-25:18
Luke 2:1-35
Psalm 59:1-17
Proverbs 11:14

Numbers 24:17 — The Star out of Jacob. Not the numberless stars prophesied of in Genesis 15:5, 22:17, 26:4, 37:9; Exodus 32:13; Deuteronomy 1:10, 10:22, 28:62; 1 Chronicles 27:23; Nehemiah 9:23; and Hebrews 11:12. Not the star of the Remphan (Amos 5:26, Acts 7:43), not the morning star (literal translation of the word Lucifer, Isaiah 14:12), not “Wormwood” of Revelation 8:10, not the falling star of Revelation 9:1, not the twelve stars of Israel (Revelation 12:1), and it’s not part of the third part of the stars that fell from heaven (Revelation 12:4).

This is the One whose star was seen in the east (Matthew 2:2), who is the Day Star (2 Peter 1:19), the holder of stars (Revelation 1:16), and the bright and morning star (Revelation 22:16).

Numbers 25:3 — What is Baal-peor?

Name of a Canaanitish god. Peor was a mountain in Moab (Num. xxiii. 28), whence the special locality Beth-peor (Deut. iii. 29, etc.) was designated. It gave its name to the Ba’al who was there worshiped, and to whose service Israel, before the entrance into Canaan, was, for a brief time, attracted (Num. xxv. 3, 5; Ps. cvi. 28). The god is himself also called “Peor” by abbreviation (Num. xxxi. 16; Josh. xxii. 17). It is commonly held that this form of Ba’al-worship especially called for sensual indulgence. The context seems to favor his view, on account of the shameful licentiousness into which many of the Israelites were there enticed. But all Ba’al-worship encouraged this sin; and Peor may not have been worse than many other shrines in this respect, though the evil there was certainly flagrant. In Hosea ix. 10 “Baal-peor” is the same as “Beth-peor,” and is contracted from “Beth-baal-peor.”


By the way, who was behind enticing the Israelites into apostasy? Balaam (Numbers 31:16)!

Numbers 25:14 — Zimri was the name of an Israelite who sinned, and on whom God commanded the Israelites to exercise the death penalty. It’s very unlikely that someone would name their child Ted Bundy today if they knew Mr. Bundy’s history, yet interestingly, someone in Israel named their child Zimri many years later, and he eventually became a chariot captain in the Israeli army and King in Israel (I King 16:9-10).

Luke 2:8 — What was special about the shepherds’ field?

The shepherds’ fields outside Bethlehem, to this day, play a central role in the Christmas celebrations in the Holy Land. Countless tourists have visited the fields between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The church historian Eusebius linked these fields to a unique biblical location called Migdal Eder, which translated means the “tower of the flock”.

The first time Migdal Eder is mentioned in the Bible is in the account of Rachel, who died after giving birth to Benjamin, the youngest son of Jacob. “Then Israel journeyed and pitched his tent beyond the tower of Eder”, records Genesis 35:21.

This area on the outskirts of Bethlehem is also mentioned in the Talmudic writings. According to the Talmud, all cattle found in the area surrounding Jerusalem “as far as Migdal Eder” were deemed to be holy and consecrated and could only be used for sacrifices in the Temple, in particular for the peace and Passover sacrifices. There was thus a special, consecrated circle around the city of Jerusalem.


Luke 2:13-14 — George Frederic Handel’s Messiah captures this scene:

Luke 2:32 — The Light & Glory was the Star of Jacob and the Scepter of Israel!

Psalm 59:13 — This is a good example of an imprecatory psalm. Do these psalms violate the command to love our enemies (Luke 6:27-29)?

It is important to recall the theological principles that underlie such psalms. These include: (1) the principle that vengeance belongs to God (Deut. 32:35; Ps. 94:1) that excludes personal retaliation and necessitates appeal to God to punish the wicked (cp. Rom. 12:19); (2) the principle that God’s righteousness demands judgment on the wicked (Pss. 5:6; 11:5–6); (3) the principle that God’s covenant love for the people of God necessitates intervention on their part (Pss. 5:7; 59:10, 16–17); and (4) the principle of prayer that believers trust God with all their thoughts and desires.


Proverbs 11:14 — We’ll notice that many “business principles” are really “stolen proverbs.” Why do Fortune 500 companies pay their board members over $200,000 per year? Because, in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

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Daily Encouragement

March 15 – Many Mouths Are Opened Today!

Numbers 22:21-23:30
Luke 1:57-80
Psalm 58:1-11
Proverbs 11:12-13

Bileam und der Engel (4. Mose = Numeri 22-24)

Numbers 22:33 — In the ministerial training program in Bible College, a guest preacher reminded us that if God can use Balaam’s donkey, He can use us!

Numbers 23:23 — “What hath God wrought” was the first message sent over the telegraph, the dawn of the first “Information Age!”

Luke 1:64 — A faithful donkey, an over-eager prophet, and a disbelieving priest – all three had their mouths touched by God today!

Luke 1:80 — Was John the Baptist raised by the Essenes? There is an interesting scholarly debate on this point.

Psalm 58:10-11 — The wicked will be avenged, and the righteous shall be rewarded! Take heart – the day of justice is coming!

Proverbs 11:12-13 — When in doubt, say nothing!

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Daily Encouragement

March 14 – The Serpent in the Wilderness

Numbers 21:1-22:20
Luke 1:26-56
Psalm 57:1-11
Proverbs 11:9-11

Numbers 21:2 and 5 — Good thing that we’re never as fickle as the Israelites! Yeah … right! We’ve never seen God deliver us from our enemies, restore our prisoners, and then get discouraged?

Numbers 21:8 — The serpent was in existence for 800 years until 2 Kings 18:4 when Josiah had to break it as an idol. But roughly 600 years later Jesus would talk about the serpent in the wilderness in John 3:14.

I’ve a message from the Lord, hallelujah!
This message unto you I’ll give,
‘Tis recorded in His word, hallelujah!
It is only that you “look and live.”

“Look and live,” my brother, live,
Look to Jesus now, and live;
‘Tis recorded in His word, hallelujah!
It is only that you “look and live.”

Numbers 21:17 — Spring up, O well!

Numbers 22:6 — Was Balaam blessed by Satan, by God, or just a savvy soothsayer? Apparently by God – vs. 8 says that He knew the personal name of the LORD. Was this part of the Abrahamic blessing (Genesis 22:18) that people outside of Israel experienced the LORD?

Luke 1:30 — In today’s Old Testament reading, God told Moses to fear not; in this New Testament passage, He tells Mary to fear not as well.

Luke 1:33 — This is an application of the prophecy of Isaiah 9:7.

Luke 1:51-53 — The God of contrasts is the God of the impossible (vs. 37).

Psalm 57:5 and 11 — Be Thou exalted, forever and ever, God of Eternity, the Ancient of Days!

Proverbs 11:10-11 — While we are living for the next millennium, we can bring blessing to the cities that we inhabit in this year.

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Daily Encouragement

March 13 – The Red Heifer

Numbers 19:1-20:29
Luke 1:1-25
Psalm 56:1-13
Proverbs 11:8

We’re trucking down the Bible highway! We’ve completed 5 books of the Bible and will begin Luke today!

Rodger Dusatko, Public Domain

Numbers 19:2 — Jimmy DeYoung has some great insights on the red heifer:

The ordinance of the “Red Heifer” was given to the Jewish people, from God, through Moses. This ordinance was for the “cleansing of those desecrated”, desecrated by coming in contact with “death”. Any such contact would make that Jewish person “un-pure” and with the need of “purification”.  

The “ordinance of the Red Heifer” was given after the “Ten Commandments”, to Moses as the spokesman for God, to the Jewish people. It is a “prophecy”, in symbolic form, which was fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

As you can see by reading our devotional passage for today, the “red heifer” was to have never worn a “yoke” and was to be without a blemish of any type, verse 2. The “red” color of the young cow must also be without any other spot of any other color.   The priest was to lead the red heifer to an “alter without the gate”, meaning 3,000 feet away from the Tabernacle or Temple, and “before his face”, verse 3, meaning to the “east” of the Tabernacle or Temple. “His face” is referring to the “Glory of the Lord” that hovered over the “Ark of the Covenant”. After the priest “ceremonially killed” the red heifer it was placed on a “fire” of cedar wood and reduced to ashes. While that was happening the priest added a “scarlet ribbon” and some “hyssop”, a sponge-like plant, and the ashes of these ingredients were then added to a “stone jar” with “living water”, running water or “rain water”. Then this “ashen-water” was sprinkled on that or those desecrated.   This ordinance will be reinstated during the Tribulation Period but is only a prototype of the “purification by the blood of Jesus Christ”, to cleanse each of us from our personal desecration, the result of sin. By the way, there is now a  report that a Red Heifer is ready to be used during the Tribulation Period, that yet future time of Judgment on the Earth.


Numbers 19:20 — If you refuse the water of separation (baptism into Christ – Galatians 3:26-27, Ephesians 4:4-6, I Peter 3:21) made possible by the death of the perfect sacrifice, you will be cut off from the congregation. John 3:36 reiterates this.

Numbers 20:8-12 — Moses had been faithful to God for multiple books of the Bible, enduring the murmuring of Israel and much more. Why is God so upset with Moses? Was it that he made himself equal with God (note the ‘we’ in vs. 10)? The problem is that Moses disobeyed. The first time he was commanded to strike the rock (Exodus 17). The second time he was commanded to speak to the rock. What was so important about the rock?

1 Corinthians 10:4 tells us that the Rock was Christ. Christ was sacrificed once (Hebrews 9:28). Unfortunately, many today still attempt to sacrifice Christ afresh (impossible per Hebrews 6:6)! We do not need to crucify Him again. We need to merely speak to Him. As Romans 10:13 says, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Numbers 20:24 — God had demonstrated His Gospel message, and Moses and Aaron destroyed the picture and were judged. Aaron was not punished for making the golden calf or rebelling against Moses with Miriam but for tampering with the Gospel!

Luke 1:17 — John the Baptist would make ready a people prepared for the Lord. All the prophecies we read about today – the Red Heifer and the Rock in the Wilderness – were culminated in the message of John: “Get ready! Jesus is Coming!” Today we have a very similar message: “Jesus is Coming Again!”

Psalm 56:3 — Short, simple, and true!

Proverbs 11:8 — The result of Psalm 56:3.

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Daily Encouragement

March 12 – Aaron and the Rebellions

Numbers 16:41-18:32
Mark 16:1-20
Psalm 55:1-23
Proverbs 11:7

Numbers 16:41 — Another day, another rebellion. Good thing that today we never grumble, murmur, rebel, or disobey the Lord! Right? Oh, wait … It’s interesting that Aaron, who had built the golden calf and was jealous of Moses, has now been on the right side in three of the last four rebellions (Aaron is absent from Numbers 14:44). If you want a fun research project, see where Aaron landed in the different rebellions we showed yesterday.

Aaron’s Staff Buds, 1860 woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld

Numbers 17:8 — Aaron had sinned grievously against Moses and the LORD, leading two rebellions against God. Lucifer was irrevocably punished for leading just one, but Aaron repented and demonstrated his repentance by choosing the right side in the time of mutiny again and again. The LORD chose to publicly honor Aaron with a miracle and permanently preserve it in the Ark of the Covenant (Numbers 17:10), to be stored with the manna and with the Ten Commandments. The only names found within the Ark of the Covenant are the LORD’s and Aaron’s. Aren’t God’s mercies amazing?

Numbers 18:1 — Not only did the LORD preserve Aaron’s name, but He spoke to Aaron again. Moses was able to speak with the LORD mouth to mouth (Numbers 12:8). Aaron was allowed to tag along with Moses on multiple occasions hearing from the LORD (Exodus 6:13, 12:1, 12:43; Leviticus 11:1, 13:1, 14:33, 15:1; Numbers 2:1, 4:1, 4:17, 14:26, 16:20, 19:1, 20:12, 20:23). Sometimes God told Moses to speak to Aaron His words (Leviticus 6:25, 16:2, 17:2, 21:17, 22:2, 22:18; Numbers 6:23, 8:2), but on a few occasions, Aaron heard from God alone (Exodus 4:27; Leviticus 10:8; Numbers 18:1, 8, 20). This communication from God is the first private communication since the rebellion that ended up with Miriam contracting leprosy. Sometimes when you’ve sinned against someone, you’re afraid to see them because you’re afraid they will give you the “silent treatment.” Following Aaron’s repentance, God restored fellowship with him, even in spite of his grievous sins! He tells Aaron that He Himself will be Aaron’s inheritance (vs. 20).

Numbers 18:19 — A covenant of salt? John MacArthur has some insight:

Numbers 18:19 a covenant of salt forever. Salt, which does not burn, was a metaphor to speak of durability. As salt keeps its flavor, so the Lord’s covenant with the priesthood was durable. The Lord would provide through the offerings of His people for His priests forever.

Mark 16:4 — Not only was the gravestone rolled away, but every burden of my heart was rolled away. All my sin had to go, ‘neath the crimson flow!

Mark 16:15 — From Earl Martin:

Psalm 55:12 — A foreshadowing of Judas betraying his friend, Jesus.

Psalm 55:17 — How often do you pray?

Psalm 55:22 — Interesting that this Old Testament theme is repeated in I Peter 5:7.

Proverbs 11:7 — Wicked men have only decades left to accomplish their desires. Are you living for this century or the next million years?

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