Scripture for Sunday, November 19 (11/19) ~ Worship

The scripture for today, November 19 (11/19), is Ezekiel 11:19 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

changes-in-worship-cover-medium“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.”

Although the 600+ commandments in the Old Testament Law of Moses were nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14), God has always had laws to keep us safe. In the New Testament era, he does not have a lot of laws, but he still has them.

What is our worship like? Is it full of things God never asked us to do? Does our worship elevate God or ourselves? When we’re done worshiping, do we say, “We were so great!” or “God is so great!”?

We add all kinds of things to our worship that were commanded only under the Law of Moses, or things we think would “add to the effectiveness” of our worship. If, for example, it’s okay to add things to our singing and praying because then they would sound better, then it is okay to add lemon pie to the Lord’s Supper because then it would taste better.

Again, the question: Who are we worshiping and trying to please? God or ourselves? Do we deep down have a heart of stone, but put on our halo and say, “Surely not me”?

 

Scripture for Sunday, October 29 (10/29)

The scripture for today, October 29 (10/29), is John 10:29 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 6-PromiseKeeper-Cover-medium-new-kindle“My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

No other person can take our salvation away from us. They may badger us, belittle us, torture us, kill us, but they cannot take our salvation away from us. The only one who can do that is ourselves.

The Apostle Peter said, “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall….Be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position” (II Peter 1:10; 3:17).

Hebrews 2:1 says, “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”

Jesus himself said, “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22).

Can we live and worship without each other?  I Corinthians 10:12 says, “Let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.”  Let us continue to meet with other Christians to keep each other shored up. It is almost impossible alone.

Where will you be on Sunday that is more important than your soul?

 

Scripture for Wednesday, October 25 (10/25)

The scripture for today, October 25 (10/25), is Hebrews 10:25 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Medium“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another ~ and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Some people declare, “I can walk through nature ~ the temple of God ~ and feel God is closer there than in a church building.” Well, do they really do it? How often? The purpose of the church meeting is not so much to encourage ourselves as to encourage others along with worshiping God.

Look at the context. Verse 23 says “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess” and verse 24 says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” How do we do these things? A lot of it is done during our congregation’s worship and encouragement service.

And what comes after our verse for today? Verse 26 says, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left.” Meeting together with other congregational members is one of the major things that keeps us from falling.

Should we meet once a week? This scripture says to meet “all the more as you see the Day [of Judgment] approaching. Many say, “But that’s too inconvenient.”

It was inconvenient for Jesus to leave a perfect heaven for an imperfect earth. It was inconvenient for him to leave the company of angels for the company of sinners. It was inconvenient for him to do this for 33 long years. Inconvenient taking the blame for our sins, and then taking our punishment. Inconvenient experiencing agonizing spiritual death when God left him on the cross, and then that agonizing physical death.

Do we really know inconvenience?

 

Scripture for Tuesday, October 24 (10/24)

The scripture for today, October 24 (10/24), is 1st Corinthians 10:24 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-cover-kindle-medium-new“Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”

The context of this verse is that some of the members of the church in Corinth were expressing opinions or doing things that were offensive to some of the other members. God did not condemn these things, but they hurt the consciences of some of the weaker members.

Today, do we do anything during the public worship that is offensive to some people? Do we do them as an example of how “holy” we are? Do we even try to get God on our side and say that any Christian could do those things if they had as much faith as we do? Can we control our ego in this?

What about committee meetings? Do we suggest something that the others just aren’t excited about? Do we allow our egos to eventually seep in and begin to feel challenged and slighted because our idea wasn’t accepted? Do we even try to get God on our side and say he will be glorified if the other committee members accept our plan? Can we control our ego in this?

One way to look at things objectively is to ask ourselves, “Would our congregation survive without me?”. What if I were killed in an auto accident and suddenly taken from them tomorrow? Would they continue to worship? Would they continue to do good works? Would they continue to meet as a congregation? Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time our congregation would survive without us.

So, let us try (struggle, if necessary) to lay aside our egos that get hurt and seek the comfort, the welfare, the good of our fellow Christians.

 

Scripture for Friday, September 22 (9/22)

The scripture for today, September 22 (9:22) is Luke 9:22 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Songs-First 140-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Medium“And he [Jesus] said, ‘The Son of Man[kind] must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

Jesus did not look forward to his death. Hebrews 5:7 says, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death….” Loud cries!

Yet, in today’s scripture, shortly after he announced to his apostles that he would be killed in Jerusalem, over in verse 51 it says, “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.”

Jesus had to use every bit of self-determination he could muster to face that terrible death he had to suffer for us. What kept him pushing forward instead of doing something else? He knew he would be saving us from hell by taking our punishment for us. Then his work would be done ~ all would be fulfilled ~ and he could return to heaven and his Father.

Is it difficult for you to get up on Sunday morning to go to church or would you rather be doing something else? Is it difficult for you to read the Bible every day or would you rather be doing something else? Is it difficult for you to invite a friend to church with you or would you rather be doing something else? Do you love Jesus as resolutely as he did and does you?

 

Scripture for Monday, September 18 (9/18)

The scripture for today, September 18, is Leviticus 9:18ff as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

changes-in-worship-cover-medium“He slaughtered the ox and the ram as the fellowship offering for the people. His sons handed him the blood, and he sprinkled it against the altar on all sides. But the fat portions of the ox and the ram ~ the fat tail, the layer of fat, the kidneys and the covering of the liver ~ these they laid on the breasts, and then Aaron burned the fat on the altar. Aaron waved the breasts and the right thigh before the Lord as a wave offering, as Moses commanded.”

The Law of Moses did not have just Ten Commandments. It did not just have tithing and meeting on the Sabbath. It had over 600! They were intricate commands that had to be kept exactly. The above is just a small portion of what they were supposed to do for a particular sacrifice.

James 2:10 says, if someone keeps all 600 but breaks one, he is guilty of breaking the whole Law. We have to stone people for adultery and kill animals when we sin. Yet some religious leaders continue to dip back into the Old Law to copy showy types of worship ~ priestly clothing, candles, choirs, trumpets, tithing,  incense, etc. ~ all commanded. But if they do that, they must keep all of the Law of Moses. They can’t just pick and choose which ones they like.

Jesus said it would pass away when all was fulfilled, and he fulfilled it by being the only one to ever keep it perfectly, and fulfilling all the prophecies about him. Hebrews 7-8 say the Old Law passed away and Jesus introduced a New Law.

Old Testament worship was showy and elaborate. New Testament worship is just the opposite.

Mark 14:26 says that after Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper/Communion, “When they had sung a [single] hymn, they went out…”

Acts 2:41-42 says, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

Acts 20:7 says, “On the first day of the week, we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people…”

I Timothy 4:13 says, “Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.”

Nothing complicated about it. Just simple worship. Worship the way Jesus and his apostles worshiped. The way  God showed us to worship him. Are we worshipping God or ourselves?

Scripture for Sunday, September 3 (9/3)

The scripture for today, September 3(9/3), is 1st Kings 9:3 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0000-BK 1-StarSong-CHILD'SCartoonCover-Medium“The Lord said to him, ‘I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.’ “

The New Testament builds spiritual concepts on the basic material patterns of the Old Testament. For example, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1st Corinthians 3:16). This is the temple God wants now, not the old material temple of the Old Testament.

Just as there was just one material temple of God in the Old Testament, God looks upon each Christian as though we are the only temple; for he is with us constantly and hears our every word, our every song, our every prayer.

Is your heart troubled today? Is your heart joyful today? Are you at peace with everything around you? Do you see conflicts that you do not know how to solve?

God sees and watches out for you in everything you do. He knows your cares, your heart’s desires, your joys, your worries. God’s eyes and heart are always with you. Why? You are God’s temple!

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Scripture for Sunday, August 13 (8/13)

The scripture for today, August 13 (8/13), is Isaiah 8:13f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Bk3-HeartsAfire-COVER-Kindle.medium-new“The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread, and he will be a sanctuary.”

“Holy” in both the Hebrew and Greek means someone or something set up as very special. Who or what do we daily set up as someone or something special? Do we in a sense “worship” that person or thing? Whoever or whatever we worship, we become a slave to. Are we a “slave” to anything in our life? Is there something we cannot control because it controls us? Are we a slave to attention or food or money or power or clothes or houses or cars or etc?

Then, when there is a tragedy in your life, can you rely on those things to get you through? Who or what will be your sanctuary in times of trouble? Will you be able to say, “The Lord Almighty…he will be my sanctuary”?

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Scripture for Friday, July 21 (7/21)

Our scripture for today, July 21(7/21), is Matthew 7:21ff as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

changes-in-worship-cover-medium“Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “

There are hundreds of denominations/sects out there all contradicting each other. It’s impossible for them all to be right. We can never rely on what someone else says just because they look and act holy and say all the right holy words and phrases and pray such holy-sounding prayers. We must never rely on our religious leaders to tell us what to believe. Shall we take their opinion or God’s opinion?

Romans 10:1 in the Bible mentions some people who had a lot of zeal for God, but were lost because it was not according to the proper knowledge.

Well, how do you get God’s opinion? Read the Bible for yourself! Use a CONCORDANCE (lists every word in the Bible and every scripture with that word) and look up your chosen subject.  Then, having found the truth, why not go back to the religious leaders in love and try to teach your teachers? Some just might listen to you.

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Scripture for Wednesday, July 12 (7/12)

0-BK 5-FloodGates-Cover-Medium-NewThe scripture for today, July 12 (7/12), is Revelation 7:12 in the New Testament of the Bible:

“Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen!”

How often do we praise God? Praise is more than thanking Him. Praise refers to God’s attributes. Let’s see what these words mean in the original Greek language of the New Testament:

 

Glory: magnificently beautiful
Wisdom: great understanding
Thanks: bestowed favor
Honor: great weight and power

God deserves all this from us. Some people think God is ugly, He doesn’t understand them, He is against them, and is for weaklings. Some even hate God and are repulsed by the idea of worshipping him. They just do not know God.

 Today, will you help someone know God?

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