Saturday 7/13 ~ When misery ends with gladness

The scripture for today, July 13 (7/13), is in Job 7:13ff in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Bk3-HeartsAfire-COVER-Kindle.thumbnail-new“When I think my bed will comfort me and my couch will ease my complaint, even then you frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions so that I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine. I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning.”

Job was extremely depressed. It happens to everyone sometimes. His depression was certainly valid ~ he had lost all his income and all his children in a recent storm. Now he had what the Bible translated as “boils” but the symptoms indicate he had a form of leprosy called Elephantiasis.

This particular form leads to nightmares in addition to the physical problems. Job had every right to be depressed. So depressed was he, that he no longer wanted to live, for his life no longer had meaning.

But, as miserable as Job was, he hung on. Patiently he hung on during the bad times. Sometimes during your bad times, the greatest thing you can do is “hang on” ~ be patient.

Romans 8:28 says all things work together for good to those who love the Lord. Job loved the Lord. Even in his misery and desire to die,  he continued to love God and trust Him.

And, although at such times you may believe your misery will never end and you will never even smile again, it will happen. The misery comes to an end. It did for Job. He got his health and wealth back and more children to comfort him. God will see you through too.

 

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Wednesday 7/3 ~ Gear up and take that leap

The scripture for today, July 3 (7/3), is Acts 7:3 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-” ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’ “

This is part of a speech by Christian Stephen soon after the church began. He was reminding the Jewish leaders how God told their ancestor Abraham to leave his religion, home and family, and move to where God had something special for him ~ to begin the Jewish nation and a new religion.

But when Stephen got to the part where now God wanted his audience to leave the Jewish religion and move on to a still better one ~ the Christian religion ~ they were outraged. They were not like Abraham; they did not want to change. So, not liking the message, they killed the messenger. These religious leaders stoned Stephen to death.

Have you learned “new” things in the Bible that your religion is against? It is hard to change. You could lose your friends and family like Abraham did; you could even lose your home as Abraham did. It takes a great big “leap of faith” to follow that “new” truth you have discovered in the Bible. But when God does the recommending, you can know he has something special in mind for you. So, gear up and take that leap!

 

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Monday 7/1 ~ Take the time

The scripture for today, July 1 (7/1), is Leviticus 7:1f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible.

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Thumbnail“These are the regulations for the guilt offering, which is most holy. The guilt offering is to be slaughtered in the place where the burnt offering is slaughtered, and its blood is to be sprinkled against the altar on all sides.”

Romans 3:23 says the wages of sin is death. The earnings are paid by Satan, the author of death.  God told everyone to appease Satan by killing substitute perfect animals during the Old Testament era. The earnings for your sins were collected by these perfect animals over and over in the Old Testament. But one day Jesus nailed the Old Law to the cross (Colossians 2:14), and with his one sacrifice made it so that no more bloody deaths of substitute animals were necessary (Hebrews 8-9).

In a sense, Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, laid down on the altar of the world where his blood flowed from all sides of the cross to all sides of the earth. Why would anyone want to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and nullify that horror Jesus went through in our place?

Jesus collected your wages from Satan for your sins to save you from facing both body and soul death. You can never, ever thank him enough.  But, instead of temple ceremonies, he asked you to commemorate his death with the Lord’s Supper, the Holy Communion each week.  Do you?  On Sundays, the day he came back to life, do you care? Take time to remember his death. He took time to die in your place.

 

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Friday 6/21 ~ Slave Trading

The scripture for today, June 21 (6/21), is Romans 6:21ff as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-LUKE-KINDLE Cover-Thumbnail“What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Sometimes you do things you are ashamed of and decide God would be too ashamed of you to accept you as his child. But God can get rid of the shame, for he can forgive so completely, it is as though you never did those things.

Do you bristle at the phrase “slaves to God” or “slaves to Christianity” or even slavery at all? But we’re all slaves to something ~ a big car, high position, beauty, a hobby, chasing after the opposite gender, reading, eating, music, sports, etc.  What are you a slave to?

From the beginning of time, anyone giving up their perfection by sinning always belonged to Satan who rewarded anyone following him with death. Death means “separation”, and in the case of sin, it means separation from God and belonging to Satan instead. God appeased Satan and held him off in Old Testament times whenever a sinner (everyone) killed a perfect animal in their place. But they had to keep doing it throughout life. Then Jesus came as our perfect Lamb of God and allowed himself to collect the wages for all of everyone’s sins and be killed in our place.

The reward of death was collected from Satan by Jesus.  Yes, Satan paid mankind’s wages to Jesus. He set us free from Satan. Now we voluntarily make ourselves slaves to the one who freed us.

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Monday 6/17 ~ When you fast…

The scripture for today, June 17 (6/17), is Matthew 6:17 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-CHILD'SCartoonMetJesusCOVER-Thumbnail“But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face.”

This is interesting because Jesus did not say “If, you fast” but rather “When you fast.” It was as though he was teaching us to take for granted that we would fast ~ it would be second-nature to us. In a sense it is, for when most people go through a sudden tragedy such as loss of a loved one, they often cannot eat.

But what about voluntary fasting? The early church sometimes fasted. Acts 13:2 says a congregation in Antioch, Syria, fasted and worshipped, then chose men to go out as missionaries. Queen Esther fasted before going to the king uninvited with a request he might not like (Esther 4:16). Isaiah 58:3 says people fasted in order to humble themselves.

Some people respond, “I’d die if I had to fast.” Perhaps that’s kind of the idea. We know we would die if we went without food long enough. So perhaps one day of fasting is a way of saying, “God, I would die for you if I had to.” Yes, fasting is a humbling experience, and frightening to some people. But perhaps that is the point.

Is something important coming up that you know you will be urgently praying about? Once you skip one meal, you will have conquered your desire to eat. Then, with your brain not having to concentrate on digesting food, it will be able to focus more on that important thing happening in your life. Your prayers will be more focused. You will be more focused with your eyes more clearly on God.

So, take a shower, comb your hair, put on some nice clothes, and look like you have something important to do. Then fast.

 

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