Picking and Choosing

The scripture for today, September 18 (9/18), is Leviticus 9:18ff as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“He slaughtered the ox and the ram as the fellowship offering for the people. His sons handed him the blood, and he sprinkled it against the altar on all sides. But the fat portions of the ox and the ram ~ the fat tail, the layer of fat, the kidneys and the covering of the liver ~ these they laid on the breasts, and then Aaron burned the fat on the altar. Aaron waved the breasts and the right thigh before the Lord as a wave offering, as Moses commanded.”

The Law of Moses did not have just Ten Commandments. It had over 600! They were intricate commands that had to be kept exactly. The above is just a small portion of what they were supposed to do for a particular sacrifice.
Thank God, Jesus nailed the Old Law of Moses to the cross (Colossians 2:14). Yet some religious leaders continue to dip back into the Old Law to copy showy types of worship ~ robes, candles, choirs, harps, incense ~ many things, and all commanded. But if they do that, they must keep ALL of the Law of Moses ~ stoning for adultery, giving 1/3 of their income (not just 1/10), not working on Saturday (even cooking), going to Jerusalem three times a year.

They can’t just pick and choose which ones they like. The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 5:17 “Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised [just one command in the Old Law of Moses] that he is obligated to obey the whole law.”

James said in 2:10, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” Old Testament worship was showy, elaborate, and demanding to the nth degree. New Testament worship is just the opposite.

Mark 14:26 says that after Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper/Communion, “When they had sung a [single] hymn, they went out…”

Acts 2:41-42 says, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

Acts 20:7 says, “On the first day of the week, we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people…”

I Timothy 4:13 says, “Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.”

Nothing complicated about it. Just simple worship. Worship the way Jesus and his apostles worshiped. Worship the way God wants it. He said so himself.

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This is my assignment?

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-Ah, my Lord God. I try to comprehend what you did for me, but I cannot. You saved me from hell! I was headed straight for it along with all of mankind. I could not pay the ransom. The ghastly trinity ~ Sin, Satan, and Death wanted the death of God. So, you gave them what they wanted. But it backfired on them.  It took you only three days to conquer them all  ~ Sin, Satan, and Death.  You are strong with the power of the ages. In your right hand is Truth, in your left is Life. You ride on the wind, you leap between stars. You do whatever is necessary to protect us. For me, God? For me?

Father, I have been complaining a lot lately. Complaining about food I got at the grocery store that I didn’t realize was spoiled until I got home. Complaining about the weather. Complaining about the way a relative spoke to me. Complaining about the traffic and gasoline prices. Lord, it was actually you I was complaining about. This is where you want me to be. Complaining is akin to accusing. Satan is THE accuser. Lord, make Satan get away from me so I’ll stop complaining. And can you forgive me?

My God, you have been my comfort through so many things and over so many years. Must I praise you for all the horrible things I’ve lived through? You say I must and so I do. I am reminded that you have given everyone their assignments, and these have been mine. At each stage of my life you have given me different assignments. I agonized under some of them. I cried and screamed, and yet you would not release me.  I thank you for them all, Lord.  Truly, I do.  They made me stronger, didn’t they? I made Satan a little weaker, didn’t I? Together we did it.  Together forever.

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Do you have anything to conquer?

Supper-Front Cover-MediumThe scripture for today, September 13 (9/13), is Psalm 9:13f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“O Lord, see how my enemies persecute me! Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death, that I may declare your praises…and there rejoice in your salvation.”

Life is a mixture of highs and lows. You sometimes experience difficult things ~ some minor, some major. Do you let them define your entire life? Do you cling to them, never getting over them, never letting them go, and reliving them over and over in your mind?

You cannot be “more than a conqueror” (Romans 8:37) unless you have something to conquer. You cannot have “victory in Jesus” unless you have something to be victorious over.

God said he can make “all things work together for good” to those who love him (Romans 8:28). He did not say bad decisions will end up with the best result. He said even the worst situation he will turn in to some kind of good for you.

Today, with the courage of God in your heart, the love of God in your soul, and the might of God in your very being, rise up! Rejoice! Thank God for your problems.  It is only when you have problems that you can experience victories.

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Out of disaster came beauty

02-Noah-KindleMediumThe scripture for today, September 12 (9/12), is found in Genesis 9:12f in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come. I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”

 On the technical side, how can it be that there was never a rainbow before Noah’s time? Genesis 2:5b-6 explains, “The Lord God had not sent rain on the earth, and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.”

Up until the time of Noah, people lived to be several hundred years old. Christian scientists have said that, before the flood, the earth had a constant cloud covering with a thick ozone layer that created the greenhouse effect of vapors and protected man from the aging process. It was much like Venus.

So rainbows were not possible when the sun could never break through the ever-present clouds. It was because of a terrible worldwide cataclysm that the beauty of the rainbow was made possible.

On the faith side of this story, we see a man who had such faith in God that, although he probably had never seen rain, believed it would happen. Such amazing faith! Later, through the pain of losing his stubborn extended family in the flood, he was blessed with the lives of his direct family members. Then God gave him one more reward ~ the rainbow ~ that he could not only enjoy in his generation but generations even today.

Out of disaster came beauty.

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Praying for Nero

The scripture for today, September 8 (9/9), is Daniel 9:8 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Medium“O Lord, we and our kings, our princes, and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you.”

Have you prayed for your government lately?  I Timothy 2:1 & 2 says, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for everyone ~ for kings and all those in authority.”

At the time of this writing, Nero was Caesar. First-century historian Tacitus said this about Nero in his Annals 15:44: “But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called “Christians” by the populace.

“Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular.

“Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.”

If the Apostle Paul could pray for such a government leader, can you not follow his instructions? Why don’t you stop and pray for your own government right now?

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