Thursday 8/1 ~ Your longing, your hope, your reason for being

The scripture for today, August 1 (8/1), is Romans 8:1 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-1st Century Worship KINDLE-COVER-Thumbnail“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

There are a lot of religious groups out there in the world who control their people with fear. If you don’t do such and such, it proves you aren’t spiritual enough. If you do such and such one second before you die, you’re going to hell.

They put burdens on you that just are not in the New Testament. By making you feel guilty, they make you depend on them for your salvation and that boosts their ego. The Apostle Paul wrote to the congregations in Galatia (today’s Turkey) and warned them with tears:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel ~ which is really no gospel at all. Evidently, some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached [past tense] to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again:

“If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God? Or am I trying to please men? ” (Galatians 1:6-10).

Are you sure you are IN Christ Jesus? Do your church leaders dance around scriptures they wish weren’t in the Bible and tell you they don’t really mean what they say? Or add things that the scriptures say nothing about? Are you sure they aren’t people pleasers instead of God pleasers? What do they do with Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Romans 6:3-4, Galatians 3:27, I Peter 3:21? Look them up. Do your church leaders try to explain them away?

Ah, to be sure you are indeed IN Christ Jesus and can someday live in his world. This is your longing. Your hope. Your reason for being.

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Thursday 7/25 ~ Sunday, Sunday

The scripture for today, July 25 (7/25), is Hebrews 7:25 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Supper-Front Cover-Thumbnail“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him [Jesus], because he always lives to intercede for them.”

How grateful are you that Jesus interceded or you on the cross and still does? Do you live for yourself ~ never reading God’s word, going on outings, shopping, or sleeping in on Sunday mornings, praying only in emergencies? Have you bought into the mindset that, if you don’t murder, steal big things, and only swear a little bit, God will suddenly let you into his home, heaven, when you die?  If you could care less about God in this life, you would be miserable in heaven. 

There are even those who do worship on Sunday mornings but forget why Sunday worship is different from worship the other days of the week.  According to Acts 20:7, the early Christians met on Sunday to (for the purpose of) break bread (the Lord’s Supper). Jesus said hours before his agony that we had to keep his supper ~ his little ceremony. Instead, do you disobey him and tell yourself it’s okay to spend worship time doing other things that are more interesting and so time-consuming there is no time left for Jesus’ little ceremony?

Remember what happened on Sunday? Jesus broke those unbreakable chains of hell for you on Sunday. He broke the indomitable power of death for you on Sunday. He came back to life forever for you on Sunday. But ballgames and shopping and sleeping in are more important, and showing off how good people can perform or make speeches during worship are more important?

Oh, Jesus, help me bury my selfishness. You gave up so much for me. I have grown so insensitive to it. Help me remember what you sacrificed for me in this little ceremony you set up for me.  Please forgive me for not meeting you at the cross every week in Your Supper.  You did so much and asked so little. Help me live for you. Help me live with you.

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Sunday 7/21 ~ Teaching the teachers

Our scripture for today, July 21 (7/21), is Matthew 7:21ff as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

NF-WorshipChanges-WorshipFirst“Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “

There are hundreds of denominations/sects out there all contradicting each other. It’s impossible for them all to be right. They cannot all be on different roads going to the same place. They cannot all be pleasing God if we decide opposing things please him.

You can never rely on what someone else says just because they look and act holy and say all the right holy words and phrases and pray such holy-sounding prayers. You must never rely on your religious leaders to tell you what to believe. Shall you take their opinion or God’s opinion?

Romans 10:1 in the Bible mentions some people who had a lot of zeal for God, but were lost because it was not according to the proper knowledge.

Well, how do you get God’s opinion? Read the Bible for yourself! Use a concordance (lists every word in the Bible and every scripture with that word ~ Bible Hub has one on the internet) and look up your chosen subject.  Then, having found the truth, why not go back to your religious leaders in love and try to teach your teachers? Some just might listen to you.

 

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Friday 7/19 ~ How often do you want God to forgive you?

The scripture for today, July 19 (7/19), is found in Romans 7:19 as found in the New Testament of the Bible.

00-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Thumbnail“For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do ~ this I keep on doing.”

Doesn’t this pretty much describe you and me in some area of our life?  It may be eating too much, breaking the law by going over the speed limit, laughing at dirty jokes, habitual lying, stealing “little things” at work, cheating on tests, jealousy, impatience, temper ~ any number of things.

Sins of habit and attitude are hard to break. So you go to God over and over asking him to forgive that which, deep down, you know you’re going to do again.

Perhaps this emphasizes the importance of you forgiving others who habitually do wrong to you. You do not know their deep inner struggles any more than they know your struggles.

Jesus said, “IF you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14).

Satan wants you to quit trying to do better. And he wants you to quit forgiving other people. Don’t give in to Satan.  Give in to God. God’s way leads you to ultimate forgiveness of your sins ~ ultimate and complete.

 

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Monday 6/17 ~ When you fast…

The scripture for today, June 17 (6/17), is Matthew 6:17 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-CHILD'SCartoonMetJesusCOVER-Thumbnail“But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face.”

This is interesting because Jesus did not say “If, you fast” but rather “When you fast.” It was as though he was teaching us to take for granted that we would fast ~ it would be second-nature to us. In a sense it is, for when most people go through a sudden tragedy such as loss of a loved one, they often cannot eat.

But what about voluntary fasting? The early church sometimes fasted. Acts 13:2 says a congregation in Antioch, Syria, fasted and worshipped, then chose men to go out as missionaries. Queen Esther fasted before going to the king uninvited with a request he might not like (Esther 4:16). Isaiah 58:3 says people fasted in order to humble themselves.

Some people respond, “I’d die if I had to fast.” Perhaps that’s kind of the idea. We know we would die if we went without food long enough. So perhaps one day of fasting is a way of saying, “God, I would die for you if I had to.” Yes, fasting is a humbling experience, and frightening to some people. But perhaps that is the point.

Is something important coming up that you know you will be urgently praying about? Once you skip one meal, you will have conquered your desire to eat. Then, with your brain not having to concentrate on digesting food, it will be able to focus more on that important thing happening in your life. Your prayers will be more focused. You will be more focused with your eyes more clearly on God.

So, take a shower, comb your hair, put on some nice clothes, and look like you have something important to do. Then fast.

 

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