Thursday 1/17 ~ We get the good ones

The scripture for today, January 17  (1/17), is James 1:17 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Mefiboset-KINDLE Thumbnail“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Do you sometimes feel slighted because other people get more gifts on special occasions (or even between special occasions) than you do? No need to feel that way. Christians get the goods ones. Christians get the perfect ones. We get them all! And our heavenly Father will never stop showering us with those “good gifts,” those “perfect gifts.”

God’s gifts are good and perfect because they are forever gifts. And what can be better than that?

Ah, Lord God, my creator, my life, lover of my soul. With you, I am never hungry, I am never cold, I am never in want. With you I have all that I need for my soul is filled with your love, I am warm in your embrace, and everything is good within my being. You, who died in my place, are even now waiting for me at your door.  I will be there soon.  Then we will be together for eternity.

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Tuesday 1/8 ~ Inexpressible and glorious joy!

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

0-Bk3-HeartsAfire-COVER-Kindle.thumbnail-new“Though you have not seen him, you love him! And even though you do not see him now, you believe in him! And are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy!”

Ah, the memories Peter had of being with Jesus when they all were young.  Now he was old and people were dying out who had seen and heard Jesus in person.

After Jesus returned to heaven, it was the job of his Apostles to tell people about him and repeat his words. They spent the rest of their lives doing just that. What joy they found when people believed, even though they had not seen him. They not only believed, but they also loved him

Thank God, the Apostles wrote the New Testament so we would never have to guess what Jesus was like and never have to guess what his words were, even after the Apostles died. In fact, we have the advantage because we do not have to wait for an Apostle to come visit us and tell us. We can read about Jesus for ourselves over and over as many times as we like right in our home.

True, we have not seen Jesus with our own eyes. We have not heard him with our own ears.  Yet, his life and words are always before us. How can we help but believe in him? And love him? What inexpressible and glorious joy!

 

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Sunday 12/9 ~ God is so proud of you!

The scripture for today, December  (12/9), is 2nd Corinthians 12:9 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

04-FOLK HERO-Child'sCartoon-Thumbnail“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Oh how much we need to be reminded of this scripture. We all have weaknesses. Do you lament the hand you were dealt? Do you lament the country you were born in, the family you were born into, the physical limitations you were born with, the mental, emotional or physical deficiencies you ended up with?

This is your chance! Those weaknesses! Go around others with the same weakness you have with joy in your heart, gladness on your lips and a continual gleam in your eyes!  Let God’s strength shine in your weakness!

When people begin to sympathize with you, interrupt them and tell them how much God loves you, and how much God loves them! Encourage your “encouragers.” Let them go away from you with a new understanding of the blessings of weakness! And perhaps be a little more thankful for their own weaknesses.

Lucky you! You are one of the chosen!  He is so proud of you!

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Friday 12/7 ~ You are never alone

The scripture for today, December 7 (12/7), is Luke 12:7 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Was Jesus God-COVER-kindle-thumbnail“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Jesus had just said that God knows every sparrow individually. Amazing! This God of ours, this Creator of ours knows everything that is going on in his world, and knows everyone in his world, regardless of where we are in the world.

Not only does He know everyone, but He knows our name, our likes, our dislikes, our struggles, our joys, if we bump into a door, how much we paid for groceries this week ~ everything. He is with us where ever we go. There is no place we can go that he is not there. We are never alone.

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Saturday 11/10 ~ The light goes on! Viola! We see it! We get it!

The scripture for today, November 10 (11/10), is Acts 11:10 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Acts of the Apostles-Cover-Thumbnail“This happened three times and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.”

Acts 11 is about God telling Peter that his new heavenly kingdom was for the whole world, not just the Jews. What was pulled up to heaven was a “sheet” holding all the unclean animals which the Old Law of Moses commanded not to eat. Now God was saying, “Eat it. The Old Law of Moses isn’t in effect anymore.”

This was hard to grasp. So hard that, even though it was God telling Peter directly a new spiritual concept, Peter refused it. So hard for him to believe it, that God had to tell him three times!

Is this the way you are? You read something in the Bible that you never believed before. You read it and re-read it and re-read it, and it never sinks in. After all, you never believed that before. None of your religious friends or leaders believe it. No one on Christian radio/TV or in Christian magazines or the internet believes it.

But God’s Word remains what it says. So, over the weeks and months and years, you pass through that scripture and read it and re-read it. Over the weeks and months and years, its meaning for your life goes right over your head.

Then one day, the light goes on! Viola! You see it! You get it! You are blessed!

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Wednesday 9/19 ~ Do you feel ordinary?

The scripture for today, September 19, is Acts 9:19f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-“He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food he regained his strength.”

This is the story of Saul, as he was known to the Jews and to us as Paul, who became an apostle. Notice the order he did this: He was hungry, but that wasn’t important. He had to do what was important first. He was baptized.

Why was Paul baptized? In Acts 22:16 Paul recalls that day when he was told, “Get up: be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.”

Further, notice who baptized him. Was he part of the clergy, someone with an ordained title in the church? No. He was ordinary and unknown. Acts 9:10 says, “In Damascus, there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him: ‘Go to…. a man from Tarsus named Saul’.” What title did Ananias have? None. He was just another disciple. Disciple simply meaning follower.

Little did this otherwise ordinary and unknown disciple realize that day that the person he baptized would end up writing much of the New Testament.

Do you feel ordinary like you are an “unknown disciple” to followers of Jesus around you? Find something to do, and God will make it great. 

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Friday 9/7 ~ You mean I don’t have to tithe?

The scripture for today, September 7 (9/7), is 2nd Corinthians 9:7 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Cover-Thumbnail “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

There are many religious leaders who insist that Christians tithe. But that was part of the Law of Moses, which we no longer keep.  If we pick one item, we have to pick them all including stoning people.  Let’s look at Law-of-Moses tithing:

Actually, the Jews were required to give more than a tenth. (1) Deuteronomy 26:12 said the Jews had to give an extra tithe every three years for their welfare program. So, if someone tithed $900 a year, s/he would have to tithe an average of $300 more per year for the welfare program, equaling $1,200 year. If the yearly income was $9000, this would take it up to 13.3% a year.

(2) Also, according to Leviticus 27, they had to pay for their vows, which in many cases were really special prayer requests. (3) They also had to buy animals for sacrifices for intentional sins, unintentional sins, and sins requiring restitution.

(4) If they wanted to thank God for anything, they had to buy grain for a sacrifice (Leviticus 1-5). If they didn’t have to buy the animals or grain, they had to take them out of their own supply, thus depleting their own “paycheck.”

(5) And every time one of their flocks or herds had a first-born, they had to sacrifice it ~ another depleting of the “paycheck.”

So the good Jew under the Law of Moses did not just tithe. He ended up giving about one-third of his income.  Galatians 5:3 says that, if we keep one part of the Law, we have to keep all of it. There were over 600 burdensome commandments in the Law of Moses!

In today’s scripture, Christians are being released from this burden. Instead, they are being told to decide in their own heart. Christians are released from serving and giving through obligation and set free to serve and give out of love.

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