Saturday 1/19 ~ How’s your hearing?

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

00-PAUL COVER-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.

Has anyone ever tried to console you by saying, “I know how you feel”?  Did you lash back at them saying 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.”

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Wednesday 1/16 ~ Don’t urge me to leave you

The scripture for today, January 16 (1/16), is Ruth 1:16ff as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

000-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”

Although Ruth was talking to her mother-in-law after the death of her husband (Naomi’s son), this can be and sometimes is quoted by the bride and groom at their wedding. If only it were quoted more often. Not only at weddings, but at anniversaries. At birthdays of children and parents. During arguments, and low times and hard times and discouraging times.

Even deeper, it could be said when Satan attacks us.  Just change you to him.  Don’t urge me to leave him or to turn back from him.  Where he goes, I will go, and where he stays, I will stay.  His people will be my people and God will always be my God.

These are the words of love ~ deep genuine, unselfish love. Let us so love one another that deeply. Let us love our God that deeply.

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Tuesday 1/1 ~ Once again, God is walking with you

The scripture for today, January 1 (1/1), is John 1:1f, 14a as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Silver Cover-KINDLE-thumbnail“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning….The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

Genesis 3:8 says God walked on earth in the Garden of Eden. When Jesus came, God once again walked with us. But when Jesus left, did he leave us with no one to walk with?

Jesus said in John 14:17 that he was going to send another Comforter ~ the Spirit of Truth. And in John 17:17 he said God’s Word is Truth. So, just as Jesus was the Word that people could watch, the Spirit is the Word that people can read.

We do not have to guess what God is wanting us to do. We have it written down to read, and consider, and contemplate, and re-read as many times as we want.

If you have a Bible in your home, why not read it through in a year beginning today? There are suggested schedules on the internet. Or you could even divide up the number of pages in your Bible by 365 to know how many pages to read each day. After each reading, spend time in prayer praising God, confessing to God, thanking God. And when you ask for anything, ask a whole lot for others and a little bit for you and yours.

Just remember, every time you get out your Bible and read it then respond in prayer, once again God is walking with you.

 

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Sunday 12/30 ~ Are you a gatherer?

The Scripture for today, December 30 (12/30), is Matthew 12:30, as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”

What? You can’t just drift along just showing up at church services and that is all? You must gather people to him?. Are you sure? Oh, I don’ know enough; besides, I’m too busy.

Deep down inside, do you fear that, if you bring Jesus into a conversation, people will do you great harm and become dangerous enemies? Although in some countries of the world this is true, in most it is not. Still, do you quake at the thought of bringing up Jesus to your friends, and even to strangers?

That is Satan’s lie. He has gotten into your head and you are believing him. Most people will appreciate a little discussion about Jesus because most people do not attend worship anywhere and know little about the Bible.

Instead of listening to Satan, perhaps you should quake that some of your friends are headed to hell.  Satan puts fear in your heart. Do not give in to Satan. “Perfect love casts out fear” (1st John 4:18).  Do as Jesus did: “Seek and save the lost” (Luke 9:10).

Help your friends who do not know they need help. Overcome your fear for yourself and give in to the fear for their souls. It can be done. Stop watching so much television or playing endless games. Give it a try. If it were your soul, would you want someone to at least try to save you? Rise up! Defy Satan! Dare to be a gatherer of souls staring today.

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Tuesday 12/25 ~ Dare to be a star shining on their darkness

The scripture for today, December 25 (12/25) is Proverbs 12:25 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Michel-COVER-Kindle-Thumbnail“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.”

Yesterday, did you see anyone sitting alone looking downcast? Go back there today. S/he may not be there, but someone else may be. It may be a gathering place for the lonely, the discouraged. Smile at them and whisper, “Jesus loves you.” Have a lengthy conversation with them and show them they are worthy of your time.  Listen to them. Share with them.

Do you periodically see “beggars” at a certain location? They may squander donations or use them to buy food. Either way, being a beggar isn’t people’s life’s goal. You do not know their story. Everyone has a story. Their hearts are anxious about something.

Give them a dollar or some change and maybe wrap it in a verse from the Bible.  Ask them if they have family and if their family would accept them back. If so, encourage them to “go home.” Perhaps pay for a bus ticket back home. If they say they can’t go home, try anyway. Tell them you will pray for them. Smile at them, and whisper, “Jesus loves you.”

Today, do you know of a place where travelers usually stay or gather? Sometimes at truck stops, there are drivers who could not get home. Go to one of these places prepared to give each of them something special, or even invite them to your home for a Christmas feast.

Jesus encouraged and helped the downhearted. Is it uncomfortable being in their world? Yes.  Dare to disturb your happiness to enter their world and show Jesus to the downhearted. Dare to be a star shining on them in their darkness.

 

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Thursday 12/20 ~ But my heart is set on it

The scripture for today, December 20 (12/20), is 2nd Corinthians 12:20b as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

05-Joseph-KindleThumbnail“….I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder.”

It can happen among well-meaning people trying to accomplish the same good work but from different angles. Do you insist your way is the best way, and people will be lost if the committee or congregation doesn’t do things your way? Do you then get hurt and think (or say) everyone else doesn’t love the lost like you do? Then are you tempted to switch congregations or just drop out of the church completely?

A good test when personalities clash is to ask yourself, “Would this congregation survive without me?” Of course, it would. It did before you came and will after.

A good solution: If your heart is set on a certain good work, but no one else’s heart is, do what you can alone. You don’t need a committee to follow your heart.

Let us prefer one another, honor one another, and love one another. We are family ~ God’s family.

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Sunday 12/16 ~ Feel the harmony

The scripture for today, December 16 (12/16), is Romans 12:16 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

000-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”

Who do you associate with? Just people who are like you?

Do you consider people richer than you as greedy, uncaring and uppity? And people poorer than you as lazy, users and lowlifes?

Do you consider people smarter than you as impractical with their heads in the clouds? And people duller than you as incapable of understanding anything important?

Do you consider people stronger than you as egotistical show-offs? And people weaker than you as not worthy of notice?

How this hurts your Savior who died for everyone. We are all sinners. We all need the same saving grace.

Live in harmony with all. Make everyone ~ both those “above” you and “below” you ~ feel the love of God through you. Feel the harmony.

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