Wednesday 5/23 ~ Is it a good idea to be mad at God?

The scripture for today, May 23(5/23, is Exodus 5:23 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Bk3-HeartsAfire-COVER-Kindle.thumbnail-new“Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your [God’s] name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”

This is Moses talking to God, and Moses is very angry. Is it a good idea to be mad at God? Deuteronomy 34:10 says there was never a prophet like Moses “whom the Lord knew face to face.”

Getting angry [not violent, that’s different] sometimes is part of a healthy relationship, as long as we are willing to stick around long enough to understand the other person’s point of view. Moses did not desert God. He spoke his mind, then waited to see how God would reply.

It wasn’t that God didn’t want to rescue his people from slavery in Egypt. God was not quite ready yet. And he probably did not rescue his people in the manner Moses had in mind. But eventually ~ after a little patience on Moses’ part ~ it happened: God rescued his people.

Are you angry at God over something? Tell him so. Then stick around and wait for him to express his point of view. It will happen someday. Maybe it won’t be your point of view. Probably it will be better.

~~BUYLINK for eBOOK or discount PAPER:  http://bit.ly/Hearts-Afire

 

 

Monday 3/26 ~ And then the Creator of the Universe wants to bring you home with him

The scripture for today, March 26 (3/26), is Galatians 3:26f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-1st Century Worship KINDLE-COVER-Thumbnail“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ because all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

The Muslim religion teaches that God is too far above humans to have such a relationship ~ you know, the parent-child kind, a family relationship. They are taught God created humans to have someone to worship him and be his slaves. Oh, how much they are missing.  And the rest of the world too.

Our Bible says God created humans to have someone to love. He wants to be more than a distant God; he wants to be our heavenly Father. So, when we come out of the waters of baptism, it is like coming out of a watery womb; Romans 6:4-5 says we are then born into a new spiritual life.

Everyone in the Christian world knows that baptism is in the Bible. Today’s scripture explains “…because you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” and therefore we have become sons with Christ ~ adopted sons. (See also Ephesians 1:5).

No need to be spiritually blind and poor and naked (Revelation 3:17).  You can gain spiritual insight, be rich in grace, and be clothed with Christ.

No need to be spiritually orphaned ~ you can become a child of God. He holds out holy arms to you. He wants to embrace you and hold you close as you finish this life on earth. And then, wonder of wonders, the Creator of the universe wants to bring you home with him.

Sunday 3/25 ~ Keep that hope alive

The scripture for today, March 25 (3/25), is Lamentations 3:25 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Michel-COVER-Kindle-Thumbnail.jpg“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.”

That’s all?  Just hope?  I don’t have to have a deep, deep faith for God to be good to me? All I have to do is hope he exists? Hope he loves everyone? Hope me loves me?

Were you raised by atheists or have you attended a university where professors criticize theists (believers in God)? Have you been told deity is just the essence of the universe with no personality? Are you confused by it all?  You can still hope there is only the One God who does exist, has personality, knows your name and loves you.

Have you had a major tragedy in your life and can’t understand how a good God could allow that bad thing to happen (heaven on earth)? Do you live among people who believe all the gods in the world are the One God, so don’t pay special attention to any of them?

Amidst such confusion, is it hard for you to sort it all out and have faith in the One God of the Bible? What is faith anyway? It is the evidence of what you hope for.  If you cannot go so far as to say you have a deep faith in the One God, you can still hope! Keep that hope alive. Let the Lord be good to you.

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#atheism, #hope, #NewAge, #Pantheism, #faith

 

Friday 2/16 ~ Flaming hope with a flickering candle

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

00-PAUL COVER-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 basically told them.  “With the strength God gives you, keep doing good deeds and spreading the Word.”  Persecuted? 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.

 

Tuesday 1/23 ~ He is just too big to see

The scripture for today, January 23 (1/23), is Romans 1:23 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

04-FOLK HERO-Child'sCartoon-Thumbnail“….and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”

Well, the opposite has happened in our millennium.  Instead of worshipping many gods, people are worshiping nothing.  They declare God does not exist. They declare the existence of the universe just happened for no reason and that their minds have reason for no reason. One of their arguments is that they cannot see God.

Do you ever wish you could see God, touch God, look God in the eye? Everyone has. And we may wonder why we can’t.

If this were the case, then God wouldn’t be God. He wouldn’t be omnipresent (present everywhere). He would only be able to listen to one prayer at a time, and the rest of the world’s prayers would go unheard.

Besides, God is too big to see.  It is like facing a tree or building half an inch away.  We have no way to know what the tree or building looks like because it is so big. So, we see only a tiny bit of God because He is so big he covers the universe and beyond.

Let us be grateful our God is so great He cannot be limited. He cannot be pictured. He fills heaven. He is so great He fills our hearts and our souls.

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#polytheism, #atheism, #God, #faith

Scripture for Wednesday, November 1 (11/1)

The scripture for today, November 1 (11/1), is Hebrews 11:1 as found in the New Testament of the Bible;

Life-Changing-Scriptures-Cover-medium“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (KJV).

Notice, faith is not based on a feeling. It is full of substance, for it is based on evidence. What evidence?

First, faith is complete confidence that the Bible is divine. We know this in large part because the prophecies about nations and empires during Bible times came true after the lifetime of the prophets. Today, most people never heard of many of those nations and empires because their destruction was so complete. But an investigation of encyclopedias shows that, in Bible times, they did exist.

Second, faith is complete confidence that Jesus on earth was divine. We know this in large part because numerous prophecies about his birth, ministry and death came true centuries after the prophecies were made. No one man could have contrived and forced all those prophecies to be fulfilled in his lifetime.

Finally, faith is complete confidence that the account of Jesus’ life was written accurately by witnesses who saw him and talked with him. These witnesses afterwards traveled the world telling people about him, suffering hardships, and often torture and death. They would not have gone through all this for a lie. Further, we have manuscripts that date back to less than a century of the actual events, something no other ancient writing can do.

Yes, faith has substance because it is based on evidence. And in the Bible, we have all we need.

Scripture for Sunday, October 8 (10/8)

The scripture for today, October 8 (10/8), is Romans 10:8f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Medium-But what does it say? ‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,’ that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Indeed, the word is in our mouth through confession of our faith in Jesus, and in our heart for truly believing it and not just saying it.

Some say we are not saved by works, and it is true in the sense that we cannot go around doing so many good works that God will feel obligated to take us into his home. We can never be good enough because we still sin and those sins need to be washed away.

In the sense that we do not have to do anything to be saved, it is not true. Jesus took care of that impossible part. But for our part, he said faith is a work: “Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: To believe in the one he has sent’ ” (John 6:29).

To many faithful Christians, there are times in our life that faith is indeed hard work. We are beset with so many problems that we begin to wonder, “Does Jesus really care, as he claimed?”.

Let us continue to work at our faith. We will have our ups and our downs. Sometimes our faith will be strong and sometimes weak. But remember, even when we doubt God, God never doubts us.

Scripture for Tuesday, September 12 (9/12)

The scripture for today, September 12 (9/12), is found in Genesis 9:12f in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-Heroes-Alone-COVER-KINDLE“And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come. I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”

On the technical side, how can it be that there was never a rainbow before Noah’s time? Genesis 2:5b-6 explains, “The Lord God had not sent rain on the earth, and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.”

Up until the time of Noah, people lived to be several hundred years old. Christian scientists have said that before the flood the earth had a constant cloud covering like Venus with a thick ozone layer that created the greenhouse effect of vapors, and protected man from the aging process.

So, rainbows were not possible when the sun could never break through the ever-present clouds. It was because of a terrible worldwide cataclysm that the beauty of the rainbow was made possible.

On the spiritual side of this story, we see a man who had such faith in God that, although he probably had never seen rain, believed it would happen. Such amazing faith! Later, after being rewarded with the lives of his family members being saved, God gave him one more reward ~ the rainbow ~ that he could not only enjoy himself, but he could share with the world and all of us, Noah’s descendants.

Out of disaster came beauty.

Scripture for Saturday, September 2 (9/2)

The scripture for today, September 2 (9/2), is Job 9:2 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0000-BK 1-StarSong-Cover-new-Medium“Though one wishes to dispute with Him [God], he could not answer Him one time out of a thousand.”

There are so-called sophisticated intellectuals in the world who want to come up with all the answers about God. Many even make God in their image instead of we being made in God’s image. They try to reduce God to complete human understanding.

That cannot be! If we could understand everything about God, He would not be God! Let us rejoice that there are things about Him we do not understand. Let us rejoice that there are events in our life we do not understand ~ the good, the bad, the ugly. Let us rejoice that such a God loves us in our finiteness.

 

Scripture for Tuesday, August 29 (8/29)

The scripture for today, August 29 (8/29), is Matthew 8:29 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Life-Changing-Scriptures-Cover-medium” ‘What do you want with us, Son of God?’ they shouted. ‘Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?’ “

If you are not familiar with this passage, these are the words of a demon. If you have ever studied demons in the Bible, you will find that they never tried to spook or scare people. They never made dishes rattle or lamps fall over.

All they did was cause physical problems during the lifetime of Jesus and his apostles. There is no evidence of demons doing this in the Old Testament before Jesus, nor after his apostles died, either in the Bible or in the writings of the apostolic fathers. It is as though the demons were loosed for a season so Jesus could show his power over them also ~ Ephesians 1:20-21.

Notice, demons never said bad things. If they talked at all, it was out of fear and honesty.  James 2:19 says all demons believe in Jesus. In the book of Matthew, they knew who Jesus was. They called him the Son of God. But belief alone does not save. Demons are not saved.

Jesus told them to be quiet. Why? He didn’t want evil beings telling people who he was; he wanted goodness to tell people who he was.

The movies have warped our understanding of demons. Let us search the scriptures to find out their true nature. Then we no longer have to guess. We can rest assured.

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#demons, #belief, #faith, #exorcism, #haunting, #knowledge, #truth

Scripture for Sunday, August 27 (8/27)

The scripture for today, August 27 (8/27), is Mark 8:27 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Bk3-HeartsAfire-COVER-Kindle.medium-new“Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way, he asked them, ‘Who do people say I am?’ “

Do we ask our family, our neighbors, our friends how they feel about God? We don’t know unless we ask. A lot of people are just waiting for someone to ask. Otherwise, they don’t know how or when to bring it up.

Whenever I meet someone who has gone through a tragedy, I ask them “How’s your faith.” Now this person may not have darkened the door of a church building for 20 years, but s/he always knows what I mean. Since I am sympathizing with them at the time, they are always honest and reply, “Not very good.”

Then I tell them, “You know, Satan causes bad to happen to people, not Jesus.” They always stare at me a moment and then breathe a sigh of relief. They hadn’t wanted to blame God for their tragedy, but they had a need to blame someone. They’d forgotten Satan exists and were grateful they could now put the blame where it belonged.

We must continually be on the watch for people who need help in understanding their relationship with God. You’ll be surprised at how many want to talk about God. Be brave. Go ahead and ask.

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#tragedy, #faith, #blame, #doubt, #Satan

Scripture for Thursday, August 24 (8/24)

The scripture for today, August 24 (8/24) is Romans 8:24f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-michel-cover-kindle-medium“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

Faith. Sometimes we go through a period of our life in which it is difficult to have faith that God exists; or even if he does exist, that he cares what happens to us.

Dear friend, during those times, you may not be able to have faith. But you can HOPE. You can hope God exists, you can hope he cares what happens to you.

Even the weakest person can hope. And hope holds us until we are strong enough to, once again, have faith.

So, the next time your faith waivers (and it happens to everyone at some time in their life), remember, you can still hope.

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#hope, #faith, #doubt, #problems, #weakness, #falling, #alone, #wavering, #tripping, #stumbling, #climbing, #rising, #despair

Scripture for Friday, August 18 (8/18)

The scripture for today, August 18 (8/18), is Mark 8:18f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-cover-kindle-medium-new“Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember when I broke [in pieces] the five loaves for the five thousand [hungry people]? How many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”

Economic and political times are uncertain and unstable right now for a lot of people. Jobs may be hard to find.  Jobs are there, but you do not qualify for them. Your health is bad and now you cannot work.  Perhaps you have been hit by a sudden debt you see no way to pay.

How much do you worry about it? Planning is good. But worrying? Has God forsaken you in the past?

Sit down and make a list of every time you made it through a bad period of time in your life. How did God get you through it then? This is your proof.

Remember your proof.

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#worry, #problems, #debts, #finances, #job, #home, #family, #trust, #faith

Scripture for Monday, July 24 (7/24)

The scripture for today, July 24 (7/24), is Matthew 7:24 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-COVER-KINDLE“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

The problem we have with putting into practice the Words of God is that we sometimes read blindly. We don’t see the significance of something. We may read it over and over for years and never see its significance.

Take, for example, the story of Jesus’ birth. We sometimes see pictures of baby Jesus in a stable with the shepherds and three wise men all gathered around him. But Matthew 2:11 says by the time the wise men arrived, Jesus and his parents were living in a house. Further, the Bible does not say how many wise men there were; it just says they gave three kinds of gifts ~ gold, incense and myrrh.

How about 1st Timothy 3:2?  “Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach.” This word “overseer” is sometimes translated bishop, sometimes elder, and sometimes pastor. It’s all the same office. We might think at first glance that we believe all this. But do we glaze over the fact that he must have a wife? Hmmm….

Here’s another one. At funerals, we often quote Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me.” But for the Christian, there are no shadows in the valley of death. Jesus was born “to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death to guide our feet into the path of peace” (Luke 1:79).

Oh, so many things we over look ~ meaningful things. Let us continue to study God’s Word daily with our mind and heart open to new things we never realized before.  Let us build the house of our faith “on the rock.”

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#Bethlehem, #Shepherds, #WiseMen, #elder, #bishop, #pastor, #ShadowOfDeath, #scripture, #Bible, #faith, #knowledge, #understanding

Scripture for Saturday, July 8 (7/8)

The scripture for today, July 8 (7/8), is Ecclesiastes 7:8 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Bible Puzzles for Young And Old-Cover“The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.”

Years ago, there was a little boy who belonged to the Pee-Wee Baseball League. A lot of teams played in different parts of a very large ball field. He would get in line to wait his turn to bat the ball. But he’d become impatient, feeling he should be able to bat as often as he wanted.

So, he’d take off across the field and get in the line of another team, hoping his turn at bat would come sooner. When he didn’t go to bat as soon as he thought he should, he’d take off across the field in yet another direction and get in the line of yet another team, hoping his turn at bat would come sooner.

After doing all that, he’d finally give up and come back to his own team. By that time, if he had just stayed in line with his own team, he could have come up to bat two or three times. His pride got in the way, his impatience got in the way, and he ended up losing all his turns.

What we hope and dream for may happen today, or a year from now, a decade from now. Let us learn to wait for our turn.

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#patience, #prayer, #blessing, #courage, #faith, #answer, #pride

Scripture for Monday, July 3 (7/3)

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

REV-Cover-Kindle” ‘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 religion.

But when Stephen got to the part where now God wanted them to leave the Jewish religion and move on to a still better one ~ the Christian religion ~ they got mad. 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.

It is hard to change. It takes a great big “leap of faith.” But when God does the recommending, we can know he has something special in mind for us. So, if you have been learning new things in the Bible you did not realize were there,  gear up and get ready for that leap!

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#religion, #faith, #change, #discovery, #scriptures, #Bible, #insight, #paganism, #Judaism, #Islam, #Christianity

Scripture for Thursday, June 29 (6/29)

The scripture for today, June 29 (6/29), is John 6:29 as found in the New Testament of the Bible.

Cover-Kindle-small“Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: To believe in the one he has sent.’ “

Yes, it is true that the gift of salvation is just that ~ a gift, a free gift. And it is true that we cannot be good enough to earn salvation, because we don’t know how to be perfect, and heaven can only accept the perfect.

But at the same time, James 2:18 says “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” In other words, there are things we need to do to obtain salvation. We have to believe there is a gift for us somewhere, walk over to it, reach out, and grasp it.

Repenting is a work. And Jesus himself said believing (faith) is a work.

And how do we go about obtaining faith? By believing what other people tell us to believe? Romans 10:17 says faith comes by hearing/reading the Word of God ~ the Bible. Faith in the right thing is the result of going directly to God’s Words to find out for ourselves.

It takes a little bit of work to read through the Bible. But then, we can know what we believe is really true.

 

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#faith, #belief, #work, #free, #gift, #salvation, #Bible

 

Scripture for Tuesday, May 2 (5/2)

The scripture for today, May 2 (5/2), is Micah 5:2 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0000-BK 1-StarSong-Cover-new-Medium“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

This amazing scripture prophecies where the “ruler…from ancient times” will be born. It gives the exact city Jesus (who had been in heaven before his human birth) would be born in, written seven centuries before his birth.

The Bible is the only religious book in the world with built-in proofs that it is of divine origin. Prophecies of many events in the life of Christ flow throughout the Old Testament. He wasn’t just a prophet, he wasn’t just a good man, he wasn’t a fraud.

Thank God, He thought of everything to help us believe Jesus was, indeed, the Son of God!

 

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#prophecy, #Bethlehem, #BirthOfChrist, #scripture, #Bible, #OldTestament, #proof, #evidence, #witness, #religion, #Christianity, #SonOfGod, #belief, #faith, #confidence

 

Scripture for Monday, May 1 (5/1)

The scripture for today, May 1, is Romans 5:1 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Luke-Slave&Physician KINDLE Cover“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Of course, if we do not have faith in Jesus, we will not obey any of his commands. He said in John 15:14, “You are my friends IF you do what I command.”

Some people say we are not saved by works, and this is true in the sense that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and the wages we earn for sinning is soul death (Romans 6:23).

But faith does lead to works. In fact, Jesus himself said that faith/belief itself is a work (John 6:29). And James 2:18 says we prove our faith by works.

Yes, it is a beautiful thing that we are saved by the Grace of God and the Death of Jesus. That was their part. Our part is to believe it, accept it, and actively follow it.

That, too, is beautiful.

 

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#just, #unjust, #holy, #unholy, #faith, #grace, #works, #death, #life, #heaven, #hell, #salvation, #condemed

Scripture for Thursday, April 13 (4/13)

The scripture for today, April 13, is Philippians 4:13 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Medium“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Life is not easy. Plans are scattered, dreams are shattered, and even predictable every-day things sometimes give way to the unknown and unpredictable. Maybe you have made bad decisions, or you weren’t prepared for emergencies, or you are an innocent victim of someone else’s problems.

But there is Someone who knows everything that is happening to you and who will walk beside you down whatever path you find yourself. Further, even if you lose faith in Him, He will not lose faith in you.

When you don’t feel like it, reach out to God. Pray, even if all you can think of to talk about is how terrible things are right now. At least you’re talking. And read the Bible, for that is God talking to you. Keep the two-way communication going. Amidst your weeping when you fall, God will give you strength and once again lift you up.

 

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#plans, #dreams, #shattered, #scattered, #unpredictable, #ruin, #decisions, #victim, #faith, #prayer, #Bible, #scripture, #strength, #weakness, #LiftUp, #fall, #plunge #fly