Wednesday 6/27 ~ It’s your assignment. Quit complaining.

The scripture for today, June 27 (6/27), is Daniel 6:27 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

10-Daniel-KindleThumnail.jpg“He [God] rescues and he saves, he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

This was proclaimed by none other than Darius, Emperor of Persia and Babylon. He normally worshipped idols. What made him respect God? It was Daniel’s example of being true to God even in the face of death.

Everyone has problems. You can consider them bad luck or opportunities. People of the world do not see any benefits to Christianity in their everyday life. You can show them the advantage by how you face your own difficulties. They will notice.

A friend of mine was a logger (lumberjack). This big guy got up at 4 AM every day and didn’t get home from work and finish eating dinner until about an hour before bedtime. So he began reading his Bible out in the forests during his lunch break. The other men made fun of him.

They had to ride a small bus together to get deep into the forest, and the guys would harass him on the bus. One day they harassed and teased him so bad because of his Christianity (he wouldn’t cuss and swear with or at them) and Bible reading, that he asked the bus driver to stop. He got out and walked ten miles toward his home.

Sometime later one of the men who had teased and harassed my friend went to him in private with a problem. He said, “I teased and harassed you with everyone else, but deep down I admired you.” Then he went on to explain his problem to my friend “because you are the only one I know to turn to.”

So today, if you are facing a problem, face it together with God. Face it with courage. Face it with the belief that it is for a reason and that reason may be so you can be an example of godly strength to others. Quit complaining and give it a try. You can do it!

~~~BUYLINK to eBOOK and discount PAPER:  http://bit.ly/2Itvn0d

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#troubles, #problems, #assignment, #friends, #example, #courage, #complaining

Wednesday 6/20 ~ Surely, losing everything can never be good. Can it?

The scripture for today, June 20 (6/20), is Matthew 6:20f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Michel-COVER-Kindle-Thumbnail“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

In describing heaven, terms are used like pearls, diamonds, emeralds, gold, and so on. So certainly God is not against riches. Otherwise, he would not have described heaven with those terms.

So what is the problem? Ask yourself, “If I lost everything tomorrow, could I face life?”. You may say yes, but what about friends? They may not want to associate with someone with nothing. So, it is not only a greed problem but a social problem. It is a problem of losing both your possessions and your friends.

Some have solved this problem by moving out into the country where possessions and social status don’t mean so much. Or you could stay where you are and just change your choice of friends. Your new friends may be truer friends than you ever had before and may need you more.

Lastly, if you lost your job, your car, your home ~ your identity ~ would you be so devastated that you would contemplate suicide as some have done? Or would you be able to look around and see what you can do without having and a job to occupy your time?

There are always things you can do for others. Is that truly where your heart is? In that case, loss of everything would not bring catastrophe. Rather, it would give opportunity to reveal what stuff you are made of deep down inside where your true treasure is ~ in your heart.

~~~BUYLINK for eBOOK & discount PAPER:  http://bit.ly/FourthWiseMan

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#loss, #stuff, #possessions, #house, #home, #job, #income, #salary, #pay, #car, #automobile, #friends, #suicide, #heart, #priorities, #emptiness, #Christianity, #church, #Bible, #Scriptures

Monday 6/11 ~ Let your heart yearn with them

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

0-Bk3-HeartsAfire-COVER-Kindle.thumbnail-new“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 elephantitis 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 we comfort someone who feels utterly hopeless? We certainly don’t put the blame on them, nor do we tell them it’s “all in your head’ or to “snap out of it”. We can share times when we felt hopeless. We can weep with them. We can hold their hand. We can sit with them in silence. We can pray aloud for them. (Some people have never heard their name mentioned in a prayer.)

And we 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.

~~~BUYLINK to eBOOK and Discount PAPER: http://bit.ly/Hearts-Afire

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Saturday 6/9 ~ When you are desperately low, your job is just to hang on

The scripture for today, June 9 (6/9), is Job 6:9-8 found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-Hero Alone-COVER-KINDLE-LgThumbnail“Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut me off!”

Job was suffering terribly. The Bible says he had sores all over his body. There were other symptoms listed elsewhere in Job that indicate he had a form of leprosy. Now he just wanted to die.

When we get into a life problem that seems hopeless, do we just give up and say, “God, I can’t go on like this. Just take my life right now. It’s too hard. I can’t do it anymore”?

God knows what you are going through. God knows that Satan is attacking you. When things are desperately low, your job is just to hang on. It often takes God time to shift around a lot of other people’s lives in order to alleviate your pain.

Remember, God hurts just as much when you suffer as when he watched his own Son suffer on the cross. His Son’s suffering accomplished something wonderful for others. So too, someday your suffering will somehow in some way accomplish something good. And ultimately, just by surviving, Satan loses and God wins.

This too will pass. You may not think so, but it will. You may think you will never smile again, never want to go around people again, never sing again. But you will. Just like Job did.

~~~BUYLINK to eBOOK and discount PAPER:  http://bit.ly/HeroesAlone

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Friday 5/18 ~ Can you give thanks when bad happens?

The scripture for today, May 18 (5/18), is 1st Thessalonians 5:18 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

000-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

This is one of the most difficult verses in the Bible to follow. How can we rejoice with the loss of a loved one, of health, of a job, of a home, of a position? The Christians at Thessalonica, in Greece, had been suffering a lot of persecution for being Christians. Some had even been killed.

Satan will do all he can to cause bad to happen in your life in order to get you to blame God and forsake him. But the real blame belongs on Satan. It may sometimes seem like the harder you try to follow God, the worse things get in your life.

In that case, apparently, Satan is afraid of your strength in the Lord and is trying more than ever to weaken you and get you back on his side. He doesn’t have to attack people he already has. 

And sometimes God stands back and tells Satan, “Do your best. This person will grow stronger, not weaker. His/her health and job and home may become minuscule but their soul will become a giant.” Along with the Christians in Thessalonica, you can “become a model….your faith in God can become known everywhere” (1st Thessalonians 1:7-8).

So rejoice that Satan is so afraid of you. And at the same time, keep your eyes on Jesus who never gave in when Satan caused bad to happen to him. Rejoice that you are counted worthy. Can you do that?

~~~BUYLINK to ebook or discount paper:  http://bit.ly/LazarusSamaritan

Tuesday 5/15 ~ They’re disappearing

The scripture for today, May 15 (5/15), is Ecclesiastes 5:15 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Titus-Cover-Lg Thumb.jpg“Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.”

As most people enter their senior years, they finally understand this verse. In their youth, they struggled to get jobs and status and things. Some accomplished it and some didn’t. But in the senior years….

when health is gradually declining….

 the world is passing them by….

 and they are sitting in their chair most of the time

….the main thing people look back on is what difference they made in their world, and how they did or did not help people important to them.

Often in their senior years when their income goes down and they are….

living only on a small pension…

and unable to keep their big house, and fancy car, and impressive stuff

….they realize they are still the same person inside regardless of what they own.

Ask a senior what they want for a birthday present. It is not likely to be things. It is likely to be time spent with a loved one or something special given to someone in need.

What about you?  How much time are you spending on things?

~~~BUYLINK for ebook and discount paper:  http://bit.ly/Bk8-TitusAristocrat

 

Monday 5/7 ~ Lord, why don’t you stop all this suffering?

The scripture for today, May 7 (5/7), is  1st Peter 5:7 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Thumbnail“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Oh, how hard life can be sometimes. We wonder why God doesn’t stop all the bad things. But, if there were no evil and bad things happening, we would have heaven on earth. Satan is the Prince of this world. 

How many times in a week are you anxious about something? Your job, your home, your children, your neighbors, your government, your health? How many times in a day? Are they heavy? Sometimes almost too heavy to bear?

Name them to God. Tell him all about them. Go into as much detail as you like. Then put them all on his shoulders. That’s what he wants you to do. He will carry those burdens for you.

Yes, this is not heaven on earth. But Jesus provides a way for us to escape to the other world in heaven.  We don’t have to escape; he doesn’t force us. In the meantime, he calls out, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).  Why? He cares for you.

 

Saturday 5/5 ~ Seek peace. Deep peace.

The scripture for today, May 5 (5/5), is Micah 5:5a as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

000-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“And he will be their peace.”

The little book of Micah was written during a time when his country was full of prosperity. But it was also full of abused power. The lower on the social scale, the more the people suffered at the hands of the powerful few.

In the midst of warning the social elite, Micah offers comfort to their victims. You may be going through economic distress such as losing your job or losing your home. You may be going through social distress such as being passed up for a promotion or losing friends because of your moral code.

Seek peace. Deep peace.

Sometimes, it is only possible to reveal powerful abusers by revealing their victims to the world. Sometimes our job is to just survive so that a future generation can find justice and acceptance. Or sometimes we must lose everything so that we can quit worrying about this world and look forward to the next.

Seek peace. Deep peace.

So when you feel left behind with nothing, look up! God is still on his throne. God still holds out his arms. God still wipes away tears. Possibly it is at such times that you can feel God’s love most warmly and God’s peace most deeply.

Tuesday 4/24 ~ When Mt St Helens blew, I looked out my window and…

The Scripture for today, April 24, (4/24) is Jeremiah 4:24 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

02-Noah-KindleThumbnail“I looked at the mountains and they were quaking, all the hills were swaying.”

I was living in a village near the bottom of Mt. St. Helens when it blew.  We had lived there for eight years. We had often taken our children up to it and gone sledding, built snow forts, made snow angels, the works. 

It was our mountain. Our beautiful mountain. It reminded me of an upside-down ice-cream cone.  It was perfect in every way.  Everyone knew it was a volcano, but it had formed thousands of years before and would continue like it was for thousands of years in the future. It was our mountain and it belonged to us to do with as we pleased.

But it wasn’t our mountain.  One morning I looked outside. It seemed as though we had been plunged into the interior of a furnace with all its ashes. I stared. It was snowing gray ash.  I stared more, wondering what the birds had done.  Relieved, I saw them huddled together under bushes.

Of course, the radio and TV had switched to Emergency. We were told to stay indoors because ash is deadly to the lungs. If we did go out, we had to wear surgical masks. If we drove, we were told to put nylons over the air filter and not go over 10 mph.  Even then, the ash flew everywhere. Our freeway entrance and exit were blocked. The most disturbing thing I heard on the radio (everyone kept their radio on day and night) was that we were at the top of the San Andreas Fault.  And so we, like the birds, huddled and waited for more unknown.

Not only was our mountain turned inside out, but our world was turned inside out.

We have expressions that something is “as eternal as the mountains” or “as old as the hills”. Not true. Nothing on earth is eternal. That also includes things, people, power, position, belongings, even dreams.  Eventually, they quake and sway and are gone. Only that which is spiritual is forever. Will your soul be able to handle it?

~~~BUYLINK to ebook or discount paper:  http://bit.ly/HeroNoah

 

Thursday 3/22 ~ You can never be consumed

The scripture for today, March 22, is Lamentations 3:22 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

000-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.”

Jeremiah had spent years warning people of the coming destruction of their country and beloved Jerusalem due to their selfish sinful life and taking advantage of each other. He endured taunts, reprimands, imprisonments, and threats to his life. Now it has happened. All hope is gone. Nothing left but ashes.

There were innocent people who suffered as a result.  Would they let Satan get his way and destroy their lives, their spirits, their souls too?  It is at this point that lamenting Jeremiah utters bravely amidst his own tears, “We are not consumed.”

Are there things going on your life that seem to be consuming you? Do you feel utterly hopeless?  Do you feel as though life may not be worth living anymore? Look up. God is still there. He still loves you.

When you have the love of God, you have the courage to take the next step and the next and the next. You have the courage to keep walking and walking and to hold your head high. Nothing and nobody can ever take away the love God has for you. With his love, you can never be consumed.

Monday 3/19 ~ Why had I felt so abandoned?

The scripture for today, March 19 (3.19), is Habakkuk 3:19 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Joseph-Cover-Thumbnail”The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

The little book of Habakkuk was written during a period when the leaders were oppressing the desperate poor. Habakkuk complains to God, “Why do you tolerate wrong?”. God answers that he’s getting ready to put an end to it. Not satisfied, Habakkuk asks the same question again.

God’s answer renews Habakkuk’s faith. Perhaps he asked himself, “Why had I worried so much?” “Why had I felt so abandoned?” “Why had I thought God didn’t notice?” “Why had I decided God didn’t really care?”

Everyone grows impatient when leaders are doing wrong. But we must understand that we see just part of the problem and that God is waiting until the right time to put an end to it ~ a time when people are so desperate with helplessness that even unbelievers can’t help but know God intervened.

So when times come in your own life that everything seems to be going wrong, read the little book of Habakkuk and know that God is still in control, he has not forgotten you, and he has special plans for you.

Thursday 3/8 ~ If you lost everything tomorrow

The scripture for today, March 8 (3/8), is Philippians 3:8 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ.”

Wow! Paul, who wrote this, considered everything he had previously owned and every position he had ever held as rubbish ~ garbage ~ compared with belonging to his Lord.

Paul apparently came from a well-to-do family since he was born in today’s Turkey but went to school in Jerusalem. He also apparently held a position in the Jewish ruling body, the Sanhedrin, since he could vote on whether to execute someone. So he probably owned a lot of things and had an honored position. The King James Version of the Bible says he considered it all as dung ~ manure.

Where are your priorities? What do you spend most of your time on? The stuff you just have to own, exciting things you just have to do, the power you just have to claim? All to enhance the little inch of your life on earth?

What if a storm destroyed your house, your car, and all your stuff tomorrow?  What if you were banned from a sport you love tomorrow? What if a rumor destroyed your career with all its power tomorrow?  Then what?

Where are your priorities? What do you spend most of your time on? The stuff you just have to own, exciting things you just have to do, the power you just have to claim? All to enhance the little inch of your life on earth?

Or could you consider the deep and unconquerable love of Christ Jesus your Lord the most valuable thing in your life?  Could you accept your loss, take advantage of it, and unleash a different kind of life for Jesus with no regrets?  

Thursday 3/1 ~ When I could stand it no longer…

The scripture for today, March 1 (3/1), is 1st Thessalonians 3:1,5 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Thumbnail“So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens…For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.”

In Thessalonica, there had been a riot, and the man who had given Paul and his helpers a place to live was hauled into court. Paul just couldn’t put his host through that so “when we could stand it no longer” he left the city and went off by himself so he wouldn’t jeopardize anyone else.

Still the great Apostle Paul ~ who went everywhere preaching non-stop for decades; who stood up under beatings, stonings, hunger, and shipwrecks; who explained to church leaders how to lead their congregation; whose letters were prophecy and became scripture ~ the powerful Apostle Paul still felt very tenderly toward his fellow Christians.

He worried about how they were getting along spiritually. And when he “could stand it no longer,” he wrote back to Thessalonica to find out how they were doing.

Tender love is a powerful love. A strong love. A love that will never, ever let go. Do you feel this way about the spiritual well-being of other people? Is there someone you need to call or write to today because you want to find out how they are?  Do you have any words of encouragement for them? Any at all?

 

Monday 2/26 ~ Paralysis or freedom?

The scripture for today, February 26 (26), is Ecclesiastes 2:26 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Bk3-HeartsAfire-COVER-Kindle.thumbnail-new“To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

Are you happy regardless of how much wealth you do or do not have? Do you require things in order to be happy? Solomon, who wrote the above scripture, was the wealthiest man in the world, but he found it to be meaningless, a chasing after the wind. In another place in Ecclesiastes (5:10) he said that a man loving money never has enough.

Indeed, centuries later, the highly educated and intelligent apostle Paul, who did not own a home or much of anything else, explained his happiness: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:11b-12).

If you lost everything tomorrow, would you panic? Or would you use God’s wisdom and knowledge to create a new happiness?  Might you look around and begin doing something you have always wanted to do but were too tied down with things to do?  If you lost everything tomorrow, might it bring a new freedom to you or paralyze you?

Saturday 2/17 ~ What do you crave?

The scripture for today, February 17 (2/17), is 1st John 2:17 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Michel-COVER-Kindle-Thumbnail“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

Have you lost anything very important to you lately? Has it left you feeling empty?

Were you injured and cannot participate in a certain sport or your bones are getting old and you have to get around in a wheelchair?  Did you lose a savings or part of your income and no longer can buy fancy clothes, a shiny car, a big house?  Did you miss out on being an official for a committee or community and all the importance that comes with it?

The previous verse in the KJV says there are three basic types of sins: Lust of the flesh and eye, and pride. Is your loss devastating to you? Do you now feel worthless?  Do you sometimes even have fleeting thoughts that life is no longer worth living?

Or, perhaps recently you actually obtained your heart’s desire. Were you satisfied? Or did you begin to look higher wanting a little more? Take a deep look at yourself?  Do you think you will ever be truly satisfied?

What are your cravings? Are they all that important?  Are they all that valuable?

Only one thing can ever give us what we truly crave ~ doing the gentle will of God. He is our Creator and he knows what will make us happy. Then we can have all we ever craved ~ forever.