Saturday 1/19 ~ How’s your hearing?

The scripture for today, January 19, is James 1:19a as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

There was a book published a few years ago entitled, Hurt People Hurt People.

Has anyone ever tried to console you by saying, “I know how you feel”?  Did you lash back at them saying something like, “How dare you think you know how bad I feel” or “How dare you think you understand the ordeal I went through!” or “How dare you treat me like that”?

Those are accusing words. And what do they accomplish? It’s almost like bragging. “My hurt is so far above your hurt, you could never come up to my superior level.”

You may feel justified in explaining how badly you were treated by someone. But, in reality, it makes the hurt keep going and going and going…. Perhaps this is an accusing cycle you’ve been in for a long time with someone.

Which one of you is going to stop the cycle?

Satan is the accuser (Revelation 12:10).  God is the forgiver.  Even Jesus forgave his killers. When you have been hurt, be ready to listen to the other person’s hurt instead of accuse. And in the process, “bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

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Thursday 1/17 ~ We get the good ones

The scripture for today, January 17  (1/17), is James 1:17 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Mefiboset-KINDLE Thumbnail“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Do you sometimes feel slighted because other people get more gifts on special occasions (or even between special occasions) than you do? No need to feel that way. Christians get the goods ones. Christians get the perfect ones. We get them all! And our heavenly Father will never stop showering us with those “good gifts,” those “perfect gifts.”

God’s gifts are good and perfect because they are forever gifts. And what can be better than that?

Ah, Lord God, my creator, my life, lover of my soul. With you, I am never hungry, I am never cold, I am never in want. With you I have all that I need for my soul is filled with your love, I am warm in your embrace, and everything is good within my being. You, who died in my place, are even now waiting for me at your door.  I will be there soon.  Then we will be together for eternity.

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Tuesday 1/15 ~ Never underestimate what God can do through you

The scripture for today, January 15 (1/15), is Galatians 1:15f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

03-Naaman'sMaid-ThumbnailCover“But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles….”

Isn’t this amazing? God knew before you are born what you can be doing for him later in life. He sets aside work for you to do, but he does not force you to do it. You may set aside a certain amount of money to spend on food but you end up spending it on clothing.  Being set aside does not mean something will end up doing what it was set aside for.

God has given you certain talents and set you aside to use them for Him.  Do you? Is your thinking even oriented on things that can endure through eternity? Or do you think only of the next day, or the next year?

You do not have to guess what God has set you aside to do.  Read the scriptures. He has messages for you all through them.  Find someone in the Bible with your personality and use that person as an example.  Find advice in the proverbs. Find advice in Jesus’ teachings, and in his apostles’ teachings.  It’s all there.  Pick one and do it.

If you are willing to follow God’s advice and not man’s, then decide today to accept the work God has set aside for you to do. Or maybe you’re already doing it and don’t realize it.

You may not think your life has been very exciting. You may be waiting for God to give you a big important job to do for him. But the truth is, you ~ in your seemingly mundane life ~ may already be doing what God set aside for you to do.

Never under-estimate yourself and what God can accomplish through you.

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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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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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Thursday 1/3 ~ God, I’m coming back. Help me!

The scripture for today, January 3, is Jonah 1:3a as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

09-Jonah-KindleThumbnail

“But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.”

Do you spend your life running away from the Lord? Do you do it with busy-ness, with resentments toward people, with anger that God does not make people stop being bad to you, with boredom at the thought of worshipping him, with refusal to believe he even exists?

Is it even possible to run away from the Lord? Eventually, it is. But for a long time, the Lord runs after you just as he did by causing a storm at sea where Jonah was on board his escape ship.  He does things to get your attention too.

Perhaps there are storms in your life. Have you ever thought of them as God trying to get your attention?  Perhaps you run here and there day after day, too busy to even think about God. But when disaster hits, do you suddenly remember God so you can blame him for your hardships?

Yes, perhaps you sometimes do blame God, but at least you’re thinking of him. Perhaps it’s been years since you have thought seriously about God. 

He has big shoulders. Go ahead and blame him for a while, then remember how he loves you and just wants you back.

But don’t wait too long. God only runs after you for so long. Eventually, he gives up. Don’t wait so long that God gives up on you and treats you the way you have been treating him.

“God, I’m coming back. Help me.”

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Wednesday 12/26 ~ Is Jesus there with you?

The scripture for today, December 26 (12/26), is John 12:26 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

000-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

Ah, Lord Jesus. We claim we understand how humble you were, then build great cathedrals which we claim are to your glory but which are really to our glory. We organize great musical performances which we claim are to your glory but which are really to our glory.

Just where was Jesus when he was on earth saying this?  In a posh hotel in Jerusalem? Did he have great musicians performing in the background? Did he stand on a podium and declare this to multitudes?

 Who or what are you really a servant to? Power in a workplace, club, congregation, neighborhood? Prestige in a community, an occupation, an organization? Self-indulgence of money, music, entertainment?

While you are pursuing things in life, is Jesus there with you? Are you doing what he would be busy doing?  Are you where he was when he said this?

Dare to be a servant to the power of Jesus’ love, prestige in the eyes of God, self-indulgence in the joy of worshiping Him. In this only is there true and enduring honor.

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