Scripture for Monday, September 11 (9/11)

The scripture for today, September 11 (9/11), is Matthew 9:11 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Medium-“When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and “sinners”? ‘ “

Jesus did not make friends with people who could lift him up. He made friends with people that he could lift up. We are not divine, so we need both. It is true that our closest friends should be Christians. However, many of us brag that those are our only friends and that isolates us from the lost.

We must make some friends among the lost in order to show them God’s love and try to lift them up. They can be people at work, in a club, in your neighborhood, someone we stand next to waiting for a bus, or even someone we meet by accident while waiting in line at a store.

Always be on the lookout. Always be prepared to become more than just casual acquaintances when they need you. Always be prepared to get “up close and personal” with some of your friends when they feel friendless.

Jesus did it. He was our example.

 

Scripture for Tuesday, August 1 (8/1)

The scripture for today, August 1 (8/1), is Romans 8:1 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

worship-the-first-century-way-cover-kindle“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

There are a lot of religious groups out there in the world who control their people with fear. If you don’t do such and such, it proves you aren’t spiritual enough. If you do such and such one second before you die, you’re going to hell.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the congregations in Galatia (today’s Turkey) and warned them with tears:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel ~ which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached [past tense] to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again:

If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God? Or am I trying to please men? ” (Galatians 1:6-10).

Are you sure you are IN Christ Jesus? Do your church leaders dance around scriptures they wish weren’t in the Bible and tell you they don’t really mean what they say? What do they do with Romans 6:3-4? How do they handle Acts 2:38 so it doesn’t say what it says? How about I Peter 3:21 and Acts 22:16?  Do you do what these scriptures say and for those reasons or what is popular? Do your friends speak for God or do you let God speak for himself? Our friends will be judged by God like everyone else. Listen.  Do you hear? That is God speaking to you.

Oh, to be sure we are indeed IN Christ Jesus. This is our longing. Our hope. Our reason for being.

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Scripture for Tuesday, June 20 (6/20)

The scripture for today, June 20 (6/20), is Matthew 6:20f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-cover-kindle-medium-new“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

In describing heaven, terms are used like pearls, diamonds, emeralds, gold, and so on. So, certainly, God is not against riches. Otherwise, he would not have described heaven with those terms.

So, what is the problem? We must ask ourselves, “If I lost everything tomorrow, could I face life?”. We may say yes, but what about friends who are now unsure they want to associate with someone with nothing? So, it is not only a greed problem, but a social problem. It is a problem of losing both our possessions and our friends.

We could solve this problem by moving out into the country where possessions and social status don’t mean so much. Or we could stay where we are and just change our choice of friends. Our new friends may be truer friends than we ever had before and may need us more.

Lastly, if we lost our job, our car, our home ~ our identity ~ would we be so devastated that we would contemplate suicide as some have done? Or would we be able to look around us and see what we can do without having possessions and without having a job to occupy our time?

There are always things we can do for others. Is that truly where our heart is? In that case, loss of everything will not bring catastrophe. Rather, it can give opportunities to reveal what stuff we are made of deep down inside where our true treasure is ~ in our heart.

 

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Scripture for Sunday, June 11 (6/11)

The scripture for today, June 11, is Job 6:11 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 6-PromiseKeeper-Cover-medium-new-kindle“What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects that I should be patient?”

Many people use the expression, “patience of Job.” But he had on-and-off patience, for he was very sick. By descriptions he gave of himself ~ sores, rancid breath, low voice, partial blindness, skin turned hard and black, bloating, nightmares, extreme pain, unrecognized by his closest friends, some believe he had a grotesque form of elephantiasis leprosy.

What did he need from his friends? He surely didn’t get it, for they spent their time trying to prove that he had sinned and God was right to be punishing him. His reply? “I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all! Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing?” (Job 16:2f).

So how do we comfort someone who feels utterly hopeless? We certainly don’t put the blame on them, nor do we tell them it’s “all in your head’ or to “snap out of it”. We can share times when we felt hopeless. We can weep with them. We can hold their hand. We can sit with them in silence. We can pray aloud for them. (Some people have never heard their name mentioned in a prayer.)

And we need to let them talk. Sometimes they will say things they don’t mean in the long run, but at that brief moment, they do. Or sometimes they need to talk through things they are unsure about. They may even say contradictory things.

At one time Job said, “Surely, O God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household….God assails me and tears me in his anger and gnashes his teeth at me” (16:7f). But another time he said, “I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end, he will stand upon the earth….I myself will see him with my own eyes ~ I and not another. How my heart yearns within me” (19:25f).

If you have a very sick friend, let your heart yearn with them.

 

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