Sunday 12/9 ~ God is so proud of you!

The scripture for today, December  (12/9), is 2nd Corinthians 12:9 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

04-FOLK HERO-Child'sCartoon-Thumbnail“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Oh how much we need to be reminded of this scripture. We all have weaknesses. Do you lament the hand you were dealt? Do you lament the country you were born in, the family you were born into, the physical limitations you were born with, the mental, emotional or physical deficiencies you ended up with?

This is your chance! Those weaknesses! Go around others with the same weakness you have with joy in your heart, gladness on your lips and a continual gleam in your eyes!  Let God’s strength shine in your weakness!

When people begin to sympathize with you, interrupt them and tell them how much God loves you, and how much God loves them! Encourage your “encouragers.” Let them go away from you with a new understanding of the blessings of weakness! And perhaps be a little more thankful for their own weaknesses.

Lucky you! You are one of the chosen!  He is so proud of you!

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Wednesday 11/21 ~ Who Knows?

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

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-“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, a city 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….

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Monday 11/19 ~ Surely, not me!

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

0-Titus-Cover-Lg Thumb“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/Covenant Law of Moses were nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 8:10-13), God has always had laws to keep us safe. In the New Testament/Covenant 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 Old Testament/Covenant 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”?

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Tuesday 11/6 ~ True Grit

The scripture for today, November 6 (11/6), is Nehemiah 11:6 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Mefiboset-KINDLE Thumbnail“The descendants of Perez who lived in Jerusalem totaled 468 able men.”

Just who was Perez, and why was this even mentioned in the Bible? Perez was a descendant of Judah, and an ancestor of Jesus (Matthew 1:3).

Why was living in Jerusalem a big deal at that time? Because Jerusalem had been attacked and destroyed. It was nothing but rubble and ashes. Earlier, other Jews had returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple. Now it was time to rebuild the walls.

These 468 brave people had to agree to move into a burned-out city and rebuild on the ashes of previous homes. In the process of moving building stones out of the way to reuse in the city wall, they surely found skeletons of those who had been slaughtered in the attack decades before.

At first, the Jews had blamed the Babylonians for destroying their city and temple. But eventually, they began re-reading the prophets who had warned them about their own sins. Finally, they turned inward and placed the blame where it really belonged: Themselves. Their own pride had destroyed their temple and their city.

Following repentance, they acted. Was it easy rebuilding a broken city? Not any easier than rebuilding a broken home, a broken congregation, a broken life. You must look at your own part in your own destruction and begin building anew.

It took grit.  What is yours like? Have you rebuilt anything important lately?

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Wednesday 10/24 ~ Jesus was king of the world but laid aside his ego

The scripture for today, October 25 (10/25), is 1st Corinthians 10:24 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Thumbnail“Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”

The context of this verse is that some of the members of the church in Corinth were expressing opinions or doing things that were offensive to some of the other members. They hurt the consciences of some of the weaker members.

Today, do you do anything during the public worship that is offensive to some people? Do you do them as an example of how “holy” you are? Do you even try to get God on your side and say that any Christian could do those things if they had as much faith as you do? Can you control your ego in this?

What about committee meetings? Do you suggest something that the others just aren’t excited about? Do you allow your ego to eventually seep in and begin to feel slighted or challenged because your idea wasn’t accepted? Do you even try to get God on your side and say he will be more glorified if the other committee members accept your plan? Can you control your ego in this?

One way to look at things objectively is to ask yourself, “Would my congregation survive without me?” What if I were killed in an auto accident and suddenly taken from them tomorrow? Would they continue to worship? Would they continue to do good works? Would they continue to meet as a congregation? Ninety-nine percent of the time your congregation would survive without you.

So, try (struggle with tears if necessary) to lay aside your ego that gets hurt or feels challenged, and seek the comfort, welfare, and good of your fellow members.

Jesus was King of the world, but he laid aside his ego. And he triumphed!

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Friday 10/12 ~ Keep your eyes on Jesus

The scripture for today, October 12 (10/12), is 2nd Corinthians 10:12 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-1st Century Worship KINDLE-COVER-Thumbnail“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”

But that is how most of the Christian world is run. You go to a church and do what they do to get their approval. Or you go one step above what the others do to get a little more approval. Or you go one step below what the others do and say you’re “not so bad” because, at least, you go to church all the time.

What you do must be compared with what Jesus (God materialized on earth) did. Jesus went everywhere doing whatever was necessary to spread the Good News. Instead of saying, “Well, our congregation never did such-and-such before, so it must be wrong,” you must say, “Jesus did it, so I will too.” Instead of saying, “Well, brother or sister so-and-so in our congregation is worse than me, so why object to me?” you must say, “Jesus did not do those things, so I will not either.”

Who are you comparing yourself with?  Your works, your fancy doctrine, your faith?  Dear, dear friend. Jesus gave up heaven and daily associating with angels to become one of us on an earth full of grime and selfish. He gave up being able to be everywhere at once to being confined in a body. Why? For us.

To show us how it is done ~ constantly on the go to find people who need God’s love and attention. He was so busy and so holy.

Never compare with others; always compare with Jesus. Keep your eyes on Jesus, God the Word in Flesh.

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Thursday 10/11 ~ Playing Peek-a-boo

The scripture for today, October 11 (10/11), is Psalm 10:11 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00- Worship Changes KC COVER-thumbnail“He says to himself, ‘God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees.’ “

You believe in God in some form. And you believe that God knows what you do. But do you sometimes bury your beliefs in your subconscious mind so you can go around doing things you know are wrong? Do you believe you won’t get caught, and you can slide into heaven doing whatever you want?

In other words, do you justify your favorite sins? Do you justify your sins of attitude such as jealousy, impatience, pride, short temper under the guise of an unhappy childhood or getting what you deserve?  Do you justify your sins of omission ~ good things you should be doing, but are not ~ under the excuse that you don’t have time to do them? Do you justify questionable things you do by saying they’re “not so bad” or God is so good, he will forgive anything you do as long as you say you’re sorry every time you do it?

Do you do as children do who cover their eyes so they cannot see anyone and think that, therefore, no one ~ including God ~ can 17see them?

God loves you more than you can ever imagine. He never forgets you. He sees and hears everything you do. The only things he does not approve of are things that will ultimately hurt you and which he calls sin.

Here is a marvelous jewel for you. Take it, shine it up, and put it on display:  Pleasing God is the ultimate form of pleasing yourself.

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