Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

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May 10 - Evening

"In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I (Nehemiah) took the wine and gave it to the king.
I had not been sad in his presence before, so the king asked me, ‘Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.’
I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, ‘May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?’
The king said to me, ‘What is it you want?’
Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, ‘If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.’
Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, ‘How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?’
It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time."

- Nehemiah 2:1-6

Nehemiah Requests a Favor in the Presence of the King

It had been four months since Nehemiah had heard of Jerusalem’s continued broken down condition (Nov/Dec 446 BC to Mar/April 445 BC). Artaxerxes and the queen of Persia were being served by Nehemiah when Artaxerxes noticed that Nehemiah was disturbed about something. The king literally asked Nehemiah, “Why is your face so bad?”

The text says that Nehemiah “was very much afraid” when the king made this comment. The reason for Nehemiah’s fear could be that if Nehemiah’s “bad face” had displeased the king the consequences could have been serious.

The other reason for Nehemiah’s fear is that it was Artaxerxes himself who had ordered the rebuilding of Jerusalem to be stopped 18 years earlier in 464 BC because “it was found that this city has a long history of revolt against kings and has been a place of rebellion and sedition.” (Ezra 4:19). (See the Samaritans letter and Artaxerxes reply HERE in Ezra 4:6-22 that stopped the rebuilding). Ezra had been allowed to return in 458 BC by Artaxerxes to teach and offer sacrifices (see Artaxerxes letter here in Ezra 7:11-26). But, now in 445 BC Nehemiah was about to ask the great king of Persia to issue a decree right then and there while he and his queen were being served wine to grant Nehemiah permission to do something Artaxerxes had forbidden 18 years earlier.  

So, when Artaxerxes asked, “What is it you want?”, Nehemiah had the answer. He said, “Let the king send me to the city in Judah…so that I can rebuild it.”

King Artaxerxes’ reply was simple: “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” This was an affirmative response, so Nehemiah set a time and preparations began.

Artaxerxes' silver bowl from the 400's BC found in ancient Persia can be seen HERE, HERE and HERE. This 12 inch bowl is inscribed with the name of Artaxerxes and, also his father's name, Xerxes, is on the bowl. (Details HERE and HERE). See a close up view of the cuneiform script HERE with Old Persian cuneiform script with a text that says:

"Artaxerxes the Great King, King of Kings, King of Countries, son of Xerxes the King, of Xerxes [who was] son of Darius the King; in whose royal house this silver saucer was made."

Map of Nehemiah's journey to Jerusalem from Susa HERE.

Decree to Rebuild


Ezra 7: 8-9, 12-26

Daniel 9:25

Ezra 10:9-16
  • In Artaxeres’ seventh year he issues the decree to rebuild and restore Jerusalem.
  • Ezra leaves Babylon on April 8 and arrives in Jerusalem in August.
  • December 19 the people assemble and the investigation of intermarriage begins.
  • The 70 weeks (or, 490 years) of Daniels prophecy in Daniel 9:25 begins with Artaxerxes’ decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem in 458 BC. The decree is found in Ezra 7:12-26.
    The 70 weeks (490 years) are interrupted after 69 weeks (483 years) with the coming of the Messiah. 458 BC minus 483 years equals 25/26 AD which is when John the Baptist will introduce the Messiah to the Jewish nation

Ezra 10:17
Ezra committee ends their three month long investigation into intermarriage by Mar/Apr


Nehemiah 1
Nov/Dec, Nehemiah is in Susa and hears a report from a Jew from Jerusalem that the walls of Jerusalem have not been rebuilt

Nehemiah 2:1

Nehemiah 4

Nehemiah 6:15

Nehemiah 8:2

Nehemiah 8:13

Nehemiah 9
  • Artaxerxes 20th year
  • Mar/Apr, Nehemiah, Artaxerxes cup bearer, speaks to
    Artaxerxes about Jerusalem’s ruined wall system. (Neh. 2:1)
  • August 10, Nehemiah begins to rebuild the walls of
  • Opposition to building the walls. (Neh. 4, 6)
  • October 2, The walls of Jerusalem are completed in 52 days. (Neh. 6:15)
  • October 8, Ezra reads the law to public for first time in
    thirteen years. (8:2)
  • October 9, the people of Jerusalem celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. (8:13)
  • October 30, Israel confesses their sin. (Neh. 9)
  • If Esther were 25 when she married Xerxes she is now 58

Nehemiah 5:14

Nehemiah 13:6
  • Nehemiah is recalled to Artaxerxes after a 12 year absence.
  • Artaxerxes is in his 32 year as the king of the Persian

  • The book of Malachi is written.
  • Malachi accuses:
    1. the priest of not honoring God
    2. the people of unlawful marriages
    3. the people of having given up on the Lord’s return
    4. the people of failing to give properly to God
  • Malachi ends with a promise in 3:1, “See, I will send my
Bebaioo (Gr) – Confirm (Eng) – a Greek word which means “to make firm,” “to establish,” and “to make secure.” In Hebrews 2:3 bebaioo is used as a technical term to indicate the legal security and validity when our salvation was bebaioo (confirm) by those who heard Jesus announce it. Bebaioo is also used in Mark 16:20, Romans 15:8, 1 Corinthians 1:6 and Colossians 2:7.
If I were asked today, "What is it you want?",
would I be able to readily respond with a worthy answer?

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text


Guidance and direction in the roles you have in life


Chief Justice
Dominican Republic

Old Testament wall in Arad (Details 1, 2)
Israel king Jehu portrayed on an Assyrian obelisk bowing before Shalmaneser. (Details 1, 2)

Someone to Quote

"I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I were sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor." - Alexander Hamilton

Something to Ponder

Solomon spent seven years building the temple in Jerusalem, but thirteen years building his palace in Jerusalem.

Here’s a Fact

“The facts backing the Christian claim are not a special kind of religious fact. They are the cognitive, informational facts upon which all historical, legal and ordinary decisions are based.” – Pinnock


"Whoever winks maliciously causes grief,
    and a chattering fool comes to ruin."

- Proverbs 10:10

Coach’s Corner

Inner strength comes from study of the Word of God and taking your worries to the Lord in prayer.

1 Kings 20
New International Version (NIV)
Ben-Hadad Attacks Samaria
20 Now Ben-Hadad king of Aram mustered his entire army. Accompanied by thirty-two kings with their horses and chariots, he went up and besieged Samaria and attacked it. He sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel, saying, “This is what Ben-Hadad says: ‘Your silver and gold are mine, and the best of your wives and children are mine.’”
The king of Israel answered, “Just as you say, my lord the king. I and all I have are yours.”
The messengers came again and said, “This is what Ben-Hadad says: ‘I sent to demand your silver and gold, your wives and your children. But about this time tomorrow I am going to send my officials to search your palace and the houses of your officials. They will seize everything you value and carry it away.’”
The king of Israel summoned all the elders of the land and said to them, “See how this man is looking for trouble! When he sent for my wives and my children, my silver and my gold, I did not refuse him.”
The elders and the people all answered, “Don’t listen to him or agree to his demands.”
So he replied to Ben-Hadad’s messengers, “Tell my lord the king, ‘Your servant will do all you demanded the first time, but this demand I cannot meet.’” They left and took the answer back to Ben-Hadad.
10 Then Ben-Hadad sent another message to Ahab: “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if enough dust remains in Samaria to give each of my men a handful.”
11 The king of Israel answered, “Tell him: ‘One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.’”
12 Ben-Hadad heard this message while he and the kings were drinking in their tents, and he ordered his men: “Prepare to attack.” So they prepared to attack the city.
Ahab Defeats Ben-Hadad
13 Meanwhile a prophet came to Ahab king of Israel and announced, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do you see this vast army? I will give it into your hand today, and then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
14 “But who will do this?” asked Ahab.
The prophet replied, “This is what the Lord says: ‘The junior officers under the provincial commanders will do it.’”
“And who will start the battle?” he asked.
The prophet answered, “You will.”
15 So Ahab summoned the 232 junior officers under the provincial commanders. Then he assembled the rest of the Israelites, 7,000 in all. 16 They set out at noon while Ben-Hadad and the 32 kings allied with him were in their tents getting drunk. 17 The junior officers under the provincial commanders went out first.
Now Ben-Hadad had dispatched scouts, who reported, “Men are advancing from Samaria.”
18 He said, “If they have come out for peace, take them alive; if they have come out for war, take them alive.”
19 The junior officers under the provincial commanders marched out of the city with the army behind them 20 and each one struck down his opponent. At that, the Arameans fled, with the Israelites in pursuit. But Ben-Hadad king of Aram escaped on horseback with some of his horsemen. 21 The king of Israel advanced and overpowered the horses and chariots and inflicted heavy losses on the Arameans.
22 Afterward, the prophet came to the king of Israel and said, “Strengthen your position and see what must be done, because next spring the king of Aram will attack you again.”
23 Meanwhile, the officials of the king of Aram advised him, “Their gods are gods of the hills. That is why they were too strong for us. But if we fight them on the plains, surely we will be stronger than they. 24 Do this: Remove all the kings from their commands and replace them with other officers. 25 You must also raise an army like the one you lost—horse for horse and chariot for chariot—so we can fight Israel on the plains. Then surely we will be stronger than they.” He agreed with them and acted accordingly.
26 The next spring Ben-Hadad mustered the Arameans and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel. 27 When the Israelites were also mustered and given provisions, they marched out to meet them. The Israelites camped opposite them like two small flocks of goats, while the Arameans covered the countryside.
28 The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord.’”
29 For seven days they camped opposite each other, and on the seventh day the battle was joined. The Israelites inflicted a hundred thousand casualties on the Aramean foot soldiers in one day. 30 The rest of them escaped to the city of Aphek, where the wall collapsed on twenty-seven thousand of them. And Ben-Hadad fled to the city and hid in an inner room.
31 His officials said to him, “Look, we have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful. Let us go to the king of Israel with sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads. Perhaps he will spare your life.”
32 Wearing sackcloth around their waists and ropes around their heads, they went to the king of Israel and said, “Your servant Ben-Hadad says: ‘Please let me live.’”
The king answered, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.”
33 The men took this as a good sign and were quick to pick up his word. “Yes, your brother Ben-Hadad!” they said.
“Go and get him,” the king said. When Ben-Hadad came out, Ahab had him come up into his chariot.
34 “I will return the cities my father took from your father,” Ben-Hadad offered. “You may set up your own market areas in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria.”
Ahab said, “On the basis of a treaty I will set you free.” So he made a treaty with him, and let him go.
A Prophet Condemns Ahab
35 By the word of the Lord one of the company of the prophets said to his companion, “Strike me with your weapon,” but he refused.
36 So the prophet said, “Because you have not obeyed the Lord, as soon as you leave me a lion will kill you.” And after the man went away, a lion found him and killed him.
37 The prophet found another man and said, “Strike me, please.” So the man struck him and wounded him. 38 Then the prophet went and stood by the road waiting for the king. He disguised himself with his headband down over his eyes. 39 As the king passed by, the prophet called out to him, “Your servant went into the thick of the battle, and someone came to me with a captive and said, ‘Guard this man. If he is missing, it will be your life for his life, or you must pay a talent of silver.’ 40 While your servant was busy here and there, the man disappeared.”
“That is your sentence,” the king of Israel said. “You have pronounced it yourself.”
41 Then the prophet quickly removed the headband from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. 42 He said to the king, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have set free a man I had determined should die. Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people.’” 43 Sullen and angry, the king of Israel went to his palace in Samaria.
Psalm 60
New International Version (NIV)
Psalm 60
For the director of music. To the tune of “The Lily of the Covenant.” A miktam of David. For teaching. When he fought Aram Naharaim and Aram Zobah, and when Joab returned and struck down twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.

You have rejected us, God, and burst upon us;     you have been angry—now restore us!

You have shaken the land and torn it open;     mend its fractures, for it is quaking.

You have shown your people desperate times;     you have given us wine that makes us stagger.

But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner     to be unfurled against the bow.

Save us and help us with your right hand,     that those you love may be delivered.

God has spoken from his sanctuary:     “In triumph I will parcel out Shechem     and measure off the Valley of Sukkoth.

Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine;     Ephraim is my helmet,     Judah is my scepter.

Moab is my washbasin,     on Edom I toss my sandal;     over Philistia I shout in triumph.”

Who will bring me to the fortified city?     Who will lead me to Edom?
Is it not you, God, you who have now rejected us     and no longer go out with our armies?
Give us aid against the enemy,     for human help is worthless.
With God we will gain the victory,     and he will trample down our enemies.


Psalm 75
New International Version (NIV)
Psalm 75
For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” A psalm of Asaph. A song.

We praise you, God,     we praise you, for your Name is near;     people tell of your wonderful deeds.

You say, “I choose the appointed time;     it is I who judge with equity.

When the earth and all its people quake,     it is I who hold its pillars firm.

To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’     and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns.

Do not lift your horns against heaven;     do not speak so defiantly.’”

No one from the east or the west     or from the desert can exalt themselves.

It is God who judges:     He brings one down, he exalts another.

In the hand of the Lord is a cup     full of foaming wine mixed with spices; he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth     drink it down to its very dregs.

As for me, I will declare this forever;     I will sing praise to the God of Jacob,
who says, “I will cut off the horns of all the wicked,     but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.”
Job 27-28
New International Version (NIV)
Job’s Final Word to His Friends
27 And Job continued his discourse:

“As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice,     the Almighty, who has made my life bitter,

as long as I have life within me,     the breath of God in my nostrils,

my lips will not say anything wicked,     and my tongue will not utter lies.

I will never admit you are in the right;     till I die, I will not deny my integrity.

I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it;     my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.

“May my enemy be like the wicked,     my adversary like the unjust!

For what hope have the godless when they are cut off,     when God takes away their life?

Does God listen to their cry     when distress comes upon them?
Will they find delight in the Almighty?     Will they call on God at all times?
“I will teach you about the power of God;     the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal.
You have all seen this yourselves.     Why then this meaningless talk?
“Here is the fate God allots to the wicked,     the heritage a ruthless man receives from the Almighty:
However many his children, their fate is the sword;     his offspring will never have enough to eat.
The plague will bury those who survive him,     and their widows will not weep for them.
Though he heaps up silver like dust     and clothes like piles of clay,
what he lays up the righteous will wear,     and the innocent will divide his silver.
The house he builds is like a moth’s cocoon,     like a hut made by a watchman.
He lies down wealthy, but will do so no more;     when he opens his eyes, all is gone.
Terrors overtake him like a flood;     a tempest snatches him away in the night.
The east wind carries him off, and he is gone;     it sweeps him out of his place.
It hurls itself against him without mercy     as he flees headlong from its power.
It claps its hands in derision     and hisses him out of his place.”
Interlude: Where Wisdom Is Found
There is a mine for silver     and a place where gold is refined.

Iron is taken from the earth,     and copper is smelted from ore.

Mortals put an end to the darkness;     they search out the farthest recesses     for ore in the blackest darkness.

Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,     in places untouched by human feet;     far from other people they dangle and sway.

The earth, from which food comes,     is transformed below as by fire;

lapis lazuli comes from its rocks,     and its dust contains nuggets of gold.

No bird of prey knows that hidden path,     no falcon’s eye has seen it.

Proud beasts do not set foot on it,     and no lion prowls there.

People assault the flinty rock with their hands     and lay bare the roots of the mountains.
They tunnel through the rock;     their eyes see all its treasures.
They search[a] the sources of the rivers     and bring hidden things to light.
But where can wisdom be found?     Where does understanding dwell?
No mortal comprehends its worth;     it cannot be found in the land of the living.
The deep says, “It is not in me”;     the sea says, “It is not with me.”
It cannot be bought with the finest gold,     nor can its price be weighed out in silver.
It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,     with precious onyx or lapis lazuli.
Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,     nor can it be had for jewels of gold.
Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention;     the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.
The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it;     it cannot be bought with pure gold.
Where then does wisdom come from?     Where does understanding dwell?
It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,     concealed even from the birds in the sky.
Destruction[b] and Death say,     “Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.”
God understands the way to it     and he alone knows where it dwells,
for he views the ends of the earth     and sees everything under the heavens.
When he established the force of the wind     and measured out the waters,
when he made a decree for the rain     and a path for the thunderstorm,
then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;     he confirmed it and tested it.
And he said to the human race,     “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,     and to shun evil is understanding.”
  1. Job 28:11 Septuagint, Aquila and Vulgate; Hebrew They dam up
  2. Job 28:22 Hebrew Abaddon

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