Saturday 2/16 ~ A flaming hope, a large hope, a good hope.

The scripture for today, February 16 (2/16), is 2nd Thessalonians 2:16 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Michel-COVER-Kindle-Thumbnail“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

Who were these people the apostle Paul was writing? They were suffering.  Physically they were suffering.  Some in their group had even been killed for their faith. Mentally they were suffering.  Would they be next? Would it be worth everything they were going through?

Spiritually they were struggling. The apostle Paul, who wrote this, had been through such struggles many times himself. He wanted to make sure their faith did not waver.

How? By praying that their persecution would stop? At no time in the Bible do we have an account of Christians pray that the persecution stop. What did they pray for? Boldness.

They could be bold if they knew Jesus Christ loved them personally. They could be bold if they knew God the Father loved them personally. They could be bold with eternal encouragement, strength.

“Just keep doing what you’ve been doing,” he told them.  With the strength God gives you, keep doing good deeds, good spreading the Word.” Persecuted? Yes.  Frightened? Yes. Frightened? Yes. Cowering? Never.

How about your life?

God’s encouragement never ceases. It is always there. There when you feel alone, when you feel forsaken, when you are frightened, when you feel helpless, when you feel hopeless.

God gives good hope. Sometimes things in your life may be going so badly you have trouble having faith in God. But you can still hope. The candle of your faith may be flickering, but your hope can still be a flaming hope, a large hope, a good hope.

Image result for "Buy the book"MICHEL: THE FOURTH WISEMAN was so obsessed with hope, he lost everything ~ his home, his wife, his father ~ to buy the Garden of Eden so God would walk the earth again.  Little did he know God was already walking on earth in Bethlehem. To BUY NOW, click a picture or paste this:  https://amzn.to/2SSy8RY

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Friday 2/15 ~ I did my best

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

00-PAUL COVER-Thumbnail-“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

“Do your best,” Paul told a younger co-worker.  “Do your best.”

This was an apostle speaking. This was Paul who had endured multiple beatings with rods and lashings with whips. This was Paul who no one could stop.

He had endured floods and snowstorms, hunger and robbers on the road. Still, no one could stop him. He endured shipwrecks and even treading water a day and night in the sea. Nothing could stop him.e \

It seems with Paul, it was never enough. He was driven. When he was stoned and presumed dead, he got up and went back into the city! When he was imprisoned, he defied the magistrates who put him there and sang his sermons to the other prisoners. Nothing could stop him. Nothing could shut him up.

When he wrote this, he was now in prison. He had done his best. Now it was time for the next generation. He was handing the torch over to Timothy and the others.

“Do your best, Timothy. Don’t let them stop you. Never let them stop you. They are lost and don’t know it. Tell them, Timothy. Keep telling them, no matter how terribly they treat you. Keep telling them and keep telling them. Don’t stop, Timothy. Do your best.

“Some will stop what they are doing and listen to you. They will turn their life around. They will be there with you when it is time to be presented to God. They will be there with you, and with you they will say, “I did my best.”

Image result for "Buy the book"By the time PAUL: THE UNSTOPPABLE reaches 50, his back is so eaten up with scar tissue from all his beatings, he can hardly wear clothes on his back. The pain never ceases. But when he speaks, the whole world echoes with his powerful words.  To BUY NOW, click a picture or paste this:  https://amzn.to/2SXyt5K

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Love Letters of Jesus & His Bride, Ecclesia

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Love Letters of Jesus & his Bride-medium

Ecclesia is Greek for church.  We are his bride. That whisks our imaginations to a closeness to Him most of us cannot comprehend. That is why I wrote a rendition of Song of Solomon, making each of my chapters coincide with the same chapter in Song of Solomon.  After completing this book, I was a changed person. Here’s an excerpt…

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My dearest Lord Jesus ~

Three years we have been together. I still feel so warm in your love, my Lord and King. Your love is so much better than the gladness that comes from wine and parties and sparkling jewels. Better, too, than the ointments I carefully put on my face to make it shine for you. [1]

Then there is the sweet fragrance that overwhelms my senses when I am with you.   I know what you did to smell so sweet to me. I know what you did but I cannot fully comprehend it….

Forgive me, but I cannot forget the amazing thing you did for me when I was so unworthy. It plays over and over in my mind.

How well I remember when I was kidnapped by Satan for stealing a few things where I worked, and lying a little and being impatient while standing in line, and cheating on tests. I did not think they were all that important and no one would notice.  But Satan noticed, rushed in declaring I was bad, and grabbed me.

He kept accusing me of all the bad things I did which I had not thought were so bad.[2] Then he declared I would have to be executed and exist forever in the agony of a living death. My heart sank.

But on the day of my execution, you somehow got into my cell, made yourself look like me so you could take the blame, then allowed yourself to be executed in my place. Such love. I do not understand it. I wept and wept when I saw them bury you.[3]

Then the unbelievable happened.  You came back to life and returned to me.  I knew it was you even before you came into my sight because of the fragrance that emanated from you.

Your very name, my Lord, is so aromatic that even the angels love you and so look forward to our wedding feast when we, at last, will be one. What a glorious day that will be when we can feast on each other’s love.[4]

I dreamed about you the other night. I dreamed we were running down a golden street in your world. At last, we arrived at the mansion you said you were building for me.[5]

I dreamed you took me into your chamber. It was only a dream, but oh, how I wish it were now.  In my dream you, my Creator, enveloped me in your pure and strong arms.  But it will not happen in this life.

I pray so often to be able to leave my earthly chamber and enter yours.[6] I wish for that time to be now, but will have to wait.

I am not afraid, for you will be there, opening the door for me. [7] I will close my eyes in this world and open them in yours. In a twinkling of your eye I will be there with you forever.[8]

I went for a walk the other day and people on the street were staring at me. I am as dark as the black goat hair out of which the desert tents are made. Though I was once dark with sin, you made me pure and beautiful anyway.[9] Though others may remember my past sins, you do not.

My world brothers do not like me anymore. So, they persecute me, and make me work for them.[10] The sun has given me the appearance of being dark with sin, but that is not true.[11] My world brothers want people to think I am bad because they do not like you, my Lord, and do not want me to associate with you.[12]  They do not even give me time to work in my own fields to bring souls to you. [13] But I am trying, my Lord. I am trying.

Oh, lover of my soul[14] where do you go during the day when the sun is high? People want me to join them when they rest and relax, but I do not like what they call resting and relaxing. In the middle of my work day, I want to go to you where you are so I can truly rest.[15]

I asked my friends if they knew how to find you, but they told me not to waste my time with you. They were definitely the wrong people to ask. They told me to come rest and relax with them and have a lot more fun. They keep trying to get me away from you.

Oh, I think I know where you are. Wait for me, my love. Wait for me.

Forever yours,

Ecclesia

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My Precious Ecclesia ~

I can hardly wait until you find me in your silent times.  I watch for you every moment.[16] When you run back to me, you remind me of dainty Egyptian horses prancing across the meadow, your lovely hair flowing behind you like the afterglow of good deeds.

Your skin is as soft as the earth after I have watered it with gentle rain.[17]  You wear a garland of jewels[18] sparkling like the stars of the universe on a dark night and all the while, you are singing to me. How I love to hear you sing.[19] The lovely ornaments you wear around your graceful neck ~ the adorning of fidelity ~ make me love you all the more.[20]

Didn’t you say your maidens made you a garment of gold framed with silver? Gold like the radiance of your praises framed in the silver of your songs? [21]  How enchanting to my ears.

Your devoted Lord Jesus

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My Dearest Lord Jesus ~

I had to run from people who did not want me to associate with you so I could eat with you at your table.  How I love eating the bread of life with you. It fills my soul.[22]

Remember how we laughed when they stood outside watching us in anger?[23] I think they are jealous of the attention you give me. They’re also angry at all their problems, but they bring so many on themselves. They deny you exist, then turn right around and do things you would not approve of to get back at you for not obeying their will.[24]

Did you like the pure spikenard I wore around my neck?  I wanted to do something special for my lord.  I had always wanted some spikenard but could not afford it. This was given to me.  I knew right away I wanted you to have it. It was no sacrifice for me.[25]

When I came home last night and slept, I dreamed of us again. I dreamed you held me in your arms of righteousness and the myrrh aroma filling my senses that came from you made me glad to belong to you.[26]

I dreamed you laid your head on my lap.[27]There you slept all night so you would be strong in the morning.[28]

You, my Lord, are like fragrant henna flowers surrounding work vineyards.[29] Even when I am tired from working all day, the delightful aromas of your words ease my tiredness.[30]

Forever yours,

Ecclesia

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My Precious Ecclesia ~

I just had to send you this note, my love. I am very busy watching over all people of the earth. [31] But I cannot keep my mind away from you, my precious, innocent bride.[32]

I just wanted to tell you one more time, how fair you are to look upon. And your eyes ~ oh, those dove eyes of yours ~ bring joy to my spirit.[33]

Your devoted Lord Jesus

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My dearest Lord Jesus ~

Your note made my heart glad.  And you, my Lord, are so good to me.  You have made luxurious places for us to rest and denied me nothing that I need.[34]

And the mansion you are building for us is strong.[35] The beams are of aromatic cedar and the rafters of fir that nothing can break down.[36]  With you, my Lord, I will always feel safe and loved.[37]

Forever yours,

Ecclesia

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Related imageThe paper book is half price at $4.50 on Valentine’s Day only. 

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  • [1] Psalm 104:15 and Numbers 6:25
  • [2] Revelation 12:10
  • [3] Ephesians 5:2
  • [4] Matthew 25:1ff
  • [5] John 14:2
  • [6] II Corinthians 5:1
  • [7] Hebrews 9:8; I Thessalonians 4:16f
  • [8] I Corinthians 15:51-53
  • [9] Proverb s 2:13
  • [10] Proverbs 27:4
  • [11] Mark 14:56f
  • [12] I Peter 4:14
  • [13] John 4:35
  • [14] Psalm 34:2
  • [15] Psalm 23
  • [16] Psalm 121:8
  • [17] Psalm 65:10
  • [18] Revelation 12:1
  • [19] Psalm 148:3
  • [20] Titus 2:9f
  • [21] Proverbs 25:11
  • [22] John 6:35
  • [23] Psalm 23
  • [24] Psalm 53:1
  • [25] Philippians 4:18
  • [26] Psalm 45:7-9
  • [27] Psalm 34:11
  • [28] Psalm 78:65
  • [29] John 9:4
  • [30] Matthew 11:28
  • [31] Psalm 33:13
  • [32] Revelation 21:9
  • [33] Matthew 3:16
  • [34] Hebrews 4:1-11
  • [35] John 14:1-3
  • [36] Psalm 127:1
  • [37] Psalm 119:116-17

But Did He Love Me?

Read this to the end. It will bring tears to your eyes. Katheryn

Mitch Teemley

woman playing dead, lying in the sand

I chose to write this true Valentine’s Day story about a favorite relative in first person in order to retain the impact it had on me.

I was never sure if he loved me. I mean right off, Burt liked my sister. I don’t know why. I mean, Tina, she’s pretty in a tomboy way, but I’m the real girl with my flamey hair and legs all the way down to China. So, I don’t know why the boys like her so much. I guess ’cause she’s fun. I was never fun. I was too much work: “I’m not ready yet!” “No! It’ll mess up my hair!” Hah!

But the minute I saw Burt, I loved him. He was tall and skinny, but with cute bulgy little muscles. He lifted weights and was so vain—every time we’d go by a mirror, I’d check my make-up and he’d check his muscles…

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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.

Image result for "Buy the book"WORSHIP CHANGES SINCE THE 1ST CENTURY is mostly about decisions to pick up something from the Old Testament and add it to New Testament worship. It caused confusion and terrible acts of violence. To READ NOW, click a picture or paste this:  https://amzn.to/2SWY27j

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