Tuesday 3/12 ~ Are you really sure?

The scripture for today, March 12 (3/12), is Ezekiel 3:12 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Joseph-Cover-Thumbnail“The Spirit lifted me up and I heard behind me a loud rumbling sound ~ May the glory of the Lord be praised in his dwelling place!”

This is quite interesting because, despite some who preach being “slain in the Spirit,” the Spirit does not make people fall down. The Spirit lifts people up. The Spirit did this to Ezekiel on several occasions; always, if he was sitting or lying down, the Spirit lifted him up onto his feet.

There are so many things we think we know and are told about the Bible, but when we begin to investigate one of them, it just isn’t there.

>What about Joseph dying after Jesus turned 12? When Jesus was rejected after preaching in Nazareth a year before his crucifixion, they mentioned Joseph in the present tense.

>Or the Holy Land always having been desert? The Bible tells of nine forests plus the trees on mountains.

>Or the prodigal’s brother?  As the oldest son, he was going to inherit the entire estate, but his insane greed wanted his brother’s party too.

>Or David being just a boy when he killed Goliath?  He had already killed a lion and bear before that, and big Saul’s armor fit him.

>What about “Doubting Thomas”?  The other apostles refused to believe before they saw Jesus alive again. More, when Jesus wanted to go to Jerusalem, his apostles said no, but Thomas said, “Let us go to Jerusalem so we may die with him.”

>Or everyone going inside the temple to worship?  Only priests were allowed inside the building. Commoners worshiped in the courtyard.

>Or Bethlehem being a little town? It was a fortified walled city.

What excitement to read the Bible for yourself and discover its treasures for yourself. Open it. Read it. Be delighted.

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Thursday 2/28 ~ Is it possible to know for sure?

0-Strip Of All Workbooks

The scripture for today, February 28 (2/28), is Jeremiah 2:28 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble! For you have as many gods as you have towns, O Judah.”

Today we think the whole thing is ridiculous. How could people believe in a multitude of gods or even one? Further, how could people make statues of them as though anyone knew what the gods looked like? On top of that, many of them looked like dumb animals. And gods you could carry around?

Apparently, it was the popular thing to do. In fact, a person discovering yet another god was highly esteemed. And it seemed logical that the more gods one believed in, the more holy a person was. Or the bigger the statue of a god in one’s home, the more dedicated a person was.

We today call those old gods myths ~ things that were made up out of people’s imaginations. Yet they thrived in their time. Why? Because of “mass hypnosis” in a sense. Humans are social beings and we don’t like being ostracized. We want to be accepted.

Do we do the same thing today? There are evangelists on television who draw crowds of hundreds and thousands and people send them millions of dollars. They seem so right and so holy. Yet they contradict each other. So it cannot be a measure of rightness and holiness that a lot of people believe something.

The measure of spiritual things must be the Bible. Many religious leaders in antiquity and up to today have duped peopled because they looked and acted so “holy.” Remember, no matter how many thousands upon thousands follow a religious leader, that leader will be judged by God just like everyone else.

There are a lot of religious contradictions out there.  We cannot say “all religions are right in their own way”. Religion is not a philosophy. Religion involves whether we will spend eternity in heaven or hell.

Is it ever possible to sort through all the contradictions and come up with what is the truth? Is it possible to know for sure?

Let us read the Bible for ourselves. Let us study the Bible for ourselves. Let us not search the scriptures for something to prove our opinion right, or a certain leader right, or our family right, or a particular religious idea right. Let us try to erase all our pre-conceived religious notions, and read with an open mind what God himself has to say to us. It is possible to know for sure.

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Wednesday 2/20 ~ The Turncoat

The scripture for today, February 20 (2/20), is Galatians 2:20 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”

The apostle Paul wrote this. He had been an angry, spiteful, and hateful man in his younger days. He had been a terrorist and had even declared holy jihad against Christians.  He had gone around the country rounding up Christians, torturing them to get them to renounce Jesus, then sending them either to prison or to their death. He hated Christians.

But once Jesus got his attention and Paul realized he was persecuting those who could tell him the true way to heaven, he switched sides. Jesus had to do it himself because all the Christians were afraid of him. Then Paul, so to speak, crucified his old self, and let Jesus and his words live in him instead.  All the tremendous energy that he had used for hate was now used for love, and he turned his part of the world upside down for Christ.

Is there someone in your life or that you know of who is angry, spiteful, and hateful? Dare to talk to that person and tell them how much God loves them. S/he will argue with you and maybe even be meaner to you than ever. But when things calm down, try saying something else, perhaps about what Jesus did or said once in his life.

It may take you months or years. S/he will be curious why you keep coming back when s/he is being so mean to you. And eventually, this same person who uses all his enormous energy in a negative way, just might turn that same enormous energy around and use it for Jesus in a great way.

Give it a try. If you are crucified with Christ, then nothing anyone says can hurt you because your ego is dead. Keep trying to reach this enemy of Jesus. Keep trying to help this person become Jesus’ friend and defender.

You may be the only one in his or her world with the courage to do it. Keep trying. Cry in private after the insults, then take a deep breath and try once again. And once again. And again. Never stop. Who knows?

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Why an Old and New Testament…

The scripture for today, February 14 (2/14), is Colossians 2:14 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00- Worship Changes KC COVER-thumbnail“[God] having canceled the written code with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.”

It is beyond my comprehension why anyone would want the Law of Moses unless they don’t want to obey ALL 600 commands but want an excuse to justify one or two commandments HERE AND THERE they do want.

They want the part that says to tithe so they can get people’s money. (Actually, the good Jew gave one-third, not one-tenth.) Or they want a separate priesthood so they can feel important.  Or they want showy things in worship like candles, incense, musical instruments (though they were only allowed the harp, lyre and cymbal) so they can enjoy themselves more. 

Hold on! If we obey one command we are required to keep the entire Law of Moses ~ all 600 commands. Galatians 5:3 and James 2:10 say so. Are you up to it?

Our verse for today says the Law was against us; that is, it was impossible for us to keep perfectly. Try wading through Leviticus in the Old Testament. That’s where most of the old Law (“the written code with its regulations”) is.

It’s tedious. It regulated nearly every part of everyone’s daily life. It involved what we could and couldn’t eat, having to kill animals to die in our place whenever we sinned, stoning adulterers and rebellious children to death, having a separate Levite priesthood, giving a third of your income, reporting to priests as long as we had an open sore, use of candles, having to go to the Temple in Jerusalem three times a year, spreading blood on our doorposts, and on and on.

The book of Hebrews in the New Testament was written to help us understand that God’s new Law of Grace is much more spiritual. Read especially chapters 8 & 9. We have to make a choice: Old or New.

Hebrews was written about the time the Temple in Jerusalem was permanently destroyed, thus making it impossible to obey several things in the old Law. And a little time later the Jewish genealogies were destroyed, thus making it impossible to prove who was a Levite and eligible to be a priest.

But wait!  Does that mean Christians should never read the Old Testament? The Old Testament of the Bible is not the same as the Law of Moses. The Law is a small part of the Old Testament. The rest of it is wonderful praise, amazing wisdom, accounts of people who did or did not try to follow God, and those astounding prophecies of Jesus all through them. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to wade through those old laws just as a reminder of what we have been set free from.

So, let us not neglect the Old Testament as so many people do. Thank God for the Old Testament.

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Friday 2/8 ~ God wants to spoil you

The scripture for today, February 8 (2/8), is Genesis 2:8 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Love Letters of Jesus & his Bride-medium“Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.”

Just think: Mankind’s nursery was a garden. How God wanted to spoil us. And dote on us.

He even visited us sometimes. He walked with us in the cool of the evening through the beautiful home he had given us. It was the first of many times in the future he would walk with man. It was a beautiful time.

Then jealous Satan appeared out of the shadows of time and lied to us. He claimed God was our enemy. How could he say that with God providing tasty food to eat and sparkling water to drink beautiful flowers and trees and…  Well, we had everything.

Satan knew he couldn’t deny that, so he planted in the minds of Adam and Eve what they did not have.  “See that tree over there? God doesn’t like you or he would let you touch that tree.  See that fruit over there? God doesn’t like you or he would let you eat anything you want.”  Oh, and the biggie. “God doesn’t want you to be as smart as him.  Evil is fun, but he is keeping you from knowing what evil is.  It’s the most wonderful thing in the world. If God hates you that much, then hate him back.”

So, they did. And Satan laughed. They were so gullible. Too late they discovered God had been trying to protect them.

Do you believe God doesn’t want you to have any fun? That is not true. God does not hate you. God is not trying to keep you from having a good time. The real good time is in heaven and he is trying to get you there.

Do not listen to Satan. He is the one who hates you. Do not wait until it is too late. Turn around and try once more listening to God. See, he is running after you. He wants to protect you. He loves you and wants you to be his bride. And wants to spoil you. In heaven.

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