Sunday, 1/20 ~ Prophecy is what?

The scripture for today, January 20 (1/20), is 2nd Peter 1:20f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Golden Cover-KINDLE-thumbnail“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Isn’t this interesting? It’s a definition of prophecy. Prophecy is Scripture. It isn’t just telling the future. It’s telling the mind of God. Sometimes in the Old Testament God warned his people that if they did so-and-so, this would happen, but if they did such-and-such, that would happen.

Still, ultimately all prophecy was telling people how much God loved them and wanted them, in the long run, to be happy. The Old Testament has much of that in it, and all the New Testament does. It is your Creator’s Words.

1st Corinthians 13:8 says prophecies were going to cease and they did when we got the entire Word of God, the entire Bible.  If someone prophesied today, it would be unfair to the rest of the world, for prophecy is scripture. The rest of the world would be cheated out of knowing the complete Word of God.

You are so blessed that you do not have to guess what is on God’s mind. Many other religions have to guess ~ Hinduism, Buddhism, animism, and so on. But you have God’s very own words in black and white to read over and over whenever you like ~ prophecy which is Scripture.

 Read it. Absorb it. Love it. It was written by the Lover of your Soul.

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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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Tuesday 1/1 ~ Once again, God is walking with you

The scripture for today, January 1 (1/1), is John 1:1f, 14a as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Silver Cover-KINDLE-thumbnail“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning….The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

Genesis 3:8 says God walked on earth in the Garden of Eden. When Jesus came, God once again walked with us. But when Jesus left, did he leave us with no one to walk with?

Jesus said in John 14:17 that he was going to send another Comforter ~ the Spirit of Truth. And in John 17:17 he said God’s Word is Truth. So, just as Jesus was the Word that people could watch, the Spirit is the Word that people can read.

We do not have to guess what God is wanting us to do. We have it written down to read, and consider, and contemplate, and re-read as many times as we want.

If you have a Bible in your home, why not read it through in a year beginning today? There are suggested schedules on the internet. Or you could even divide up the number of pages in your Bible by 365 to know how many pages to read each day. After each reading, spend time in prayer praising God, confessing to God, thanking God. And when you ask for anything, ask a whole lot for others and a little bit for you and yours.

Just remember, every time you get out your Bible and read it then respond in prayer, once again God is walking with you.

 

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Saturday 12/30 ~ The Heavenly Promised Land

The scripture for today, December 29 (12/29), is Deuteronomy 12:29 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Old Testament Survey-Cover-thumbnail“The Lord your God will cut off before you the nations you are about to invade and dispossess.”

Why would a good God drive people (the Amorite nations) from their own land so that other people (the Jews) could live there? Way back in Genesis 15, God promised Abraham that his descendants would possess the land he lived in as a wanderer, but first they would be enslaved in a foreign country some 400 years. During that time, they would multiply. Indeed, they did grow from 70 of Abraham’s grandchildren to over three million.

Then it would be time for his descendants to possess the land. Why so long in the future?  Verse 16 explains it: “For the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” God always gives people plenty of time to repent and change.

The Jews did finally possess the Promised Land, but God warned them, “If you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you” (Leviticus 18:28). Indeed, they did eventually defile the land with their own sins, so several centuries later, they were dispossessed and forced to go to Assyria and Babylon by their conquerors and their land was possessed by the Assyrians (today’s northern Iraq) and Babylonians (today’s southern Iraq). Yes, God keeps his promises ~ to both good and bad.

Today, regardless of the condition of the nation you live in on earth, look ahead to that even better promise of an even better land ~ that spiritual Promised Land ~ heaven. And it will be forever good.

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Thursday 12/27 ~ Separation of Church & State ~ the real meaning

The scripture for today, December 27 (12/27), is 1st Kings 12:27 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00- Worship Changes KC COVER-thumbnail“If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem [not some other capital city], they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah.”

For centuries and millenniums, kings selected a patron god for their nation, a god they most revered to protect them. The patron god was selected by the king. Nations were always ruled by either a high priest or king. Some nations even had priest-kings.

So, when Constantine conquered much of Europe and set up his empire, he needed a patron god. One day during a battle, he looked up and saw a cloud formation that reminded him of things he’d heard about Jesus. So, he made Jesus his patron God, and Christianity his empire’s required religion. He even rode his army through rivers, then declared them baptized. He ordered conquered peoples to be baptized or killed.  Headquarters was Rome.

Luther was friends of the Duke [king] of Germany, so when he broke off from Rome, the official state religion became Lutheranism. John Calvin was in the government of Switzerland, so when it broke off from Rome, the official state religion became Calvinism. When the king of England broke off from Rome, he became head of the Church of England (and Prince Charles is head of the Church there today). John Knox was influential with the parliament of Scotland, so his Presbyterianism became the official religion of Scotland.

In each instance, the king or parliament could force its citizens to follow the chosen religion of that nation. If people didn’t, they could legally take their property from them, put them in prison, torture them, and execute them at will. And, in earlier centuries, they did just that.

Eventually, the idea of separating religion from the state government became popular in the Western World. And that is where many nations are today. But it does not mean people in government cannot express religion. It just means they cannot force citizens to be a particular government-selected religion or be in danger of punishment. That is true “separation of church and state”.

 

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Thursday 12/12 ~ He has set eternity in our hearts

The scripture for today, December 13 (12/13), is Ecclesiastes 12:13 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-REV-Cover-No Logo-KINDLE-lg-thumbnail“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

When the King James Version was published in the early 1600s, they italicized all words that were not in the original language of the Bible. The word “duty” above was not in the original. Translators inserted it to help us understand the original. But perhaps, in this case, it did not help. Fearing God is the whole of man ~ not our duty, but our essence.

Fearing the Lord is a gift. Isaiah 11:2 predicted regarding Jesus: “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him ~

  • “…the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,”
  • “…the Spirit of counsel and of power,”
  • “…the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.”

Solomon had tried everything to find happiness, as he explained in his book of Ecclesiastes ~ Pleasure (ch. 2), hard work (ch. 3), advancement (ch. 4), riches (ch. 5). None brought him true happiness.  Eventually, he concluded that only one thing can bring that happiness deep down inside where no one and no situation in life can touch it ~ God. God is the whole of man ~ if we let Him be.

Why? Ecclesiastes 3:11 explains it richly: “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men.” Another way to view this is “There is a God-shaped emptiness in everyone’s heart.” Fill your mind with the Word of God. Then God will fill your heart and being, and make you feel complete.

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