Tuesday 5/22 ~ There is no law against slowing down

The scripture for today, May 22 (5/22), is Galatians 5:22f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Cover-Thumbnail“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.”

There are some people in the world who call people who practice these traits “losers.”  They distrust people who love everyone, are kind to everyone and are always happy.  “People like that are not for real.”  They believe you have to stick up for yourself and get ahead of the pack or the world will trample you and pass you by.

They are a lot like drivers out on a highway who think they have to pass every car. Once they do, there is usually a brief period when they are ahead of all the others. But soon they catch up with another pack of cars and begin all over again to pass every one, to get ahead of the pack. And so, it happens over and over endlessly. They never relax, for they are never ahead of the others for very long.

Today, relax a little. Exercise patience and self-control.  There is no law against slowing down. And in the process find gentleness and find peace.

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Friday 5/18 ~ Can you give thanks when bad happens?

The scripture for today, May 18 (5/18), is 1st Thessalonians 5:18 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

000-COVER-KINDLE-Thumbnail“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

This is one of the most difficult verses in the Bible to follow. How can we rejoice with the loss of a loved one, of health, of a job, of a home, of a position? The Christians at Thessalonica, in Greece, had been suffering a lot of persecution for being Christians. Some had even been killed.

Satan will do all he can to cause bad to happen in your life in order to get you to blame God and forsake him. But the real blame belongs on Satan. It may sometimes seem like the harder you try to follow God, the worse things get in your life.

In that case, apparently, Satan is afraid of your strength in the Lord and is trying more than ever to weaken you and get you back on his side. He doesn’t have to attack people he already has. 

And sometimes God stands back and tells Satan, “Do your best. This person will grow stronger, not weaker. His/her health and job and home may become minuscule but their soul will become a giant.” Along with the Christians in Thessalonica, you can “become a model….your faith in God can become known everywhere” (1st Thessalonians 1:7-8).

So rejoice that Satan is so afraid of you. And at the same time, keep your eyes on Jesus who never gave in when Satan caused bad to happen to him. Rejoice that you are counted worthy. Can you do that?

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Thursday 1/4 ~ Finding our joy

The scripture for today, January 4, is Philippians 1:4 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Mefiboset-KINDLE Medium“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.”

Do your prayers consist mostly of give me this, help me with that? Begin today to keep an on-going list of your prayer requests for the year, and another one of thanksgiving for when those prayers are answered. Begin today to tell God “Thank you.”

Also begin today to look around at your circumstances ~ whatever they may be ~ with joy. There can be some kind of joy in every circumstance if you look at it through eyes of joy.

The above quotation is from a letter to Philippi in northern Greece bordering today’s Bulgaria.  Here, a majority of the citizens were barbarian-looking warrior Thracians. But these rough semi-professional warriors also brought the world joy with their beautiful sculptures.

Philippians is a book about peace and joy. This is the book that says, “And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (4:7)

This is also the book that says, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (4:13).

From now on, tell God, ”thank you,” and in the process find your joy.

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Scripture for Thursday, August 10 (8/10)

inside-cover-mediumThe scripture for today, August 10 (8/10), is Nehemiah 8:10b as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

After exile for 70 years for forsaking God, the Jews were led by Ezra and Nehemiah back to Jerusalem. On a special day, Ezra read the Law of Moses to all the people. And they wept. They were so embarrassed and so sorry they had betrayed God. The above scripture quotation is from that occasion.

But many people find it too humiliating to admit to others that they were wrong. Others find it easy to repent, but never regroup and pull themselves up so they can try again. Still, others say, “What I’ve done is so bad, God could never forgive me.” They spend the rest of their lives grieving.

God can perform miracles. That means he can forgive the greatest sinner. So, grieve. Ask for forgiveness. Then start over fresh ~ innocent in the eyes of God. The joy of the Lord is your strength.  So, go ahead.  Smile again.

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Scripture for Friday, August 4 (8/4)

The scripture for today, August 4 (8/4), is Acts 8:4 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Medium-“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”

Sometimes our plans get scattered, our dreams shattered. We lose our home, our job, our chance at an education, our savings, our family.

Satan loves to discourage us. He’s good at it. But Romans 8:28 says that God can make something good come out of all things ~ good or bad.

What about you? What if, for instance, you lose your home or job or worse? Will it make you bitter?

 It apparently did not make the early Christians bitter. How could that be? They had been forced out of jobs, out of homes, out of their country. Some Christian friends had been killed before they could escape.

There was something about them.  Something different. They counted it joy to be considered worthy of suffering for Christ. (James 1:2) They did not slink around or hide so it wouldn’t happen again. They rose up out of the ashes. They rose up and declared they had an eternal home no one could snatch from them.

How about you? If you lost everything, would you keep your joy or turn bitter?  What if that loss was because of Jesus? Would you turn right around and declare him again anyway? Really and truly, would you?

What stuff is your Christianity made of? Getting up in front of a congregation and expounding or performing, or being on committees? Or is it teaching one on one how to be saved? Where are your priorities? What part of Christianity brings the kind of joy that keeps on going, even in the ashes?

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