Tuesday 2/19 ~ Citizenship

The scripture for today, February 19 (2/19), is Ephesians 2:19 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 8-ComeFlyWithMe-Cover-Thumbnail-New“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.”

Let us pretend there is a kingdom called Occland and we want to become a citizen of that kingdom. Of course, citizenship would not be automatic. And in the same way, citizenship in the Kingdom of God (being a Christian) is not automatic.

Just crossing the border and living in Occland would not automatically make us a citizen of Occland any more than just living in a Christian nation automatically makes us a Christian.

Owning a copy of Occland’s constitution would not automatically make us a citizen of Occland any more than owning a copy of the Bible automatically makes us a Christian.

Going to meetings of parliament or the Senate of Occland every time they met would not automatically make us a citizen of Occland any more than going to meetings with other Christians every Sunday automatically make us a Christian.

It just is not automatic. We would need to be invited into Occland, and then do things to accept Occland’s invitation. God invites us into his kingdom, but we must do things to accept his invitation.  Romans 6 & 10, Acts 2 and 1st Peter 3 in the New Testament are good places to check it out. Do so.

Ah, to be citizens in the kingdom founded by the Creator of the universe. Is it possible? Really possible?  For me too? For me too? It’s not automatic, but it is possible.

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Why an Old and New Testament…

The scripture for today, February 14 (2/14), is Colossians 2:14 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00- Worship Changes KC COVER-thumbnail“[God] having canceled the written code with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.”

It is beyond my comprehension why anyone would want the Law of Moses unless they don’t want to obey ALL 600 commands but want an excuse to justify one or two commandments HERE AND THERE they do want.

They want the part that says to tithe so they can get people’s money. (Actually, the good Jew gave one-third, not one-tenth.) Or they want a separate priesthood so they can feel important.  Or they want showy things in worship like candles, incense, musical instruments (though they were only allowed the harp, lyre and cymbal) so they can enjoy themselves more. 

Hold on! If we obey one command we are required to keep the entire Law of Moses ~ all 600 commands. Galatians 5:3 and James 2:10 say so. Are you up to it?

Our verse for today says the Law was against us; that is, it was impossible for us to keep perfectly. Try wading through Leviticus in the Old Testament. That’s where most of the old Law (“the written code with its regulations”) is.

It’s tedious. It regulated nearly every part of everyone’s daily life. It involved what we could and couldn’t eat, having to kill animals to die in our place whenever we sinned, stoning adulterers and rebellious children to death, having a separate Levite priesthood, giving a third of your income, reporting to priests as long as we had an open sore, use of candles, having to go to the Temple in Jerusalem three times a year, spreading blood on our doorposts, and on and on.

The book of Hebrews in the New Testament was written to help us understand that God’s new Law of Grace is much more spiritual. Read especially chapters 8 & 9. We have to make a choice: Old or New.

Hebrews was written about the time the Temple in Jerusalem was permanently destroyed, thus making it impossible to obey several things in the old Law. And a little time later the Jewish genealogies were destroyed, thus making it impossible to prove who was a Levite and eligible to be a priest.

But wait!  Does that mean Christians should never read the Old Testament? The Old Testament of the Bible is not the same as the Law of Moses. The Law is a small part of the Old Testament. The rest of it is wonderful praise, amazing wisdom, accounts of people who did or did not try to follow God, and those astounding prophecies of Jesus all through them. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to wade through those old laws just as a reminder of what we have been set free from.

So, let us not neglect the Old Testament as so many people do. Thank God for the Old Testament.

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Sunday 2/10 ~ Worship and the devil

The scripture for today, February 10 (2/10), is James 2:10 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-“Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.”

Do we pray on Sunday and curse on Monday? Do we sing on Sunday and lie on Monday? Do we recite a scripture on Sunday and mock someone on Monday?

On the other hand, do we use this as an excuse not to go to church and worship? Do we refuse to attend because there are hypocrites in the church?

Do we refuse to go to work because there are hypocrites there who talk behind the boss’s back? Do we refuse to go to school because there are hypocrites there who would skip school if they could? Do we refuse to sit for two hours in a boring airport because there are hypocrites there smuggling things in their suitcases? Do we refuse to go to sporting events because there are hypocrites there who would literally “kill the umpire” if they could?

Even Jesus had a hypocrite among his 12 Apostles ~ Judas. That didn’t stop him from doing what was needed to save us from hell.

In a sense we are all hypocrites because we go to church and sing songs about giving everything for Jesus, then we go home and don’t. Or we sing songs about going into all the world and teaching the gospel, then we go home and don’t. Or we talk about the importance of praying for everyone around us and their loved ones, then we go home and don’t.

Perhaps Jesus was the biggest hypocrite of them all because he, who never, ever sinned, took the blame for your sins and went through excruciating body and soul death in your place. Oh, my Lord Jesus, how can I worship you enough? How can I thank you enough? How can my spirit touch your holiness? Get Satan away from me, for I am weak and need you.

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Friday 1/25 ~ Give up your freedom?

The scripture for today, January 25 (1/25), is James 1:25 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Titus-Cover-Lg Thumb“But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it ~ he will be blessed in what he does.”

A lot of people do not understand that there was the Law of Moses with over 600 commands in the Old Testament, and the Law of Jesus with very few commands in the New Testament. Religious leaders use the Law of Moses to justify adding fancy or fun things to worship or a separate priesthood or tithing, or whatever they like. 

But they leave out stoning for adultery or disobeying your parents, killing someone who killed your relative, knocking the eye out of someone who knocked your eye out, giving a third of your income (not just a tenth), killing animals to sacrifice, etc.  It’s all part of the same Law!

Romans 7:4-7 says Christians have been released from the Law. Hebrews 8:13 & all of chapter 9 say the first covenant (testament/law) of Moses had regulations for worship but is obsolete in favor of the new covenant (testament/law). James 2:10 says if you try to live by the old Law but fail in just one point, you are guilty of all of it.

But how are you to know what was in the Old Law of Moses besides the fancy or fun things today’s religious leaders like?  There is only one possible answer:  Read it.  Plow through Leviticus and all those minute codes. Then you will understand.

Let us truly let loose of the old Law of Moses and cling to the “perfect Law that gives freedom” in Christ.

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Tuesday 1/22 ~ Me radiant?

The scripture for today, January 22, is Ephesians 1:22 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Love Letters of Jesus & his Bride, Eccelsia-THUMBNAIL“And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”

What makes this so interesting is that the church is the body of Christ. What else is the church?

Colossians 1:18 says… the church has only one head on earth and in heaven ~ Jesus.  (Some people claim to love his head but not his body. Hmmm.)

Matthew 16:17-18 says…the church is the kingdom of heaven.

Ephesians 5:25 & 32 says…the church is his bride.

Revelation 21:2, 9-10 says…the church bride is the new Holy City Jerusalem.

And what does Jesus think of the church? You already know this one. Ephesians 5:25-27 says he loved the church so much that he gave himself up for her, to make her radiant ~ no stains, no wrinkles, no blemishes.

Oh, that last part: I must have missed it before. Me radiant? Human, sinful me radiant? And no stains, Lord?  No stains too?

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