Sunday 2/24 ~ War of the Worlds

The scripture for today, February 24 (2/24), is 1st Peter 2:24 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Was Jesus God-COVER-kindle-thumbnail“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

Many people do not understand what Jesus dying on the cross has to do with rescuing us from hell and leading us to heaven. After all, if we don’t murder, steal, abuse others and only lie a little, Satan has no claim on us and God has no choice but to take us into heaven.  As far as Satan is concerned, one sin is all it takes to be a sinner. Further, God is perfect, so cannot co-exist with imperfection ~ even one tiny sin.

Romans 3:23 says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. So, all through the Old Testament era, whenever we sinned, God told us to kill/sacrifice a perfect animal and spill its blood to collect the death wages in our place. Notice, the animal had to be perfect. This was a temporary fix; Satan could be held off only so long.

Eventually, God materialized in a body and put his words in that body to be tempted in every way that we are (see Hebrews 4:15). Satan gave it all he got. But Jesus resisted all temptations and lived his entire life sinless. He was perfect morally, just as the sacrificial animals were perfect physically.

Then as the perfect Lamb of God (John 1:29), Jesus became the final sacrifice. Now, with a human body, he died in our place. He took the terrible wages of death from Satan for our sins. On the cross, he died spiritually (forsaken by God) and physically with blood dripping from the wounds in his hands and feet. Then the Father basically told the world, “I will consider you perfect too; all you have to do is believe in and follow my Son, my Words who was with you in your form and died for you.” But how?

It is explained further in Romans 6:3-4. Just as Jesus died bearing our sins, we 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 are buried in the watery tomb of baptism. And finally, just as Jesus rose up out of his tomb the Savior, we rise up out of our watery tomb the saved ~ born again to a new life.

Indeed, by Jesus’ wounds we can be healed. We fall at his feet and say, “I am a sinner and so unworthy. How can I thank you enough for rescuing me from Satan?”

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Monday 2/18 ~ Be a warrior

The scripture for today, February 18 (2/18), is Hebrews 2:18 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

06-PROMISE KEEPER-ChildsCartoonThumbnail“Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Do you find yourself caught up in some kind of sin over and over? Is the temptation always there? Do you commit the sin and then curse yourself for your weakness in giving in to the temptation? Do you see no way out?

A lot of people never think of Jesus ever being tempted. He was too good. But he had a human body and was tempted in every way that we are (Hebrews 4:15).

Try to imagine Jesus with your particular haunting temptation and imagine how you think he would have resisted it. Jesus used to get angry at temptation, which of course is caused by Satan. In other words, he got angry at Satan. One time when tempted, he declared, “Get behind me, Satan!”

Temptation is not the same thing as sin. Temptation is when we want to commit a sin, but haven’t decided yet to do it. Jesus faced Satan (temptation) head on. Once when he went through over a month of harsh temptation alone in the wilderness, Satan gave him all the reasons he should do certain things and made them look so good and reasonable; then Jesus gave all the reasons he should not do those things.

Hebrews 4:15 says, “We do not have a high priest [Jesus] who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are ~ yet was without sin.”

Jesus stood up to Satan.  Jesus was a spiritual warrior.  Today, be a warrior.

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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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Monday 2/4 ~ Choices

The scripture for today, February 4 (2/4), is 1st Timothy 2:4 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-1st Century Worship KINDLE-COVER-Thumbnail“[God]…wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

Some people say, “You don’t choose God; God chooses only certain ones to be saved and keeps out all the other people of the world.” But God wants to choose us all. He wants everyone to be saved. So, in what sense does he choose us?

He is like an employer who is looking for people to fill certain positions. He chooses those who qualify. He doesn’t have to choose anyone. By the employer’s grace, he chooses to hire help and give them part of his money. But we must qualify to be chosen.

I Timothy 6:11 says we were called to eternal life but have to take hold of it.  II Peter 1:10 says we are to make sure his calling and choosing us.  Hebrews 6:4-6 says those who fall away crucify Jesus anew.

So how do we qualify for God’s grace? Certainly, atheists do not qualify, for they would not love God. People who worship another so-called god or nature do not qualify, for they would not love God. People who do not want to be looked upon as a goody-goody would not qualify, for they would not love God.

So, again, the question: How do we qualify? First, we never deserve it. We can never do enough good works to qualify because we still sin. We can qualify to be selected for heaven only if we are sinless. Impossible! Yes, for us it is. But, because God loves us, he has given us a few things to do to qualify and be sinless in his eyes.

Believing is just the first step to qualifying. Admitting we sin and repenting is another step to qualifying. Read Romans 6 and Acts 2. Explaining what baptism is for. Not many things, but they are necessary. Look them up. Check them out.

And remember 2nd Peter 3:9 ~ “He [God] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but EVERYONE to come to repentance.”

When we make ourselves God and say the Bible doesn’t mean what it says so we can sneak into heaven our own way, how our Lord’s heart must ache.

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Wednesday 1/30 ~ I am awed into silence

The scripture for today, January 30 (1/30), is 1st Corinthians 1:30 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us “wisdom” from God ~ that is, our…

…righteousness,

          …holiness and,

                    …redemption.”

0-HS-592 VersesExamined-COVER-ThumbnailMe? Sinful me? Considered right and holy?  But I’m not right and holy. How can that be?

Let’s look at these words of reassurance backward. When we are redeemed (bought back from Satan, our accuser and punisher), we gain God’s holiness and God’s rightness. But I am not holy and right.  God, don’t you understand this?

“Yes, my child,” God answers. “But My Son knew how, and so became sinless for you.”

I cannot let what He did for me drift by. Jesus traded.  He took my sinfulness and gave me his sinlessness.  He took my punishment and gave me redemption. Now, at least in the eyes of God, I am holy.

I think on this and the more I do, the more amazed I become.  Me, Lord? Unworthy, sinful me? I am awed into silence and worship.

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