Friday 12/6 ~ God’s pride and joy

The scripture for today, December 6 (12/6), is 1st Corinthians 12:6 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”

00-1st Century Worship KINDLE-COVER-ThumbnailThis is Paul talking about spiritual gifts and jealousy.  Later in this chapter, Paul explains, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you.’  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (12:21f). He further explains, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body….” (12:13).

For ambitious people in the church who “fight” for position, this is hard to take. Standing in front with a microphone are the most sought-after positions in the church.  Such positions have the potential of making you famous.

Sorry, folks. Not to God. To God you are dispensable. The church could easily survive without you. God could easily get along without you. So, get control of your ego. Huh?

Do you really and truly believe this? Those who do the seemingly menial works (the “weaker”) are indispensable to God ~ you who take food to the bereaved, who read the Bible to the sick, who clean the bathrooms, who daily pray for members and the lost, who give a tract to a friend, who share a bulletin with a neighbor, who send a thinking-of-you card to a lonely person, who mow the church building lawn, who pray with someone who has just told you of a problem, who watch the nursery, who periodically quote a Bible verse to a friend in distress ~ such works that are in the background ~ the ones that don’t make it into the “schedule of worship,” the bulletin, the newspaper, the church periodicals, the billboards are the ones who are indispensable.

To you who are jealous of people who get to have a more public position in the church and stand in front of the congregation and” lead” don’t be. Take heart. God is working more in you than them. Further, public approval by people is their reward. Your reward is from God himself.

You may seem weaker to the others, but to God you are strong. You are mighty. You are God’s pride and joy.

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Tuesday 12/3 ~ I just got out there and did it

The scripture for today, December 3 (12/3), is Romans 12:3 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Applied Christianity“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

The context of this verse is members of a congregation getting along with each other. He explains that each person is given certain gifts such as serving, teaching, encouraging, contributing and so on (12:6-8).

Within congregations, disagreements can come about because one person has an idea about a good work, and someone else has a different idea about it, and still, someone else says some other good work should be done. All sincerely believe their way is the best form of outreach, and each wants a committee to be formed to carry it out. Then egos tend to get involved.

Perhaps the best way to judge whether you are thinking of yourself more highly than you ought, is to ask yourself this:  If I moved away or if I died, would this congregation survive without me? Of course, it would.  Keep praying, Lord, help me see myself as others do.

It does not matter if you can get a committee formed to help you.  If your heart is set on a certain good work, you can always do it alone. You do not need a committee.  If your heart is truly set, stop waiting for others whose hearts may be on something else. If your heart is truly set, get out and do it.

Perhaps others will see your results and want to join you later. Perhaps not. Just keep following your heart. Be true to your heart. Be true to the souls that will be helped because you got out there and just did it.

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Thursday 11/28 ~ Sundays, our special Thanksgiving day

The scripture for today, November 28 (11/28), is 1st Corinthians 11:28,31 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Supper-Front Cover-Thumbnail“A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup [of the Lord’s Supper]….If we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.”

“When they met on THE first day of the week to break bread” (Acts 20:7), these first-century Christians were meeting to keep the Lord’s Supper, for the word (“met”) in the original Greek of the New Testament means a religious meeting. Interestingly, the word “the” in the original Greek means each and every without exception perpetually.

Even if we did not know the Greek, look how the Jews (and we) interpreted “Remember THE Sabbath Day to keep it holy”. They did not remember the Sabbath day monthly, quarterly or yearly, but weekly. Therefore, , the first-century Christians realized that “When they met on THE first day of the week to break bread” (Acts 20:7), it meant every Sunday.

We can sing, pray, teach and read the Bible any day of the week. What makes Sunday special is that’s the day Jesus came back to life, the day Jesus ascended back to heaven, and the day the church was established. Today, on the special first day we are to meet to take the Lord’s Supper, the Communion ~ the bread representing his body dying in our place, the wine representing his blood dripped out of his body in our place.

During the Communion, we consider Jesus’ terrible sacrifice in order to save us from hell. And we consider our sins that made his sacrifice necessary to save us from hell. Today’s scripture tells us that. During our weekly partaking of the Communion, we should be examining ourselves, comparing ourselves to Jesus. It is kind of like taking weekly exams so we will be ready for the big final exam on the Day of Judgment.

God thought of everything ~ weekly remembering the sacrifice of our Lord so that we never take him for granted, and weekly remembering our sins. And, in the process, our souls fall at his feet and whisper “Thank you. Oh, my Lord, thank you.”

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Wednesday 11/27 ~ Teach the teachers?

The scripture for today, November 27 (11/27), is Mark 11:27f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Titus-Cover-Lg Thumb“…the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him [Jesus]. ‘By what authority are you doing those things?’ they asked. ‘And who gave you authority to do this?’ “

Of course, the answer to their question is that no one needs authority to teach God’s Word. You do not have to be “ordained” by someone else who is a teacher. Actually, you do not have to be “ordained” by another preacher to preach although elderships sometimes laid their hands on people to send them out as missionaries. But that is all. Now, what about you as a teacher?

As you learn more of the Bible, consider teaching your community’s Bible leaders and teachers. Have the courage to speak up and quote something in the Bible which that church may not be following? Then, when your religious teachers and leaders go to you wanting to know by what authority you teach something new, be ready for them with the scriptures.

Periodically tell them about this newly-discovered truth in private ~ gently and respectfully ~ again and again.

Just remember leaders often take longer to accept a new teaching. It may take them months or years to accept it. Keep on keeping on. And be patient with them.

Pray for your community’s religious teachers and leaders.  Ask God to touch their hearts. He will not go against their natural nature, but if they have honest hearts, it will work. Plant the seed, and God will give the increase (1st Corinthians 3:16). God said, “My Word will not return to me void” (Isaiah 55:11).

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0-Titus-Cover-Lg ThumbTITUS: THE ARISTOCRAT was born in a city of privilege, Antioch in the province of Pisidia in today’s Turkey.  He was educated.  When he became a Christian, Paul turned him into an arbitrator and sent him to “teach the teachers” in CORINTH of Greece, then the island of CRETE, and finally up in today’s area of Albania. Timothy brilliantly figured out who was lying to him, how to persuade those fake apostles to leave, how to keep under control imitating the Roman empire with its vestal virgins (nuns) and head bishops. All the while, he endures his own personal tragedies and eventually rises above them.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this………. https://amzn.to/2MRwnmn

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Tuesday 11/19 ~ A little self-reflection

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

00- Worship Changes KC COVER-thumbnail“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!”?  Do we worship to make ourselves feel good or to make God feel good?

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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