Tuesday 1/15 ~ Never underestimate what God can do through you

The scripture for today, January 15 (1/15), is Galatians 1:15f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

03-Naaman'sMaid-ThumbnailCover“But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles….”

Isn’t this amazing? God knew before you are born what you can be doing for him later in life. He sets aside work for you to do, but he does not force you to do it. You may set aside a certain amount of money to spend on food but you end up spending it on clothing.  Being set aside does not mean something will end up doing what it was set aside for.

God has given you certain talents and set you aside to use them for Him.  Do you? Is your thinking even oriented on things that can endure through eternity? Or do you think only of the next day, or the next year?

You do not have to guess what God has set you aside to do.  Read the scriptures. He has messages for you all through them.  Find someone in the Bible with your personality and use that person as an example.  Find advice in the proverbs. Find advice in Jesus’ teachings, and in his apostles’ teachings.  It’s all there.  Pick one and do it.

If you are willing to follow God’s advice and not man’s, then decide today to accept the work God has set aside for you to do. Or maybe you’re already doing it and don’t realize it.

You may not think your life has been very exciting. You may be waiting for God to give you a big important job to do for him. But the truth is, you ~ in your seemingly mundane life ~ may already be doing what God set aside for you to do.

Never under-estimate yourself and what God can accomplish through you.

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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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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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Sunday 12/23 ~ God loves to answer prayer

The scripture for today, December 23 (12/23), is 1st Samuel 12:23 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-Cover-KINDLE-Thumbnail-New“As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right.”

It’s a sin not to pray for others!

Do your prayers get bogged down in the mire of me and mine? Do you wonder why you can’t pray for more than a couple minutes ~ five on a good day? Satan gets you to do this; he is the enemy of prayer because he knows how powerful it is.

Who is on your prayer list? Pray for people by name. Your neighbors. People you work with. Your government officials ~ both good and bad. People in nursing homes. People in your congregation. People in the military. People being persecuted, imprisoned and even killed because they are Christians. Missionaries. Children in an orphan home. Salespeople at the store. Local school teachers. People in your newspaper.

Pray for 15 minutes a day. Half an hour each day. An hour every day. It’s oh so easy when you stop praying only for you and yours and pray for others.

Pray for people by name. God doesn’t need to hear their names but you do. And tell those you pray for. Some people have never been told, “I am praying for you”. God loves to answer prayer.

Do not sin by praying only for yourself and your family.  Take the time to take others soaring with you when you pray. Then stand back and watch God respond to your prayers with power that will astound you. 

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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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Saturday 12/8 ~ Is it truly all meaningless?

The scripture for today, December 8 (12/8), is Ecclesiastes 12:8 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-REV-Cover-No Logo-KINDLE-lg-thumbnail” ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the teacher. ‘Everything is meaningless!’ “

About thirty-five years ago some Christians in England did a sidewalk survey in the downtown of a major city. One of their inquiries was: “What question about your life do you ask the most?”. The answer almost always was, “Why am I here? What is life all about?”.

The entire book of Ecclesiastes is about all the things that the richest and most powerful man in the world did in order to have an enjoyable and fulfilling life: He built palaces and grand temples, he cultivated great gardens, he imported tons of gold and precious stones and fabrics from around the globe, he had numerous wives and mistresses, he built the largest army and navy in the world, he studied every possible subject. At the end of this little book, he said it was all meaningless.

The meaning of our life is that we were born to die. This life is temporary. It is our proving ground. This life is the foyer of the life we will have eternally ~ a life in heaven or hell. We were not put here just to have fun, but rather to save as many people as possible from the clutches of Satan, and take as many people with us to the home of God, our Maker, the Lover of our soul. That is the meaning of life.

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Thursday 12/6 ~ To God, you are mighty!

The scripture for today, December 6 (12/6), is 1st Corinthians 12:6 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Cover-KINDLE-Thumbnail-New“There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”

Later in this chapter, Paul explains, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you.’  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (12:21f). He further explains, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body….” (12:13).

For ambitious people in the church who “fight” for position, this is hard to take. Standing in front with a microphone are the most sought-after positions in the church.  Such positions have the potential of making you famous. Sorry, folks. Not to God. To God you are dispensable. The church could easily survive without you. God could easily get along without you. So, get control of your ego. Huh?

Do you really and truly believe this? Those who do the seemingly menial works (the “weaker”) are indispensable to God ~ you who take food to the bereaved, who read the Bible to the sick, who clean the bathrooms, who daily pray for members and the lost, who give a tract to a friend, who share a bulletin with a neighbor, who send a thinking-of-you card to a lonely person, who mow the church building lawn, who pray with someone who has just told you of a problem, who watch the nursery, who periodically quote a Bible verse to a friend in distress ~ such works that are in the background ~ the ones that don’t make it into the “schedule of worship,” the bulletin, the newspaper, the church periodicals, the billboards, are the ones who are indispensable.

To you who are jealous of people who get to have a more public position in the church and stand in front of the congregation and” lead” don’t be. Take heart. God is working more in you than them. Further, public approval by people is their reward. Your reward is from God himself.

You may seem weaker to the others. You are nearly invisible and weak to most people. But to God you are strong.  You are mighty.  You are God’s pride and joy.

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