Monday 1/8 ~ Loving one we have never seen

The scripture for today, January 8 (1/8), is 1st Peter 1:8 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“Though you have not seen him, you love him! And even though you do not see him now, you believe in him! And are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy!”

0-BK 4-FolkHero-Cover-Kindle-medium-newAh, the memories Peter had of being with Jesus when they all were young.  Now he was old and people were dying out who had seen Jesus in person.

After Jesus returned to heaven, it was the job of his Apostles to tell people about him and repeat his words. They spent the rest of their lives doing just that. What joy they found when people believed, even though they had not seen him. They not only believed, but they also loved him

Thank God, the Apostles wrote the New Testament so we would never have to guess what Jesus was like and never have to guess what his words were, even after the Apostles died. In fact, we have the advantage because we do not have to wait for an Apostle to come visit us and tell us. We can read about Jesus for ourselves over and over as many times as we like right in our home.

Yes, we have not seen Jesus. Yet, with his life and words before us, we believe! And we love him.  What inexpressible and glorious joy!

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Link to ebook and discount paperback: http://bit.ly/TheyMetJesus

Friday 1/5 ~ Faith wavering? You can still hope.

The scripture for today, January 5 (1/5), is Colossians 1:5 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

365LifeChangingScriptures-Front Cover“…the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the Word of Truth, the gospel.”

Does your faith have its ups and downs? Is it strong sometimes and weak sometimes? When things sometimes go so wrong you have trouble having faith in God? You can still hope. Do you grow angry at God sometimes?  You can still hope. During such low times when faith does not come easy, you can still hope. Hope is the springboard of faith.

And stay close to the Word of Truth, for John 14:17 says the Comforter is the Spirit of Truth, and John 17:17 says Truth is the Word of God. Read when you don’t feel like it. Ephesians is what I go to. David tells of his own faith problems in Psalm 42.

When your emotions are pulling you down, rely for a little awhile on only your logic, your intellect, until your emotions heal. Someday they will.

So keep on hoping ~ the springboard. And someday it will return to being faith.

#faith, #hope

order ebook or discount paperback:  http://bit.ly/ScripturesDayByDate

Scripture for Monday, November 20 (11/20) ~ Children

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

0-Strip Child's Cartoon-Medium

“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 we have children that were so loving and good when they were young, but when they became older they changed? Do we sometimes wonder, “How could I have gone so wrong with my children?” True, they have free will. But do we feel like failures because our children did not turn out the way we 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 in it.

They 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.

Let us keep on keeping on. Let us never stop having faith in what God (even after we die) will do for our children.

 

 

 

 

Scripture for Thursday, November 16 (11/16)

The scripture for today, November 16 (11/16), is John 11:16 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

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

This apostle is most often 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 were after Jesus’ life, and everyone knew it. Then Lazarus died and was buried about six miles from Jerusalem. It was dangerous for Jesus to go there.

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!”

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

 

Scripture for Saturday, October 28 (10/28)

The scripture for today, October 28 (10/28), is Matthew 10:28f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Mefiboset-KINDLE Medium“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.”

This scripture indicates that sometimes God’s allows us to “fall to the ground” ~ our bodies suffer, or we are killed. How can that be? After all, God is so loving. Surely a good God would not allow any harm to come to someone if he truly loves them.

But we all have our assignment from God in this war between Good and Evil. Just as Job in the Old Testament lost his entire family and entire wealth and then his health, he refused to blame God. He even said, “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” (Job 2:10).

Satan causes bad to happen to us. Why? In order to get us to blame God for it. Our assignment is to refuse to deny God. That way, Satan loses one more battle, and God wins one more.

There is an old Christian song called “Victory in Jesus.” How can we have victory in Jesus if we do not have something to be victorious over? Romans 8:37 says we are more than conquerors. How can we be conquerors if we have nothing to conquer?

Let us say with James (1:2) that we consider it pure joy whenever we face trials. Hard to say? Of course, it is. But it could turn your life around.

 

Scripture for Sunday, October 22 (10/22)

The scripture for today, October 22, is Hebrews 10:22 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

worship-the-first-century-way-cover-kindle“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

The previous verse said that Jesus is the great (high) priest over the house of God (the church). Therefore, the sprinkling refers to the sprinkling of blood the high priests did on the Day of Atonement once a year. (See Leviticus 16 in the Old Testament.) Now our hearts (which we cannot see or touch) are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus.

And how are we to be cleansed from that guilty conscience with our bodies (which we can see and touch) being washed? I Peter 3:21 says, “Even so does baptism now save us, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh but the answer of a good conscience toward God.”

We do not have to guess whether we were sincere enough when we gave our heart to the Lord. Our conscience never has to wonder if we did it right. For God gave us something we can actually do to give us a good and clear conscience toward him.

From henceforth, we can draw near to God in full assurance. Full! Not partial. Not wondering. Not with ups and downs of faith. But full! God thinks of everything!

 

Scripture for Friday, October 6 (10/6)

The scripture for today, October 6 (10/6), is Jeremiah 10:6 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 2-DreamMaker-cover-kindle-medium-new“No one is like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.”

The word “name” here is from the Hebrew word for “renown” ~ shem. This same word is sometimes translated fame. Sometimes we say someone “has made a name for himself” to indicate s/he has become successful and possibly even powerful. Sometimes, just the mention of a name gives us authority and power.

Just think. We do not have an impersonal God. The gods of the Bible era were made of stone. They were depicted as basically being giant humans who could throw down thunderbolts if they were angry.  Sometimes they were angry at humans and sometimes they were angry at other gods. Seldom were they ever depicted as pleased. 

Worship consisted of appeasing them so they would stop being angry at the much smaller humans on earth. Priests would claim any natural disaster was the result of their particular god’s anger, requiring even more sacrifices which lined the pocket of the priests. The priests had the real power in each country, even more than the throne.

Sometimes worship consisted in indulging in vices such as fornication, drunken orgies, and fights to the death. The priests could get even more power by catering to the baser desires of their “followers”. 

Still other religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism whose god is the essence of the universe such as Nirvana or Shamanism whose gods are the life force of objects in nature. 

The prophet, Jeremiah, and all the other prophets of the Holy Bible depicted the Lord of the universe as being the greatest power in existence, but with the greatest love in existence. He was a personal God and no imitation god could come even close to that.

Think back over your life. In what way has the Lord used his power to cause amazing things to occur in your life just at the right time? That is our God. The real God full of mercy, truth, love, and yes, power.

 

Scripture for Thursday, October 5 (10/5)

The scripture for today, October 5 (10/5) is 2nd Corinthians 10:5f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Life-Changing-Scriptures-Cover-medium“Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. Now, these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.”

This is about the 40 years the Jews wandered in the wilderness between leaving their slavery in Egypt and beginning a nation for themselves in their Promised Land.

It took Moses 40 years to get the Jews out of Egypt. But it took 400 years to get Egypt out of the Jews. They believed their way was better than God’s way. They wanted God to protect them and provide for their needs, but they kept God at a distance as far as their ethics and way of life.

Events in the Old Testament are there as examples to us. This is one reason why we need to read the Old Testament.  The early Jews did not want to listen to God, so God did not listen to them. Do we keep God at a distance?  In that case, God keeps us at a distance.

Do we want God to treat us the way we treat him? This can be a frightening thought. It can also be a blissful thought.

 

Scripture for Tuesday, October 3 (10/3)

The scripture for today, October 3 (10/3), is John 10:3ff as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 8-ComeFlyWithMe-Cover-Medium-New“The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out….I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.”

First of all, we use the term saved/salvation so loosely, we tend to forget what we are being saved from. We are being saved from hell! This is not a minuscule matter.

Second, how do we avoid hell? Through Jesus! This is the only way.

How many of us have been to funerals where the deceased was preached into heaven? So many people believe they are “good enough” or “not too bad” and so God would be horrible to not let them into heaven. Such people will climb in through windows so to speak into heaven as the “thieves and robbers” Jesus referred to.

But heaven is God’s home, not ours. He has a gate into it, just like we have doors on our house. Just like we are not obligated to open the gate or door into our home to just anyone, God is not obligated to open his gate to just anyone. Our door and God’s gate are there for a reason.  Let us enter heaven through the gate ~ Jesus.

Then God will smile and say, “Welcome home.”

Scripture for Sunday, October 1 (10/1)

The scripture for today, October 1 (10/1), is Romans 10:1f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Medium-“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for ______ is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.”

Being “religious” isn’t enough. There are lots of religions. Feeling “spiritual” isn’t enough. There are lots of differing religions that induce a “spiritual” feeling. The confidence of salvation isn’t enough. There are lots of differing religions that create questionable confidence of salvation. Dedication to prayer isn’t enough. There are lots of differing religions that require much prayer.

Sincere Christian leaders today may want us to rely on feelings and inducements and confidence and dedication, but they can be sincerely wrong. If we base our salvation on feelings and inducements and confidence and dedication only, we have zeal, but our zeal is not based on knowledge. Some may defensively call “knowledge” legalism.

God gave us his Word ~ the Bible ~ for a reason. He wanted us to reason. Hebrews 11:1 says faith is accepting the evidence ~ not wishful thinking. Romans 10:17 says faith comes from hearing/reading the Word of God for ourselves ~ not someone’s sermon. Let us search the scriptures daily for ourselves.

And, let us not be afraid to approach our religious leaders and try teaching the teachers. Then their zeal, as well as ours, can be based on knowledge.