The scripture for today, March 31, is Mark 3:31ff as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him and they told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.’ ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’ “
Do we need a mediator between Jesus and ourselves? Jesus said his followers are his brothers, sisters and mother. We do not need anyone to intercede and beg Jesus to give us special attention. He already gives us special attention.
The scripture for today, March 30, is John 3:30 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“He must become greater; I must become less.”
This is John the Baptist speaking. He had a great following. People “were constantly coming to be baptized” by John (3:23). He had it made! But at the height of his popularity, he said, “I will be stepping down soon.”
Can you do this? Are you at the height of your popularity, perhaps at a club, an organization, church? Could you step down if someone more qualified than you came along? Or will you say, “I started this _______, and I was here first, so this is my project!” ?
Let us constantly look at our motives for doing good ~ whether selfish ambition or love for others. 1st Corinthians 13:1 says that, even if I offer my body to be burned and do not have love, it benefits me nothing.
Jesus warned, “Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
Father in heaven, help me look at myself the way You do.
The scripture for today, March 29, is Luke 3:29 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“…the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi….”
Who in the world were these five men: Joshua, Eliezer, Jorim, Matthat and Levi? Some were named after famous Jews, but no one in this list was famous himself. In fact, nothing else is said in the Bible about any of these men. They’re just a single name in a single but long list.
Who were they that they earned even one brief mention in the Bible?
They were ancestors of Joseph, the human “father” of Jesus. What else? They were born and survived long enough to have sons. Not important at the time? No, but eventually it was.
We read obituaries and sometimes wonder about our own. Our whole life reduced to born, married, had a job, had children, died. That’s it. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just another one of billions in the world having come and gone.
Hold on! Maybe not!
Maybe your life, as ordinary as it seems now, will some day serve a greater purpose through a descendant or someone you become friends with. In a later generation ~ maybe ten or twenty generations from now ~ someone may do something extremely important for souls of the world. And it was made possible because of your “unordinary life” way back in the early twenty-first century when you survived one day at a time.
The scripture for today, March 28, is Mark 3:28f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.”
This is confusing to many because we aren’t sure what it means to speak against the Holy Spirit. Jesus clarifies it in John 14:17 where he said he was going to send to us another Comforter, the Spirit of Truth. And in John 17:17 he said God’s Word is Truth ~ the Bible.
If we refuse to believe what is in the Bible, then we are going to refuse to believe in a Savior and refuse to repent of sins. These things are unforgivable because we have no belief in Jesus or sin, and no remorse.
Have you ever tried reading the Bible through in a year? It will fill you with an amazing amount of knowledge and understanding, all from the Holy Spirit.
The scripture for today, March 27, is Proverbs 3:27f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow’ ~ when you now have it with you.”
Christians generally are good people. They stay out of trouble at work and in the neighborhood. They obey the laws. They don’t use profanity, they don’t lie, they don’t cheat, they don’t steal, they don’t commit adultery, they don’t murder.
These are things Christians don’t do ~ sins of commission. But what about things Christians do not do? Too busy to stop and look around you for someone needing help? Too busy to drive someone to the doctor, or watch a child when a parent is sick, or fix a meal when a family is bereaved, or send a card for someone’s birthday, or call someone who is lonely? Too shy to say something to someone in distress? Too afraid to bring up heaven and hell to a lost one? These are sins! Sins of omission and they are just as serious.
Today, look around you. Who needs you? Not your neighbor, or a relative, or someone else at work, or one of the other members of your congregation, but you? When do they need you? Not tomorrow or next month or next year, but today?
Get out of your comfort zone. Quit committing sins
The scripture for today, March 26, is Galatians 3:26f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ, because all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
The Muslim religion teaches that God is too far above humans to have such a relationship. They believe God created humans to have someone to worship him and be his slaves.
But the Bible says God created humans to have someone to love. He wants to be more than a distant God; he wants to be our heavenly Father. So, when we come out of the waters of baptism, it is like coming out of a watery womb; Romans 6:4-5 says we are then born into a new spiritual life.
Everyone in the Christian world knows that baptism is in the Bible. Today’s scripture explains “…because you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” and therefore we have become sons with Christ ~ adopted sons.
No need to be spiritually blind and poor and naked (Revelation 3:17). You can gain spiritual insight, be rich in grace, and be clothed with Christ. No need to be spiritually orphaned ~ you can become a child of God.
The scripture for today, March 25, is Lamentations 3:25 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.”
Notice, this does not say the Lord is good to those who have faith in him. All they have to do is hope he exists and hope he loves them.
Some people have been raised by atheists, or have attended a university where professors criticize theists (believers in God). Or perhaps they have had a major tragedy in their life and can’t understand how a good God could allow that bad thing to happen. Or maybe they live among people who believe all the gods in the world are the One God, so don’t pay special attention to any of them.
Life can be confusing, so confusing that we have trouble having faith in God. But we can still hope! Keep hope alive. Let the Lord be good to you.
The scripture for today March 24, is 1st John 3:24 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.”
Some people think we can tell that we are obeying God and he is therefore in us by how we feel, by our emotions. But emotions are fickle. We can feel great one day and sad the next and frustrated after that, then great again. It can be confusing to rely on how we feel as to whether or not God’s Spirit lives in us.
Jesus said in John 14:17 that he was going to send us the Counselor, the Spirit of Truth. And in John 17:17 Jesus said God’s Word is Truth.
Now that makes more sense! We can know by reading the Bible ~ God’s Word ~ and following it. God thought of everything. His word is clear, and that is how we know we have obeyed him and he lives in us.
The scripture for today, March 23, is Colossians 3:23 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
Perhaps you are in a job that is unfair ~ you are given too much work, you are underpaid, you are not given enough work, you are given too must responsibility, you aren’t given any responsibility, you have been passed over for promotion by someone less qualified than you.
Think not that you are working for the person who supervises you. S/he is only human. You are working for God. You are representing God. If you are being treated unfairly and smile anyway, others will wonder why. Keep smiling and keep working. Others will keep noticing.
Eventually. someone will ask you, “How can you keep going?”. Then you can tell them how you have God’s approval, and that makes you feel like number one. Therefore, nothing anyone can say or do to you can ever make you feel otherwise.
The scripture for today, March 22, is Lamentations 3:22 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.”
The name of this Old Testament book comes from the word “lament” or mourn. Jerusalem has just been destroyed and everyone except the poorest has been taken away to be slaves in another country ~ Babylon (today’s Iraq). Jeremiah, the prophet and author of Lamentations, is allowed to stay with those left behind.
Jeremiah had spent years warning people of the coming destruction of their country due to their sinful life and taking advantage of each other. He endured taunts, reprimands, imprisonments and threats to his life. Now it has happened. All hope is gone. Nothing left but ashes.
It is at this point that Jeremiah utters bravely, “We are not consumed.”
Are there things going on your life that seem to be consuming you? Look up. God is still there. He still loves you.
When we have the love of God, we have the courage to take the next step and the next and the next. We have the courage to keep walking and to hold our head high. Nothing and nobody can ever take away the love God has for us. With his love, we can never be consumed.