Wednesday 9/19 ~ Do you feel ordinary?

The scripture for today, September 19, is Acts 9:19f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-“He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food he regained his strength.”

This is the story of Saul, as he was known to the Jews and to us as Paul, who became an apostle. Notice the order he did this: He was hungry, but that wasn’t important. He had to do what was important first. He was baptized.

Why was Paul baptized? In Acts 22:16 Paul recalls that day when he was told, “Get up: be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.”

Further, notice who baptized him. Was he part of the clergy, someone with an ordained title in the church? No. He was ordinary and unknown. Acts 9:10 says, “In Damascus, there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him: ‘Go to…. a man from Tarsus named Saul’.” What title did Ananias have? None. He was just another disciple. Disciple simply meaning follower.

Little did this otherwise ordinary and unknown disciple realize that day that the person he baptized would end up writing much of the New Testament.

Do you feel ordinary like you are an “unknown disciple” to followers of Jesus around you? Find something to do, and God will make it great. 

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Tuesday 9/18 ~ Who are we really worshipping?

The scripture for today, September 18 (9/18), is Leviticus 9:18ff as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-1st Century Worship KINDLE-COVER-Thumbnail“He slaughtered the ox and the ram as the fellowship offering for the people. His sons handed him the blood, and he sprinkled it against the altar on all sides. But the fat portions of the ox and the ram ~ the fat tail, the layer of fat, the kidneys and the covering of the liver ~ these they laid on the breasts, and then Aaron burned the fat on the altar. Aaron waved the breasts and the right thigh before the Lord as a wave offering, as Moses commanded.”

The Law of Moses did not have just Ten Commandments. It had over 600! They were intricate commands that had to be kept exactly. The above is just a small portion of what they were supposed to do for a particular sacrifice.

Thank God, Jesus nailed the Old Law of Moses to the cross (Colossians 2:14). Yet some religious leaders continue to dip back into the Old Law to copy showy types of worship ~ robes, candles, choirs, harps, incense ~ many things, and all commanded. But if they do that, they must keep all of the Law of Moses ~ stoning for adultery, giving 1/3 of their income (not just 1/10), not working on Saturday (even cooking), going to Jerusalem three times a year.

They can’t just pick and choose which ones they like. The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 5:17 “Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised [ceremonially ~ just one command in the Old Law of Moses] that he is obligated to obey the whole law.”

James said in 2:10, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” Old Testament worship was showy, elaborate, and demanding to the nth degree. New Testament worship is just the opposite.

Mark 14:26 says that after Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper/Communion, “When they had sung a [single] hymn, they went out…”

Acts 2:41-42 says, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

Acts 20:7 says, “On the first day of the week, we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people…”

I Timothy 4:13 says, “Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.”

Nothing complicated about it. Just simple worship. Worship the way Jesus and his apostles worshiped. Worship the way God likes it. He said so himself.

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Saturday 9/15 ~ Just how far would you go?

The scripture for today, September 15 (9/15), is 2nd Corinthians 9:15 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Thumbnail“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

Can you imagine dying in the place of someone else?  We occasionally hear stories from the battlefield of a man falling on a grenade so he is the only one killed, thus saving his buddies.

But closer to home, if you saw a child in the path of a car, would you run out and throw the child out of the way knowing there will be no time for you to escape death?

What if you were hiking or sailing with a friend and got lost? Would you split the food and water evenly, or would you give it all to your friend? What would you do if you were lost with someone who hated everyone? Would you give them all the food and water knowing you would die and the hateful person live on?

What if you were with a friend and were arrested for a crime the friend did? Would you take the blame and the punishment of twenty years in prison so your friend could go free?  What if that person was a habitual criminal, you happened to cross paths at the wrong time, and you were both arrested for his heinous crime? Would you take the blame and his punishment (execution) for him?

Now try to imagine making your child take the blame and die in the place of every sinner in the world ~ your sinless, innocent child.

     It is indescribable.

            It is unimaginable.

                It is unthinkable.

                        But God did exactly that.

How can we thank Him for his indescribable gift of Jesus redeeming us from Satan with his blood? We fall silently at His feet and worship.

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Sunday 9/9 ~Donkeys and Mules: The Ride of Kings

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

365 Dat by Date-Front-Thumbnail“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

Most people think Jesus riding on a donkey made him humble. Not at all. Donkeys and mules were rides of kings.

Judges 5:9-10 says, “My heart is with Israel’s princes….you who ride on white donkeys.” Supreme Judge Jair led Israel 22 years and had 30 sons who rode 30 donkeys (Judges 10:3-4). Supreme Judge Abdon, who ruled Israel 8 years, had 70 sons and grandsons who rode on 70 donkeys (Judges 12:14).

II Samuel 18:9 says Absalom, King David’s son, rode on a mule. In I Kings 1:33,38,44, David ordained that his son, Solomon, ride on his own mule through the street as one proof that he chose Solomon to be the next king.

The people of Jerusalem knew Jesus was not only riding the ride of kings when he entered their capital city, but he was also, at last, fulfilling the centuries-old prophecy they all knew so well (today’s scripture).

This is the humility that Jesus did exhibit: He rode on the colt of a donkey.

Do we blindly follow whatever our religious leaders tell us? Do we know the scriptures as well as we think we do?

Let us glory in learning new things about our King of Glory.

 

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Thursday 9/6 ~ God is One!

The scripture for today, September 6 (9/6), is Isaiah 9:6 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible.

0-Joseph-Cover-Thumbnail“For to us a child is born! To us a son is given! And the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!”

This is one of the most amazing scriptures in the entire Bible explaining how God is One and self-existent. It is as astounding as John 1:1,14 that says, “In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God and the Word was God…The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

This child predicted to be born unto us was both Father and Son and God. He created Himself. He was self-existent.

He is the image of the invisible God. ”For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Colossians 1:15, 19; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4). The men who saw Jesus Christ saw God (John 12:45, 14:9). God’s blood (God’s Word in flesh) was shed on the cross (Acts 20:28).

In America, we sometimes say about a son, “he is the spitting image of his father.”  Jesus said, “If you want to look at the Father, look at me.” God is a Spirit but created us in a material world. So, sometimes God materialized in the Old Testament. In the New Testament he materialized as Jesus.

This is so amazing. And we have been so blessed beyond full comprehension.

 

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