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 1/9 ~ Go anyway. Conquer anyway.

The scripture for today, January 9 (1/9), is Joshua 1:9 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-Hero Alone-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Fear can paralyze. Just ask Joshua. He had just been given the job of conquering horrible people who practiced prostitution as a religion, self-mutilation and sacrificing their children to the fire god.  Plus, his spies said those bad people were like giants and his army was made up of the children of former slaves with no experience.

Guess what God said.  “Go anyway. Conquer anyway.” 

What do you fear?  A few people fear spiders and night time and heights and such? A lot more of people fear changing a bad habit that has us in its claws and won’t let us go. Even more serious, do you fear telling a neighbor, someone in a club, a relative about Jesus’ willingness to save them from hell and get them entrance into heaven?  To all this, God says, “Go anyway.”

Some of you reading this live in countries where it is dangerous to be a Christian. Do you fear being arrested, tortured, killed for your faith?  God tells you, “Be strong!  Be courageous!  Do not be terrified!”  Why. Because “the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

What keeps the fear under control?  “Perfect love casts out fear” (I John 4:18).  Love yourself, love your neighbor, love God.

Today, whatever it is holding you back, “Go anyway, Conquer anyway.”

 

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Monday 12/24 ~Remember the ravens

The scripture for today, December 24 (12/24), is Luke 12:24 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Joseph-Cover-Thumbnail“Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!”

In many nations right now, things are financially strained. Luxuries? No. To be able to live until tomorrow? Yes.

Which is more valuable? To impress men or impress God? A life dedicated to things impresses men. A life dedicated to doing good things impresses God.

I know of a group of believers in Jesus recently in an African country who had to flee soldiers who were after Christians. They had to run immediately upon sight of the soldiers. No time to pack anything. Just run.  Escape. Run. Escape. 

To get to true safety, they had to walk a hundred miles. What did they eat?  Grass. Leaves from bushes. Tree roots. But they made it. They made it to safety and the loving, protective arms of other Christians.

Today, instead of a luxury, can you send the money to people in parts of the world who are struggling to stay alive because of their faith? Struggling to stay safe because they are Christians?

Consider the ravens.

PS ~ Those of you with children, and you cannot get them much for Christmas: Write IOU’s to them and put each one in a box. Wrap each with typing paper if you don’t have Christmas paper. Or even black-and-white newspapers. And with a red or green crayon, draw a ribbon on top. What’s on the IOU’s? “One hour of coloring with you.” “One hour of playing ball with you.” “Three hours of hiking with you.” “Two hours of baking cookies with you.” Give yourself for Christmas!

 

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Friday 11/30 ~ Satan is still beautiful & still lying his way into people’s lives

The scripture for today, November 30 (10/30), is Proverbs 11:30 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-REV-Cover-No Logo-KINDLE-lg-thumbnail“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”

Remember back in the Garden of Eden? Going by the age of their three sons, Adam and Eve were in the Garden close to one hundred years.  Instead of centering on what they did wrong, look at what they did right.  They were sinless for nearly a century! Hardly any of us can accomplish it in 100 minutes.

Just think. Walking through a garden lush with the beauty of holiness.  Walking through a garden with the water of life to drink. Walking through a garden with God (materialized) himself.

How many times did Satan, upright like a king’s scepter and perhaps with a crown of gold and ruby on his head, make his way gracefully through the garden, laughing and enjoying the company of newly made humans? How many times did he coil up his tail like a maelstrom spiraling through heavens full of light and beauty as he watched the couple enjoy the fruit of the garden? How many times did this magnificent creature sway back and forth, back and forth as cobras as he spoke hypnotic words to make them feel like gods?

“Oh, look at the fruit on that tree over there? God told you never to touch it, but God is wrong.  Go ahead. Touch it. That’s right. Did anything bad happen to you? Of course not, because God is wrong.  How about touching it with your lips? That’s right. You’re not really eating it. You’re just touching it. Smell it too. Have you ever smelled anything so wonderful? God doesn’t want you to have it. He knows you will learn what evil is and then be as smart at him. God is jealous of you. Go ahead. Take a tiny bite. It won’t hurt you.  See there? Are you dead like he said you would be? No. You are still alive. God is a liar. I am the only one who tells you the truth. I am on your side. God hates you. Sure, go ahead and take another bite, and Adam might like some too.  It’s harmless. Do not believe anything God says. He hates you. I am the only one who loves you.”

That was a long time ago. Now the Tree of Life, which God withheld from Adam and Eve, is in heaven. Today, our assignment is to warn the world of the wiles of Satan and save their souls from him. But be careful, he is still out there, still beautiful, still successful, and still lying his way into people’s lives.

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