Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

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May 3 - Morning

"Manasseh did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he also erected altars to Baal and made an Asherah pole, as Ahab king of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. He built altars in the temple of the Lord, of which the Lord had said,
‘In Jerusalem I will put my Name.’

In the two courts of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to all the starry hosts. He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced divination, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger. He took the carved Asherah pole he had made and put it in the temple.”

- Second Kings 21:2-7

Manasseh's Wickedness

Manasseh followed Hezekiah as king in 697 BC. Manasseh would rule for fifty-five years and may have led the most evil life of any king of Judah, but in the end he did repent.

Manasseh rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed. Manasseh set up Baal altars and Asherah poles and even placed them in the temple in Jerusalem. He also offered his own son as a sacrifice in the fire.

The prophets, including Isaiah, told him that he had gone beyond the wickedness of the Amorites who were driven out of the land before Israel. Tradition tells us that it was Manasseh who pursued Isaiah from Jerusalem towards Bethlehem (about 680 BC) and had him sawn in half with a wooden saw once he was captured.

God promised to bring disaster to Jerusalem and Judah because of this wickedness. Around the year 678 BC Assyrian records show that Manasseh, along with other kings controlled by Assyria, were ordered to appear in Nineveh to receive their orders concerning the supplies they were to provide for Esarhaddon’s new palace. An inscription of Esarhaddon says:

“At that time the older palace of Nineveh, which the kings who went before, my fathers, had built. . . had come to seem too small to me. . . .That small palace I tore down in its totality. . . .And I summoned the kings of Syria and those across the sea -  Baalu, king of Tyre; Manasseh, king of Judah; Kaushgabri, king of Edom; Musurri, king of Moab. . .twenty kings in all. I gave them their orders.”

Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria, faced a revolt by his brother Shamash-Shum-Ukin in Babylon in 652 BC. After a three year siege of Babylon Ashurbanipal defeated his brother. It was at this time Manasseh was focibly taken out of Jerusalem by the Assyrians with a hook in his nose and in bronze shackles. Manasseh was taken as a prisoner to Babylon by Ashurbanipl. It appears Manasseh had either sided with Shamah-Shum-Ukin or was suspected of having supported the rebellion.
Saraph (Hb) – Burn (Eng) – the Hebrew word saraph means "to burn" which in most cases refers to a type of fire. Since fire consumes and destroys saraph is used to describe the destruction of objects (Josh. 6:24; Judges 9:52; Jeremiah 36:25-28; Amos 2:1) but never for the burning of a sacrifice on the altar.
In my attempt to speak and act righteously, do I sometimes neglect love? 
God is both righteous and love so for me to be Christlike I cannot neglect either of them. 
Today I will speak and act righteously before God with love towards others.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


General Text


An elderly person


Embrace holiness
Government spending
Cote d'Ivoire

The walls of the Old Testament Arad.
2 Chronicles 30 on a map

Someone to Quote

“A student of English literature who does not know the Bible does not understand a good deal of what is going on in what he reads: The most conscientious student will be continually misconstruing the implications, even the meaning.” – Northrop Frye

Something to Ponder

In 303 AD Roman emperor Diocletian issued an edict that called for the destruction of the Christian Scriptures by fire. Those Christians who refused to hand over their manuscripts would lose their civil rights and their liberty including any high governmental positions. Eusebiuis, the church historian of that time, records that by 328 AD a new emperor named Constantine issued another edict ordering that fifty copies of the Scriptures (or, Bibles in the form a codex) be made at government expense. It is possible that Codex Vaticanus is one of these Bibles Constantine had made for the churches in Constantinople.

Here’s a Fact

The is an amazing contrast that needs to be presented between the preservation of the text of the New Testament Scriptures for 2,000 years with the failure to preserve the text of Shakespeare for less than 200 years…John Lea writes: “With perhaps a dozen or twenty exceptions, the text of every verse in the New Testament may be said to be so far settled by general consent of scholars that any dispute as to its readings must relate rather to the interpretation of the words than to any doubts respecting the words themselves. But in every one of Shakespeare’s thirty-seven plays there are probably a hundred readings still in dispute, a large portion of which materially affects the meaning of the passages in which they occur.”


"Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;  then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine."
- Proverbs 3:9-10

Coach’s Corner

The “good life” is the life you enjoy and are proud of on the Day of Judgment.

Judges 6
New International Version (NIV)
The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help.
When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”
11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
17 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. 18 Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.”
And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.”
19 Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.
20 The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. 21 Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the Lord disappeared. 22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!”
23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.”
24 So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
25 That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. 26 Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.”
27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.
28 In the morning when the people of the town got up, there was Baal’s altar, demolished, with the Asherah pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar!
29 They asked each other, “Who did this?”
When they carefully investigated, they were told, “Gideon son of Joash did it.”
30 The people of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”
31 But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.” 32 So because Gideon broke down Baal’s altar, they gave him the name Jerub-Baal that day, saying, “Let Baal contend with him.”
33 Now all the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed over the Jordan and camped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him. 35 He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, calling them to arms, and also into Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, so that they too went up to meet them.
36 Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised— 37 look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” 38 And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.
39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.” 40 That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.
1 Kings 5
New International Version (NIV)
Preparations for Building the Temple
When Hiram king of Tyre heard that Solomon had been anointed king to succeed his father David, he sent his envoys to Solomon, because he had always been on friendly terms with David. Solomon sent back this message to Hiram:
“You know that because of the wars waged against my father David from all sides, he could not build a temple for the Name of the Lord his God until the Lord put his enemies under his feet. But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster. I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the Lord my God, as the Lord told my father David, when he said, ‘Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name.’
“So give orders that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. My men will work with yours, and I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set. You know that we have no one so skilled in felling timber as the Sidonians.”
When Hiram heard Solomon’s message, he was greatly pleased and said, “Praise be to the Lord today, for he has given David a wise son to rule over this great nation.”
So Hiram sent word to Solomon:
“I have received the message you sent me and will do all you want in providing the cedar and juniper logs.
My men will haul them down from Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea, and I will float them as rafts by sea to the place you specify. There I will separate them and you can take them away. And you are to grant my wish by providing food for my royal household.”
10 In this way Hiram kept Solomon supplied with all the cedar and juniper logs he wanted, 11 and Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand cors of wheat as food for his household, in addition to twenty thousand baths of pressed olive oil. Solomon continued to do this for Hiram year after year. 12 The Lord gave Solomon wisdom, just as he had promised him. There were peaceful relations between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty.
13 King Solomon conscripted laborers from all Israel—thirty thousand men. 14 He sent them off to Lebanon in shifts of ten thousand a month, so that they spent one month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of the forced labor. 15 Solomon had seventy thousand carriers and eighty thousand stonecutters in the hills, 16 as well as thirty-three hundred foremen who supervised the project and directed the workers. 17 At the king’s command they removed from the quarry large blocks of high-grade stone to provide a foundation of dressed stone for the temple. 18 The craftsmen of Solomon and Hiram and workers from Byblos cut and prepared the timber and stone for the building of the temple.
Psalm 107
New International Version (NIV)
Psalms 107–150
Psalm 107

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;     his love endures forever.

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—     those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,

those he gathered from the lands,     from east and west, from north and south.

Some wandered in desert wastelands,     finding no way to a city where they could settle.

They were hungry and thirsty,     and their lives ebbed away.

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,     and he delivered them from their distress.

He led them by a straight way     to a city where they could settle.

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love     and his wonderful deeds for mankind,

for he satisfies the thirsty     and fills the hungry with good things.
Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness,     prisoners suffering in iron chains,
because they rebelled against God’s commands     and despised the plans of the Most High.
So he subjected them to bitter labor;     they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,     and he saved them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,     and broke away their chains.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love     and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he breaks down gates of bronze     and cuts through bars of iron.
Some became fools through their rebellious ways     and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
They loathed all food     and drew near the gates of death.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,     and he saved them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them;     he rescued them from the grave.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love     and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
Let them sacrifice thank offerings     and tell of his works with songs of joy.
Some went out on the sea in ships;     they were merchants on the mighty waters.
They saw the works of the Lord,     his wonderful deeds in the deep.
For he spoke and stirred up a tempest     that lifted high the waves.
They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;     in their peril their courage melted away.
They reeled and staggered like drunkards;     they were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,     and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;     the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm,     and he guided them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love     and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people     and praise him in the council of the elders.
He turned rivers into a desert,     flowing springs into thirsty ground,
and fruitful land into a salt waste,     because of the wickedness of those who lived there.
He turned the desert into pools of water     and the parched ground into flowing springs;
there he brought the hungry to live,     and they founded a city where they could settle.
They sowed fields and planted vineyards     that yielded a fruitful harvest;
he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased,     and he did not let their herds diminish.
Then their numbers decreased, and they were humbled     by oppression, calamity and sorrow;
he who pours contempt on nobles     made them wander in a trackless waste.
But he lifted the needy out of their affliction     and increased their families like flocks.
The upright see and rejoice,     but all the wicked shut their mouths.
Let the one who is wise heed these things     and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.
2 Samuel 5:11-25
New International Version (NIV)
11 Now Hiram king of Tyre sent envoys to David, along with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David. 12 Then David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.
13 After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him. 14 These are the names of the children born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet.
David Defeats the Philistines
17 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went down to the stronghold. 18 Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 19 so David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?”
The Lord answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.”
20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.” So that place was called Baal Perazim. 21 The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off.
22 Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 23 so David inquired of the Lord, and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. 24 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” 25 So David did as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.

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