Those little churches

The scripture for today, November 21 (11/21), is Acts 11:21 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Medium-The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.”

What had just happened? Some Christians in Phoenecia (today’s Lebanon), Cyprus (the Mediterranean Island), and Cyrene (in today’s North Africa) went to Antioch, a major city in Northern Syria near the southern border of today’s Turkey. There they established a congregation.

This little congregation ended up being the home congregation of Paul and Barnabas for many years. It started small; we don’t know the size it grew to. Regardless of the size, it had foresight and Eventually, did great things.

Perhaps you live in a town full of churches, but you’ve compared them with the New Testament, and none of them follows the original pattern. Perhaps you have even given up going to church because of this problem. What is stopping you from beginning a little congregation after the New Testament pattern in your home?

New Testament churches were simple ~ not elaborate like those mega-churches out there. And those simple churches have always been dynamic in their simplicity. Who knows but that your new little congregation will someday produce a Paul or a Barnabas….

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00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-PAUL: THE UNSTOPPABLE traveled thousands of miles over 20+ years preaching to people who didn’t want preached to, establishing congregations where pagan temples prevails, offering his already-shredded back to the whips of religious leaders.  One man after reading this historical novel said, “Wow!  Oh, Wow!”  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….https://bit.ly/UnstoppablePaul

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Never give up

The scripture for today, November 20 (11/20), is Hebrews 11:20ff as found 00-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Thumbnailin the New Testament of the Bible:

“By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons….By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.”

Do you have children that were loving and good when they were young, but when they became older, they changed? Do you sometimes wonder, “How could I have gone so wrong with my children?” True, they have free will. But do you feel like a failure because your children did not turn out the way you had hoped and prayed?

Have faith ~ the faith of Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Isaac blessed his sons with his land, even though he did not yet own the land. Jacob blessed his sons with power, even though they did yet not have power. Joseph blessed his sons and his brothers’ sons with the land, yet they no longer lived there.

Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph all blessed their children with something they believed would happen someday, even though they did not have those things yet. Why? Because they had faith in their children? Actually, it was mostly because they had faith in God. They had faith in what God would do someday for their children.

Don’t give up. Keep trusting God. Never stop having faith in what God (even after we die) will (not can, but will) do for your children.

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00-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-ThumbnailSTEPHEN: UNLIKELY MARTYR.  In this novel, Stephen starts out as a 17-year-old coward.  Eleven years, he boldly walked in the Sanhedrin’s chambers and preached to them such truths that they killed him for it.  What happened to change him so drastically?  To  BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….https://bit.ly/StephenUnlikelyMartyr

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Until you give me laughter and peace again

0-Joseph-Cover-Kindle-MediumLord, I am like the sheep that walk around afraid to drink from troubled waters, so you lead me to where the waters are calm and peaceful. When I cannot see you, I am afraid to follow a stranger, so you keep me confined so I am safe until your return. Though I walk around with no concern for possible dangers, you are right there with me to make sure I do not fall into that danger. Sometimes I become restless and fearful if I sense a storm is coming close. Then, Lord, I hear your heart singing to my heart, it calms me, and I lie down and rest in you.

The sun is shining, the frost is heavy, it is very cold out there, but I am inside warm, snuggled up, thinking, meditating and watching for the birds to discover the corn I put out for them. Ah, my Lord, I am tired these days and a little depressed. But I thank you for these times when I stop everything, back off, and contemplate. I know it is often at such times that we take a good look at ourselves selves, try to see ourselves as others do, and make changes for the better. So, I thank you for this little bit of unhappy time when I can learn better who I am and how to be more and more like you. And then, may I wait patiently until once again you give me laughter and peace again.

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0-Joseph-Cover-ThumbnailJOSEPH: THE OTHER FATHER is a novel in the INTREPID MEN OF GOD series.  Joseph is finally happy.  He and Mary are betrothed. What could possibly go wrong?  But that something did happen.  Had she betrayed him?  Joseph’s depression was devastating. Then he learned the truth and spent the rest of his life awed at his responsibilities of being the human father of the Son of God. But he rose top the challenge — most of the time. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  https://bit.ly/The-Other-Father

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The real Thomas

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-MediumThe scripture for today, November 16 (11/16), is John 11:16 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“Then Thomas…said to the rest of the disciples, ‘Let us also go that we may die with him.’ “

Have you ever been falsely accused? This apostle is most often and wrongly called “Doubting Thomas.” We’ve all heard the story about Thomas being absent when Jesus appeared to the other apostles, then later said he wouldn’t believe Jesus was alive again unless he could touch him. Well, the other apostles hadn’t believed until they saw him either.

After returning to life, Jesus first appeared to the women. Then, “when they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others…But they did not believe the women because their words seemed to them like nonsense” (Luke 24:9-11).

Now let’s look at our scripture for today. In the months before Jesus’ death, he had been traveling everywhere except to Judea, where Jerusalem and the religious leaders were. Those leaders had plans to kill Jesus, and everyone knew it. Then Lazarus got sick just six miles from Jerusalem, and his sisters begged Jesus to come heal him. It was dangerous for Jesus to go there. He didn’t go, and Lazarus died.

John 11:7-8 says, “Then he [Jesus] said to his disciples, ‘Let us go back to Judea.’ ‘But Rabbi,’ they said, ‘a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?’ “

After explaining that he needed to get to Lazarus, it was Thomas who bravely spoke up and said, “Let us also go that we may die with him!”

Later, when Thomas did finally see Jesus, he was the first to call him “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). It took Thomas to lead the charge.

Doubting Thomas? Far from it! Brave Thomas. Devoted Thomas. Thomas, who was willing to follow his Lord to the death. Thomas, who was the first to call him God. That was the real Thomas.

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0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-ThumbnailSHADOW OF DEATH IS BOOK 7 IN THEY MET JESUS.  Actually, stories of Jesus beginning with the last supper, progressing through all the interrogations and beatings, then the crucifixion, the burial, the resurrection, and appearing to everyone takes three books — PROMISE KEEPER (#6), SHADOW OF DEATH (#7) COME FLY WITH ME (#8).  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this.    https://bit.ly/ShadowOfDeath-7

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Skeletons

The scripture for today, November 6 (11/6), is Nehemiah 11:6 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

COVER-Music-thumb“The descendants of Perez who lived in Jerusalem totaled 468 able men.”

Just who was Perez, and why was this even mentioned in the Bible? Perez was a son of Judah, and an ancestor of Jesus (Matthew 1:3).

Why was living in Jerusalem a big deal at that time? Because Jerusalem had been attacked and destroyed. It was nothing but rubble and ashes. Earlier, other Jews had returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple. Now it was time to rebuild the walls.

These 468 brave people had to agree to move into a burned-out city and rebuild on the ashes of previous homes. In the process of moving building stones out of the way to reuse in the city wall, they surely found skeletons of those who had been slaughtered in the attack decades before.

At first, the Jews had blamed the Babylonians for destroying their city and temple. But Eventually, they began re-reading the prophets who had warned them about their own sins. Finally, they turned inward and placed the blame where it really belonged: Themselves. Their own pride had destroyed their temple and their city, now crumbled ashes.

Following repentance, they acted. Was it easy rebuilding a broken city? Not any easier than rebuilding a broken home, a broken congregation, a broken life. You must look at your own part in your own destruction and begin building yourself anew.

Are there any skeletons or ashes in your soul?  Is there anything that needs rebuilt? It takes grit.  Do you have the grit?

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COVER-Music-thumbINSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN THE PUBLIC WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH was written in the 1880s by a Presbyterian theologian.  Most of his denomination had already made the switch and added pianos or organs.  This book was his last plea to restore church worship the way it had been.  It is by far the most well researched book on this subject in any century.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….https://bit.ly/Worship-Music

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