Thursday 11/8 ~ Rescued

The scripture for today, November 8 (11/8), is Proverbs 11:8 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Joseph-Cover-Thumbnail“The righteous man is rescued from trouble, and it comes on the wicked instead.”

We know that God does not always rescue us from trouble here on this temporary earth. He certainly didn’t rescue Jesus from all his troubles.

Sometimes God has an assignment for you just as he did for Jesus.  He may want you to be in the midst of trouble ~ war, an enemy at work, an obnoxious neighbor, death of a loved one caused by a reckless driver, a government worker demanding a bribe ~ so you can demonstrate to the world the contrast: God’s ways vs. Satan’s ways.

Eventually, the boomerang effect will take place on those following Satan. What they inflict on you will be inflicted on them.

And eventually, if you have followed God’s ways even in times of trouble, he will indeed rescue you. He will welcome you into his home ~ heaven ~ safe for all eternity.

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Tuesday 11/6 ~ True Grit

The scripture for today, November 6 (11/6), is Nehemiah 11:6 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Mefiboset-KINDLE Thumbnail“The descendants of Perez who lived in Jerusalem totaled 468 able men.”

Just who was Perez, and why was this even mentioned in the Bible? Perez was a descendant of Judah, and an ancestor of Jesus (Matthew 1:3).

Why was living in Jerusalem a big deal at that time? Because Jerusalem had been attacked and destroyed. It was nothing but rubble and ashes. Earlier, other Jews had returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple. Now it was time to rebuild the walls.

These 468 brave people had to agree to move into a burned-out city and rebuild on the ashes of previous homes. In the process of moving building stones out of the way to reuse in the city wall, they surely found skeletons of those who had been slaughtered in the attack decades before.

At first, the Jews had blamed the Babylonians for destroying their city and temple. But eventually, they began re-reading the prophets who had warned them about their own sins. Finally, they turned inward and placed the blame where it really belonged: Themselves. Their own pride had destroyed their temple and their city.

Following repentance, they acted. Was it easy rebuilding a broken city? Not any easier than rebuilding a broken home, a broken congregation, a broken life. You must look at your own part in your own destruction and begin building anew.

It took grit.  What is yours like? Have you rebuilt anything important lately?

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Tuesday 10/30 ~ What is forgiveness?

The scripture for today, October 30 (10/30), is Hebrews 10:30 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

05-Joseph-KindleThumbnail“For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ “

In the Law of Moses, people were expected to avenge those who did not follow the law. The vengeance was to be carried out by the person who had been hurt. Some things were even punishable by death.

But Jesus told you to forgive people so that God, in turn, will forgive you (Matthew 6:14).

What is forgiveness? It is not condoning the bad someone did. Forgiveness is letting go and letting God do any punishing that may be required. Forgiveness is wishing the other person well. You may not trust the other person to not do the bad thing again, and you may forever fear that person. But you can always hope and pray that their lives and hearts will change for the better someday. No one is so bad that you cannot wish them well and pray for them. That’s forgiveness.

Vengeance only prolongs the pain; vengeance is hard on you. So, as the old saying goes, “Let go, and let God.” God will do his part ~ the hard part. He has left the easy part for you.

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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 9/12 ~ Out of disaster came beauty

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

02-Noah-KindleThumbnail“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 father and probably other extended family, 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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Monday 9/10 ~ In comfort or pain

The scripture for today, September 10 (9/10), is Psalm 9:10 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Inside-COVER-lg thumbnail“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

What if we had a friend who we never called by name? It was always “Hey, you”. Our friendship wouldn’t last long because the other person would feel like we weren’t friends after all. Makes sense.

So, what does “Lord” mean in the original Hebrew language of the Old Testament? It is Yahweh, translated into Greek as Adonai.

In Exodus 3:15b God told Moses what his name was: ” ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers…This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.’ ”

And what does Yahweh mean? Exodus 3:14 explained, “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites; ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” God is the great I AM.

Today’s verse does not say the Great I Am will keep you from all harm. What it says is that he will go with you into that harm and stay with you the whole way, giving you strength and courage.

And so, in peace or war, in comfort or pain, in well-being or devastation, he will be right there with you. He will never forsake you. Therefore, never forsake him.  Keep on worshipping ~ the Lord our God, the Great I AM.

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Monday 9/3 ~ Are you God’s forever temple?

The scripture for today, September 3 (9/3), is 1st Kings 9:3 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 8-ComeFlyWithMe-Cover-Thumbnail-New“The Lord said to him, ‘I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.’ “

The New Testament builds spiritual concepts on the basic material patterns of the Old Testament. For example, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1st Corinthians 3:16). This is the temple God wants now, not the old material temple of the Old Testament.

Just as there was just one material temple of God in the Old Testament, God looks upon each Christian as though we are the only temple; for he is with us constantly and hears our every word, our every song, our every prayer.

Is your heart troubled today? Is your heart joyful today? Are you at peace with everything around you? Do you see conflicts that you do not know how to solve?

As God’s temple, God’s eyes and heart are with you. God sees and watches out for you in everything you do. He knows your cares, your heart’s desires, your joys, your worries. God’s eyes and heart are forever with you, for you are God’s temple!

 

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