Monday 2/26 ~ Paralysis or freedom?

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

0-Bk3-HeartsAfire-COVER-Kindle.thumbnail-new“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? 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?

Scripture for Tuesday, September 19 (9/19)

The scripture for today, September 19, is Acts 9:19f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

worship-the-first-century-way-cover-kindle“He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food he regained his strength.”

This is the story of Saul, as he was known to the Jews and to us as Paul, who became an apostle. Notice the order he did this: He was hungry, but that wasn’t important. He had to do what was important first. He was baptized.

Why was Paul baptized? In Acts 22:16 Paul recalls in his own words that day when he was told, “Get up: be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.”

Further, notice who baptized him. Was he part of the clergy, someone with an ordained title in the church? Acts 9:10 says, “In Damascus, there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him…Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul.” What title did Ananias have? None. He was just another disciple, disciple simply meaning follower.

Little did this otherwise unknown disciple realize that day, that the person he baptized would end up writing much of the New Testament.

Do you feel as though you are an “unknown disciple” to followers of Jesus around you? Find something to do, and God will make it great.

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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Scripture for Friday, July 7 (7/7)

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

inside-cover-medium“Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

How beautiful. The Creator of the universe pays attention to each and every one of us. How does he do it? How does he even sort us all out when thousands of us are praying to him at the same time?

Sometimes we may not think he is listening to our prayers. But it takes time to answer some of them. If I am praying to meet my future husband or wife, God may have to move him or her from the other side of the country, get a new job for him or her, and arrange for us to “accidentally” bump into each other. This is just one example.

Also, when Jesus said whatever we seek will be given to us, he had already explained that we must “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). So only within that context will God give us our heart’s desire.

Maybe today you can do a little bit of extra seeking and extra knocking.

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Scripture for Wednesday, March 8 (3/8)

The scripture for today, March 8, s Philippians 3:8 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Medium-“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ.”

Wow! Paul, who wrote this, considered everything he had previously owned and every position he had ever held as rubbish ~ garbage ~ compared with belonging to his Lord.

Paul apparently came from a well-to-do family since he was born in today’s Turkey but went to school in Jerusalem. He also apparently held a position in the Jewish ruling body, the Sanhedrin, since he could vote on whether to execute someone. So, he probably owned a lot of things and had an honored position. The King James Version of the Bible says he considered it all as dung ~ manure.

Where are your priorities? What do you spend most of your time on? The things you just have to own, physical pleasures you just have to indulge in, the power you just have to have? All to enhance the little inch of your life on earth? Or the deep and unconquerable love of Christ Jesus your Lord who will enhance your eternity?

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