Monday 12/3 ~ Follow your heart anyway

The scripture for today, December 3 (12/3), is Romans 12:3 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Cover-KINDLE-Thumbnail-New“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

The context of this verse is members of a congregation getting along with each other. He explains that each person is given certain gifts such as serving, teaching, encouraging, contributing and so on (12:6-8).

Within congregations, many disagreements come about because one person has an idea about a good work, and someone else has a different idea about it, and still someone else says some other good work should be done. All sincerely believe their way is the best form of outreach and want a committee to be formed to carry it out. Then egos tend to get involved.

Perhaps the best way to judge whether you are thinking of yourself more highly than you ought, is to ask yourself this:  If I moved away or if I died, would this congregation survive without me? Of course, it would.  Keep praying, Lord, help me see myself as others do.

It does not matter if you can get a committee formed to help you.  If your heart is set on a certain good work, you can always do it alone. You do not need a committee.  If your heart is truly set, stop waiting for others whose hearts may be on something else. If your heart is truly set, get out and do it.

Perhaps others will see your results and want to join you later. Perhaps not. Just keep following your heart. Be true to your heart. Be true to the souls that will be helped because you got out there and just did it.

May your prayer be, “Lord, help me see myself as others do.”

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Thursday 11/29 ~ Let’s trade

The scripture for today, November 29 (11/29), is Matthew 11:29f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Bk3-HeartsAfire-COVER-Kindle.thumbnail-new“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Ah, Lord Jesus. I am so weary worn.  It seems everything that could ever go wrong in my life is happening right now. Just when I think I have one problem at least partly under control, another raises its ugly head. Or should I say Satan raises his ugly head?  Satan, why are you doing this to me? It is you who is causing all the diseases and problems at work, and the car wreck and progressive blindness.  Was it you who set me up in that posh job which you knew was never popular in the company and would only cause me grief? Was this new house I bought with my pay raise worth it after all?

I am so tired. Help me, God?  I don’t know which way is up anymore. God?  I’m calling for you. God? Don’t you even care?

“Let’s trade, my child. I’ll take your burdens and you take mine.”

But, Lord, I do not understand. What could your burdens possibly be? You’re all comfortable in heaven.

“My child, my burden is to reach out to everyone and tell them how much I love them. My burden is to take their burdens on my shoulders. You can do it too. You can write encouraging notes or emails to them every day. You can open up the newspaper and pray for everyone in it by name. You can call someone who is depressed like you and sing them a sweet song.”

But when, Lord? When would I find time?

“Use your brooding time, your crying time, your anger time. Let loose of them so I can brood, cry, and be angry for you. Remember, it’s a trade.”

Friends, will you continue to carry your burdens and let them weigh you down so you cannot move? Or will you let go of them and smile as Jesus smiled, reach out to others as Jesus reached out, teach God’s love as Jesus did?

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Tuesday 11/20 ~ Never give up on them

The scripture for today, November 20 (11/20), is Hebrews 11:20ff as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

08-Come Fly-ChildsCartoonThumbnailCover“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 the evidence was not there. 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 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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Sunday 11/11 ~ You can never fall beyond hope

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

0-REV-Cover-No Logo-KINDLE-thumbnail“Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery?  Not at all!”

Though everyone is a weak human, you may decide to live for God. But you are still a weak human. Satan has lost you and wants you back. He will try hard to make that happen. Often, the new Christian is the one he attacks the hardest.

Satan never lets up and periodically causes bad things to happen to you so you’ll blame God, just as he tried to do with Job.  He will tempt you with more things than before you became a Christian in his attempts to get you back. So sometimes you may stumble and fall.

God knows what is happening.  He stands with you. He is so proud of you when you stand up to Satan and say, “Never!  I will not blame or forsake my Lord!” He sees how your spiritual muscles are growing when you do.

But, if you sometimes fall, you are not beyond hope. Never, never believe you are beyond hope. That is a lie! God never leaves you.  He continues to stand next to you, holding out his hands and saying, “Take them. I will lift you back up. You will be okay again.”

So, you do. And so, he does.

He is amazingly patient with us. He loves you so very much.

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Monday 10/15 ~ Trying hard to be perfect

The scripture for today, October 15 (10/15), is Deuteronomy 10:15 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 5-FloodGates-Cover-Thumbnail-New“Yet the Lord set his affection on your forefathers [Abraham, Isaac, Jacob] and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants [Jews], above all the nations, as it is today.”

Mankind has spent millenniums trying to figure out how to be perfect so we can deserve heaven.

God gave us that opportunity the first several thousand years of mankind. Some people of the world he left alone to figure out on their own how to be perfect. They created many kinds of religions. But to the Jews, he sent the Law of Moses containing over 600 intricate laws which, if kept perfectly, would make them perfect. In both cases, no one could be perfect.

Then, when mankind was willing to admit we cannot be perfect, the Word of God materialized and came to us to live that perfect life that is impossible for us to live. Now, all you have to do is follow Jesus and be IN Jesus (Galatians 3:27) for the forgiveness of your sins, and God will consider you perfect too.

God sets his affections on you. He will not force you, but he runs after you begging you to come to him for safety. Oh, how he loves you.

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Saturday 10/13 ~ No more, Satan. You are going to lose. Get used to it.

The Scripture for today, October 13 (10/13), is 1st Corinthians 10:13 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Hero Alone-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

What are you tempted to do or not do on a regular basis in your everyday life? Then look at the source of your everyday temptations ~ Satan. Do you really want to be Satan’s slave?

Romans 6:16 explains it this way: “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey ~ whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

Take a long hard look at your everyday temptations and remind yourself of the source. Then, with courage in your soul and boldness in your heart, stand up and say, “No more! I am not your slave, Satan. I will win over you. God and I are stronger than you. Satan, get used to it: You will lose.

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Sunday 9/23 ~ Are you a coward?

The scripture for today, September 23 (9/23), is Luke 9:23 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Thumbnail” Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me’ “

There is another verse similar to this: II Timothy 3:12 ~ “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

Have you been playing it safe? Have you been associating only with other Christians and thereby sheltering yourself from persecution? Have you been withholding the gospel from people who might be persecuted if they believe, even if they will be saved by following it?

I know a Christian convert in Afghanistan who keeps telling his Muslim friends about Jesus and his life has been threatened three times now over a period of six years. He says, “I will not stop until they kill me.”  I know a Christian convert in Iraq whose wife’s relatives beat up because he became a Christian. I know a Christian convert in another part of Iraq whose mother-in-law locked her in a room and beat her every day, trying to get her to return to Islam.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). To do that, you must seek out the lost and try to save them, even when they do not think they are lost. It will end in persecution sometimes ~ you, them, or both. That’s a fact.

Dare to not play it safe all the time. Or are you a coward?

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