Wednesday 3/13 ~ Do you hear it now?

The Scripture for today, March 13 (3/13), Is Ezra 3:13 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Golden Cover-KINDLE-thumbnail“No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.”

Solomon’s great temple had been destroyed and the Jews forced to go to Babylon as slaves Now, 70 years later, they were back as freedmen and had rebuilt the temple. The older Jews who had seen Solomon’s golden temple wailed in grief because this one was not nearly so grand. The younger ones shouted for joy because at least they now had a temple again. So, the laughing of the young people and the crying of the old people mingled.

Today, sometimes the laughing and crying around us get too loud and put our lives in confusion. We don’t understand what is going on. Sometimes the laughing or crying is our own. Sometimes we need to get away from the loud laughing and crying.

Turn off the television. The radio. The cellphone. The computer. Don’t answer the door. Go into a room where you can be alone in complete silence. If you have a family, put a sign on the door. Then pick up the Bible and begin to read Luke about the life of Christ, or Philippians about peace, or the Psalms about overcoming adversity, or James about the direction your life is going.  Read an entire book of the Bible in one sitting.  Then be still.

          Hear it now?

               It is God’s heart calling your heart.

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Thursday 2/28 ~ Is it possible to know for sure?

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The scripture for today, February 28 (2/28), is Jeremiah 2:28 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble! For you have as many gods as you have towns, O Judah.”

Today we think the whole thing is ridiculous. How could people believe in a multitude of gods or even one? Further, how could people make statues of them as though anyone knew what the gods looked like? On top of that, many of them looked like dumb animals. And gods you could carry around?

Apparently, it was the popular thing to do. In fact, a person discovering yet another god was highly esteemed. And it seemed logical that the more gods one believed in, the more holy a person was. Or the bigger the statue of a god in one’s home, the more dedicated a person was.

We today call those old gods myths ~ things that were made up out of people’s imaginations. Yet they thrived in their time. Why? Because of “mass hypnosis” in a sense. Humans are social beings and we don’t like being ostracized. We want to be accepted.

Do we do the same thing today? There are evangelists on television who draw crowds of hundreds and thousands and people send them millions of dollars. They seem so right and so holy. Yet they contradict each other. So it cannot be a measure of rightness and holiness that a lot of people believe something.

The measure of spiritual things must be the Bible. Many religious leaders in antiquity and up to today have duped peopled because they looked and acted so “holy.” Remember, no matter how many thousands upon thousands follow a religious leader, that leader will be judged by God just like everyone else.

There are a lot of religious contradictions out there.  We cannot say “all religions are right in their own way”. Religion is not a philosophy. Religion involves whether we will spend eternity in heaven or hell.

Is it ever possible to sort through all the contradictions and come up with what is the truth? Is it possible to know for sure?

Let us read the Bible for ourselves. Let us study the Bible for ourselves. Let us not search the scriptures for something to prove our opinion right, or a certain leader right, or our family right, or a particular religious idea right. Let us try to erase all our pre-conceived religious notions, and read with an open mind what God himself has to say to us. It is possible to know for sure.

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Monday 2/25 ~ Almost Home

The scripture for today, February 25 (2/25), is Revelation 2:25 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

000-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“Only hold on to what you have until I come.”

Several years ago, my 91-year-old mother left this life. Some say that, at the moment of death, one’s life flashes before their eyes. In the case of my mother, at the moment of her death, her life flashed before my eyes.

I suddenly imagined her as a baby in her mother’s (my grandmother’s) lap. Then she was a toddler playing in their yard. Then I saw her in school, then as a young bride to my father, then at home with her husband and children gathered around her. Then I saw her as launching a career after we were grown, then retiring, then eventually going into the nursing home.

And when that brief moment of envisioning her whole life was gone, I whispered, “You made it, Mother! You made it! You never faltered. Through all those years of ups and downs, you never wavered in your faith that Jesus Christ was real and would accept you into heaven. You stuck it out. And now you’re home!”

May you live your life in such a way that, despite your ups and downs, you never wander from Jesus. Stick with him through every storm, every flood, every blast of tragedy, every tumbling of dreams. Hold on to what you have until the day you leave this temporary life and enter your true eternal life.

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Monday 2/18 ~ Be a warrior

The scripture for today, February 18 (2/18), is Hebrews 2:18 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

06-PROMISE KEEPER-ChildsCartoonThumbnail“Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Do you find yourself caught up in some kind of sin over and over? Is the temptation always there? Do you commit the sin and then curse yourself for your weakness in giving in to the temptation? Do you see no way out?

A lot of people never think of Jesus ever being tempted. He was too good. But he had a human body and was tempted in every way that we are (Hebrews 4:15).

Try to imagine Jesus with your particular haunting temptation and imagine how you think he would have resisted it. Jesus used to get angry at temptation, which of course is caused by Satan. In other words, he got angry at Satan. One time when tempted, he declared, “Get behind me, Satan!”

Temptation is not the same thing as sin. Temptation is when we want to commit a sin, but haven’t decided yet to do it. Jesus faced Satan (temptation) head on. Once when he went through over a month of harsh temptation alone in the wilderness, Satan gave him all the reasons he should do certain things and made them look so good and reasonable; then Jesus gave all the reasons he should not do those things.

Hebrews 4:15 says, “We do not have a high priest [Jesus] who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are ~ yet was without sin.”

Jesus stood up to Satan.  Jesus was a spiritual warrior.  Today, be a warrior.

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Tuesday 2/12 ~ God, the Gentleman

The scripture for today, February 12 (2/12), is 2nd Timothy 2:12 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-REV-Cover-No Logo-KINDLE-lg-thumbnail“If we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us.”

God loves us but never forces us to love him. He has given us a beautiful world to live in full of excitement and challenges and comforts. He has given us family and friends. He has given us his Son to take our punishment for our sins so we can live with him in his home ~ heaven. He is constantly calling to us, “I love you! Come to me for safety!”

But being the Gentleman that he is, he never forces himself on us. Instead, he lets us lead the way so to speak. If we don’t want to listen to God’s words, God doesn’t want to listen to our words. If we don’t want to spend extra time on God, God doesn’t want to spend extra time on us. If we don’t want anything to do with God in this life, he will not want anything to do with us in the next life.

He never forces us. But oh, how he weeps when we walk away from him.

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