Tuesday 2/5 ~ Amazing Grace

The scripture for today, February 5 (2/5), is Ephesians 2:5 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

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“[God] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions ~ it is by grace you have been saved.”

Every time you sin, your spirit ~ your soul ~ dies a little more. Every time you steal, cheat, torture, murder. You say you don’t do such things. Well, how about every time you stretch the truth (lie), go over the speed limit (disobey the laws of the land), close your eyes to someone you know is in need (selfishness), lose your temper, indulge in coarse talk, call someone names, refuse to forgive (sins of attitude)?

It is true that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and your wage you collect from Satan every time you sin is death (Romans 6:23). That is what you earn. That is what you deserve. You certainly do not deserve to live with a sinless God. Nor can you. But by his grace, he made a way possible to consider you sinless.

In Old Testament times, people killed a perfect animal to die in their place, but it was only a temporary fix. Then God sent his perfect Son who never sinned ~ the Lamb of God ~ to lie down on the altar of the world at the cross. There he died spiritually and physically in your place for the things you in the world did wrong, all while the world raged at him.

Yes, while we were still enemies of God by sinning, Jesus died for you and me. That was his amazing part.  His amazing grace part. He can also make you spiritually alive. If you will actively seek him. That is your part.

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Saturday 2/2 ~ Christmas carols

The scripture for today, February 2 (2/2), is Matthew 2:2 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Matthew's Life of Christ-Cover-thumbnail“[the Magi/Wisemen] asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

There are people who believe the “star of Bethlehem” was in the east. But the star wasn’t in the east; the wise men (Magi) were.

The Christmas carol says the star led the wise men the whole way. But Matthew 2:9 & 10 says, “After they had heard the king [Herod], they went on their way, and the star they HAD seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.”

They rejoiced when they saw the star again, not because it had been with them the whole time, but because it had reappeared.

The Christmas carol also speaks of them as “We Three Kings.” First, there were three gifts but could have been an entourage of ten or twenty or more. Second, they were not kings.  It wasn’t until 600 AD that someone named them as the King of Arabia, King of India and King of Persia. The original language calls them Magi which is a tribe of astrologers and priests in Babylon and Parthia, not kings.

By the way, the manger scenes show the wise men there with the shepherds on the night Jesus was born.  Jesus was around two years old by the time the wise men figured out the meaning of the star and traveled over 1000 miles to get there, following which boy babies age two and under were killed. Then there are the carols that say the angels sang are wrong. Angels do not sing. Christians do, but angels do not. Check it out.

There are so many things about the Bible that we have heard all our lives and just assume are true. Here’s an idea: Investigate things for yourself! Why take a teaching about the Bible for granted? You’re smart. You can do it. Will you?

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Friday 1/25 ~ Give up your freedom?

The scripture for today, January 25 (1/25), is James 1:25 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Titus-Cover-Lg Thumb“But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it ~ he will be blessed in what he does.”

A lot of people do not understand that there was the Law of Moses with over 600 commands in the Old Testament, and the Law of Jesus with very few commands in the New Testament. Religious leaders use the Law of Moses to justify adding fancy or fun things to worship or a separate priesthood or tithing, or whatever they like. 

But they leave out stoning for adultery or disobeying your parents, killing someone who killed your relative, knocking the eye out of someone who knocked your eye out, giving a third of your income (not just a tenth), killing animals to sacrifice, etc.  It’s all part of the same Law!

Romans 7:4-7 says Christians have been released from the Law. Hebrews 8:13 & all of chapter 9 say the first covenant (testament/law) of Moses had regulations for worship but is obsolete in favor of the new covenant (testament/law). James 2:10 says if you try to live by the old Law but fail in just one point, you are guilty of all of it.

But how are you to know what was in the Old Law of Moses besides the fancy or fun things today’s religious leaders like?  There is only one possible answer:  Read it.  Plow through Leviticus and all those minute codes. Then you will understand.

Let us truly let loose of the old Law of Moses and cling to the “perfect Law that gives freedom” in Christ.

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Wednesday 12/26 ~ Is Jesus there with you?

The scripture for today, December 26 (12/26), is John 12:26 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

000-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

Ah, Lord Jesus. We claim we understand how humble you were, then build great cathedrals which we claim are to your glory but which are really to our glory. We organize great musical performances which we claim are to your glory but which are really to our glory.

Just where was Jesus when he was on earth saying this?  In a posh hotel in Jerusalem? Did he have great musicians performing in the background? Did he stand on a podium and declare this to multitudes?

 Who or what are you really a servant to? Power in a workplace, club, congregation, neighborhood? Prestige in a community, an occupation, an organization? Self-indulgence of money, music, entertainment?

While you are pursuing things in life, is Jesus there with you? Are you doing what he would be busy doing?  Are you where he was when he said this?

Dare to be a servant to the power of Jesus’ love, prestige in the eyes of God, self-indulgence in the joy of worshiping Him. In this only is there true and enduring honor.

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Friday 12/14 ~ The two IFs

The scripture for today, December 14 (12/14), is 1st Samuel 12:14 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

10-Daniel-KindleThumnail“If you fear the Lord and serve and obey him and do not rebel against his commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God ~ good!”

The Jews had just insisted on having a king rule over them instead of a supreme judge. Samuel replied and said two IFs. IF they serve and obey the Lord, and IF they both (people and king) follow the Lord, then it is good.

Today as then, some people live in a nation where the king/government does not follow the Lord. What to do? Galatians 5:22 tells us to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled, for “against such things there is no law”.

Is it hard to do this when crooked officials are getting all the advantages and you are being cheated and even threatened if you do not cooperate? Indeed it is. It may seem they are on top of everything. In reality, they are at the bottom. Never ever let others drag you down to their level. It is not worth it.  Keep your eyes on God!

Hold fast!

       Stand firm!

             Do the right thing!

In the end, they will lose. You and God will win. And that is good!

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