Wednesday 9/11 ~ You will be delighted; they will be fascinated

The scripture for today, September 11 (9/11), is Matthew 9:11 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Applied Christianity“When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and “sinners”? ‘ “

Jesus did not make friends with people who could lift him up. He made friends with people who he could lift up. You are not divine, so we need both. It is true that your closest friends should be Christians. However, many brag those are their only friends. That isolates and insulates them.

You must make some friends among the lost in order to show them God’s love, and try to lift them up. They can be people at work, in a club, in your neighborhood, someone you sit next to waiting for a bus, or even someone you meet by accident while waiting in line at a store.

You must always be on the watch. Always prepared to become more than just casual acquaintances. Always be prepared to get “up close and personal” with some of your friends. Most people have questions about the Bible. So, ask them if they do. If you don’t know the answer, look it up in a Bible Concordance and pass it on to them. You will be delighted and they will be fascinated.

Jesus did it. He was our example.

 

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Thursday 9/5 ~ Then stand. And act.

The scripture for today, September 5 (9/5), is Nehemiah 9:5a as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Applied Christianity“And the Levites ~ Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherabiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah ~ said ‘Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.’ “

Who in the world are these eight men?  We know nothing about them before this event and nothing about them after this event. But they are forever memorialized in the Bible because, on this one day, within this one hour, in this one moment in time they “stood on the steps of the temple…and called with a loud voice” (Nehemiah 9:4) for the people to “stand up and praise the Lord”.

Can you do that? Can you stand and call out to people around you, “Stand up and praise the Lord your God”? Yes, you can. You can write letters to the editor, you can encourage other students of the Bible, you can start Bible studies in your home or even the internet for adults or children, you can take scripture tray favors to a hospital or nursing home.

In what way can you tell people around you to “stand up and praise the Lord your God”? List for yourself some ideas. Then stand. And act.

 

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Friday 8/23 ~ What will be in your book?

The scripture for today, August 23 (8/23), is 2nd Kings 8:23 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Strip Bible Heroes 5 & 5“As for the other events of Jehoram’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?”

All the years of this great king’s life were reduced to a few pages in a book. When you die, what will there be to write about? Will people list only the date and place of your birth, marriage, and death ~ your statistics? What will you be remembered for? What will be in your obituary?

Better still, what is God writing about you in his books? “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne and books were opened. Another book was opened which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books” (Revelation 12).

Will your book be thin with not a lot worth writing about? Will it be thick and full of all you’ve accomplished for good and God in this life? What will be in your book?

 

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Wednesday 8/21 ~ Self-reflection and self-honesty

The scripture for today, August 21 (8/21), is Ezra 8:21a as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Applied Christianity“There, by the Ahava Canal [from the Euphrates R.], I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God.”

In our modern society, does anyone fast anymore? Not drinking our food (juice) for a day and calling that a fast, but a true fast where we drink only water to stay hydrated, but that’s all? And we turn off all computers, phones, radios, and televisions for the day?

Jesus said in his sermon on the mount, “WHEN you fast….” (Matthew 6:16). He didn’t say, “IF you fast….” No, he assumed his followers would fast. Do we?

If you do, do you do it as a group? Jesus said we are to keep it a secret. Does anyone else know about your fast? They shouldn’t know unless they are the reason for our fast.  Fasting is an act of self-restraint. It belongs to the sphere of humble self-discipline. It is strictly a personal and private matter.

All moral and bodily restraint, all humbleness of body and spirit are represented by fasting, and it is a complete failure of self-restraint to want to show the world our self-restraint. An unknown author wrote this:

  • Let us keep our fast within,
  • Till heaven and we are quite alone;
  • Then let the grief, the shame, the sin,
  • Before the mercy-seat be thrown.

 

Fasting is a way of starving yourself temporarily, a way of saying, “God, I would do this and more for you; I would die for you.” Or, “God, if it were possible, I would trade lives with this person I am fasting for to give them rest. I would even die for this person.” It is a deep expression to God that goes beyond words.

Also, when you fast, your mind is freed from guiding the digestion of food, so you can think clearer and deeper. You can face yourself more honestly.

Just what are you deep down? Do you truly love God as much as you claim? Do you truly love your family as much as you claim? Your neighbors? Your fellow Christians? Your enemies? This is your time of self-reflection and self-honesty.

 

 

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Tuesday 8/20 ~ Whose road are you on?

The scripture for today, August 20 (8/20), is Proverbs 8:20 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible.

Strip Bible Heroes 5 & 5“I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice.”

Interestingly, the original Hebrew of “way” is the customary path, and the original Hebrew of “paths” is the customary road.

If you had a house out in the country, it would have paths leading to and from it. These paths would be taken in your day-to-day life without much thought. In the same way, we live out our principles and moral standards pretty much the same every day on such paths.

But eventually, these paths can merge into major roads. Now we have to make major decisions. Our life decisions on such roads must be based on justice.

It is sometimes hard to make the right judgments because we can get emotionally involved and start wishing for an outcome that cannot possibly occur.  In those cases, we must stand back and consider, “What would be the just thing to do if someone else had to make this decision?”.

We could also ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?”. After all, Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, the Life” (John 14:6).

Ultimately, whose highway are you on? Will it take you to where you want to go?

 

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