Tuesday 2/26 ~ Things

The scripture for today, February 26 (2/26), is Ecclesiastes 2:26 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Pearls Cover-Palms-300dpi-Thumbnail“To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness, but to the sinner, he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

Are you happy regardless of how much wealth you do or do not have? Do you require things in order to be happy? Are you always out shopping around for new clothing, a new car, a new computer or television? Solomon, who wrote the above scripture, was the wealthiest man in the world, but he found it to be meaningless, a chasing after the wind. In another place in Ecclesiastes (5:10) he said that a man loving money never has enough.

Indeed, centuries later, the highly educated and intelligent apostle Paul, who did not own a home or much of anything else, explained his happiness: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:11b-12).

If you lost everything tomorrow, would you panic? Or would you use God’s wisdom and knowledge to create a new happiness?  Might you look around and begin doing something you have always wanted to do but were too tied down with things to do?  If you lost everything tomorrow, might it bring a new freedom to you or paralyze you?

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Friday 2/22 ~What a privilege. What a responsibility.

The scripture for today, February 22 2/22), is Ephesians 2:22 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-1st Century Worship KINDLE-COVER-Thumbnail“And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

Another place in the New Testament, 2nd Corinthians 6:16, says we are the temple of God. A lot of things in worship under the Law of Moses were literal versions of what Christians someday would enjoy in a spiritual and deeper sense.

We have no need of the temple in Jerusalem, for now God dwells in Christians. We have no need of the altar of sacrifice at that temple because Jesus was our final sacrifice (Hebrews 10:4-12). We have no need of the cymbals, harps and lyres played in their worship because Christians play on the strings of their hearts (Ephesians 5:19).

We have no need of the priestly system in the Law of Moses with the special vestments and titles because all Christians are priests (1st Peter 2:5). And how do we serve as priests? Romans 12:1 explains it: “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices.”

What a concept! God does not dwell in temples or church buildings!

He dwells in Christians.

      He lives and moves through Christians.

          What a privilege.

              What a responsibility.

Image result for "Buy the book"WORSHIP THE FIRST-CENTURY WAY contrasts the Old Testament way of worshipping with the New Testament way. Each chapter is about one of the forms of worship (e.g., prayer). It begins with quotes from famous theologians and ends with quotes from 2nd Century writers (the body of each chapter being 1st-century writers in the N.T.).  To BUY NOW, click a picture or paste this:  https://amzn.to/2IwNAiR

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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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Sunday 2/10 ~ Worship and the devil

The scripture for today, February 10 (2/10), is James 2:10 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-“Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.”

Do we pray on Sunday and curse on Monday? Do we sing on Sunday and lie on Monday? Do we recite a scripture on Sunday and mock someone on Monday?

On the other hand, do we use this as an excuse not to go to church and worship? Do we refuse to attend because there are hypocrites in the church?

Do we refuse to go to work because there are hypocrites there who talk behind the boss’s back? Do we refuse to go to school because there are hypocrites there who would skip school if they could? Do we refuse to sit for two hours in a boring airport because there are hypocrites there smuggling things in their suitcases? Do we refuse to go to sporting events because there are hypocrites there who would literally “kill the umpire” if they could?

Even Jesus had a hypocrite among his 12 Apostles ~ Judas. That didn’t stop him from doing what was needed to save us from hell.

In a sense we are all hypocrites because we go to church and sing songs about giving everything for Jesus, then we go home and don’t. Or we sing songs about going into all the world and teaching the gospel, then we go home and don’t. Or we talk about the importance of praying for everyone around us and their loved ones, then we go home and don’t.

Perhaps Jesus was the biggest hypocrite of them all because he, who never, ever sinned, took the blame for your sins and went through excruciating body and soul death in your place. Oh, my Lord Jesus, how can I worship you enough? How can I thank you enough? How can my spirit touch your holiness? Get Satan away from me, for I am weak and need you.

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What color is heaven?

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

0-BK 8-ComeFlyWithMe-Cover-Thumbnail-New“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”

This amazing promise applies to us today. It also applies to eternity. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive of heaven. That is why so much of Revelation is symbolic. The symbols are beautiful. Why not try going one step beyond reading how Revelation describes heaven, and make a drawing of what you think it looks like. Here is a link to a drawing of an imagined heaven. www.casagrandechurchofchrist.com/what-color-is-heaven  Then colorize with all those beautiful hues.  Revelation 21:12,13,21:

Each of the 12 GATES is named after one of the Tribes of Israel and has an angel guarding it. Make the gates pearl. Make the angel over the gate white or yellow.

Revelation 21:17, 18a: Make the WALL jasper, which is a light see-through green.

Revelation 21:16, 18b: Heaven is full of many MANSIONS (John 14:2). Make them a translucent (see-through) gold.

Revelation 21:21: The STREETS of the city are like crystal and gold. Make them a translucent (see-through) gold also.

Revelation 22:1: The RIVER OF LIFE runs through heaven coming out from the throne of God. Make it blue.

Revelation 4:6a: The CHRYSTAL SEA is in front of God’s throne. Make it blue.

Revelation 22:2: The TREE OF LIFE grows on both sides of the River of Life. Make it green and brown.

Revelation 22:2: The ALTER OF INCENSE from Christians’ prayers is in front of the throne. Make it gold

Revelation 21:23: God’s THRONE is Jasper and the glory of God is so brilliant, there is no need of a sun. Make the area of the throne silver/white.

Revelation 4:5: Around the throne of God are the seven SPIRITS of God, symbolized by seven lights. Make them yellow.

Revelation 4:3a: Near the Spirits,

there is a ruby red GLOW around the throne of God. Make this inner arch red.

Revelation 4:3b: There is a RAINBOW over God’s throne. Make the arch at the very top over the throne emerald green.

Although this is all symbolic, doesn’t drawing and coloring in the symbols help understand a little bit more of how beautiful heaven will be!

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