Monday 12/10 ~ And God is older than all of us!

The scripture for today, December 10 (12/10), is Job 12:10 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-Cover-Thumbnail“Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?”

Let’s talk a moment about teenagers. Many adults joke that their teen is 16 going on 60. What know-it-alls they’ve become! Let’s look at the situation this way. They may have bodies that have grown to that of an adult. But minds grow much slower, and they must give their minds a chance to catch up.

As adults, it is our responsibility to help their minds catch up. Know enough about the Bible that you can apply scriptures to their activities and interests and friends. You may wish to make a list of your teenager’s activities, interests and friends, and then list a scripture next to each. Proverbs is an excellent book to start with. Then when the occasion arises, be ready (even if you have to sneak into the other room a minute to consult your list) to instill some wisdom.

This way, it is not you speaking, but God speaking. God said, “My word will not return to me void” (Isaiah 55:11). And God is older and wiser than all of us.

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Thursday 12/6 ~ To God, you are mighty!

The scripture for today, December 6 (12/6), is 1st Corinthians 12:6 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Cover-KINDLE-Thumbnail-New“There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”

Later in this chapter, Paul explains, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you.’  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (12:21f). He further explains, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body….” (12:13).

For ambitious people in the church who “fight” for position, this is hard to take. Standing in front with a microphone are the most sought-after positions in the church.  Such positions have the potential of making you famous. Sorry, folks. Not to God. To God you are dispensable. The church could easily survive without you. God could easily get along without you. So, get control of your ego. Huh?

Do you really and truly believe this? Those who do the seemingly menial works (the “weaker”) are indispensable to God ~ you who take food to the bereaved, who read the Bible to the sick, who clean the bathrooms, who daily pray for members and the lost, who give a tract to a friend, who share a bulletin with a neighbor, who send a thinking-of-you card to a lonely person, who mow the church building lawn, who pray with someone who has just told you of a problem, who watch the nursery, who periodically quote a Bible verse to a friend in distress ~ such works that are in the background ~ the ones that don’t make it into the “schedule of worship,” the bulletin, the newspaper, the church periodicals, the billboards, are the ones who are indispensable.

To you who are jealous of people who get to have a more public position in the church and stand in front of the congregation and” lead” don’t be. Take heart. God is working more in you than them. Further, public approval by people is their reward. Your reward is from God himself.

You may seem weaker to the others. You are nearly invisible and weak to most people. But to God you are strong.  You are mighty.  You are God’s pride and joy.

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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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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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Monday 11/19 ~ Surely, not me!

The scripture for today, November 19 (11/19), is Ezekiel 11:19 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Titus-Cover-Lg Thumb“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.”

Although the 600+ commandments in the Old Testament/Covenant Law of Moses were nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 8:10-13), God has always had laws to keep us safe. In the New Testament/Covenant era, he does not have a lot of laws, but he still has them.

What is our worship like? Is it full of things God never asked us to do? Does our worship elevate God or ourselves? When we’re done worshiping, do we say, “We were so great!” or “God is so great!”?

We add all kinds of things to our worship that were commanded only under the Old Testament/Covenant Law of Moses, or things we think would “add to the effectiveness” of our worship. If, for example, it’s okay to add things to our singing and praying because then they would sound better, then it is okay to add lemon pie to the Lord’s Supper because then it would taste better.

Again, the question: Who are we worshiping and trying to please? God or ourselves? Do we deep down have a heart of stone, but put on our halo and say, “Surely not me”?

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Saturday 11/17 ~ Putting myself in danger

The scripture for today, November 17 (11/17), is 1st Chronicles 11:17f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Thumbnail“David longed for water and said, ‘Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem.’ So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David.”

The people who followed David admired him because he knew how to be a good leader. So, many were willing to do anything to make “Captain David” happy. David had been born and raised in Bethlehem. Now he was grown and had a following of those evading power-hungry King Saul, many of whom were brave soldiers. They had traveled throughout the country either evading or defending themselves against this and other enemies.

Their travels took them back to David’s hometown which was being held by enemy Philistines. For old-time’s sake, he longed for a drink from the well he had drunk from many times in his youth. Three of his strongest men risked their lives to bring their captain, David, that drink of water.

How much do you admire the Captain of your Salvation, Jesus? How much are you willing to sacrifice for him? Do you say, “I’m too busy to do anything for Jesus and his kingdom today”? Do you say, “I’m afraid if I say something about Jesus to so-and-so, s/he will insult me”? Do you say, “Someone at church offended me, so I’m not going to worship Jesus anymore?” Do you admire Jesus enough to put yourself in the slightest danger just to do the smallest thing for him?

Ah, Lord Jesus, you put yourself in danger for me. Help me have that same kind of love for you.

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Tuesday 11/6 ~ True Grit

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

0-Mefiboset-KINDLE Thumbnail“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 descendant 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.

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 anew.

It took grit.  What is yours like? Have you rebuilt anything important lately?

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