Friday 12/21 ~ Hope of the Nations

The scripture for today, December 21 (12/21), is Matthew 12:21 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0000-BK 1-StarSong-Cover-new-Thumbnail“In his name the nations will put their hope.”

Ah, this is the stuff dreams are made of ~ the dreams of Christians, that is. Revelation 21:2, 9, & 26 says regarding the New Jerusalem which is the Bride of Christ which is the Church: “The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.”

The nation you live in may not be in good hands right now, or it may be thriving with high morals, or it may be diving into poverty. But your nation can hope ~ hope in Jesus.

Never lose hope. You are just one person, but there is great power in one. Jesus came to provide that hope. In your own way, in your own life, use your power of one. Show your nation how it can hope, how it can have glory and how it can have honor.

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Thursday 12/20 ~ But my heart is set on it

The scripture for today, December 20 (12/20), is 2nd Corinthians 12:20b as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

05-Joseph-KindleThumbnail“….I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder.”

It can happen among well-meaning people trying to accomplish the same good work but from different angles. Do you insist your way is the best way, and people will be lost if the committee or congregation doesn’t do things your way? Do you then get hurt and think (or say) everyone else doesn’t love the lost like you do? Then are you tempted to switch congregations or just drop out of the church completely?

A good test when personalities clash is to ask yourself, “Would this congregation survive without me?” Of course, it would. It did before you came and will after.

A good solution: If your heart is set on a certain good work, but no one else’s heart is, do what you can alone. You don’t need a committee to follow your heart.

Let us prefer one another, honor one another, and love one another. We are family ~ God’s family.

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Saturday 12/15 ~Surely not!

The scripture for today, December 15 (12/15), is Hebrews 12:15 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-ThumbnailReally?  Bitterness can cause us to miss the grace of God? Bitterness only causes trouble for yourself and others and defiles you. Bitterness comes from you thinking of yourself more highly than you ought (Romans 12:3), and forgetting that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Bitterness leads to either bullying or shunning and ends in broken relationships and a cancer of the heart. It can cost us our eternal salvation.

The opposite of bitterness is forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean you condone what someone else has done. It means you let go of it and let God handle it. It means you wish the best for the offending person or situation. You can wish even the most hardened criminal will someday turn to God and turn his life around. How many times in your lifetime have you asked God to forgive you for the same things over and over?  God forgives you as you forgive others.

Forgiveness lifts weights off of you until you feel as though you could soar. Forgiveness takes the clouds away and brings back the sunshine. Forgiveness makes sure you do not miss the grace of God.

 

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Friday 12/14 ~ The two IFs

The scripture for today, December 14 (12/14), is 1st Samuel 12:14 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

10-Daniel-KindleThumnail“If you fear the Lord and serve and obey him and do not rebel against his commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God ~ good!”

The Jews had just insisted on having a king rule over them instead of a supreme judge. Samuel replied and said two IFs. IF they serve and obey the Lord, and IF they both (people and king) follow the Lord, then it is good.

Today as then, some people live in a nation where the king/government does not follow the Lord. What to do? Galatians 5:22 tells us to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled, for “against such things there is no law”.

Is it hard to do this when crooked officials are getting all the advantages and you are being cheated and even threatened if you do not cooperate? Indeed it is. It may seem they are on top of everything. In reality, they are at the bottom. Never ever let others drag you down to their level. It is not worth it.  Keep your eyes on God!

Hold fast!

       Stand firm!

             Do the right thing!

In the end, they will lose. You and God will win. And that is good!

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Monday 12/10 ~ And God is older than all of us!

The scripture for today, December 10 (12/10), is Job 12:10 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-Cover-Thumbnail“Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?”

Let’s talk a moment about teenagers. Many adults joke that their teen is 16 going on 60. What know-it-alls they’ve become! Let’s look at the situation this way. They may have bodies that have grown to that of an adult. But minds grow much slower, and they must give their minds a chance to catch up.

As adults, it is our responsibility to help their minds catch up. Know enough about the Bible that you can apply scriptures to their activities and interests and friends. You may wish to make a list of your teenager’s activities, interests and friends, and then list a scripture next to each. Proverbs is an excellent book to start with. Then when the occasion arises, be ready (even if you have to sneak into the other room a minute to consult your list) to instill some wisdom.

This way, it is not you speaking, but God speaking. God said, “My word will not return to me void” (Isaiah 55:11). And God is older and wiser than all of us.

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Wednesday 12/5 ~ Then God will arise

The scripture for today, December 5 (12/5), is Psalm 12:5 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

01-Miriam-ThumbnailCover” ‘Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise,’ says the Lord. ‘I will protect them from those who malign them.’ “

Notice, in this scripture the Lord says, “I will now arise.” Sometimes God needs you to endure difficulties so bad people who cause such problems can be exposed for what they are, and ultimately so Satan can be exposed for what he is. Sometimes that difficulty will last months or years ~ sometimes even a lifetime.

First Corinthians 3:9 in the New Testament says you are a worker together with God. Ephesians 6:12 says “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly [spiritual] realms.”

You are where God wants you to be. This is your assignment. Are you up to it? Sometimes your job is just to hang on and not give up on God. That’s what Satan is always trying to get you to do, just as he did Job in the Old Testament. God won’t leave you in a situation that is impossible for you to endure. I Corinthians 10:13 says, “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.”

So, go ahead and groan in your weakness, beg in your frustration, and cry in your frailty, but hang on. Never let go of God. That’s your part.

As soon as the evil around you is exposed for what it is, you have proven good cannot be conquered by evil, and you have grown spiritually as a result of your experience, Then God will arise.  That’s God’s part.

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Saturday 12/1 ~ So, who’s right?

The scripture for today, December 1, is Jeremiah 12:1ff as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-Hero Alone-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“Lord, you always give me justice when I bring a case before you to decide. Now let me bring you this complaint: Why are the wicked so prosperous? Why are evil men so happy? You plant them. They take root and their business grows. Their profits multiply, and they are rich. They say, ‘Thank God!’ But in their hearts, they give no credit to you. But as for me ~ Lord, you know my heart ~ you know how much it longs for you. And I am poor, O Lord!”

Now compare this with Job 15:20-24:

“All his days the wicked man suffers torment, the ruthless through all the years stored up for him. Terrifying sounds fill his ears…He despairs of escaping the darkness; he is marked for the sword. He wanders about ~ food for vultures; he knows the day of darkness is at hand. Distress and anguish fill him with terror.”

These two passages contradict each other. So what is the problem? The words spoken in Job were by Eliphaz, one of Job’s well-meaning friends who took it upon himself to help Job figure out why he had lost all his wealth, all his children, and all his health. Was Eliphaz right?

At the end of the book of Job, is this: “The Lord…said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends because you have not spoken of me what is right.” Then God ordered Eliphaz and his friends to sacrifice seven bulls and rams (not small sacrifices), then ask Job to pray for them so God “will not deal with you according to your folly.”

When we read scripture, let us be careful to investigate its context and ALL other scriptures on the same subject. Only then can we have the whole picture. Only then can we avoid religious folly.

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