Saturday 1/13 ~ What an amazing plan

The scripture for today, January 13 (1/13), is Habakkuk 1:13 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong.”

This pretty much explains why none of us deserves heaven. Going to heaven has little to do with performing so many good works God will feel obligated to admit us.  

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-ThumbnailIt’s all about sin.  Only sinless people can be in heaven, for God cannot coexist with sin and still be God. Of course, we cannot be sinless. If nothing else, all of us have sins of attitude and neglect.

For thousands of years, God let mankind try any way we could to be perfect. Some people he gave the Law of Moses to, and some people he continued to let try on their own. Neither worked. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t get it right.

The wages we earn for sinning is death (Romans 6:23). Remember in the Garden of Eden God warned, “The moment you sin, you die.” He was talking about our souls dying and eventually our bodies dying. Satan causes death, so we are collecting the wages Satan pays for following him.

But, God intervened.  God gave us a temporary fix: We could kill an animal to die in our place and offer it as a sacrifice to take onto itself Satan’s reward.

But Galatians 4:4 says, “When the time was come, God sent his son.” Finally, when mankind understood we needed outside help, God sent Jesus. Hebrews 4:15 says Jesus lived the perfect life that was impossible for us to live; he was completely free of sin. Then God offered his son as the final sacrifice to die in our place ~ to be “falsely” accused of all the sins that WE had committed, to take onto himself Satan’s payment for OUR sins.

Since Jesus was sinless, Satan had no power over him. He just came back to life. That done, God ~ who can only dwell with sinlessness ~ is now able to allow obedient, faithful believers in Jesus into his home, heaven. For, through Jesus, we become sinless.

What an amazing plan.

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link to ebook and discount paperback:  http://bit.ly/TheyMetJesus

Sunday 12/31 ~ Only forever

The scripture for today, December 31 (12/31), is Luke 12:31 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BOOK 7-SHADOW-ChildsCartoonMedium“But seek his kingdom and these things will be given to you as well.”

Do we actively seek God’s kingdom? Or do we drift and feel like God should feel obligated to take us into his kingdom and into his heaven? Do we feel like we’re “not so bad”, so God would be bad to not take us into his kingdom and into his heaven?

Heaven is God’s home, not ours. God has a door into his home, just like we have a door into our home. God is not required to open that door to just anyone, just like we are not required to open our door to just anyone.  We cannot just show up at the door and smile and assume he will let us in, any more than people who knock on our door and smile can assume we will let them in.

We let people into our home who we have gotten to know and whose motives we trust. Have you given God a chance to get to know you and trust your motives? Are your motives to enter heaven, God’s home? Do you even like God?

This life we live on earth is not our permanent life or residence. This is just the foyer to our eternal home. Do we live like the earth is all there is? Do you fear hell?  Do you prefer heaven?

You are about to enter a brand new year. Today, decide to start over fresh and set your new goal: To live in God’s home where there are no more years. Only forever.

Friday 12/29 ~ Promised Land

The scripture for today, December 29 (12/29), is Deuteronomy 12:29 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-REV-Cover-No Logo-KINDLE-medium“The Lord your God will cut off before you the nations you are about to invade and dispossess.”

Why would a good God drive people (the Amorite nations) from their own land so that other people (the Jews) could live there? Way back in Genesis 15, God promised Abraham that his descendants would possess the land he lived in as a wanderer, but first, they would be enslaved in a foreign country some 400 years. During that time, they would multiply. Indeed, they did grow from 70 of Abraham’s grandchildren to over three million.

Then it would be time for his descendants to possess the land. Why so long in the future?  Verse 16 explains it: “For the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”  Their sins included offering their children as sacrifices to the fire god. 

The Jews did finally possess the Promised Land, but God warned them, “If you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you” (Leviticus 18:28). Indeed, they did eventually defile the land with their own sins, so several centuries later, they were dispossessed and forced to go to Assyria and Babylon by their conquerors. Yes, God keeps his promises ~ to both good and bad.

Today, regardless of the condition of the nation you live in on earth, look ahead to that even better promise of an even better land ~ that spiritual Promised Land ~ heaven. And it will be forever good.

Scripture for Monday 12/18 ~ Soar with Angels

The scripture for today, December 18, is Hebrews 12:18ff as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-HS-592 VersesExamined-COVER-Medium“You have not come to a mountain [Sinai] that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storms; to a trumpet blast….The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, ‘I am trembling with fear.’ “

“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a NEW COVENANT….”

The first paragraph refers to Mount Sinai in Arabia on which Moses received what was called the Law of Moses ~ not just 10 commandments, but over 600 ~ over a 40-day period. It was a terrifying experience for everyone. The second paragraph refers to Mount Zion where the temple was later built in Jerusalem by the Jews.

Next, the writer of Hebrews shows that Jesus took mankind higher than either physical mountain through his new agreement with us. He took us from the Old Agreement of the Law of Moses to the New Agreement of the Law of Grace. He took us from the physical to the spiritual. The Christian Jerusalem came out of heaven where angels and the living God dwell (Revelation 21).

Why would anyone want to dip into the old Law of Moses to get justification to do showy things in worship when Christian worship is so much more spiritual? Let us climb down off that old mountain of the Law and soar with the angels to the spiritual, the heavenly.

Scripture for Friday 12/8 ~ Why Am I Here?

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-medium” ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the teacher. ‘Everything is meaningless!’ “

Several 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 the richest and most powerful man in the world did in order to have an enjoyable and fulfilling life: He built mansions and grand temples, he cultivated great gardens, he brought in 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, he said it was all meaningless.

The meaning of our life is that we were born to die. This life is temporary. 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 take as many people with us to heaven as possible.

How do we do that? By continually studying and following our manual the Bible that our Creator gave to guide us through this temporary life and into our eternal life ~ our final destination ~ and encouraging others to do the same. Then applying it to our everyday life.

That is the meaning of life.

 

Scripture for Tuesday, November 7 (11/7)

The scripture for today, November 7 (11/7), is Psalm 11:7 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-cover-kindle-medium-new“For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face.”

The face of God! How we who believe in God long to see his face. We cannot comprehend it. But we can comprehend this…..

God’s eyes ~ “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good” (Proverbs 15:1).

God’s mouth ~ “I have put my words in your mouth” (Isaiah 51:16).

God’s nose ~ “The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma….The smoke of the incense together with the prayers of the saints went up before God” (Genesis 8:21; Revelation 8:4).

God’s ears ~ “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry.”

Perhaps when we continually watch both good and bad people around us with the same kind of care that God does…

…perhaps when we speak the words that come out of the mouth of God…

…perhaps when we send our prayers like sweet incense to God…

…perhaps when we are attentive to the silent cry of those around us…

~ just perhaps, in some way, we are seeing the face of God.

Perhaps.

 

 

 

 

Scripture for Friday, October 27 (10/27)

The scripture for today, October 27 (10/27), is Mark 10:27 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

worship-the-first-century-way-cover-kindle“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God: All things are possible with God.’ “

Can we be perfect? God let mankind try for many centuries to be perfect.

To one group of people he gave over 600 laws and said, “If you keep these, you will be perfect.” But, as hard as the Jews tried, no one could keep the Law of Moses perfectly.

To the rest of the world, he basically said, “Try to figure out for yourselves how to be perfect.” So, they tried all kinds of religions, but with all of them, they could not be perfect.

Finally, mankind was ready for Jesus. He came to earth and lived that perfect life that is impossible for us to live. He became the perfect Lamb of God, and sacrificed his life for us, for Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death.” He collected the wage for us.

So now, according to Romans 6:3-4, just as Jesus died on the cross, we too can die to our sinful nature ~ the part of us that sins and doesn’t care. Then, just as Jesus was buried in his tomb, we too can be buried in a watery tomb of baptism. And finally, just as Jesus was raised up out of his tomb the Savior, we rise up out of our watery tomb the saved.

Then God considers us perfect too. God cannot associate with sinners in his heaven. He can only have perfect people in his heavenly home. Impossible for us to live there with him someday? Yes. But, God sent Jesus to fix that problem. With God, nothing is impossible.

 

 

 

Scripture for Wednesday, October 25 (10/25)

The scripture for today, October 25 (10/25), is Hebrews 10:25 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Medium“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another ~ and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Some people declare, “I can walk through nature ~ the temple of God ~ and feel God is closer there than in a church building.” Well, do they really do it? How often? The purpose of the church meeting is not so much to encourage ourselves as to encourage others along with worshiping God.

Look at the context. Verse 23 says “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess” and verse 24 says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” How do we do these things? A lot of it is done during our congregation’s worship and encouragement service.

And what comes after our verse for today? Verse 26 says, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left.” Meeting together with other congregational members is one of the major things that keeps us from falling.

Should we meet once a week? This scripture says to meet “all the more as you see the Day [of Judgment] approaching. Many say, “But that’s too inconvenient.”

It was inconvenient for Jesus to leave a perfect heaven for an imperfect earth. It was inconvenient for him to leave the company of angels for the company of sinners. It was inconvenient for him to do this for 33 long years. Inconvenient taking the blame for our sins, and then taking our punishment. Inconvenient experiencing agonizing spiritual death when God left him on the cross, and then that agonizing physical death.

Do we really know inconvenience?

 

Scripture for Sunday, October 22 (10/22)

The scripture for today, October 22, is Hebrews 10:22 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

worship-the-first-century-way-cover-kindle“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

The previous verse said that Jesus is the great (high) priest over the house of God (the church). Therefore, the sprinkling refers to the sprinkling of blood the high priests did on the Day of Atonement once a year. (See Leviticus 16 in the Old Testament.) Now our hearts (which we cannot see or touch) are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus.

And how are we to be cleansed from that guilty conscience with our bodies (which we can see and touch) being washed? I Peter 3:21 says, “Even so does baptism now save us, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh but the answer of a good conscience toward God.”

We do not have to guess whether we were sincere enough when we gave our heart to the Lord. Our conscience never has to wonder if we did it right. For God gave us something we can actually do to give us a good and clear conscience toward him.

From henceforth, we can draw near to God in full assurance. Full! Not partial. Not wondering. Not with ups and downs of faith. But full! God thinks of everything!

 

Scripture for Friday, October 20 (10/20)

The scripture for today, October 20 (10/20), is Deuteronomy 10:20 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 5-FloodGates-Cover-Medium-New“Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him.”

In the Hebrew, “fear” is yirah. It means to revere. Psalm 111:9 (KJV) says, “Holy and reverend is His name.” The Bible does not tell us that anyone else’s name is reverend or that anyone else can wear that name as a title ~ only God. Some say, “Well, I’m honoring God when I add ‘Reverend’ to my name.” Actually, no.

We are told to hold fast to God. Who do we hold fast to? Our denomination? Our religious friends? Our self-help Christian books? Our religious leaders? God says, “Hold fast to me.” How is that done? By reading his words for ourselves and obeying it, regardless of what our non-religious or religious friends tell us; by putting God on a pedestal, not a person.

Hold fast to Reverend God, and he will hold fast to you. And so, we worship him.