Monday 5/21 ~ What if I only sin sometimes?

The scripture for today, May 21 (5/21) is 2nd Corinthians 5:21 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 8-ComeFlyWithMe-Cover-Thumbnail-New“God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

A lot of people do not understand what Jesus’ death has to do with going to heaven. The key is in Romans 3:23 that says “The wages of sin is death.” When Adam and Eve sinned, immediately their souls died, and the bodies gradually died. That was the wages they collected for sinning.

It’s been happening to everyone since then. But, during Old Testament times, God allowed people to make a perfect animal take their wage, shed its blood and die in their place when they sinned.

This was only a temporary fix, however. Hebrews says the blood of animals cannot truly take away (take the substitute punishment for) sins; they are remembered again every year (Hebrews 10:3-4).

Finally, John the Baptist announced Jesus was “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29). In order to forever stop all the sacrificial substitute dying, God prepared his own perfect Lamb ~ Jesus, who never sinned. For 33 years, God’s Word took human form in Jesus and became one of us. Then he had to shed his blood and die in our place. In so doing, he collected our wages forever.

Jesus did two things impossible for us to do: Live a perfect life without sin, and come back to life after he died ~ both physically and spiritually. Why? So we could do another thing that is impossible for us to do on our own: Enter heaven, the home of the perfect.

Heaven is not for people who do a lot of good works and only sin sometimes so that God will have no choice but to take them into his home. It only takes one sin to be a sinner.  God cannot exist with sin.

God invites us to his heaven if we will follow Jesus. We don’t even have to be perfect ~ just forgiven. Jesus was perfect for us. What amazing love.

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Monday 3/19 ~ Why had I felt so abandoned?

The scripture for today, March 19 (3.19), is Habakkuk 3:19 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Joseph-Cover-Thumbnail”The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

The little book of Habakkuk was written during a period when the leaders were oppressing the desperate poor. Habakkuk complains to God, “Why do you tolerate wrong?”. God answers that he’s getting ready to put an end to it. Not satisfied, Habakkuk asks the same question again.

God’s answer renews Habakkuk’s faith. Perhaps he asked himself, “Why had I worried so much?” “Why had I felt so abandoned?” “Why had I thought God didn’t notice?” “Why had I decided God didn’t really care?”

Everyone grows impatient when leaders are doing wrong. But we must understand that we see just part of the problem and that God is waiting until the right time to put an end to it ~ a time when people are so desperate with helplessness that even unbelievers can’t help but know God intervened.

So when times come in your own life that everything seems to be going wrong, read the little book of Habakkuk and know that God is still in control, he has not forgotten you, and he has special plans for you.

Scripture for Monday, October 30 (10/30)

The scripture for today, October 30 (10/30), is Hebrews 10:30 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Medium“For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ “

In the Law of Moses, people were expected to avenge those who did not follow the law. Some things were even punishable by death.

But Jesus told us to forgive people so that God,, in turn, will forgive us (Matthew 6:14).

What is forgiveness? It is not condoning the bad someone did. Forgiveness is letting go and letting God do any punishing that may be required. Forgiveness is wishing the other person well. You may not trust the other person to not do the bad thing again, and you may forever fear that person. But you can always hope and pray that their lives and hearts will change for the better some day. No one is so bad that you cannot wish them well and pray for them. That’s forgiveness.

Vengeance only prolongs the pain; vengeance is hard on us. So, as the old saying goes, “Let go, and let God.” God will do his part ~ the hard part. He has left the easy part for us.

 

Scripture for Monday, October 9 (10/9)

The scripture for today, October 9 (10/9), is Job 10:9 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-COVER-KINDLE“Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again?”

Job was sick, his so-called friends came to him to say God was punishing him, and Job was frustrated. He could not reason with his friends, so he tried to reason with God. It was a lovers’ quarrel.

By verse 18, he was so upset with God that he said, “Why then did you bring me out of the womb? I wish I had died before any eye saw me.” Job’s body was broken, and even more, his spirit was broken. Satan was doing everything he could to get Job to deny God. But, even though Job argued with God and perhaps came close to denying him, he always acknowledged the good God did along with the bad. He just didn’t understand the bad.

We don’t understand the bad in our lives. But remember, it is Satan that causes the bad to happen. God may step back and let Satan give it a try, but we are not their toys. We are soldiers in the army of God. When Satan throws darts at us, we hold up the shield of faith and become even stronger.

Sometimes, the bad happening in our life is God’s assignment for us. We are part of the war between God and Satan. As good and loyal soldiers, we take our assignments and stand firm. We may complain, but we still stand firm. We may trip sometimes, but we still stand firm. Being a soldier in the army of God is not easy. But the battle will be won. Some day. So stand firm!

 

Scripture for Thursday, October 5 (10/5)

The scripture for today, October 5 (10/5) is 2nd Corinthians 10:5f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Life-Changing-Scriptures-Cover-medium“Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. Now, these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.”

This is about the 40 years the Jews wandered in the wilderness between leaving their slavery in Egypt and beginning a nation for themselves in their Promised Land.

It took Moses 40 years to get the Jews out of Egypt. But it took 400 years to get Egypt out of the Jews. They believed their way was better than God’s way. They wanted God to protect them and provide for their needs, but they kept God at a distance as far as their ethics and way of life.

Events in the Old Testament are there as examples to us. This is one reason why we need to read the Old Testament.  The early Jews did not want to listen to God, so God did not listen to them. Do we keep God at a distance?  In that case, God keeps us at a distance.

Do we want God to treat us the way we treat him? This can be a frightening thought. It can also be a blissful thought.

 

Scripture for Friday, August 11 (8/11)

The scripture for today, August 11 (8/11), is Romans 8:11 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Medium“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living IN YOU, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives IN YOU.”

But how do we know the Spirit is IN US? Death literally means separation. Physical death means separation from this body on earth. Spiritual death means separation of our soul from God who is Life. Whenever we sin, our soul dies. It happened to Adam and Eve who didn’t think God meant it when he said, “In the day you eat of the fruit, you will die.” They could no longer walk and talk with God in the garden because they were now separated from him, spiritually dead. With that eventually also came physical death.

There are certain spiritual laws that cannot be broken. For example, it is impossible for God to lie. It is also impossible for God to sin. Therefore, God cannot co-exist with sin. We sin. Another law is that sin demands death. For centuries, God allowed mankind to sacrifice an animal in their place to take their death punishment. But it was just a temporary fix. Finally, he sent the Word in bodily form to be sacrificed in our place and take our death punishment. Now, all we have to do is be IN JESUS which is accomplished by baptism: Galatians 3:26 says this.

What is the role of our spirit? When we die, we say our spirit has left our body. So, as long as we are alive, it means our spirit is still IN US We are not conscious of our spirit being in us; we just know it is because we are still alive. In the same way, when we become Christians God’s way (not man’s way), God’s Holy Spirit enters us and is IN US; Acts 2:38 says so. This is when we become spiritually alive; Romans 6:3-4 says so.

We are not overtly conscious of God’s Spirit being IN US, but we know it is true because our soul is now alive. Forever alive.

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#HolySpirit, #SpiritOfGod, #SpiritOfChrist, #HumanSpirit, #spirit,  #life, #death, #sacrifice, #substitute, #EternalLife, #baptism, #punishment, #sin, #soul, #body, #heaven, #resurrection

Scripture for Tuesday, August 8 (8/8)

The scripture for today, August 8 (8/8), is Zechariah 8:8 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-PAUL COVER-Medium-“I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.”

The Jews had done terrible things against God. They had worshiped terrible idols that required ghastly things be done in their honor such as setting up brothels with so-called male and female “priestesses” and sacrificing their children on an altar of fire. They had nailed the doors of the Temple closed. They had broken every one of God’s rules. They had sworn at him, rejected him, hated him.

So God punished them with 70 years of exile in Babylon. It was the boomerang effect. They had rejected God, so God rejected them.

But it was not permanent. God is love and has no choice but to love and give people a second chance. Isn’t He amazing? The God of Second Chances?

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#rejection, #betrayal, #hatred, #resentment, #punishment, #SecondChance, #repentance, #forgiveness, #mercy

Scripture for Monday, August 7 (8/7)

00-COVER-KINDLEThe scripture for today, August 7 (8/7), is Hosea 8:7 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.”

This is the boomerang effect. We throw a boomerang into the air and no matter how we throw it, it always comes back to us. In the same way, God treats us the same way we treat him.

If we draw near to God, God draws near to us (James 4:8). If we don’t have time for God, God doesn’t have time for us. If we don’t want to do what he says, God doesn’t want to do what we say. If we reject God, God rejects us:

Psalm 9:15-16; Psalm 10:2; Psalm 37:14-15; Psalm 140:9; Proverbs 3:34; Proverbs 6:27; Proverbs 26:27; Isaiah 33:1; Isaiah 59:18; Ezekiel 7:8; Obadiah 1:15.  Look them up.

Also, there may be people out there mistreating you. Someday their mistreatment will boomerang right onto themselves. In the meantime, your assignment is to remain true to God with patience and calm. God will take care of the boomerang.

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#boomerang, #meanness, #victim, #abuse, #selfishness, #recompense, #reward, #punishment

Scripture for Sunday, July 23 (7/23)

The scripture for today, July 23 (7/23), is 1st Corinthians 7:23 in the New Testament of the Bible.

REV-Cover-Kindle“You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.”

Where were you bought from?  Hell.  Romans 3:23 says everyone sins and falls short of the glory of God. God, who is perfection, cannot dwell with us. It would be like light dwelling with darkness. It cannot be done.

But God loved you so much, he figured out a way to make you sinless and escape hell. He sent his son, Jesus, to live that perfect life that is impossible for you to live.  In the Garden of Eden, God said, “The moment you sin, you die.”  Yes, our souls die. Now, Satan holds us for ransom. Who can possibly pay it?  Only the perfect Jesus can and did. He took the blame for all your sins onto himself and died spiritually and physically in your place to buy you out of hell.

Then God told the world through his Bible that, if you will believe this really happened and follow his will for you, he will consider you perfect too. Until that happens, you are a slave to what men tell you to do ~ and of Satan and of hell.

You were bought at a great price ~ the blood of Jesus Christ.

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#hell, #ransom, #satan, #purchase, #slavery, #sin, #punishment, #death, #soul, #crucifixion

Scripture for Saturday, July 1 (7/1)

The scripture for today, July 1 (7/1), is Leviticus 7:1f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible.

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Medium“These are the regulations for the guilt offering, which is most holy. The guilt offering is to be slaughtered in the place where the burnt offering is slaughtered, and its blood is to be sprinkled against the altar on all sides.”

Romans 3:23 says the wages of sin is death. The wages of death were collected over and over by perfect animals sacrificed in the Old Testament era of the Law of Moses. But Jesus nailed the Old Law to the cross (Colossians 2:14 and Hebrews 9), and with his one sacrifice made it so that no more death sacrifices were necessary (Hebrews 8-9).

In a sense, Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, laid down on the altar of the world where his blood flowed from all sides of the cross to all sides of the earth.

Jesus collected the wages of death—our earnings for our sins, not his—in our place.

Do you ever thank him?

 

 

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#sin, #punishment, #wages, #earnings, #death, #souldeath, #oldlaw, #lawofmoses, #sacrifice, #substitute, #lambofGod, #altar, #cross, #blood

Scripture for Friday, June 23 (6/23)

The scripture for today, June 23 (6/23), is 2nd Chronicles 6:23 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Medium“Then hear from heaven and act. Judge between your servants, repaying the guilty by bringing down on his own head what he has done. Declare the innocent not guilty and so establish his innocence.”

Did you notice here that God brings down on our head what we do to others? It includes how we treat him too. If we don’t have time for God, God doesn’t have time for us. If we put God last, he puts us last. If we refuse to forgive others, he refuses to forgive us. This is the boomerang effect. Here are several scriptures that reflect God doing to people what they do.

The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug; their feet are caught in the net they have hidden. The Lord is known by his justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.” (Psalm 9:15-16)

“In his arrogance, the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises.” (Psalm 10:2).

“The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts.” (Psalm 37:14-15)

“Let the heads of those who surround me be covered with the trouble their lips have caused.” (Psalm 140:9)

“He mocks proud mockers.” (Proverbs 3:34)

“Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?” (Proverbs 6:27)

“If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it; if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him.” (Proverbs 26:27)

“Woe to you, O destroyer, you have not been destroyed! Woe to you, O traitor, you have not been betrayed. When you stop destroying, you will be destroyed; when you stop betraying, you will be betrayed.” (Isaiah 33:1)

“According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes.” (Isaiah 59:18)

“I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices.” (Ezekiel 7:8)

“As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.” (Obadiah 1:15)

In the meantime, we’re to leave punishment to God. And, if you are falsely accused of anything, God will declare you innocent. His is the important judgment.

 

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#persecution, #vengeance, #ricochet, #boomerang, #injustice, #justice, #reward, #punishment

 

 

Scripture for Thursday, May 25 (5/25)

The scripture for today, May 25, is Galatians 5:25f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-COVER-KINDLE“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

When someone is better than us in doing something, do we pick fights with them as punishment, or spread gossip about them in order to get others to quit respecting them?

Perhaps we don’t do this all the time. But what about times when there is something we feel we are really good at, but another person not as talented gets the honor? That’s when it’s hard to “keep in step with the Spirit.”

Whenever we envy someone, deep down we consider that person our enemy. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45a).

To many, loving our enemy is the most difficult command in the Bible. Perhaps one way to love our “enemy” is to realize that Jesus loved his enemies. Every time we sin, we become one of his enemies. But Jesus keeps right on loving us, even when we don’t want to stop doing whatever we shouldn’t.

Jesus demonstrates the love of the Son of God. And here he says, if we love our enemies, we are demonstrating what the sons of God do. And that is far more important than honor that goes to those we envy. Leaving behind conceit makes it much easier to love everyone.

 

#conceit, #provoked, #envy, #jealousy, #enemy, #punishment, #forgiveness                                       

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Scripture for Tuesday, April 4 (4/4)

Update on our brother being threatened for his faith.  He received a phone call from the one who has been threatening him, this time demanding $50,000.  This happened to him four years ago when he was cornered in an alley and threatened with imprisonment for becoming a Christian if he did not pay $50,000.

He sent his family into hiding where they changed locations every night. (Kidnapping children and demanding $50,000 is common there among the Taliban, Al Quida, ISIS, etc. If you do not pay, they either kill the child or make them slaves the rest of their life.) He went to yet another province to hide and draw attention away from his family. He sold his house and they escaped to India. He could not find a job, so their only choice was to finish raising their children in a UN immigration camp or return home.  They returned to a different city and I think he paid them a periodic bribe after that.

He had only been a Christian a year at that time. This time he has been a Christian five years. When they called and demanded $50,000 yesterday, he refused to talk to them and hung up the phone.

Keep praying for this mighty warrior for the Lord.

BTW, his son has had to drop out of university and go into hiding with the rest of the family, so he has asked me for many Bible materials to study.  About a year ago when he was 19, he told his father, “I want to be a preacher some day. I know they will kill me, but that’s what I want to do.”


 

HS-COVER-KINDLE-GOLDThe scripture for today, April 4, is Psalm 4:4 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“In your anger do not sin.”

This seems like an impossibility. After all, when people get angry, don’t they lash out at other people? And yell and call them names? And show their temper? Maybe even throw a few things? After all, that’s the only way to get across to the other person that you are really angry.

Not so. If a child, for instance, does what s/he was just told not to do, we become angry. Angry at the dangerous consequence of their action. Angry at not doing something to make that child a better person.

We can choose to lash out at the child wildly so that our emotions mask our words. Or we can choose to talk calmly and explain the dangers that child was put in because of that action, or the missed opportunities. We can even punish a child without losing our temper. We can calmly but firmly tell them what their punishment is.

It is the same way with adults. If we lose our temper and shoot daggers with our eyes and rant and rave, all these things distract people from our words. Are we wanting to punish them or reconcile? Aren’t our words of explanation more important than the emotionalism and yelling? If we were hurt, just say so. If they hurt themselves, just say so.

While we’re at it, not all words help. Name calling does not help. Name calling is done when we choose not to explain how we feel.

Name calling locks the other person in and sets them up for future failures between us and them. Losing our temper during anger gets us off the issue and into sin.

Let us try to remain calm and then explain the problem in tones that the person who has angered us can truly listen to and learn from. If you have trouble doing this, practice when you’re alone. It will teach us to remain calm when we’re angry so we can explain how we feel, not how bad the other person is. When we are angry, we must not sin.

 

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#anger, #ire, #irrationality, #yelling, #shouting, #beating, #accusing, #scorning, #hating, #selfishsness, #ego, #patience, #feelings, #calm, #punishment, #hurt, #pain, #NameCalling, #failure, #temper, #sin, #consequences, #solution, #reconciliation

Scripture for Sunday, March 19 (3/19)

0-Mefiboset-KINDLE MediumThe scripture for today, March 19, is Habakkuk 3:19 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

”The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

The little book of Habakkuk was written during a period when the leaders were oppressing the poor. Habakkuk complains to God, “Why do you tolerate wrong?”. God answers that he’s getting ready to put an end to it. Not satisfied, Habakkuk pretty much asks the same question again. God tells him to put in writing a prophecy of what God plans to do to the oppressors.

Wow! God’s really going to do that? Habakkuk’s faith is renewed. His faith is strong again. So, strong he feels as though he is “on the heights.”

Everyone grows impatient when leaders are doing wrong. But we must understand that we see just part of the problem and that God is waiting until the right time to put an end to it ~ a time when people are so desperate with helplessness that even unbelievers can’t help but know God intervened.

So, when times come in your own life that everything seems to be going wrong, read the little book of Habakkuk in the Old Testament and know that God is still in control.  He has not forgotten you. He has special plans for you.

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#providence, #prophecy, #oppression, #dictators, #relief, #change, #intercession, #punishment, #faith, #renewal, regeneration, #regrouping, #relief, #Habakkuk, #control, #plans, desperation, #helplessness

Scripture for Friday, February 24 (24)

0-BOOK 7-SHADOW OF DEATH-CoverThe scripture for today, February 24, is 1st Peter 2:24 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

Many people do not understand what Jesus dying on the cross has to do with us going to heaven. Here it is. God is perfect, so cannot dwell with imperfection. God is complete love and goodness, so cannot dwell with hatred and bad.

Romans 3:23 says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. So, all through the Old Testament era, whenever we sinned, God allowed us to kill/sacrifice a perfect animal in our place. This, however, was a temporary fix.

Eventually, God sent his own Son to come to earth and live in a human body and be tempted in every way that we are (see Hebrews 4:15). Jesus resisted all temptations and lived his entire life sinless. He was perfect. Then as the perfect Lamb of God (John 1:29), Jesus was the final sacrifice. He died in our place. He took the punishment for our sins. On the cross, he temporarily died spiritually (forsaken by God) and physically (blood was shed).

Then God basically told the world, “I will consider you perfect too; all you have to do is believe in and follow my Son.” It is explained further in Romans 6:3-4. Just as Jesus died bearing our sins, we die to our sinful nature ~ the part of us that sins and doesn’t care. Then just as Jesus was buried in his tomb, we are buried in the watery tomb of baptism. And finally, just as Jesus rose up out of his tomb the Savior, we rise up out of our watery tomb the saved ~ born again to a new life.

Indeed, by Jesus’ wounds we can be healed. We fall at his feet and say, “I am a sinner and so unworthy. Thank you.”

#Crucifixion, #Death, #WagesOfSin, #Sin, #Satan, #SavedFromHell, #Punishment, #Wounds, #Healing #Hell

Scripture for Tuesday, January 24 (1/24)

The scripture for today, January 24, is Jude 1:24 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

REV-Cover-Kindle“To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy ~ “

God is perfect, and so cannot dwell with faults and imperfection. We have faults. Romans 3:23 says everyone sins. And Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. But God always has wanted us to live with him. What a dilemma!

God solved our problem at great expense. He sent His Son, Jesus, to earth who lived the faultless life for us. Then God offered His perfect Son, His only Son, Jesus, to die in our place.

After that, God told the world that He would consider us “without fault” vicariously through Jesus. He’s already paid the penalty for our sins. All we have to do is believe He did and follow his instructions to keep us out of hell.

How amazing ~ God’s love for us!

#Crucifixion, #Sin, #Punishment, #Wages, #Forgiveness, #Heaven, #Hell, #Satan, #Jesus

Scripture for Wednesday, January 18 (1/18)

The scripture for today, January 18, is Isaiah 1:18 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-BOOK 7-SHADOW OF DEATH-Cover” ‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’ “

When did this become possible? Revelation in the New Testament explains in 7:14 we make our robes white by washing them in the blood of the Lamb.

What lamb? John the Baptist introduced the world to the Lamb. When he saw Jesus walking toward him in front of a crowd, he announced, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

What made Jesus the Lamb of God? Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. In the Old Testament era, God allowed us to kill an animal in our place whenever we sinned. So for centuries, we would sin and sacrifice an animal, sin and sacrifice an animal and on and on, for we never could quit sinning.

Finally God offered one last sacrifice for all times. When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper (Communion), he did so during the Jewish Passover feast where they ate their meal of lamb. There is no mention that Jesus and his apostles ate the usual lamb. Instead, he passed around the usual wine and said from now on it represented his blood as the sacrificial Lamb. And he passed around the usual bread and said from now on it represented his body as the sacrificial Lamb. (Mark 14:12 22-25).

Sunday is the most special day of the week for Christians. Why? The early Christians under guidance of Jesus’ apostles “broke bread” for the communion every first day of the week (Acts 20:7). May we always make this the central part of our worship on this special day. We can never do it too often. We can never too often say, “I’m sorry my sins caused You to go through your terrible death.” We can never too often say, “Thank You.”

#Sacrifice, #LambOfGod, #Sin, #Death, #Punishment, #Blood, #White, #Scarlet, #BloodRed, #Forgiveness

Scripture for Thursday, December 29 (12/29)

The scripture for today, December 29, is Deuteronomy 12:29 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-cover-kindle-new-medium“The Lord your God will cut off before you the nations you are about to invade and dispossess.”

Why would a good God drive people (the Amorite nations) from their own land so that other people (the Jews) could live there? Way back in Genesis 15, God promised Abraham that his descendants would possess the land he lived in as a wanderer, but first they would be enslaved in a foreign country some 400 years. During that time they would multiply. Indeed, they did grow from 70 of Abraham’s grandchildren to over three million.

Then it would be time for his descendants to possess the land. Why so long in the future?  Verse 16 explains it: “For the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” God always gives people plenty of time to repent and change. Now God was using the Jews to punish the Amorites.

The Jews did finally possess the Promised Land, but God warned them, “If you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you” (Leviticus 18:28). Indeed, they did eventually defile the land with their own sins, so several centuries later, they were dispossessed and forced to go to Assyria and Babylon by their conquerors.

Yes, God keeps his promises ~ to both good and bad. Today, regardless of the condition of the nation we live in on earth, let us look ahead to that even better promise of an even better land ~ that spiritual Promised Land ~ heaven. And it will be forever good.

#Promises, #Punishment, #PromisedLand, #Heaven

Scripture for Monday, December 5 (12/5)

The scripture for today, December 5, is Psalm 12:5 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-Heroes-Alone-COVER-KINDLE” ‘Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise,’ says the Lord. ‘I will protect them from those who malign them.’ “

Notice, in this scripture the Lord says, “I will now arise.” Sometimes God needs us to endure difficulties so that bad people who cause such problems can be exposed for what they are, and ultimately so Satan can be exposed for what he is. Sometimes that difficulty will last months or years ~ sometimes even a lifetime. 

First Corinthians 3:9 in the New Testament says we are workers together with God. Ephesians 6:12 says “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly [spiritual] realms.”

We are where God wants us to be. This is our assignment. Are we up to it? Sometimes our job is just to hang on and not give up on God. That’s what Satan is always trying to get us to do, just like he did Job in the Old Testament. God won’t leave us in a situation that is impossible for us to endure. I Corinthians 10:13 says, “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” 

So, go ahead and groan in your weakness, but hang on. Never let go of God. That’s your part. 

As soon as the evil around you is exposed for what it is, you have proven good cannot be conquered by evil, and you have grown spiritually as a result of your experience, God will then arise.  That’s God’s part. 

#Troubles, #Problems, #Trials, #Endurance, #Patience, #Evil, #Judgment, #Punishment, #Satan

Scripture for Sunday, August 7 (8/7)

The scripture for today, August 7, is Hosea 8:7 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-Heroes-Alone-COVER-KINDLE“They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.”

This is the boomerang effect. We throw a boomerang into the air and no matter how we throw it, it always comes back to us. In the same way, God treats us the same way we treat him.

If we draw near to God, God draws near to us (James 4:8). If we don’t have time for God, God doesn’t have time for us. If we don’t want to do what he says, God doesn’t want to do what we say. If we reject God, God rejects us:

Psalm 9:15-16; Psalm 10:2; Psalm 37:14-15; Psalm 140:9; Proverbs 3:34; Proverbs 6:27; Proverbs 26:27; Isaiah 33:1; Isaiah 59:18; Ezekiel 7:8; Obadiah 1:15.

Another viewpoint is that there may be people out there mistreating us. Some day their mistreatment will boomerang right onto themselves. In the meantime, our assignment is to remain true to God with patience and calm. God will take care of the boomerang.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: IF YOU HAVE AN ENEMY, HOW CAN THIS HELP YOU HAND THE PROBLEM OVER TO GOD?