Thursday 2/21 ~ My government and me

The scripture for today, February 21 (2/21), is Daniel 2:21 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-LUKE-KINDLE Cover-Thumbnail“He [God] changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.”

It seems there is always some amount of restlessness within each nation regarding who is ruling. Some people like the ruler, some do not. Or people may start out liking the ruler, but later dislike him. Some rulers are okay, a few are considered outstanding, and a few others are outright evil.

But God sets up the rulers of nations and deposes them. Many places among the prophets of the Old Testament, God explains that he may raise up a cruel leader just because he is strong enough to get rid of other cruel people. After that, God deposes the cruel leader.

In the midst of all this, innocent people are always hurt. That is why it is important for us not to complain, but to bear up under a hard government with patience and courage. It is in hardship that the true heart of a Christian is revealed. And it is in hardship that many people turn to God who might never have done so.

God knows what he is doing, even if we do not understand ~ at least, on this side of eternity. Remember Romans 8:28 ~ “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord.” Life is a mosaic of many colors ~ sometimes bright and sometimes dark ~ but in the end, it can be beautiful.

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Wednesday 2/20 ~ The Turncoat

The scripture for today, February 20 (2/20), is Galatians 2:20 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”

The apostle Paul wrote this. He had been an angry, spiteful, and hateful man in his younger days. He had been a terrorist and had even declared holy jihad against Christians.  He had gone around the country rounding up Christians, torturing them to get them to renounce Jesus, then sending them either to prison or to their death. He hated Christians.

But once Jesus got his attention and Paul realized he was persecuting those who could tell him the true way to heaven, he switched sides. Jesus had to do it himself because all the Christians were afraid of him. Then Paul, so to speak, crucified his old self, and let Jesus and his words live in him instead.  All the tremendous energy that he had used for hate was now used for love, and he turned his part of the world upside down for Christ.

Is there someone in your life or that you know of who is angry, spiteful, and hateful? Dare to talk to that person and tell them how much God loves them. S/he will argue with you and maybe even be meaner to you than ever. But when things calm down, try saying something else, perhaps about what Jesus did or said once in his life.

It may take you months or years. S/he will be curious why you keep coming back when s/he is being so mean to you. And eventually, this same person who uses all his enormous energy in a negative way, just might turn that same enormous energy around and use it for Jesus in a great way.

Give it a try. If you are crucified with Christ, then nothing anyone says can hurt you because your ego is dead. Keep trying to reach this enemy of Jesus. Keep trying to help this person become Jesus’ friend and defender.

You may be the only one in his or her world with the courage to do it. Keep trying. Cry in private after the insults, then take a deep breath and try once again. And once again. And again. Never stop. Who knows?

Image result for "Buy the book"PAUL: THE UNSTOPPABLE had to be stopped. He was on the wrong side. It took Jesus, personally, to stop him. He switched sides, then became unstoppable for Jesus. Each time he was beaten or lashed because of his stubbornness, he cried out, “Jesus! This is for You!”.  To BUY NOW, click a picture or paste this:  https://amzn.to/2JeHZZg
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Tuesday 2/19 ~ Citizenship

The scripture for today, February 19 (2/19), is Ephesians 2:19 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 8-ComeFlyWithMe-Cover-Thumbnail-New“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.”

Let us pretend there is a kingdom called Occland and we want to become a citizen of that kingdom. Of course, citizenship would not be automatic. And in the same way, citizenship in the Kingdom of God (being a Christian) is not automatic.

Just crossing the border and living in Occland would not automatically make us a citizen of Occland any more than just living in a Christian nation automatically makes us a Christian.

Owning a copy of Occland’s constitution would not automatically make us a citizen of Occland any more than owning a copy of the Bible automatically makes us a Christian.

Going to meetings of parliament or the Senate of Occland every time they met would not automatically make us a citizen of Occland any more than going to meetings with other Christians every Sunday automatically make us a Christian.

It just is not automatic. We would need to be invited into Occland, and then do things to accept Occland’s invitation. God invites us into his kingdom, but we must do things to accept his invitation.  Romans 6 & 10, Acts 2 and 1st Peter 3 in the New Testament are good places to check it out. Do so.

Ah, to be citizens in the kingdom founded by the Creator of the universe. Is it possible? Really possible?  For me too? For me too? It’s not automatic, but it is possible.

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Making God look better than He is ~ A futile endeavor

Solomon built a temple for the worship of God, a place all Israel could gather together in the name of the Lord. When he finished building the massive temple – stone, and cedar, and gold paneled walls and doors – he instructed the priests to place the ark of the covenant in the innermost room, the most holy place. There were multitudes of musicians and singers singing praises, while priests sacrificed countless sheep and oxen, and all the leaders of Israel joined in the day of dedication by gathering in the temple courtyards alongside the Israelites who were there in even greater number.

As the ark came to rest in the innermost – the most holy – place of the temple:

Then a cloud filled the Lord’s temple. The priests were unable to carry out their duties on account of the cloud because the Lord’s glory filled God’s temple. (2 Chronicles 5:13-14.)

The priests could not carry out their duties. What duties? Praising God and offering sacrifices of thanksgiving, among others, duties they carried out in the temple. But they couldn’t, because God’s glory filled the temple. There was no room left for the priests to do their work.

Glorifying God

You might hear someone talk about glorifying God. That’s a good thing, if what you mean is you want to speak in ways that tell of how glorious God is, and act in ways that reflect his glory in the way you love and care for and serve the people God has put in your life.

It doesn’t mean anyone has the ability to make God more glory, though. God is glorious, magnificent, wonderful, and excellent beyond measure. God doesn’t need people to increase his glory. He certainly didn’t need the temple priests on that day of dedication to bring him more glory.

God brought his own glory, and it is infinite. God’s glory is overwhelming, and in the presence of his glory you see that he is all sufficient. Let this be a comfort to you. He is the one who is perfect already, and he wants you to join in his perfection, not for you to contribute a measure of your own. Besides, you don’t have any perfection apart from that which is in Jesus.

The cloud which symbolized God’s presence is no longer needed because you have God the Holy Spirit in you now. Jesus is in you because the Holy Spirit is in you. The glory of God is in you because the Holy Spirit is in you. God has filled you just as he filled the temple.

God will use you to his glory, because he has brought you into his glorious presence even now.

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6.)

This is reality. You are seated with Jesus right now in the heavenly realms as you live and breathe and walk and serve here on earth.

All to God’s glory.

Monday 2/18 ~ Be a warrior

The scripture for today, February 18 (2/18), is Hebrews 2:18 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

06-PROMISE KEEPER-ChildsCartoonThumbnail“Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Do you find yourself caught up in some kind of sin over and over? Is the temptation always there? Do you commit the sin and then curse yourself for your weakness in giving in to the temptation? Do you see no way out?

A lot of people never think of Jesus ever being tempted. He was too good. But he had a human body and was tempted in every way that we are (Hebrews 4:15).

Try to imagine Jesus with your particular haunting temptation and imagine how you think he would have resisted it. Jesus used to get angry at temptation, which of course is caused by Satan. In other words, he got angry at Satan. One time when tempted, he declared, “Get behind me, Satan!”

Temptation is not the same thing as sin. Temptation is when we want to commit a sin, but haven’t decided yet to do it. Jesus faced Satan (temptation) head on. Once when he went through over a month of harsh temptation alone in the wilderness, Satan gave him all the reasons he should do certain things and made them look so good and reasonable; then Jesus gave all the reasons he should not do those things.

Hebrews 4:15 says, “We do not have a high priest [Jesus] who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are ~ yet was without sin.”

Jesus stood up to Satan.  Jesus was a spiritual warrior.  Today, be a warrior.

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