I’d die if I had to do that.

00-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-ThumbnailThe scripture for today, June 17 (6/17), is Matthew 6:17 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face.”

This is interesting because Jesus did not say “If, you fast,” but rather “When you fast.” It was as though he was teaching us to take for granted that we would fast ~ it would be second-nature to us. In a sense, it is, for when most people go through a sudden tragedy such as loss of a loved one, they often cannot eat.

But what about voluntary fasting? The early church sometimes fasted. Acts 13:2 says a congregation in Antioch, Syria, fasted and worshiped, then chose men to go out as missionaries. Queen Esther fasted before going to the king uninvited with a request he might not like (Esther 4:16). Isaiah 58:3 says people fasted in order to humble themselves.

Some people respond, “I’d die if I had to fast.” Perhaps that’s kind of the idea. We know we would die if we went without food long enough. So perhaps one day of fasting is a way of saying, “God, I would die for you if I had to.” Yes, fasting is a humbling experience and frightening to some people. But perhaps that is the point.

Is something important coming up that you know you will be urgently praying about? Once you skip one meal, you will have conquered your desire to eat. Then, with your brain not having to concentrate on digesting food, it will be able to focus more on that important thing happening in your life. Your prayers will be more focused. You will be more focused with your eyes more clearly on God.

So, take a shower, comb your hair, put on some nice clothes, and look like you have something important to do. Then fast.

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00-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-ThumbnailSTEPHEN: UNLIKELY MARTYR did everything he could think of to convince people his religion was good.  He recruited help.  At night they would sneak pages of scriptures under rocks, inside people’s houses, nailed to statues of the gods.  They met in secret and worshiped. Then publicly they would march.  And they fasted as Queen Esther had done.  If it worked for Esther, surely it would work for Stephen and his zealous friends. Would it backfire? To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this………. https://bit.ly/2XBFXvJ

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All-night prayer?

Silver Cover-KINDLE-thumbnailThe scripture for today, June 12 (6/12), is Luke 6:12 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“One of those days, Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”

How in the world did Jesus think of enough things to say that he could pray all night? Most of us, on a good day, only manage a 5-minute prayer. The next verse says that the next morning he selected his twelve apostles. Aha! He had a list. He had probably spent at least half an hour each praying about them by name, as well as about others he was considering. Jesus knew what his apostles would be facing someday. Which ones would be loyal enough, stubborn enough, strong-willed enough to someday in the future endure persecution, torture (skinned alive, beaten to death, burned), and martyrdom for him?

Who do you pray for by name? Do you have a prayer list? How about opening the newspaper and praying for all those people in the news ~ perpetrators, victims, causes, governments, situations? Or everyone you work with? Or everyone your children go to school with? Or all their teachers and administrators? Or the clerks in the stores you go to regularly? Or members of an organization you belong to? Or every member of your congregation? What about countries where people become Christians at risk of their freedom and even their lives?

There are always people in need of prayer. And one of the joys of such a prayer life is now and then telling people whom you know that they are in your prayers, or writing a note to someone who is a stranger to you telling them that you pray for them.

Some people have never heard their names in prayer. Some people have never even been told that someone prays for them.

God loves to answer prayer. Do you love prayer?

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An odd way to beat poverty

The scripture for today, June 10 (6/10), is Proverbs 6:10f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Applied Christianity“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest ~ and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”

Oh! This scripture really comes to the point, doesn’t it? Perhaps during difficult economic times for some people, this can be a gentle reminder. If you can’t work for money, you can work for free. There is always work to do as a volunteer either in an organization or just by yourself. All it takes is for you to look around.

Well, if you’re already in the clutches of poverty, what will volunteering do to help the situation? People will notice you. They will notice your work ethic and your cheerfulness and your thoughtfulness.  They will know you are out of work and just might tell people looking for someone to hire. And in the process, you are helping others. That in itself can make you feel rich ~ even if you’re not.

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Applied ChristianityAPPLIED CHRISTIANITY: A HANDBOOK OF 500 GOOD WORKS gives ideas for every age group, every town size, every congregation size in a step by-step manner.  Some congregations have even used it as a class book.  Great for teen classes and home-schoolers too.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….  bit.ly/APPLIEDCHRISTIANITY

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Love like ocean tides

0-BK 4-FolkHero-Cover-Kindle-thumbnail-newYour love, Oh God, is like the ocean.  When I need you the most, the tide moves in closer and refreshes my soul.  When it is time for me to work on an assignment from you to help people blaming you for their problems, the tide ebbs and moves out to tend to someone else.  Then, when I need refreshed by you, here comes the tide flowing in again. Just like clockwork. You are never far away.  I can always depend on you. You never change. You are from eternity to eternity.

Thank you for being my example. Your feet walked a thousand miles back and forth across Palestine looking for people who needed you. Your hands touched a thousand people with diseases and frailties and handicaps and you healed them all. Your lips parted a thousand times to speak words of hope to people in the clutches of Satan who convinced them they were happy.  They weren’t. Satan convinced them they were safe with him when they really weren’t. Satan convinced them God hated them when you really loved them beyond understand. In some ways I am those people. Yet you kept right on walking and touching and speaking. Thank you, my Lord.  And, Lord, may I walk and touch and speak as you did.

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Today’s Mosaic

Supper-Front Cover-ThumbnailGod of the universe, you think of everything.  You gave us morning, day, evening, and night. All good in their own way for starting, doing, stopping, and resting.  Each day has its own mosaic Seasons of the year are a mosaic too. Life is a mosaic. So are my friends you gave me, and my enemies too.  Even you are, for I was fashioned like you. All things work together for your pleasure and mine as long as I follow you. I wonder what you have in mind for my mosaic today. What color will today be? Whether light or dark, bright or dull, I will praise you for it.

My Father, sometimes I have a hard time distinguishing between pride and spreading the word about something I have done that will inspire others to do. Keep me from pride.

Ah, my Lord, how can I thank you for loving me and saving my soul? Thank you for preparing a place for me in your eternal home? Oh, how I long to transfer from this world to your perfect one. And thank you for the opportunities I have in this world to stand up for you and fight those who imitate Satan with their wiles and false promises of happiness.  Working for you is sometimes hard, but it makes me stronger and more like you. And I know that, whatever you promise, it will come true. I worship you.

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Supper-Front Cover-ThumbnailTHE LORD’S SUPPER: 52 READINGS WITH PRAYERS is perfect to read as personal meditation while partaking of the Lord’s Supper or aloud by people leading the congregation.   To BUY NOW, click a book cover, or paste this………. https://bit.ly/2ZvCTDS

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