Tuesday 4/17 ~ Persecution from within

The scripture for today, April 17 (4/17), is Mark 4:17 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-“But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the Word, they quickly fall away.”

We may be mentally prepared for persecution out in the world. But what about persecution among our friends who we attend worship with all the time? They can turn on us too.

Perhaps someone has discovered a new truth and is trying to get members of our congregation to believe it. If members get the feeling someone is trying to prove them wrong and make them look bad, they will turn on that person much like people do a “whistleblower” in the business world.

On whose side will you stand? Your friends’ so you can continue to be friends with them, or God’s? It’s easy to let things slide and pretend that new truth no longer exists so you can keep your friends. How deep are your roots? Who shall you worship? Your friends or your God? What is more important? Your friends or your eternity?

Sunday 4/15 ~ Do you take it for granted?

The scripture for today, April 15, is 1st John 4:15 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

365 Dat by Date-Front-Thumbnail“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.”

The New Testament was written by people who walked and talked with Jesus. They saw his miracles, they heard his amazing words. They were eyewitnesses.

Several first- and second-century manuscripts still exist that were passed down from some who actually knew the eyewitnesses. A few were even written during the late life of the last living apostle, John. The Bible has more existing ancient manuscripts (over 5000) than any historical writing in the world.

Read the New Testament. It was written by inspired men with a passion that would not let them stop talking about this Jesus. He consumed their life when he was on earth, and consumed their spirit after he left.

Through the centuries, men and women have given their lives so that you today may have the writings (New Testament) of those eyewitnesses in our own language and read it for yourself. Many were ridiculed and tortured terribly and then died a long excruciating death so that the apostles’ testimony could live on.

Do not take for granted the words of Jesus’ eyewitnesses. Jesus lived and died for you. Those witnesses, in a sense, also lived and died for you. Read what they testified to. Then, if necessary, live and die for it.

Sunday 4/8 ~ Oh, that we could all say this at the end of our life

The scripture for today, April 8 (4/8), is 2nd Timothy 4:8 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day ~ and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

The Apostle Paul was somewhere around his seventies at this writing. He’d been converted probably in his thirties. He’d spent the past forty years telling people how to escape a place they didn’t believe they were going to and disrupting the religion they already had.

Forty years of tolerating persecution, sometimes hungry and cold and beaten and hated. Forty years of seldom staying in a city longer than a few months, always on the go.  Forty years of never being satisfied with the number of people he had reached with the Good News of their escape from Satan, the Good News of a God who actually loved them, Good News of heaven.

Now he was in prison.

“I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Oh, that we all could say this at the end of our life.

Thursday 4/5 ~ It cannot control your heart, your spirit, your soul

The scripture for today, April 5 (4/5), is Micah 4:5 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-LUKE-KINDLE Cover-Thumbnail“All the nations may walk in the name of their gods; we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.”

Nations rise and fall. Nations come and go. Nations are founded upon terror and aggression, or peace and democracy. Some nations follow religions which declare that peasants are peasants as punishment for previous lives, so must remain peasants. Some nations follow religions chosen by their national governments and which must be followed upon pain of death. Some nations deny religion completely and destroy anyone who believes anyway.

What kind of nation do you live in? As strong as your nation is, it cannot control your heart, your spirit, your soul. As strong as your nation seems to be, as much power as your government uses to control its citizens, it will not and cannot last forever.

Always remember, there is a forever nation ~ the nation of God, the kingdom of God. No matter what nation you live in, you can have “dual citizenship”. And by being a citizen of God’s forever kingdom, you will walk in it forever and ever and…