Sunday 1/13 ~ Come back! Come back! I miss you!

The scripture for today, January 13 (1/13), is Habakkuk 1:13 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Thumbnail“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong.”

This pretty much explains why no one deserves heaven. Going to heaven has little to do with doing so many good works God will feel obligated to admit you. 

It’s all about sin.  Only sinless people can be in heaven, for God cannot coexist with sin and still be God. Of course, you cannot be sinless. If nothing else, you have sins of attitude and neglect.

For thousands of years, God let mankind try any way they could to be perfect. Some people he gave the Law of Moses to, and some people he continued to let try on their own. Neither worked. No matter how hard we tried, no one could get it right.

The wages you earn for sinning is death (Romans 6:23). Remember in the Garden of Eden God warned, “The moment you sin, you die.” He was talking about souls dying and eventually bodies dying. Satan was now holding mankind hostage. Satan causes death, so sinners collect the wages Satan pays for following him.

But mankind was still being held hostage. He demanded the highest ransom imaginable: The death of God. Satan wanted to e God and this was the only way he could carry out his plan.

God held Satan off temporarily: He told them to kill an animal to die in their place. Even collecting the wages of sin, Satan still held mankind hostage. Mankind had to have all the chances possible to be perfect. But after millenniums, mankind still could not.

Galatians 4:4 says, “When the time was come, God sent his son.” Finally, when mankind understood everyone needed outside help, God sent Jesus. Hebrews 4:15 says Jesus lived the perfect life that was impossible for anyone to live; he was completely free of sin.

Then God seemingly gave in to Satan’s ransom demand to free mankind.  God offered his son ~ God in the form of mankind. Finally, Satan got his wish ~ the ransom he had demanded: The death of God.

So, Satan freed mankind from his prison of soul death. But Satan was in for a surprise.  His gloating came to an abrupt stop.  God tricked Satan. You cannot kill Life.  God returned to that human body and came back to life.

It was too late. Satan had already freed mankind. 

That done, God ~ who can only dwell with sinlessness ~ was now able to allow obedient, faithful believers in Jesus into his home, heaven. For, through Jesus, we become sinless. Glory of glories!

But something terrible happened after that. People began selling themselves back into slavery to Satan (Romans 6:15-23).  No!  No! This cannot be! So God, through people who have resisted Satan’s lures of fun and riches, power and beauty, continually call out, “Come back!  Come back to God! Come back.  I miss you. God misses you….”

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Wednesday 1/2 ~ Your soul is getting along well

The scripture for today, January 2 (1/2), is 3rd John 1:2 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

OldOldTunes-Thumbnail“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”

Your health may be bad, your finances in an upheaval, your home damaged by wind or water, your job about to be lost. But, amidst your tears and frustrations, we can still smile. You can still rejoice that your “soul is getting along well.”

When problems come into your life ~ and they do ~ remember the most important thing is your soul. No one and no thing can touch your soul as long as you are safe in the arms of Jesus.

So, when problems do come, you can still with confidence rejoice that your “soul is getting along well.”

 

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Monday 12/31 ~ Pushing my way through the door

The scripture for today, December 31 (12/31), is Luke 12:31 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 8-ComeFlyWithMe-Cover-Thumbnail-New“But seek his kingdom [family] and these things will be given to you as well.”

The kingdom is already here (Luke 9:27; Colossians 1:13), but heaven is not. That is the final destination of the kingdom. Do you actively seek God’s kingdom? Or do you drift and think God should feel obligated to take you into his heaven? Do you feel like you’re “not so bad”, so God would be bad to not take you into his heaven?

Heaven is God’s home, not yours. God has a door into his home, just like you have a door into your home. God is not required to open his door to just anyone, just like you are not required to open your door to just anyone.  You cannot just show up at the door and smile and assume he will let you in, any more than people who knock on your door and smile can assume you will let them in.

You let people into your home who you have gotten to know and whose motives you trust. Have you given God a chance to get to know you and trust your motives? Are your daily motives to enter heaven, God’s home? Do you even like God?

This life you live on earth is not your permanent life or residence. This is the testing place to see how you handle problems and to see how much your spiritual muscles will grow or atrophy. God has plans for Christians in heaven we do not know about. What we do know is that he is not a God of idleness. Do you live like the earth is all there is? Do you fear hell?  Do you prefer heaven where people will worship all the time? Does that sound boring to you?

You are about to enter a brand-new year. Today, decide to start over fresh and set your new goal: To enter God’s kingdom (his family) and thus, enter his home his way to live with him.  Forever.  There, all your soul desires will be given to you.

 

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Friday 12/28 ~ The Kingdom Now and Forever

The scripture for today, December 28 (12/28), is Hebrews 12:28 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-REV-Cover-No Logo-KINDLE-lg-thumbnail“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”

Notice this is in present tense. The kingdom is not something in the future but is now.

Jesus said in Luke 9:27 that some listening to him would still be alive when the kingdom came. Colossians 1:13 says God HAS (not will) rescued us from the dominion of darkness and BROUGHT (not will) us into the kingdom.

In fact, at the end, Jesus will not come back to earth to set up a kingdom. Instead, he will at that time hand the already-existing kingdom over to the Father (I Corinthians 15:24).

So what does this mean to us? Revelation 1:5-6 says that all who have been freed from our sins by the blood of Jesus have become a kingdom of priests. As such, we daily offer our bodies as living sacrifices in the service to our king (Romans 12:1).

Christians have dual citizenship. Christians are citizens of the earthly nation they live in, and citizens of the Kingdom of God. What glory God has already bestowed upon us.

So let us be thankful every day, and worship Him with reverence and awe forever.

 

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Saturday 12/8 ~ Is it truly all meaningless?

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-lg-thumbnail” ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the teacher. ‘Everything is meaningless!’ “

About thirty-five 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 that the richest and most powerful man in the world did in order to have an enjoyable and fulfilling life: He built palaces and grand temples, he cultivated great gardens, he imported tons of 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 of this little book, he said it was all meaningless.

The meaning of our life is that we were born to die. This life is temporary. It is our proving ground. 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 save as many people as possible from the clutches of Satan, and take as many people with us to the home of God, our Maker, the Lover of our soul. That is the meaning of life.

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Wednesday 11/28 ~ I think I’ll skip this time

The scripture for today, November 28 (11/28), is 1st Corinthians 11:28,31 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup [of the Lord’s Supper]…If we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.”

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Thumbnail“When they met on THE first day of the week to break bread” (Acts 20:7), these first-century Christians were meeting to keep the Lord’s Supper, for the word (“met”) in the original Greek of the New Testament means a religious meeting. Interestingly, the word “the” in the original Greek means each and every without exception perpetually.

Even if we did not know the Greek, look how the Jews (and we) interpreted “Remember THE Sabbath Day to keep it holy”. They did not remember the Sabbath day monthly, quarterly or yearly, but weekly. Therefore, the first-century Christians realized that “When they met on THE first day of the week to break bread” (Acts 20:7), it meant every Sunday.

We can sing, pray, teach and read the Bible any day of the week. What makes Sunday special is that’s the day Jesus came back to life, the day Jesus ascended back to heaven, and the day the church was established. Today, on the special first day we are to meet to take the Lord’s Supper, the Communion ~ the bread representing his body dying in our place, the wine representing his blood dripped out of his body in our place.

During the Communion, we consider Jesus’ terrible sacrifice in order to save us from hell. And we consider our sins that made his sacrifice necessary to save us from hell. Today’s scripture tells us that. During our weekly partaking of the Communion, we should be examining ourselves, comparing ourselves to Jesus. It is kind of like taking weekly exams so we will be ready for the big final exam on the Day of Judgment.

God thought of everything ~ weekly remembering the sacrifice of our Lord so that we never take him for granted, and weekly remembering our sins. And, in the process, our souls fall at his feet and whisper “Thank you.”

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Monday 11/26 — Never die?

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

0-REV-Cover-No Logo-KINDLE-lg-thumbnail” ‘ 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. Born twice [physically & spiritually], die once.” 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.”

Ah, the thought of living on inside the walls of salvation in heaven where Satan can never touch us again. The thought of walking and talking with God and never growing tired of it. The thought of singing with God with pleasure unending.

How reassuring to us when Jesus said believers’ souls would never die. Oh, glorious thought.

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