Friday 1/19 ~ And the peace. Oh my, the peace!

The scripture for today, January 19 (1/19), is James 1:19a as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

000-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

There was a book published a few years ago entitled, Hurt People Hurt People. Have you ever wanted to say something like, “How dare you think you know how bad I feel!” or “How dare you think you understand the ordeal I went through!” or “How dare you treat me like that!” ?  

Those are accusing words. And what do they accomplish? It’s almost like bragging. “My hurt is so far above your hurt, you could never come up to my superior level.”

You may feel justified in explaining how badly you were treated by someone. But, in reality, it makes the hurt keep going and going and going…. Perhaps this is an accusing cycle you’ve been in for a long time with someone.

Which one of you is going to stop the cycle?

Satan is the accuser (Revelation 12:10).  God is the forgiver.  Even Jesus forgave his killers. When you have been hurt, be ready to listen to the other person’s hurt instead of accuse. And in the process, “bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

And peace.  Oh, my!  The peace you will experience.

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Link to ebook & discount paperback:  http://bit.ly/LazarusSamaritan

#peace, #vengeance

Saturday 1/13 ~ What an amazing plan

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

“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong.”

This pretty much explains why none of us deserves heaven. Going to heaven has little to do with performing so many good works God will feel obligated to admit us.  

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-ThumbnailIt’s all about sin.  Only sinless people can be in heaven, for God cannot coexist with sin and still be God. Of course, we cannot be sinless. If nothing else, all of us have sins of attitude and neglect.

For thousands of years, God let mankind try any way we 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, we couldn’t get it right.

The wages we 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 our souls dying and eventually our bodies dying. Satan causes death, so we are collecting the wages Satan pays for following him.

But, God intervened.  God gave us a temporary fix: We could kill an animal to die in our place and offer it as a sacrifice to take onto itself Satan’s reward.

But Galatians 4:4 says, “When the time was come, God sent his son.” Finally, when mankind understood we needed outside help, God sent Jesus. Hebrews 4:15 says Jesus lived the perfect life that was impossible for us to live; he was completely free of sin. Then God offered his son as the final sacrifice to die in our place ~ to be “falsely” accused of all the sins that WE had committed, to take onto himself Satan’s payment for OUR sins.

Since Jesus was sinless, Satan had no power over him. He just came back to life. That done, God ~ who can only dwell with sinlessness ~ is now able to allow obedient, faithful believers in Jesus into his home, heaven. For, through Jesus, we become sinless.

What an amazing plan.

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

Scripture for Friday 12/15 ~ Forgiveness lifts the clouds

The scripture for today, December 15 (12/15), is Hebrews 12:15 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Medium“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

Bitterness.  It can cause us to miss the grace of God. Bitterness only causes trouble for ourselves and others and defiles us. Bitterness comes from our thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought (Romans 12:3), and forgetting that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Bitterness also leads to either bullying or shunning and ends in broken relationships. It all causes us to miss the grace of God.

The opposite of bitterness is forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean we condone what someone else has done. It does not mean we forget it. It does not mean we will stop being afraid of a dangerous person.

Forgiveness means we let go of it and let God handle it. It means we wish the best for the offending person or situation. We can wish even the most hardened criminal will someday turn to God and turn his life around.

Remember, God forgives us as we forgive others.

Forgiveness lifts weights off of us until we feel as though we could soar. Forgiveness takes the clouds away and brings back the sunshine.

Forgiveness makes sure we do not miss the grace of God.

Scripture for Tuesday, November 14 (11/14)

The scripture for today, November 14 (11/14), is Job 11:14f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Medium“If you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear.”

Job’s misguided friend, Zophar, was advising Job that, if he would become perfect (“allow no evil”), he would stand firm before God.

Oh, Zophar! Hadn’t he caught on yet? Hadn’t he yet realized that we cannot be perfect? At the end of this book, God told Zophar and his friends to repent of their words to Job.

Throughout the Old Testament, the Jews tried unsuccessfully to be perfect with the help of the Law of Moses, but they couldn’t do it. In the meantime, the nations that had not received the Law were left to try with their own methods to be perfect, and they couldn’t do it either.

The only thing that ever has allowed mankind to be perfect has been the blood of Jesus. He was the perfect Lamb of God. So finally, eons after Zophar said those words, we who follow Jesus are able to stand firm because Jesus can make us perfect, washing away our sins (John 1:29; Acts 22:16).

 

Scripture for Saturday, November 11 (11/11)

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

inside-cover-medium“Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all!”

We weak humans may decide to live for God. But we are still weak humans. So sometimes we stumble and fall. God stands with us. And when we fall, we are not beyond hope. For God holds out his hands and says, “Take them. I will lift you back up.”

And so we do.

And so he does.

He is so amazingly patient with us when we sin. He loves us beyond comprehension.

 

Scripture for Monday, October 30 (10/30)

The scripture for today, October 30 (10/30), is Hebrews 10:30 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Medium“For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ “

In the Law of Moses, people were expected to avenge those who did not follow the law. Some things were even punishable by death.

But Jesus told us to forgive people so that God,, in turn, will forgive us (Matthew 6:14).

What is forgiveness? It is not condoning the bad someone did. Forgiveness is letting go and letting God do any punishing that may be required. Forgiveness is wishing the other person well. You may not trust the other person to not do the bad thing again, and you may forever fear that person. But you can always hope and pray that their lives and hearts will change for the better some day. No one is so bad that you cannot wish them well and pray for them. That’s forgiveness.

Vengeance only prolongs the pain; vengeance is hard on us. So, as the old saying goes, “Let go, and let God.” God will do his part ~ the hard part. He has left the easy part for us.

 

Scripture for Friday, October 27 (10/27)

The scripture for today, October 27 (10/27), is Mark 10:27 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

worship-the-first-century-way-cover-kindle“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God: All things are possible with God.’ “

Can we be perfect? God let mankind try for many centuries to be perfect.

To one group of people he gave over 600 laws and said, “If you keep these, you will be perfect.” But, as hard as the Jews tried, no one could keep the Law of Moses perfectly.

To the rest of the world, he basically said, “Try to figure out for yourselves how to be perfect.” So, they tried all kinds of religions, but with all of them, they could not be perfect.

Finally, mankind was ready for Jesus. He came to earth and lived that perfect life that is impossible for us to live. He became the perfect Lamb of God, and sacrificed his life for us, for Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death.” He collected the wage for us.

So now, according to Romans 6:3-4, just as Jesus died on the cross, we too can die to our sinful nature ~ the part of us that sins and doesn’t care. Then, just as Jesus was buried in his tomb, we too can be buried in a watery tomb of baptism. And finally, just as Jesus was raised up out of his tomb the Savior, we rise up out of our watery tomb the saved.

Then God considers us perfect too. God cannot associate with sinners in his heaven. He can only have perfect people in his heavenly home. Impossible for us to live there with him someday? Yes. But, God sent Jesus to fix that problem. With God, nothing is impossible.

 

 

 

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 Wednesday, October 4 (10/4)

The scripture for today, October 4 (10/4), is Romans 10:4 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 5-FloodGates-Cover-Medium-New“Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

When Jesus replaced the old Law of Moses Testament, it came to an end (Hebrews 8:13; 9:1f; 9:15-18). Thank God. There were over 600 commandments in the Law of Moses, not just the “Ten Commandments.” They were tedious. Try reading Leviticus and see if you can keep every commandment in it.

Jesus was the only one who ever kept the Law perfectly (Hebrews 4:15). Once that occurred, he could be the Perfect Lamb of God without blemish, and he could be sacrificed on the altar of the world (the cross) in our place ~ take the punishment for our sins. He had said the Law of Moses would last until it was fulfilled.  On the cross, one of the last things he said was, “It is fulfilled.”

And with his death came the introduction of a New Law covered in the New Testament. Read the New Testament in its entirety. It is not tedious. It is beautiful. Let us not try to dip back into the Old Law and bring back showy worship practices done back them. He put it to death and gave us a new and wonderful and simple law of grace and love.

 

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.”