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.

 

00-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-ThumbnailSTEPHEN: UNLIKELY MARTYR was insulted by other people; he forgave them. He was harassed by other people; he forgave them. Mocked by other people; he forgave them. Bawled out by other people; he forgave them.  Killed by other people; he forgave them. How did this former coward change?  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  https://amzn.to/2M0sjxX

 

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Tuesday 7/9 ~ Eternity

The scripture for today, July 9 (7/9), is Deuteronomy 7:9 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Love Letters of Jesus & his Bride, Eccelsia-THUMBNAIL“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.”

Our amazing God! He loved our great-great-grandparents and He will love our great-great-grandchildren. The average age of having children is 30. Therefore, if we take this literally, 1000 generations would be 30,000 years. In that case, we’ve only just begun.

If taken figuratively, 10 to the Jews meant all-inclusiveness, and 1000 is 10 x 10 x 10 or all-inclusiveness times all-inclusiveness times all-inclusiveness. This means God will love us all-inclusive years, times all-inclusive years, times all-inclusive years ~ for eternity!

And God gives everything we ~ the Bride of Christ ~ ask of him if it is good for us. All he asks in return is for us to give the little bit that he asks of us ~ faithfulness and keeping his few commandments. Then he will help us escape this world for his. What a small price for us to pay and what grand arrangement!

 

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Wednesday 6/26 ~ I can tell you love me

The scripture for today, June 26 (6/26), is 1st Chronicles 6:26ff as found in the Old Testament of the Bible.

OldOldTunes-medium“Elkanah his son, Zophai his son, Nahath his son, Eliab his son, Jeroham his son, Elkanah his son and SAMUEL his son. The sons of Samuel: JOEL the firstborn and Abijah the second son.”

This is a little long, but I think you will enjoy it.

The prophet Samuel came from a musical family who descended from Levi’s son Kohath. Samuel’s son listed in this scripture was Joel. Verse 33 called the son of Joel and grandson of Samuel “Heman the musician”. Just what did Heman the musician do?

David told the Levites to appoint “singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals“. Heman was the first one they appointed (I Chronicles 15:16f) and he had two assistants ~ Asaph and Merari (I Chronicles. 6:39, 44). David put them in charge of the music in the house of the Lord and they performed their duties according to the regulations (verses 31f).

So what David appointed was a choir and orchestra.  When David first appointed them, Heman had 120 relatives in his clan, and his assistants had 220 and 130 in their clans (I Chronicles. 15:5-7; 19-22; 27-28) so they had a total of 470 musicians. Wow! And these musicians had a full-time job!

They were to minister before the Lord “according to each day’s requirements” of sacrifices as written in the Law of Moses. Heman and the others were responsible for sounding the trumpets and cymbals and playing the other instruments ~ lyres, harps and cymbals (15:19-21) ~ for sacred song (16:37-42). In addition to playing the prescribed lyres, harps and cymbals, trumpets were to be sounded to announce sacrifices, etc. (16:4-6).

By the time David was old, there were “four thousand…to praise the Lord with the musical instruments” (I Chronicles 23:5)! What an amazing choir and orchestra they had by this time! Remember, they were all male Levites, and were to help Aaron’s descendants, the priests, in the temple every day and at special feasts (verse 28, 30f). And what instruments were they still playing? Cymbals, lyres and harps “for the ministry at the house of God” (I Chronicles. 25:1 & 6).

Years later after David died and his son Solomon had completed the grand Temple in Jerusalem (II Chronicles. 5:1), “all the Levites who were musicians…stood on the east side of the altar dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres, accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. The trumpeters and singers joined in unison as with one voice to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and the other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the Lord” (verses 12-13).

Can you imagine such an orchestra and choir? The tinkling of the harps and lyres, with cymbals keeping the tempo, and trumpets calling attention to it all? And all those singers! Was God pleased? Indeed he was, for in the form of a cloud “the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God” (verse 14).

All this occurred around 1000 BC. Three centuries later when Hezekiah was king, the same instruments were being played ~ cymbals, harps and lyres (II Chronicles. 29:25f). Why? Because they were prescribed by David, Gad the seer and Nathan the prophet as commanded by God through his prophets. (Acts 2:29-30 says David was a prophet too.)

So we see that during Old Testament times, God commanded that they have full-time musicians to sing and play during daily sacrifices and special feasts and they had to be male Levites and they had to play cymbals, harps and lyres, sometimes accompanied by trumpets.

What a family Samuel had! And I’ll bet he was musical himself. How proud he would have been of his descendants.

Interestingly, although God specified every detail of the instruments that had to be played in the Old Testament, nothing like that was specified in the New Testament. Did God forget? Perhaps God took us to a higher plain in the New Testament era. We do know that in I Corinthians 14:15, we are told to both pray and sing with mind and spirit.

And in Ephesians 5:19 we are told to “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.” The term “make music” in the original Greek language of the New Testament is to play on strings. Since we are to make music in our hearts, then it looks like we are to play on the instrument of our heart. How beautiful!

About 40 years ago when my father died, the funeral was in a little country church. The music consisted of a small group from the congregation who sang hymns without the accompaniment of an instrument. They were not good performers ~ they twanged a lot and sometimes were a bit off key. But it was some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard. Why? Because their singing was accompanied by their heart. They were telling my family, “We love you,” and I really felt that they did.

God looks down at our singing ~ no matter how good or feeble ~ and says, “I can tell you love me.” And that’s all that matters.

 

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Tuesday 6/18 ~ Incredible, amazing, mind-boggling

The scripture for today, June 18 (6/18), is 2nd Chronicles 6:18a as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Silver Cover-KINDLE-thumbnail“But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you.”

Did you ever want to see God, to talk to him face to face? Perhaps something bad had just happened in your life and you had this urge to bawl him out, then let him explain why.  Or did you ever want to touch God? Perhaps you were so very lonely that you desperately needed his arms around you, and feel his touch as he brushed away your tears.

But, if you could see him and touch him, it would mean that he could not be with others in the world at that time and could not hear anyone else’s prayers at that time except yours. Try to be grateful that you cannot see and touch him for now. He is always available to you, regardless of where you are in this vast world and regardless of how many others are praying to him at that moment.

How he can sort out all our prayers at once is mind-boggling. How he can be everywhere at once is amazing. How he can love each one of us as though we were the only person alive is miraculous and incredible.

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Wednesday 6/12 ~ God loves to answer prayer

The scripture for today, June 12 (6/12), is Luke 6:12 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Silver Cover-KINDLE-thumbnail“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountain side to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”

How in the world did Jesus think of enough things to say that he could pray all night? Most of us on a good day only manage a 5-minute prayer. The next verse says that the next morning he selected his twelve apostles. Aha! He had a list. He had probably spent at least half an hour each praying about them by name, as well as about others he was considering. Jesus knew what his apostles would be facing someday. Which ones would be loyal enough, stubborn enough, strong-willed enough to someday in the future endure persecution, torture, and martyrdom for him?

Who do you pray for by name? Do you have a prayer list? How about opening the newspaper and praying for all those people in the news ~ perpetrators, victims, causes, governments, situations? Or everyone you work with? Or everyone your children go to school with? Or all their teachers and administrators? Or the clerks in the stores you go to regularly? Or members of an organization you belong to? Or every member of your congregation? What about countries where people become Christians at risk of their freedom and even their lives?

There are always people in need of prayer. And one of the joys of such a prayer life is now and then telling people whom you know that they are in your prayers; or writing a note to someone who is a stranger to you telling them that you pray for them.

Some people have never heard their names in prayer. Some people have never even been told that someone prays for them.

God loves to answer prayer. Do you love prayer?

 

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