Tuesday 2/19 ~ Citizenship

The scripture for today, February 19 (2/19), is Ephesians 2:19 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 8-ComeFlyWithMe-Cover-Thumbnail-New“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.”

Let us pretend there is a kingdom called Occland and we want to become a citizen of that kingdom. Of course, citizenship would not be automatic. And in the same way, citizenship in the Kingdom of God (being a Christian) is not automatic.

Just crossing the border and living in Occland would not automatically make us a citizen of Occland any more than just living in a Christian nation automatically makes us a Christian.

Owning a copy of Occland’s constitution would not automatically make us a citizen of Occland any more than owning a copy of the Bible automatically makes us a Christian.

Going to meetings of parliament or the Senate of Occland every time they met would not automatically make us a citizen of Occland any more than going to meetings with other Christians every Sunday automatically make us a Christian.

It just is not automatic. We would need to be invited into Occland, and then do things to accept Occland’s invitation. God invites us into his kingdom, but we must do things to accept his invitation.  Romans 6 & 10, Acts 2 and 1st Peter 3 in the New Testament are good places to check it out. Do so.

Ah, to be citizens in the kingdom founded by the Creator of the universe. Is it possible? Really possible?  For me too? For me too? It’s not automatic, but it is possible.

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Wednesday 1/9 ~ Go anyway. Conquer anyway.

The scripture for today, January 9 (1/9), is Joshua 1:9 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-Hero Alone-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Fear can paralyze. Just ask Joshua. He had just been given the job of conquering horrible people who practiced prostitution as a religion, self-mutilation and sacrificing their children to the fire god.  Plus, his spies said those bad people were like giants and his army was made up of the children of former slaves with no experience.

Guess what God said.  “Go anyway. Conquer anyway.” 

What do you fear?  A few people fear spiders and night time and heights and such? A lot more of people fear changing a bad habit that has us in its claws and won’t let us go. Even more serious, do you fear telling a neighbor, someone in a club, a relative about Jesus’ willingness to save them from hell and get them entrance into heaven?  To all this, God says, “Go anyway.”

Some of you reading this live in countries where it is dangerous to be a Christian. Do you fear being arrested, tortured, killed for your faith?  God tells you, “Be strong!  Be courageous!  Do not be terrified!”  Why. Because “the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

What keeps the fear under control?  “Perfect love casts out fear” (I John 4:18).  Love yourself, love your neighbor, love God.

Today, whatever it is holding you back, “Go anyway, Conquer anyway.”

 

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Friday 12/28 ~ The Kingdom Now and Forever

The scripture for today, December 28 (12/28), is Hebrews 12:28 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-REV-Cover-No Logo-KINDLE-lg-thumbnail“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”

Notice this is in present tense. The kingdom is not something in the future but is now.

Jesus said in Luke 9:27 that some listening to him would still be alive when the kingdom came. Colossians 1:13 says God HAS (not will) rescued us from the dominion of darkness and BROUGHT (not will) us into the kingdom.

In fact, at the end, Jesus will not come back to earth to set up a kingdom. Instead, he will at that time hand the already-existing kingdom over to the Father (I Corinthians 15:24).

So what does this mean to us? Revelation 1:5-6 says that all who have been freed from our sins by the blood of Jesus have become a kingdom of priests. As such, we daily offer our bodies as living sacrifices in the service to our king (Romans 12:1).

Christians have dual citizenship. Christians are citizens of the earthly nation they live in, and citizens of the Kingdom of God. What glory God has already bestowed upon us.

So let us be thankful every day, and worship Him with reverence and awe forever.

 

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Thursday 12/27 ~ Separation of Church & State ~ the real meaning

The scripture for today, December 27 (12/27), is 1st Kings 12:27 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00- Worship Changes KC COVER-thumbnail“If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem [not some other capital city], they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah.”

For centuries and millenniums, kings selected a patron god for their nation, a god they most revered to protect them. The patron god was selected by the king. Nations were always ruled by either a high priest or king. Some nations even had priest-kings.

So, when Constantine conquered much of Europe and set up his empire, he needed a patron god. One day during a battle, he looked up and saw a cloud formation that reminded him of things he’d heard about Jesus. So, he made Jesus his patron God, and Christianity his empire’s required religion. He even rode his army through rivers, then declared them baptized. He ordered conquered peoples to be baptized or killed.  Headquarters was Rome.

Luther was friends of the Duke [king] of Germany, so when he broke off from Rome, the official state religion became Lutheranism. John Calvin was in the government of Switzerland, so when it broke off from Rome, the official state religion became Calvinism. When the king of England broke off from Rome, he became head of the Church of England (and Prince Charles is head of the Church there today). John Knox was influential with the parliament of Scotland, so his Presbyterianism became the official religion of Scotland.

In each instance, the king or parliament could force its citizens to follow the chosen religion of that nation. If people didn’t, they could legally take their property from them, put them in prison, torture them, and execute them at will. And, in earlier centuries, they did just that.

Eventually, the idea of separating religion from the state government became popular in the Western World. And that is where many nations are today. But it does not mean people in government cannot express religion. It just means they cannot force citizens to be a particular government-selected religion or be in danger of punishment. That is true “separation of church and state”.

 

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Friday 12/21 ~ Hope of the Nations

The scripture for today, December 21 (12/21), is Matthew 12:21 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0000-BK 1-StarSong-Cover-new-Thumbnail“In his name the nations will put their hope.”

Ah, this is the stuff dreams are made of ~ the dreams of Christians, that is. Revelation 21:2, 9, & 26 says regarding the New Jerusalem which is the Bride of Christ which is the Church: “The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.”

The nation you live in may not be in good hands right now, or it may be thriving with high morals, or it may be diving into poverty. But your nation can hope ~ hope in Jesus.

Never lose hope. You are just one person, but there is great power in one. Jesus came to provide that hope. In your own way, in your own life, use your power of one. Show your nation how it can hope, how it can have glory and how it can have honor.

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