Saturday 10/13 ~ No more, Satan. You are going to lose. Get used to it.

The Scripture for today, October 13 (10/13), is 1st Corinthians 10:13 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Hero Alone-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

What are you tempted to do or not do on a regular basis in your everyday life? Then look at the source of your everyday temptations ~ Satan. Do you really want to be Satan’s slave?

Romans 6:16 explains it this way: “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey ~ whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

Take a long hard look at your everyday temptations and remind yourself of the source. Then, with courage in your soul and boldness in your heart, stand up and say, “No more! I am not your slave, Satan. I will win over you. God and I are stronger than you. Satan, get used to it: You will lose.

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Sunday 10/7 ~ Why would a good God condone violence?

The scripture for today, October 7 (10/7), is Joshua 10:7f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-LUKE-KINDLE Cover-Thumbnail“So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men. The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.’ “

We today cannot imagine a good God condoning violence, let alone promoting it. But think back. Mankind was quite barbaric in the centuries and millenniums before Christ. For example, when Alexander the Great got offended at what a friend said to him, he cut off his nose and ears and put him in a cage for the rest of his life.

God never runs very far ahead of mankind, or else mankind would not understand, and not even try to follow God. By the time Jesus came, God was saying, “No more violence.”

In this scripture for today, God was telling Joshua to attack people in the Promised Land ~ Canaan. This brings up another question: Why would a good God allow one group of people to kill off another group of people? God told Abraham centuries earlier, “In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure” (Genesis 15:16). By this time they were sacrificing children to their gods.

In Leviticus 18:24, 28, God warned the Jews through Moses, “Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled…And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.” So God warned the Jews that, if they got as bad as the previous people in Canaan, he would drive them out too. (Eventually they did, so God did.)

Further, in Old Testament times, God often punished people immediately. Why punish them? Partly to get them away from the good people. And God used armies of believers to do the punishing for him.

Today God does not expect us to do the punishing. Romans 12:19 says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’ says the Lord. On the contrary, If your enemy is hungry feed him…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Thank God, he has taken the terrible task of vengeance away from us. We can just forgive our enemies and hand things over to God to take whatever steps need to be taken. In the meantime, we can read the Old Testament and learn that God takes notice when people are doing bad things to us. God does take care of us. God does love his children.

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Thursday 9/27 ~ Oppression is a good thing?

The scripture for today, September 27 (9/27), is Nehemiah 9:27 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Michel-COVER-Kindle-Thumbnail“So you handed them over to their enemies who oppressed them. But when they were oppressed, they cried out to you. From heaven, you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the hand of their enemies.”

What was going on here?  The Jews had started worshipping false gods, putting some of their altars in the temple of God, and even offering their children as sacrifices to the fire god. Jehovah God let their enemies take them captive until they stopped their horrible practices and started praying only to the one true God. Then he rescued them those enemies.

Do you know anyone who could care less about God? The only exception is when they feel oppressed by something or someone in their life? More than likely, they blame God because Satan has convinced them he does not exist and therefore did not cause their problems.  

Wait!  Don’t be so hard on your friends. That can be a good thing. Perhaps they hadn’t given God a second thought since their last calamity. But now they’re thinking about him. They may be angry at God, but at least they’re thinking about him. Now is your chance to approach a broken, desperate, but softened spirit.

Let us thank God for times of oppression. Sometimes that is what it takes for God to get their attention. Then perhaps God can show them he wants to be their friend.

 

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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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Sunday 9/16 ~ “I will not stop until they kill me.”

The scripture for today, September 16 (9/16), is 1st Corinthians 9:16 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Thumbnail“Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”

The Apostle Paul said this. An Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah, said almost the same thing in 20:9: “If I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in! Indeed, I cannot!”

Are you so full of the Word of God that you have to share it? Do you work it into your daily conversations?

I knew a lady once who took several church bulletins with her every Sunday. Then during the week, if she heard a conversation at a bus stop, she’d interrupt them and say, “I couldn’t help but hear what you were saying. Perhaps God in your life would help.” Then she’d hand them a bulletin. She’d do the same thing at a fast-food place like McDonald’s, or in the waiting room of a doctor. She could not hold it in. She had to share, even if it was with strangers.

There is a man in Afghanistan who is a partially secret Christian. When he thinks he can trust someone, he teaches them the gospel. He has run for his freedom and his life three times in the last eight years. He tells me, “I will not stop until they kill me.”

What about you? Is the Word of God overflowing in you so much you cannot keep it in? Tell someone today that God loves them. Watch them smile with a gleam in their eye that says, “I’d like to know more”.

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