Scripture for Tuesday, November 21 (11/21) ~ A Little Church

The scripture for today, November 21 (11/21), is Acts 11:21 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Medium-“The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.”

What had just happened? Some Christians in Phoenecia (today’s Lebanon), Cyprus (the Mediterranean Island) and Cyrene (in today’s North Africa), went to Antioch in Northern Syria near the southern border of today’s Turkey. There they established a congregation.

This little congregation ended up being the home congregation of Paul and Barnabas for many years. It started small; we don’t know the size it grew to. Regardless of the size, it had foresight and eventually did great things.

Perhaps you live in a town full of churches, but you’ve compared them with the New Testament, and none of them follows that pattern. Perhaps you have even given up going to church because of this problem. What is stopping you from beginning a little congregation after the New Testament pattern in your home?  

New Testament churches were simple ~ not elaborate like those mega-churches out there. And those simple churches have always been dynamic in their simplicity. Who knows but that your new little congregation will someday produce a Paul or a Barnabas….

 

Scripture for Monday, November 20 (11/20) ~ Children

The scripture for today, November 20 (11/20), is Hebrews 11:20ff as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Strip Child's Cartoon-Medium

“By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. By faith Jacob when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons….By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.”

Do we have children that were so loving and good when they were young, but when they became older they changed? Do we sometimes wonder, “How could I have gone so wrong with my children?” True, they have free will. But do we feel like failures because our children did not turn out the way we had hoped and prayed?

Have faith ~ the faith of Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Isaac blessed his sons with his land, even though he did not yet own the land. Jacob blessed his sons with power, even though they did yet not have power. Joseph blessed his sons and his brothers’ sons with the land, yet they no longer lived in it.

They all blessed their children with something they believed would happen someday, even though the evidence was not there. Why? Because they had faith in their children? Actually, it was mostly because they had faith in God. They had faith in what God would do for their children.

Let us keep on keeping on. Let us never stop having faith in what God (even after we die) will do for our children.

 

 

 

 

Scripture for Sunday, November 19 (11/19) ~ Worship

The scripture for today, November 19 (11/19), is Ezekiel 11:19 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

changes-in-worship-cover-medium“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.”

Although the 600+ commandments in the Old Testament Law of Moses were nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14), God has always had laws to keep us safe. In the New Testament era, he does not have a lot of laws, but he still has them.

What is our worship like? Is it full of things God never asked us to do? Does our worship elevate God or ourselves? When we’re done worshiping, do we say, “We were so great!” or “God is so great!”?

We add all kinds of things to our worship that were commanded only under the Law of Moses, or things we think would “add to the effectiveness” of our worship. If, for example, it’s okay to add things to our singing and praying because then they would sound better, then it is okay to add lemon pie to the Lord’s Supper because then it would taste better.

Again, the question: Who are we worshiping and trying to please? God or ourselves? Do we deep down have a heart of stone, but put on our halo and say, “Surely not me”?

 

Scripture for Saturday, November 18 (11/17) ~ Governments

The scripture for today, November 18 (11/18), is Deuteronomy 11:18f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

changes-in-worship-cover-medium“Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you. Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.”

Sometimes the country we live in goes through very bad times. We pray for the bad times to end, but they do not. What is going on? The above warning was to the Israelites just before they entered their promised land. God had just said through Moses, don’t worship idols.

Perhaps your country is going through bad times because of idol worship. Probably not like the hand-made idols of ancient times, but idols of money and power and immorality. There have been times in the Bible when a good man prayed, “God, I am the only one left who worships you.” God would reply that there were a few others. But he did not reply that he was going to stop the punishing. The nation hadn’t turned back to God yet.

Therefore, when we are suffering unjustly for what a majority of our countrymen have been doing, we must do it bravely. And while we “wait it out”, let us continually remind ourselves, our families, our neighbors, our countrymen of the righteous ways they should be acting.

In bad times, this is our assignment. Let us be brave and spread the news. Let us keep reminding and be as patient with them as God is with us. Perhaps someday they will listen.