Monday 2/19 ~ It’s not automatic but it’s possible

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 nation called Occland and we want to become a citizen of that nation. 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 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 every 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, Acts 2 and 1st Peter 3 in the New Testament are good places to check it out. Do so.

Oh, 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.

 

Sunday 2/18 ~ Today, be a warrior!

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

0-BK 6-PromiseKeeper-Cover-thumbnail-new-kindle“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!

Saturday 2/17 ~ What do you crave?

The scripture for today, February 17 (2/17), is 1st John 2:17 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Michel-COVER-Kindle-Thumbnail“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

Have you lost anything very important to you lately? Has it left you feeling empty?

Were you injured and cannot participate in a certain sport or your bones are getting old and you have to get around in a wheelchair?  Did you lose a savings or part of your income and no longer can buy fancy clothes, a shiny car, a big house?  Did you miss out on being an official for a committee or community and all the importance that comes with it?

The previous verse in the KJV says there are three basic types of sins: Lust of the flesh and eye, and pride. Is your loss devastating to you? Do you now feel worthless?  Do you sometimes even have fleeting thoughts that life is no longer worth living?

Or, perhaps recently you actually obtained your heart’s desire. Were you satisfied? Or did you begin to look higher wanting a little more? Take a deep look at yourself?  Do you think you will ever be truly satisfied?

What are your cravings? Are they all that important?  Are they all that valuable?

Only one thing can ever give us what we truly crave ~ doing the gentle will of God. He is our Creator and he knows what will make us happy. Then we can have all we ever craved ~ forever.

 

Friday 2/16 ~ Flaming hope with a flickering candle

The scripture for today, February 16 (2/16), is 2nd Thessalonians 2:16 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

Who were these people the apostle Paul was writing? They were suffering.  Physically they were suffering.  Some in their group had even been killed for their faith. Mentally they were suffering.  Would they be next? Would it be worth everything they were going through?

Spiritually they were struggling. The apostle Paul, who wrote this, had been through such struggles many times himself. He wanted to make sure their faith did not waver.

How? By praying that their persecution would stop? At no time in the Bible do we have an account of Christians pray that the persecution stop. What did they pray for? Boldness.

They could be bold if they knew Jesus Christ loved them personally. They could be bold if they knew God the Father loved them personally. They could be bold with eternal encouragement, strength.

“Just keep doing what you’ve been doing,” he basically told them.  “With the strength God gives you, keep doing good deeds and spreading the Word.”  Persecuted? Yes. Frightened? Yes. Cowering? Never.

How about your life?

God’s encouragement never ceases. It is always there. There when you feel alone, when you feel forsaken, when you are frightened, when you feel helpless, when you feel hopeless.

God gives good hope. Sometimes things in your life may be going so badly you have trouble having faith in God. But you can still hope. The candle of your faith may be flickering, but your hope can still be a flaming hope, a large hope, a good hope.