Friday 1/18 ~ Whiter than the snow outside your window

The scripture for today, January 18 (1/18), is Isaiah 1:18 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Thumbnail” ‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’ “

When did this become possible? Revelation in the New Testament explains in 7:14 we make our robes white by washing them in the blood of the Lamb.

What lamb? John the Baptist introduced the world to the Lamb. When he saw Jesus walking toward him in front of a crowd, he announced, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

How did Jesus become the Lamb of God? Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death, the wages being paid by Satan. In the Old Testament era, God pacified Satan temporarily by allowing us to kill an animal in our place whenever we sinned. So, for centuries, we would sin and sacrifice an animal, sin and sacrifice an animal and on and on, for we never could stop sinning.

Finally, God offered one last sacrifice for all times. This is what Satan wanted.  In order to redeem us from our soul death,  Satan wanted God to die. When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper (Communion), he did so during the Jewish Passover feast where they ate their meal of lamb. There is no mention that Jesus and his apostles ate the usual lamb. Instead, he passed around the usual wine and said from now on it represented his blood as the sacrificial Lamb. And he passed around the usual bread and said from now on it represented his body as the sacrificial Lamb. (Mark 14:12 22-25).

Then Jesus ~ God on earth ~ went out and paid our ransom by dying. Then he tricked Satan and came back to life on Sunday, overcoming death forever.

Sunday is the most special day of the week for Christians. Why? The early Christians under guidance of Jesus’ apostles “broke bread” for the communion every first day of the week (Acts 20:7). May we always make this the central part of our worship on this special day.

It is snowing where some of you live.  Look out your window or find a picture of snow.  So white and pure and sparkling.  So soft and quiet and peaceful. Oh, my Savior. You can make my soul this white?  Whiter? I fall at Your feet and worship You.

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Sunday 1/13 ~ Come back! Come back! I miss you!

The scripture for today, January 13 (1/13), is Habakkuk 1:13 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Thumbnail“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong.”

This pretty much explains why no one deserves heaven. Going to heaven has little to do with doing so many good works God will feel obligated to admit you. 

It’s all about sin.  Only sinless people can be in heaven, for God cannot coexist with sin and still be God. Of course, you cannot be sinless. If nothing else, you have sins of attitude and neglect.

For thousands of years, God let mankind try any way they could to be perfect. Some people he gave the Law of Moses to, and some people he continued to let try on their own. Neither worked. No matter how hard we tried, no one could get it right.

The wages you earn for sinning is death (Romans 6:23). Remember in the Garden of Eden God warned, “The moment you sin, you die.” He was talking about souls dying and eventually bodies dying. Satan was now holding mankind hostage. Satan causes death, so sinners collect the wages Satan pays for following him.

But mankind was still being held hostage. He demanded the highest ransom imaginable: The death of God. Satan wanted to e God and this was the only way he could carry out his plan.

God held Satan off temporarily: He told them to kill an animal to die in their place. Even collecting the wages of sin, Satan still held mankind hostage. Mankind had to have all the chances possible to be perfect. But after millenniums, mankind still could not.

Galatians 4:4 says, “When the time was come, God sent his son.” Finally, when mankind understood everyone needed outside help, God sent Jesus. Hebrews 4:15 says Jesus lived the perfect life that was impossible for anyone to live; he was completely free of sin.

Then God seemingly gave in to Satan’s ransom demand to free mankind.  God offered his son ~ God in the form of mankind. Finally, Satan got his wish ~ the ransom he had demanded: The death of God.

So, Satan freed mankind from his prison of soul death. But Satan was in for a surprise.  His gloating came to an abrupt stop.  God tricked Satan. You cannot kill Life.  God returned to that human body and came back to life.

It was too late. Satan had already freed mankind. 

That done, God ~ who can only dwell with sinlessness ~ was now able to allow obedient, faithful believers in Jesus into his home, heaven. For, through Jesus, we become sinless. Glory of glories!

But something terrible happened after that. People began selling themselves back into slavery to Satan (Romans 6:15-23).  No!  No! This cannot be! So God, through people who have resisted Satan’s lures of fun and riches, power and beauty, continually call out, “Come back!  Come back to God! Come back.  I miss you. God misses you….”

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Wednesday 11/28 ~ I think I’ll skip this time

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

“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.”

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Thumbnail“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.”

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Monday 11/26 — Never die?

The scripture for today, November 26 (11/26) is John 11:26 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-REV-Cover-No Logo-KINDLE-lg-thumbnail” ‘ And whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ “

Jesus was talking to the sister of his close friend, Lazarus, who had just died. Of course, we understand he was talking about spiritual death ~ the death of our souls. And death in the original Greek means separation; so in the case of our souls, it would be separation from God.

Revelation 20:6 & 14 refer to the second death which is the lake of fire. So what is the first death of our souls?

In John 3:3 Jesus said we must be born again of water and the spirit. Romans 6:4 says “we were therefore buried with him through baptism into death [of that sinful life] in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a NEW LIFE.”

Someone has said “Born once [physically], die twice. Born twice [physically & spiritually], die once.” If we emerge from the waters of our mother’s womb, that is the first birth of our souls. If we emerge from the waters of baptism, that is our second birth.”

Ah, the thought of living on inside the walls of salvation in heaven where Satan can never touch us again. The thought of walking and talking with God and never growing tired of it. The thought of singing with God with pleasure unending.

How reassuring to us when Jesus said believers’ souls would never die. Oh, glorious thought.

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Friday 11/23 ~ When they wept

The scripture for today, November 23 (11/23), is 1st Corinthians 11:23ff as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Thumbnail“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ “

How the hearts of Jesus and his closest friends must have been breaking that night. How the apostles must have struggled to hold back the tears. They all knew the religious leaders in Jerusalem were plotting to execute Jesus. They knew he was taking his life in his hands to be in the city ~ their lives too. How could they part with the one they now knew was the Son of God but also the Son of Mankind ~ their dearest friend?

When we take the communion every Sunday, where are our thoughts? What we’re going to do after church? What someone sitting near us is wearing? How the person in front of us is blocking our view?

How many of us during the communion weep as Jesus’ apostles must have wept ~ and probably even as Jesus himself wept?

Oh, Jesus, it was my sins that caused you to go through that horrible death!  My punishment! How could you love me that much? I fall at your feet. I am so sorry. 

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Wednesday 11/14 ~ No one is perfect

The scripture for today, November 14 (11/14), is Job 11:14f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Thumbnail“If you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear.”

Job’s misguided friend, Zophar, was advising Job that, if he would become perfect (“allow no evil”), he would stand firm before God.

Oh, Zophar! Hadn’t he caught on yet? Hadn’t he yet realized that no one can be perfect? At the end of this ancient book, God told Zophar and his friends to repent of their accusations toward Job.

Throughout the Old Testament, the Jews tried unsuccessfully to be perfect with the help of the Law of Moses, but they couldn’t do it. In the meantime, the nations that had not received the Law were left to try with their own methods to be perfect, and they couldn’t do it either.

The only thing that ever has allowed mankind to be perfect has been the blood of Jesus. He was the perfect Lamb of God offered as our ransom to Satan. It has been eons since Zophar insisted that, if Job became perfect, he wouldn’t be sick anymore. As of 2000 years ago, everyone who follows Jesus is able to stand firm, because Jesus can make you perfect, washing away your sins (John 1:29; Acts 22:16).

What treasures we miss when we misinterpret God.

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Tuesday 11/13 ~ Amazing proofs

The scripture for today, November 13 (11/13), is Zechariah 11:13 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Thumbnail“And the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’ ~ the handsome price at which they paid me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord to the potter.”

The book of Zechariah is full of prophecies about Jesus, especially circumstances surrounding his death. Compare the above scripture with this written five centuries later when Jesus was betrayed and crucified:

“Then one of the Twelve ~ the one called Judas Iscariot ~ went to the chief priests and asked, ‘What are you willing to give me if I hand him [Jesus] over to you?’ So they counted out for him thirty silver coins” (Matthew 26:15).

and….

“When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests….So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself….So they [chief priests] decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners” (Matthew 27:3, 6-7).

The prophet Zechariah wrote this prophecy some five centuries before Jesus. The prophet had been long dead before it was fulfilled. This could not possibly have been contrived to fit such a distant future ~ the exact sum Judas was paid, the money being thrown into the temple and then given to the potters.

This is only one of many proofs. The Bible is the only religious book in the world with built-in undeniable and amazing proofs it is of divine origin.

Why not keep a collection of these prophecies so you will be prepared when a friend says “The Bible is full of myths”?

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