Saturday 1/12 ~In your weakness, persevere

The scripture for today, January 12 (1/12), is James 1:12 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

How loyal are you to God? Is your relationship up and down, depending on how your life is going at the moment? If you pray for something and don’t get it, do you feel like God is punishing you?  If everything seems to be going wrong, do you blame God instead of Satan? Do you pray over and over for God to relieve you of a particular burden, but relief hasn’t come so you’ve decided to quit the church?

Quit grumbling! God has assignments for you. What kind of soldier of the Lord are you? Do you tell the general you don’t like what he has assigned for you to do? Where you are today is where God wants you. Your job is to stay loyal no matter how difficult things get.  Be brave. Hold fast. Stand your ground.

Why? To prove that love is stronger than hatred. To prove that good is stronger than bad. To prove that right is more mighty than wrong. To prove that God is stronger than Satan. Ephesians 6:12 says Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Determine today to thank God for whatever state you are in, even if you do it in tears because it goes against all your emotions. And, even though you may feel helpless to do anything about it right now, in your helplessness, persevere!

Friday 1/11 ~

Yesterday, I went off script because I was upset. I had just finished a conversation on a Facebook community page where they were showing pictures of pornographic decals to put in the back window of their cars, claiming they could do anything they wanted with their own property.  At the end, I said, “Well, why don’t you all take a look at my blog where I get to say whatever I want and at the end, you can say whatever you want. Yesterday’s message was to them.  So today, I shall do the message I had previously planned for yesterday.

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The scripture for today, January 10 (1/10), is Colossians 1:10 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Cover-KINDLE-Thumbnail-New“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: Bearing fruit in every good work; Growing in the knowledge of God.”

Are you always doing some good work for other people? Does it fill your thoughts and life?  Or are you always delving into the Bible to gain more knowledge of God? Does it fill your thoughts and life? Good for you.

But we see here, we must have a balance. James 2:17 says faith without works is dead. On the other hand, Romans 10:2 says certain people were zealous for God, but their zeal was not based on knowledge.

We have to add to our Bible-based faith, good works. We have to add to our zealous good works, the knowledge of God from the Bible.

It’s hard to get out of a rut, no matter how good it is.  Maybe it’s time to examine yourself.  Maybe it’s time to add the other requirement to your life.  Don’t you want to be spiritually balanced?

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Thursday 1/10 ~ Shhhh.  Do you hear? He’s calling you.

The scripture for today, January 10 (1/10), is Colossians 1:10 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Golden Cover-KINDLE-thumbnail“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: Bearing fruit in every good work; Growing in the knowledge of God.”

What is life all about?  The one who has the most fun wins? The one enjoying defying decency the most wins? The one with the most stuff wins? Life isn’t about the here and now. You are here preparing for what you will be doing when you leave this life and enter the next one.

What is life all about? Is God soft and will do whatever you want? Will God have no choice but to take you into heaven when you die? Would you even like heaven? If you mock God now, it’s doubtful you’d like being around him. If you detest people who worship him, you certainly would not like heaven because that’s what people do all the time there ~ worship.

What is life all about? There are only two supreme beings that determine your next life. Two. That’s all.  No in-between. You can either please God or please Satan. Do you call good evil and evil good like Jeremiah said? When you say it, you are mocking God. Is it fun? Do you think God is laughing when you do? 

Look up!  Look up!  God did not leave you guessing. He left his Book for you. Have you ever read it, especially the New Testament that begins with the birth and teachings of Jesus, the God-Man? 

The God of the universe who is larger than the cosmos with some two trillion galaxies poured out his heart to you in his Book. The God of the universe looks down on you and knows everything you are saying and doing right now. And, no matter what you do ~ whether good or bad ~ he loves you. When you do bad, he runs after you and calls out to you, “Come back. Come back to me! I can keep you safe from Satan. Come back! Come back!”  But he will not force you.

Shhhh.  Do you hear him? He’s calling you.

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Wednesday 1/9 ~ Go anyway. Conquer anyway.

The scripture for today, January 9 (1/9), is Joshua 1:9 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-Hero Alone-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Fear can paralyze. Just ask Joshua. He had just been given the job of conquering horrible people who practiced prostitution as a religion, self-mutilation and sacrificing their children to the fire god.  Plus, his spies said those bad people were like giants and his army was made up of the children of former slaves with no experience.

Guess what God said.  “Go anyway. Conquer anyway.” 

What do you fear?  A few people fear spiders and night time and heights and such? A lot more of people fear changing a bad habit that has us in its claws and won’t let us go. Even more serious, do you fear telling a neighbor, someone in a club, a relative about Jesus’ willingness to save them from hell and get them entrance into heaven?  To all this, God says, “Go anyway.”

Some of you reading this live in countries where it is dangerous to be a Christian. Do you fear being arrested, tortured, killed for your faith?  God tells you, “Be strong!  Be courageous!  Do not be terrified!”  Why. Because “the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

What keeps the fear under control?  “Perfect love casts out fear” (I John 4:18).  Love yourself, love your neighbor, love God.

Today, whatever it is holding you back, “Go anyway, Conquer anyway.”

 

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Tuesday 1/8 ~ Inexpressible and glorious joy!

The scripture for today, January 8 (1/8), is 1st Peter 1:8 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Bk3-HeartsAfire-COVER-Kindle.thumbnail-new“Though you have not seen him, you love him! And even though you do not see him now, you believe in him! And are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy!”

Ah, the memories Peter had of being with Jesus when they all were young.  Now he was old and people were dying out who had seen and heard Jesus in person.

After Jesus returned to heaven, it was the job of his Apostles to tell people about him and repeat his words. They spent the rest of their lives doing just that. What joy they found when people believed, even though they had not seen him. They not only believed, but they also loved him

Thank God, the Apostles wrote the New Testament so we would never have to guess what Jesus was like and never have to guess what his words were, even after the Apostles died. In fact, we have the advantage because we do not have to wait for an Apostle to come visit us and tell us. We can read about Jesus for ourselves over and over as many times as we like right in our home.

True, we have not seen Jesus with our own eyes. We have not heard him with our own ears.  Yet, his life and words are always before us. How can we help but believe in him? And love him? What inexpressible and glorious joy!

 

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Monday 1/7 ~ Freedom and joy

The scripture for today, January 7 (1/7), is 2nd Timothy 1:7 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-HS-592 VersesExamined-COVER-Thumbnail“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.”

Have you discovered some “new-to-you-truth” in the Bible? Perhaps you have read it a hundred times but never noticed it before.

People fear the unknown. Do not fear it. Embrace it. Then share with others this new-found truth. The word “timidity” is sometimes translated “fear.” Remind your friends of that “new truth” you discovered enough times that it is no longer an unknown and no longer something to be feared.

Do you fear reprisal among your church friends or leaders if you stand up for some “new truth” no one noticed before? God can help you. God can give you the courage to speak out with power, with love, and with self-discipline as you explain that new-found truth. 

Then be patient. God said, “My word will not return to me void” (Isaiah 55:11). Who knows? You may be adding great freedom and joy to a lot of people.

 

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Sunday 1/6 ~ Well, which one is our leader?

The scripture for today, January 6, is Titus 1:6f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Titus-Cover-Lg Thumb“An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless ~ not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, nor pursuing dishonest gain.”

This is quite interesting. God does not leave us to guess the qualifications of a church leader. We don’t have to hold conferences or synods to decide on qualifications for this office, because God has already given them.

Something surprising here is that the word elder is used interchangeably with the word overseer (sometimes also translated bishop). The word elder comes from the Greek word presbyter. The word overseer/bishop is from the Greek word episcopos. Elder and overseer and bishop all are the same in this passage referring to the same office!

Here’s something else interesting about the elder/overseer/bishop: The word pastor comes from the Greek word for shepherd, poiman. In Acts 20:17, Paul sent for the elders of the church in Ephesus to talk to them. When they arrived, he said, “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds [pastors] of the church of God which he bought with his own blood.” He called them by three titles.

Do you see the overlapping of the same office being called by different names? It’s kind of like father and papa being the same.

Titus 1:6f uses elder and overseer for the same office. Overseer is the same in Greek as bishop. Acts 20:17 uses elder, overseer, shepherd (pastor) for the same office.

In our daily lives, we have different words meaning the same person; such as father, parent, dad, papa ~ all names for the same position in the family.

So, too, for the family of God ~ the church ~ all these words overlap as names for the same office! And the qualifications for this office are found in our scripture for today, Titus 1:6f. Indeed, how interesting!

 

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