Daily Scripture thoughts, Books (biblical fiction, non-fiction, storybooks), books for blind

Northern Lights Publishing House

Month: February 2016 Page 1 of 3

The scripture for today, February 29, is 1st Samuel 2:29 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

” ‘Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’ “

This is God talking to the high priest Eli. The high priest who held his office until he was a very old man. The high priest who raised one of the greatest prophets in history, Samuel, to manhood.

As successful as Eli seemed, when it came to choosing between his family and God, he chose his family. His sons were priests and taking more than they were allowed of the people’s offerings at the tabernacle. God finally punished them himself because Eli never did, and God’s punishment was much more severe.

But Eli did not want to hurt the feelings of his sons. Eli didn’t want to alienate his sons. Eli wanted his sons to like him.

Did he not think about the fact that he was hurting the feelings of God? Did he not care that he was alienating God? Did it occur to him how serious it was to let his sons have their own way instead of letting God have his own way?

Is that what is happening in your family? On Sunday mornings, if your family would rather watch a favorite TV program than worship God, who do you give in to? On Sunday nights, if your children think it’s more important to get school clothes or supplies than worship God, who do you give in to? On Wednesday nights, if some family members want to participate in a team activity instead of learning what to do to save their eternal souls from hell, who do you give in to?

“What good is it…to gain the whole world, yet forfeit [your] soul?” (Mark 8:36)

The scripture for today, February 28, is Jeremiah 2:28 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble! For you have as many gods as you have towns, O Judah.”

Today we think the whole thing is ridiculous. How could people believe in a multitude of gods? Further, how could people make statues of them as though anyone knew what the gods looked like? On top of that, many of them looked like dumb animals. But apparently it was the popular thing to do. In fact, a person discovering yet another god would be highly esteemed. And it seemed logical that the more gods one believed in, the more holy a person was. Or the bigger the statue of a god in one’s home, the more dedicated a person was.

We today call them myths ~ things that were made up out of people’s imaginations. Yet they thrived in their time. Why? Because of “mass hypnosis” in a sense. Because we are social beings and we don’t like being ostracized. We want to be accepted.

Do we do the same thing today? There are evangelists on television who draw crowds of hundreds and thousands. They seem so right and so holy. Yet they contradict each other. So it cannot be a measure of rightness and holiness that a lot of people believe something.

The measure must be the Bible. Remember, no matter how many thousands upon thousands who follow a religious leader, that leader will be judged by God just like everyone else.

Let us read the Bible for ourselves. Let us study the Bible for ourselves. Let us not search the scriptures for something to prove our opinion right, or a certain leader right, or our family right, or a particular religious idea right. Let us try to erase all our pre-conceived religious notions, and read with an open mind what God himself has to say to us. It is possible to know for sure.

The scripture for today, February 27, is Jeremiah 2:27 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“ ‘Why do you bring charges against me? You have all rebelled against me,’ declares the Lord.”

People sometimes blame God for bad things happening in their life that are no fault of their own. They don’t really want to blame God because they want to think God loves them. But there is no one else to blame. No one else to blame? Oh, yes, there is. There is Satan. We tend to forget Satan is out there too. It is Satan who causes bad to happen, not God.

Is that what you’ve done lately ~ blame God for bad happening, then rebel against him? Or do you know someone who is going through many problems not of their doing or choosing? Are they blaming God and rebelling against him? Help them. Remind them of Satan.

People want to blame someone. They will be relieved to be reminded that Satan exists. Now they can put the blame were it belongs.

Let us not blame God for the bad. Instead, let us thank Him for the good.

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

“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 we happy regardless of how much wealth we do or do not have? Do we 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 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 we can do this, then we do indeed have wisdom ~ God’s wisdom.

The scripture for today, February 25, is Revelation 2:25 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“Only hold on to what you have until I come.”

Several years ago my 91-year-old mother left this life. Some say that at the moment of death, one’s life flashes before their eyes. In the case of my mother, at the moment of her death, her life flashed before my eyes.

I suddenly imagined her as a baby in her mother’s (my grandmother’s) lap. Then she was a toddler playing in their yard. Then I saw her in school, then as a young bride to my father, then at home with her husband and children gathered around her. Then I saw her as launching a career after we were grown, then retiring, then eventually going into the nursing home.

And when that brief moment of envisioning her whole life was gone, I said, “You made it, Mother! You made it! You never faltered. Through all those years of ups and downs, you never wavered in your faith in Jesus Christ. You stuck it out. And now you’re home!”

May we all live our life in such a way that, despite our ups and downs, we never wander from Jesus. We stick with him through every storm, every flood, every blast of tragedy, every tumbling of dreams. Let us hold on to what we have until the day we leave this temporary life and enter our true eternal life.

The 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 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.”

The scripture for today, February 23, is 1st John 2:23 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”

Have you ever wondered how God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit can be three but one? They are kind of like a coin.

The top of the coin looks one way and helps us identify it. The bottom of the coin looks another way and provides something for the coin to sit on. The edge of the coin looks yet another way and holds the two sides together. But, if you take away any one part of the coin, you take away the entire coin. Three, yet one.

Another way to look at it is that both the Son and the Spirit have been called the Word of God. John 1:1-14 says Jesus was the Word, and was God come to us in flesh. Then Jesus in John 14:17 said that he was going to send ANOTHER comforter, the Spirit of Truth. And in John 17:17 Jesus said God’s Word is Truth. So, Jesus was the Word we could watch, and the Spirit is the Word we can read.

Yet another way to look at God being three yet one is like H2O ~ Water, Snow, Ice. Three manifestations of the same thing.

How wonderful!

The scripture for today, February 22, is Ephesians 2:22 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

Another place in the New Testament, 2nd Corinthians 6:16, says we are the temple of God. A lot of things in worship under the Law of Moses were a literal version of what Christians some day would enjoy in a spiritual and deeper sense.

We have no need for the temple in Jerusalem, for now God dwells in Christians. We have no need for the altar of sacrifice at that temple because Jesus was our final sacrifice (Hebrews 10:4-12). We have no need for the cymbals, harps and lyres played in worship, because Christians play on the strings of their hearts (Ephesians 5:19). We have no need for the priestly system in the Law of Moses because all Christians are priests (1st Peter 2:5). And how do we serve as priests? Romans 12:1 explains it: “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices.”

What a concept! God does not dwell in temples or church buildings!
     He dwells in Christians.
          He lives and moves through Christians.
               What a privilege.
                    What a responsibility.

The scripture for today, February 21, is Daniel 2:21 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“He [God] changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.”

It seems there is always some amount of restlessness within each nation regarding who is ruling. Some people like the ruler, some do not. Or people may start out liking the ruler, but later dislike him. Some rulers are okay, a few are considered outstanding, and a few others are outright evil.

But God sets up the rulers of nations and deposes them. Many places among the prophets of the Old Testament, God explains that he may raise up a cruel leader just because he is strong enough to get rid of other cruel people. After that, God deposes the cruel leader.

In the midst of all this, innocent people are always hurt. That is why it is important for us not to complain, but to bear up under a hard government with patience and courage. It is in hardship that the true heart of a Christian is revealed. And it is in hardship that many people turn to God who might never have done so.

God knows what he is doing, even if we do not understand ~ at least, on this side of eternity. Remember Romans 8:28 ~ “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord.” Life is a mosaic of many colors ~ sometimes bright and sometimes dark ~ but in the end, it can be beautiful.

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