Sunday 8/4 ~ They lost everything

The scripture for today, August 4 (8/4), is Acts 8:4 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”

Sometimes your plans get scattered, your dreams shattered. You lose your home, your job, your chance at an education, your savings, your family.

Satan loves to discourage you. He’s good at it. But Romans 8:28 says God can make something good come out of all things, even the bad.

Do you use your circumstance in life as an excuse to not share the Good News of how to be saved from hell and go to heaven instead? 

If you use the excuse you don’t have time, then lose your job, would you share the gospel then? If you use the excuse your upper-class neighbors are all agnostics, then lose your home, would you share the gospel with middle-class neighbors?

Your circumstance may change, but you would be the same person you were before. What is the likelihood you would be any different if your life was “scattered”?  If your old excuses were no longer valid, would you then share the Good News?  

The people in Jerusalem who feared martyrdom ran for their lives and lost everything.  Their concern for the souls of others never wavered. 

Today, consciously look around for someone to share the gospel with.  Afraid your friends will reject you? Then go to a fast-food place or a park or a bus stop, find someone sitting alone, and tell a stranger. No matter where your dreams and ambitions scatter to, you can still “Seek and save the lost.”

 

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Saturday 7/13 ~ When misery ends with gladness

The scripture for today, July 13 (7/13), is in Job 7:13ff in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Bk3-HeartsAfire-COVER-Kindle.thumbnail-new“When I think my bed will comfort me and my couch will ease my complaint, even then you frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions so that I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine. I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning.”

Job was extremely depressed. It happens to everyone sometimes. His depression was certainly valid ~ he had lost all his income and all his children in a recent storm. Now he had what the Bible translated as “boils” but the symptoms indicate he had a form of leprosy called Elephantiasis.

This particular form leads to nightmares in addition to the physical problems. Job had every right to be depressed. So depressed was he, that he no longer wanted to live, for his life no longer had meaning.

But, as miserable as Job was, he hung on. Patiently he hung on during the bad times. Sometimes during your bad times, the greatest thing you can do is “hang on” ~ be patient.

Romans 8:28 says all things work together for good to those who love the Lord. Job loved the Lord. Even in his misery and desire to die,  he continued to love God and trust Him.

And, although at such times you may believe your misery will never end and you will never even smile again, it will happen. The misery comes to an end. It did for Job. He got his health and wealth back and more children to comfort him. God will see you through too.

 

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Thursday, June 13 ~ Go in the strength you have

The scripture for today, June 13 (6/13), is Judges 6:13f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Mefiboset-KINDLE Thumbnail” ‘But sir,’ Gideon replied, ‘if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about? .But now the Lord has abandoned us and put us in the hand of Midian [enemies].’ The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have.’ “

How dynamic! When you feel trapped, God says, “Go.”  When you feel paralyzed, God says, “Go.”  When you feel hopeless, God says, “Go.”

Sometimes you spend your time concentrating on your problem rather than a possible solution. Or you try to find someone else to solve your problem for you. Or you feel so helpless, you sit huddled in a dark corner and ask God to take care of your problem for you. When Captain Gideon did this, God replied, “You’ve still got strengths. Use them.”

Yes, you have to wait for God’s final solution, but he does not expect you to sit idly by while he does all the work.  “But how?” you ask.  You are not a rock or tree or grain of sand.  You are not an elephant or tiger or worm.  You are a human being made in God’s image.  God breathed life into you and gave you special gifts and talents.

Don’t sit idly by while bad things happen around you. Everyone has God-given strengths. Look deep within your heart. It’s there.  Then go forth in the strength you have.

 

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Tuesday 6/11 ~ A very sick friend

The scripture for today, June 11 (6/11), is Job 6:11 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 2-DreamMaker-cover-kindle-new-thumbnail“What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects that I should be patient?”

Many people use the expression, “patience of Job.” But he had on-and-off patience, for he was very sick. By descriptions he gave of himself ~ sores, rancid breath, low voice, partial blindness, skin turned hard and black, bloating, nightmares, extreme pain, unrecognized by his closest friends ~ some believe he had a grotesque form of elephantiasis leprosy.

What did he need from his friends? He surely didn’t get it, for they spent their time trying to prove that he had sinned and God was right to be punishing him. His reply? “I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all! Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing?” (Job 16:2f).

So how do you comfort someone who feels utterly hopeless? You certainly do not put the blame on them, nor do you tell them it’s “all in your head’ or to “snap out of it”. You can share times when we felt hopeless. You can weep with them. You can hold their hand. You can sit with them in silence. You can pray aloud for them. (Some people have never heard their name mentioned in a prayer.)

And you need to let them talk. Sometimes they will say things they don’t mean in the long run, but at that brief moment, they do. Or sometimes they need to talk through things they are unsure about. They may even say contradictory things.

At one time Job said, “Surely, O God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household….God assails me and tears me in his anger and gnashes his teeth at me” (16:7f). But another time he said, “I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end, he will stand upon the earth….I myself will see him with my own eyes ~ I and not another. How my heart yearns within me” (19:25f).

Do you have a very sick friend?  Let your heart yearn with them.

 

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Monday 5/20 ~ Who needs you?

The Scripture for today, May 20 (5/20), is 2nd Corinthians 5:20a as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Applied Christianity“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”

We all have a special longing. When we are in pain and long for reassurances that God is with us, one of the things we often want is to see God, feel God’s touch, look into God’s eyes. This is where Christians come in. God says to Christians, “Go to those in pain. Let them see you, feel your touch, look into your eyes.”

Someone in your life needs you right now because they need God.  They don’t know how to reach out to God, but you do. They don’t know how to understand God, but you do. Stop whatever you have planned for today that is kind of important. Replace it with the very important. Go see someone or call them or Skype them. 

Are you or are you not God’s ambassador? Is God doing anything through you? Yesterday? Today? Tomorrow?

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