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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Saturday 9/15 ~ Just how far would you go?

The scripture for today, September 15 (9/15), is 2nd Corinthians 9:15 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Thumbnail“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

Can you imagine dying in the place of someone else?  We occasionally hear stories from the battlefield of a man falling on a grenade so he is the only one killed, thus saving his buddies.

But closer to home, if you saw a child in the path of a car, would you run out and throw the child out of the way knowing there will be no time for you to escape death?

What if you were hiking or sailing with a friend and got lost? Would you split the food and water evenly, or would you give it all to your friend? What would you do if you were lost with someone who hated everyone? Would you give them all the food and water knowing you would die and the hateful person live on?

What if you were with a friend and were arrested for a crime the friend did? Would you take the blame and the punishment of twenty years in prison so your friend could go free?  What if that person was a habitual criminal, you happened to cross paths at the wrong time, and you were both arrested for his heinous crime? Would you take the blame and his punishment (execution) for him?

Now try to imagine making your child take the blame and die in the place of every sinner in the world ~ your sinless, innocent child.

     It is indescribable.

            It is unimaginable.

                It is unthinkable.

                        But God did exactly that.

How can we thank Him for his indescribable gift of Jesus redeeming us from Satan with his blood? We fall silently at His feet and worship.

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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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Sunday 8/26 ~ Unfathomable yearning, inescapable love

The scripture for today, August 26 (8/26), is Romans 8:26 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-HS-592 VersesExamined-COVER-Thumbnail“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

The Holy Spirit in the New Testament is always linked with communication between God and Man. Even the miracles, made possible by the Holy Spirit, were a guarantee that the words and teachings accompanying the miracles were from God. This was needed before the New Testament was written. But the Holy Spirit does more than this.

God speaks to us in his Word, the Bible. Then we speak to him in return in prayer. But sometimes all we can do is bow our head in silence and know that God understands ~ His Spirit communes with our spirit.

In the Beginning, God the Mind decided to make the universe, God the Word spoke the words to make the universe, and God the Spirit made it happen and brought life to the universe. When humans die, we say their spirit left their body. Therefore, God’s Spirit brings life to our spirit, our soul, when we are born again.

So, we see God’s Spirit brings life to our spirit and keeps it alive by communing with our lowly spirit.  Unfathomable yearning. Inescapable love.

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Wednesday 8/22 ~ Listen to the song

The scripture for today, August 22 (8/22), is Jeremiah 8:22 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

OldOldTunes-Thumbnail

 

“Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?”

There is a very beautiful African-American spiritual of unknown origin that many of us have sung. You may be able to hear it sung a cappella here: http://bit.ly/1PfHxrI These are the words to that spiritual:

There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the sin-sick soul.

Sometimes I feel discouraged,
And think my work’s in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit
Revives my soul again.

If you can’t preach like Peter,
If you can’t pray like Paul,
Just tell the love of Jesus,
And say He died for all.

 

Have a blessed day.

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