Saturday 11/3 ~ Where’d that bread come from?

The scripture for today, November 3 (11/3), is Luke 11:3 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 4-FolkHero-Cover-Kindle-thumbnail-new“Give us each day our daily bread.”

This is part of the ideal prayer that Jesus taught his followers to say. We claim to agree with it. But do we completely?

Do you feel like it is your hard-earned money that bought that bread? Do you claim it is our ability to cook that created that bread? Do you claim it was the hard work of the farmers and their equipment that brought us the grain from whence the bread is made? Or the mills that ground it into flour? Or the stores that brought the flour to the consumers?

Ultimately you must look past all of this to that which is beyond your control. It is God who makes the sun shine down upon the seed. It is God who makes the rain to come down to water it. It is God who places life in the buried wheat germ for it to reproduce with a flourish.

Many activities of man bring you your daily bread. But ultimately it is God the Creator who makes it all possible. He not only makes it possible for good people, he brings bread also to the bad. He loves everyone.

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Friday 10/26 ~ God left some of his creation for us to finish

The scripture for today, October 26 (10/26), is 1st Corinthians 10:26 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

000-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“For ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.’ “

This is a thanksgiving scripture.

The beautiful part of God’s creation is that he left a lot of it undone for us to finish. After all, we are created in his likeness.

He left the stones and clay in the ground so that we could dig it up and build cities. He left the wool on the sheep so we could shear it and make warm garments. He left the trees growing tall so we could hew them and build barns and houses. He left the gravel in the ground so we could harvest it and build roads.

He left the ore in the ground so we could mine it and make skyscrapers, airplanes, ships, trains, automobiles. He left the water in the lakes and seas so we could capture it and create power and transportation ways. He left the beautiful stones unseen so we could dig them up, shape them, polish them, and make beautiful decorations.

Yes, we were created in the likeness of our Creator. He loved to create. So do we. So, whenever we make something good from his creation, we honor him.

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Thursday 10/18 ~ Who Knows? It may be you.

The scripture for today, October 18 (10/18), is 2nd Corinthians 10:18 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Cover-KINDLE-Thumbnail-New“For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”

Do you look at your life and decide some of your bad habits are not so bad, considering what some other people you know are doing? Do you look at your life and decide your lukewarmness in good works and spreading the gospel is not so bad, considering what most others around you are doing? 

Jesus said you will receive only one reward, and we must choose it: (1) Being commended by each other, or (2) being commended by God. You can’t have both (Matthew 6:5; 18).

And that brings up how you judge other people. You may decide certain Christians you know are not pulling their share of the load in your congregation, not doing their part. That may be a wrong judgment.

A lot of Christians you know may be doing good works you will never learn about. “”Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward [them]” (Matthew 6:18a). Who knows? That time someone mowed your lawn while you were in the hospital may have been one of those “do-nothings”. I wonder how many stars are in their crown….

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Thursday 9/13 ~ You cannot have “victory in Jesus” unless you have a problem to be victorious over

The scripture for today, September 13 (9/13), is Psalm 9:13f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-“O Lord, see how my enemies persecute me! Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death, that I may declare your praises…and there rejoice in your salvation.”

We all experience difficult things in our life ~ some minor, some major. Do you let them define your entire life? Or do you cling to them, never getting over them, never letting them go, and reliving them over and over in your mind?

 You cannot be “more than conqueror” (Romans 8:37) unless you have something to conquer. You cannot have “victory in Jesus” unless you have something to be victorious over.

God said that he can make “all things work together for good” to those who love the Lord (Romans 8:28).

Today, with the courage of God in your heart, the love of God in your soul, and the might of God in your very being, rise up! Rejoice! Thank God for your problems.  It is only when you have problems that you can experience victories.

 

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Wednesday 9/12 ~ Out of disaster came beauty

The scripture for today, September 12 (9/12), is found in Genesis 9:12f in the Old Testament of the Bible:

02-Noah-KindleThumbnail“And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come. I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”

On the technical side, how can it be that there was never a rainbow before Noah’s time? Genesis 2:5b-6 explains, “The Lord God had not sent rain on the earth, and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.”

Up until the time of Noah, people lived to be several hundred years old. Christian scientists have said that, before the flood, the earth had a constant cloud covering with a thick ozone layer that created the greenhouse effect of vapors and protected man from the aging process. It was much like Venus.

So rainbows were not possible when the sun could never break through the ever-present clouds. It was because of a terrible worldwide cataclysm that the beauty of the rainbow was made possible.

On the faith side of this story, we see a man who had such faith in God that, although he probably had never seen rain, believed it would happen. Such amazing faith! Later, through the pain of losing his stubborn father and probably other extended family, he was blessed with the lives of his direct family members. Then God gave him one more reward ~ the rainbow ~ that he could not only enjoy in his generation but generations even today.

Out of disaster came beauty.

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Monday 9/10 ~ In comfort or pain

The scripture for today, September 10 (9/10), is Psalm 9:10 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Inside-COVER-lg thumbnail“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

What if we had a friend who we never called by name? It was always “Hey, you”. Our friendship wouldn’t last long because the other person would feel like we weren’t friends after all. Makes sense.

So, what does “Lord” mean in the original Hebrew language of the Old Testament? It is Yahweh, translated into Greek as Adonai.

In Exodus 3:15b God told Moses what his name was: ” ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers…This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.’ ”

And what does Yahweh mean? Exodus 3:14 explained, “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites; ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” God is the great I AM.

Today’s verse does not say the Great I Am will keep you from all harm. What it says is that he will go with you into that harm and stay with you the whole way, giving you strength and courage.

And so, in peace or war, in comfort or pain, in well-being or devastation, he will be right there with you. He will never forsake you. Therefore, never forsake him.  Keep on worshipping ~ the Lord our God, the Great I AM.

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Friday 9/7 ~ You mean I don’t have to tithe?

The scripture for today, September 7 (9/7), is 2nd Corinthians 9:7 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Cover-Thumbnail “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

There are many religious leaders who insist that Christians tithe. But that was part of the Law of Moses, which we no longer keep.  If we pick one item, we have to pick them all including stoning people.  Let’s look at Law-of-Moses tithing:

Actually, the Jews were required to give more than a tenth. (1) Deuteronomy 26:12 said the Jews had to give an extra tithe every three years for their welfare program. So, if someone tithed $900 a year, s/he would have to tithe an average of $300 more per year for the welfare program, equaling $1,200 year. If the yearly income was $9000, this would take it up to 13.3% a year.

(2) Also, according to Leviticus 27, they had to pay for their vows, which in many cases were really special prayer requests. (3) They also had to buy animals for sacrifices for intentional sins, unintentional sins, and sins requiring restitution.

(4) If they wanted to thank God for anything, they had to buy grain for a sacrifice (Leviticus 1-5). If they didn’t have to buy the animals or grain, they had to take them out of their own supply, thus depleting their own “paycheck.”

(5) And every time one of their flocks or herds had a first-born, they had to sacrifice it ~ another depleting of the “paycheck.”

So the good Jew under the Law of Moses did not just tithe. He ended up giving about one-third of his income.  Galatians 5:3 says that, if we keep one part of the Law, we have to keep all of it. There were over 600 burdensome commandments in the Law of Moses!

In today’s scripture, Christians are being released from this burden. Instead, they are being told to decide in their own heart. Christians are released from serving and giving through obligation and set free to serve and give out of love.

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