Wednesday 5/16 ~ Smile. The world will wonder why

The scripture for today, May 16 (5/16), is 1st Thessalonians 5:16 (KJV) as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“Rejoice evermore.”

But how can we rejoice when something terrible has happened?

The Apostle Paul who wrote this knew that the Thessalonians were being terribly persecuted (2nd Thessalonians 1:4), but he still said, “Rejoice evermore.” How could he say such a calloused thing amidst their suffering?  Had he no feeling, no empathy?

Sometimes we have to suffer so the true nature of bad people pretending to be good can be revealed to the world. Sometimes we have to suffer so we can build our spiritual muscles.  Sometimes we have to suffer so we can understand others going through the same thing.

Just remember that, just as God was grieved when his Son suffered on the cross, he is grieved when you suffer. And just as God was able to bring something wonderful out of his Son’s suffering, he can bring something wonderful out of yours too.

In the meantime, chin up, shoulders back, stand straight, be brave, and smile. The world will wonder why.

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Monday 5/7 ~ Lord, why don’t you stop all this suffering?

The scripture for today, May 7 (5/7), is  1st Peter 5:7 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Thumbnail“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Oh, how hard life can be sometimes. We wonder why God doesn’t stop all the bad things. But, if there were no evil and bad things happening, we would have heaven on earth. Satan is the Prince of this world. 

How many times in a week are you anxious about something? Your job, your home, your children, your neighbors, your government, your health? How many times in a day? Are they heavy? Sometimes almost too heavy to bear?

Name them to God. Tell him all about them. Go into as much detail as you like. Then put them all on his shoulders. That’s what he wants you to do. He will carry those burdens for you.

Yes, this is not heaven on earth. But Jesus provides a way for us to escape to the other world in heaven.  We don’t have to escape; he doesn’t force us. In the meantime, he calls out, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).  Why? He cares for you.

 

Saturday 5/5 ~ Seek peace. Deep peace.

The scripture for today, May 5 (5/5), is Micah 5:5a as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

000-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“And he will be their peace.”

The little book of Micah was written during a time when his country was full of prosperity. But it was also full of abused power. The lower on the social scale, the more the people suffered at the hands of the powerful few.

In the midst of warning the social elite, Micah offers comfort to their victims. You may be going through economic distress such as losing your job or losing your home. You may be going through social distress such as being passed up for a promotion or losing friends because of your moral code.

Seek peace. Deep peace.

Sometimes, it is only possible to reveal powerful abusers by revealing their victims to the world. Sometimes our job is to just survive so that a future generation can find justice and acceptance. Or sometimes we must lose everything so that we can quit worrying about this world and look forward to the next.

Seek peace. Deep peace.

So when you feel left behind with nothing, look up! God is still on his throne. God still holds out his arms. God still wipes away tears. Possibly it is at such times that you can feel God’s love most warmly and God’s peace most deeply.

Friday 5/4 ~ Jesus: The only crown giver

The scripture for today, May 4 (5/4), is 1st Peter 5:4 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-HS-592 VersesExamined-COVER-Thumbnail“And when the Chief Shepherd [Jesus] appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”

The world is frustrated with and has left “organized religion” and it is our fault.  We brought it on ourselves. We have organized our denominations to death, and the spiritually minded have said, “Enough is enough. I want none of it. I just want Jesus.”

Look at all the denominations that appoint someone to be the head of their religion at their world headquarters. He goes by different titles ~ bishop, high priest, father, president. Their headquarters may be a small office or a multi-story building, or an entire complex of buildings.

From here the head meets regularly with others to make decisions for their denomination. They pass regulations on who can hold office, where their contributions must be spent, amendments to their particular creed, and on and on.

Here is a unique thought: Let us set this system aside and replace everything with Jesus as the only head, and let the world headquarters be in heaven! We do not have to rely on the decisions of men but only on the decisions of God the Son who loved us so much that he became human for a while so he could die for us. Maybe we need to sell our big buildings, give the money to mission work and the poor, and return to meeting in unorganized homes.

We don’t even need a creed, because if it is less than the Bible it isn’t enough, if it is more than the Bible it is too much, and if it is the same as the Bible why have it?

No more “organized religion.”  No more divisiveness. No more denominationalism. Just one united church of Christ with its divine Founder as our sole leader, and His divine words as our sole creed. This will never fade away.

Jesus is the crown giver. Return Him to His throne and watch the world return to Him.