Thursday 1/11 ~ Do you hear it?  Shhh.  Listen…  God is calling you.

The scripture for today, January 11 (1/11), is 2nd Peter 1:11 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Thumbnail“And you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

How often do you forget that earth is not your home? As an old gospel song says, “We’re just traveling through.” Do you really believe that?

If someone told you tomorrow you were going to die, would you go into a panic? Would you beg God to let you live another ten or twenty years? Would you feel this was the beginning of the end?

To a true Christian, your dying is the end of the beginning. You have a whole “life” ahead of you in heaven. A never-ending life? Do you live like you believe it? Will you die looking forward to it?

Are you even a Christian yet? What is your life like? Do you even know what is in the Bible, God’s messages to you? Does the thought of heaven sound boring to you?  Do you even like God?

Stop and listen to the empty place in your heart (Ec. 3:11).  Do you hear it?  Shhh.  Listen…  God is calling you.

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Scripture for Friday 12/8 ~ Why Am I Here?

The scripture for today, December 8 (12/8), is Ecclesiastes 12:8 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-REV-Cover-No Logo-KINDLE-medium” ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the teacher. ‘Everything is meaningless!’ “

Several years ago some Christians in England did a sidewalk survey in the downtown of a major city. One of their inquiries was: “What question about your life do you ask the most?”. The answer almost always was, “Why am I here? What is life all about?”.

The entire book of Ecclesiastes is about all the things the richest and most powerful man in the world did in order to have an enjoyable and fulfilling life: He built mansions and grand temples, he cultivated great gardens, he brought in gold and precious stones and fabrics from around the globe, he had numerous wives and mistresses, he built the largest army and navy in the world, he studied every possible subject. At the end, he said it was all meaningless.

The meaning of our life is that we were born to die. This life is temporary. This life is the foyer of the life we will have eternally ~ a life in heaven or hell. We were not put here just to have fun, but rather to take as many people with us to heaven as possible.

How do we do that? By continually studying and following our manual the Bible that our Creator gave to guide us through this temporary life and into our eternal life ~ our final destination ~ and encouraging others to do the same. Then applying it to our everyday life.

That is the meaning of life.

 

Scripture for Sunday, 11/26 ~ Never Die

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

worship-the-first-century-way-cover-kindle” ‘ 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 [physically & spiritually]. Born twice [physically & spiritually], die once [physically].” 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.”

So, when Jesus said believers would never die, he meant our souls would never die. How reassuring!

 

Scripture for Saturday, November 25 ~ Heaven

The scripture for today, November 25 (11/25), is John 11:25 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BOOK 7-SHADOW-ChildsCartoonMedium“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.’ “

This has always been puzzling: People who have been Christians all their lives find out from their doctor that they are going to die, and they weep and beg God to keep them alive. Why? Heaven is our final destination, not earth. We claim we want to go to heaven, but we do not want to do what is necessary to get there. Death is the door to heaven. Death is not the end, but the beginning!

Let us be willing to look death in the eye and say, “Jesus has conquered you! I will close my eyes here and open them again to behold my Creator and my Savior!”

 

Scripture for Friday, October 27 (10/27)

The scripture for today, October 27 (10/27), is Mark 10:27 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

worship-the-first-century-way-cover-kindle“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God: All things are possible with God.’ “

Can we be perfect? God let mankind try for many centuries to be perfect.

To one group of people he gave over 600 laws and said, “If you keep these, you will be perfect.” But, as hard as the Jews tried, no one could keep the Law of Moses perfectly.

To the rest of the world, he basically said, “Try to figure out for yourselves how to be perfect.” So, they tried all kinds of religions, but with all of them, they could not be perfect.

Finally, mankind was ready for Jesus. He came to earth and lived that perfect life that is impossible for us to live. He became the perfect Lamb of God, and sacrificed his life for us, for Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death.” He collected the wage for us.

So now, according to Romans 6:3-4, just as Jesus died on the cross, we too can die to our sinful nature ~ the part of us that sins and doesn’t care. Then, just as Jesus was buried in his tomb, we too can be buried in a watery tomb of baptism. And finally, just as Jesus was raised up out of his tomb the Savior, we rise up out of our watery tomb the saved.

Then God considers us perfect too. God cannot associate with sinners in his heaven. He can only have perfect people in his heavenly home. Impossible for us to live there with him someday? Yes. But, God sent Jesus to fix that problem. With God, nothing is impossible.

 

 

 

Scripture for Monday, October 9 (10/9)

The scripture for today, October 9 (10/9), is Job 10:9 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-COVER-KINDLE“Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again?”

Job was sick, his so-called friends came to him to say God was punishing him, and Job was frustrated. He could not reason with his friends, so he tried to reason with God. It was a lovers’ quarrel.

By verse 18, he was so upset with God that he said, “Why then did you bring me out of the womb? I wish I had died before any eye saw me.” Job’s body was broken, and even more, his spirit was broken. Satan was doing everything he could to get Job to deny God. But, even though Job argued with God and perhaps came close to denying him, he always acknowledged the good God did along with the bad. He just didn’t understand the bad.

We don’t understand the bad in our lives. But remember, it is Satan that causes the bad to happen. God may step back and let Satan give it a try, but we are not their toys. We are soldiers in the army of God. When Satan throws darts at us, we hold up the shield of faith and become even stronger.

Sometimes, the bad happening in our life is God’s assignment for us. We are part of the war between God and Satan. As good and loyal soldiers, we take our assignments and stand firm. We may complain, but we still stand firm. We may trip sometimes, but we still stand firm. Being a soldier in the army of God is not easy. But the battle will be won. Some day. So stand firm!

 

Scripture for Saturday, October 7 (10/7)

The scripture for today, October 7(10/7), is Joshua 10:7f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Clouds in blue sky“So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men. The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.’ “

We today cannot imagine a good God condoning violence, let alone promoting it. But think back. Mankind was quite barbaric in the centuries and millenniums before Christ. God never runs very far ahead of mankind, or else mankind would not understand, would grow discouraged and then not even try to follow God. By the time Jesus came, God was saying, “No more violence.”

In this scripture for today, God was telling Joshua to attack people in the Jews’ Promised Land ~ Canaan. This brings up a related question: Why would a good God allow one group of people to kill off another group of people? God had told Abraham centuries earlier, “In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure” (Genesis 15:16).

In Leviticus 18:24, 28, God warned the Jews through Moses, “Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled….And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.” So God warned the Jews that, if they got as bad as the previous people in Canaan, he would drive them out too.

One of the monstrous sins of the Amorites was child sacrifice in the open fires of Marduck.  Eventually, the Jews began doing the same thing, and God drove them out of their Promised Land to Assyria and Babylon.

Further, in Old Testament times, God often punished people immediately. Why punish them? Partly to get them away from the good people. And God used armies of believers to do the punishing for him.

In the New Testament, God does not expect us to do the punishing. Romans 12:19 says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’ says the Lord. On the contrary, If your enemy is hungry feed him….Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Thank God, he has taken the terrible task of vengeance away from us. We can just forgive (let loose of) our enemies and hand things over to God to take whatever steps need to be taken. In the meantime, we can read the Old Testament and learn that God takes notice when people are doing bad things to us. God does take care of us. God does love his children.

Scripture for Tuesday, September 26 (9/26)

The scripture for today, September 26 (9/26), is Hebrews 9:26f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Medium“Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face the judgment.”

According to the Old Law of Moses, sacrificing the body of perfect animals had to be done to temporarily collect the wage of death for people’s sins. (Remember, the wages of sin is death ~ Romans 6:23.) But it had to be done on a regular basis. Then Jesus became the perfect Lamb of God. In a sense, he laid his body down on the altar of the world and died our body death for our sins. One of the last things he said was, “It is fulfilled”. He had fulfilled the Law of Moses ~ every jot and tittle ~ by living it perfectly and never sinning (Hebrews 4:15). Thereby, he freed us from slavery to the Law, including animal sacrifices.

Therefore, just as Jesus’ body died once, our body dies once. Then our judgment. No second chances. No being bought out of punishment. No reincarnations.  No going back and trying to be perfect again and failing again. Jesus released us from all of our failures at being perfect.

We marvel at all he did for us to save us from hell. How amazing God’s plan for us! We fall at his wounded feet and worship.

 

Scripture for Sunday, September 24 (9/24)

The scripture for today, September 24 9?24), is Luke 9:24 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

worship-the-first-century-way-cover-kindle“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

Romans 6 explains this phenomenon best. We are to put our old self to death ~ to crucify that part of us that sins and doesn’t care, that part of us that puts ourselves first (verse 7) ~ in imitation of Jesus dying. Once we decide to put that part of ourselves to death, we are buried, just like Jesus was buried (verse 3 & 4a).

And then, “just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (verse 4b). Why? “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection” (verse 5). Having been “brought from death to life” (verse 13) through baptism, we have been born again!

Jesus’ physical death on a physical cross had a spiritual meaning of a spiritual death. We understand that. Our watery death has a spiritual meaning of a spiritual death also. There is another spiritual death called the second death in Revelation 21:8. If we go through the first spiritual death at baptism, we will not have to go through the second spiritual death in hell. We will have lost our life of sin and in the process saved our souls.

Only a spiritual mind understands this. And how amazing it is.

 

 

Scripture for Friday, September 22 (9/22)

The scripture for today, September 22 (9:22) is Luke 9:22 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Songs-First 140-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Medium“And he [Jesus] said, ‘The Son of Man[kind] must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

Jesus did not look forward to his death. Hebrews 5:7 says, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death….” Loud cries!

Yet, in today’s scripture, shortly after he announced to his apostles that he would be killed in Jerusalem, over in verse 51 it says, “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.”

Jesus had to use every bit of self-determination he could muster to face that terrible death he had to suffer for us. What kept him pushing forward instead of doing something else? He knew he would be saving us from hell by taking our punishment for us. Then his work would be done ~ all would be fulfilled ~ and he could return to heaven and his Father.

Is it difficult for you to get up on Sunday morning to go to church or would you rather be doing something else? Is it difficult for you to read the Bible every day or would you rather be doing something else? Is it difficult for you to invite a friend to church with you or would you rather be doing something else? Do you love Jesus as resolutely as he did and does you?