Monday 1/14 ~ Guardian Angels

The scripture for today, January 14 (1/14), is Hebrews 1:14 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

07-SHADOW-ChildsCartoonSmall“Are not all angels ministering spirits, sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”

Have you ever wondered if the Bible really mentions guardian angels? Well, here it is. How wonderful! How reassuring! But the angels do not minister to everyone ~ just to the saved who will inherit salvation.

As much as they minister to us, however, we are not to worship them and we are not to pray to them. For a while ~ and still some today ~ it was popular to collect pictures and statues of angels. Some people were saying there is no God, but there are guardian angels. Some people who do believe in God bypass Him and ask angels to help them, kind of like going to the peasant instead of the king. 

Where do they think angels come from? God created them to be the servant class.  We are not to adore, worship or pray to angels (Revelation 19:10; 22:9).

So, yes, we do have guardian angels. Let us be grateful God loves us enough to send the angels to minister to us until we reach his home, heaven. Then, we and the angels will bow down together to the God of the universe and Him will we worship.

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Saturday 1/12 ~In your weakness, persevere

The scripture for today, January 12 (1/12), is James 1:12 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

How loyal are you to God? Is your relationship up and down, depending on how your life is going at the moment? If you pray for something and don’t get it, do you feel like God is punishing you?  If everything seems to be going wrong, do you blame God instead of Satan? Do you pray over and over for God to relieve you of a particular burden, but relief hasn’t come so you’ve decided to quit the church?

Quit grumbling! God has assignments for you. What kind of soldier of the Lord are you? Do you tell the general you don’t like what he has assigned for you to do? Where you are today is where God wants you. Your job is to stay loyal no matter how difficult things get.  Be brave. Hold fast. Stand your ground.

Why? To prove that love is stronger than hatred. To prove that good is stronger than bad. To prove that right is more mighty than wrong. To prove that God is stronger than Satan. Ephesians 6:12 says Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Determine today to thank God for whatever state you are in, even if you do it in tears because it goes against all your emotions. And, even though you may feel helpless to do anything about it right now, in your helplessness, persevere!

Wednesday 1/9 ~ Go anyway. Conquer anyway.

The scripture for today, January 9 (1/9), is Joshua 1:9 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-Hero Alone-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Fear can paralyze. Just ask Joshua. He had just been given the job of conquering horrible people who practiced prostitution as a religion, self-mutilation and sacrificing their children to the fire god.  Plus, his spies said those bad people were like giants and his army was made up of the children of former slaves with no experience.

Guess what God said.  “Go anyway. Conquer anyway.” 

What do you fear?  A few people fear spiders and night time and heights and such? A lot more of people fear changing a bad habit that has us in its claws and won’t let us go. Even more serious, do you fear telling a neighbor, someone in a club, a relative about Jesus’ willingness to save them from hell and get them entrance into heaven?  To all this, God says, “Go anyway.”

Some of you reading this live in countries where it is dangerous to be a Christian. Do you fear being arrested, tortured, killed for your faith?  God tells you, “Be strong!  Be courageous!  Do not be terrified!”  Why. Because “the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

What keeps the fear under control?  “Perfect love casts out fear” (I John 4:18).  Love yourself, love your neighbor, love God.

Today, whatever it is holding you back, “Go anyway, Conquer anyway.”

 

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Thursday 12/27 ~ Separation of Church & State ~ the real meaning

The scripture for today, December 27 (12/27), is 1st Kings 12:27 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00- Worship Changes KC COVER-thumbnail“If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem [not some other capital city], they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah.”

For centuries and millenniums, kings selected a patron god for their nation, a god they most revered to protect them. The patron god was selected by the king. Nations were always ruled by either a high priest or king. Some nations even had priest-kings.

So, when Constantine conquered much of Europe and set up his empire, he needed a patron god. One day during a battle, he looked up and saw a cloud formation that reminded him of things he’d heard about Jesus. So, he made Jesus his patron God, and Christianity his empire’s required religion. He even rode his army through rivers, then declared them baptized. He ordered conquered peoples to be baptized or killed.  Headquarters was Rome.

Luther was friends of the Duke [king] of Germany, so when he broke off from Rome, the official state religion became Lutheranism. John Calvin was in the government of Switzerland, so when it broke off from Rome, the official state religion became Calvinism. When the king of England broke off from Rome, he became head of the Church of England (and Prince Charles is head of the Church there today). John Knox was influential with the parliament of Scotland, so his Presbyterianism became the official religion of Scotland.

In each instance, the king or parliament could force its citizens to follow the chosen religion of that nation. If people didn’t, they could legally take their property from them, put them in prison, torture them, and execute them at will. And, in earlier centuries, they did just that.

Eventually, the idea of separating religion from the state government became popular in the Western World. And that is where many nations are today. But it does not mean people in government cannot express religion. It just means they cannot force citizens to be a particular government-selected religion or be in danger of punishment. That is true “separation of church and state”.

 

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Wednesday 12/26 ~ Is Jesus there with you?

The scripture for today, December 26 (12/26), is John 12:26 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

000-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

Ah, Lord Jesus. We claim we understand how humble you were, then build great cathedrals which we claim are to your glory but which are really to our glory. We organize great musical performances which we claim are to your glory but which are really to our glory.

Just where was Jesus when he was on earth saying this?  In a posh hotel in Jerusalem? Did he have great musicians performing in the background? Did he stand on a podium and declare this to multitudes?

 Who or what are you really a servant to? Power in a workplace, club, congregation, neighborhood? Prestige in a community, an occupation, an organization? Self-indulgence of money, music, entertainment?

While you are pursuing things in life, is Jesus there with you? Are you doing what he would be busy doing?  Are you where he was when he said this?

Dare to be a servant to the power of Jesus’ love, prestige in the eyes of God, self-indulgence in the joy of worshiping Him. In this only is there true and enduring honor.

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12/19 ~ Vengeance or Forgiveness?

The Scripture for today, December 19 (12/19), is Romans 12:19 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Hero Alone-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“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.”

Thank God, he took away the old Law of Moses and gave you the new Law of Jesus instead. Under the Law of Moses, you had to take revenge yourself. You had to stone adulterers and children who were disrespectful to you as their parent. If someone killed a relative, you were obligated to go out and kill the killer. If someone knocked out the eye or tooth of a relative, you were required to go out and take that person’s eye or tooth.

Now God says to forgive and do good to your enemy (verse 20-21). That’s what God did for you who once was his enemy as a sinner. As you are merciful to others, he is merciful to you.

Forgiveness is not condoning evil, but wishing a better life for whoever did something bad to you. You may forever be afraid of that person, but you must forgive. Hard to do? Indeed! But, with God, anything is possible. So, let go of it. Let go of them. Let God take care of it. He has released you of that burden. Released you to “overcome evil with good”.

 

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Monday 12/17 ~ Fight

The scripture for today, December 17 (12/17), is Revelation 12:17 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-“Then the dragon [Satan] was enraged at the woman [the Church] and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring [Christians] ~ those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”

Whose side are you on? Do have a hard time coming to terms with your own personality and drives? Are you one of those people who seem to be enraged all the time? You may have long ago given up on being able to change.  But you can direct your anger. If you want to be enraged at someone,  be angry at Satan. Go to war with Satan. Rage at everything he is doing. Lash out at everything he stands for.

Are you angry at the church or at God? Keep that energy and switch sides. Be a spiritual warrior, a Christian soldier of the Lord.

Have you tried and just cannot get rid of anger in your life? You may mellow in your old age, but that mellowness is a long way off. You have never experienced rage until you have understood Satan. He is enraged at you. He is enraged at anyone who loves God or good people. Go ahead. Get on God’s side, enroll in the army of the Lord, and use your anger against Satan.

Does it work? Paul said in 1st Timothy 1:13, “I was a violent man.” Yet, he converted thousands of people all over southern Europe, as he “fought the good fight”.

 

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