The scripture for today, April 30 (4/30), isEphesians 4:30f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, andanger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
Do you think God has no choice but to let you into his heaven because you do not steal, cheat, or murder? Think again.
There’s more to it than that; it’s called sins of attitude. Are you bitter about something? Let go of it, or it will take you to hell. Do you have a problem with rage and anger? Do you enjoy a good mental or physical brawl? Do you slander people who have done you wrong? Do you harbor grudges year after year? Let go of them. Please. They are taking you to hell.
The average person does not have trouble with bad actions. The big problem is with bad attitudes. Let go of them. God will take care of the problems. Let go of people you consider your enemies and wish them well. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit. Do not grieve yourself.
Live in sweet inner peace. Live at peace with God. Make God smile.
The scripture for today, April 29 (4/29), isDeuteronomy 4:29 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Ah, to find God. Who are you, God? What do you do all through my day? What do you have to say to me? Or do you not say anything? Do you even see me, God? Where are you? I cannot find you.
Open your eyes, friend. God is always nearby. There is an old expression, “To know him is to love him.” So true. To find God, get to know him. He is talking to you right now in his Bible, explaining what he is like and how he reacts to every possible situation in life. Open your Bible. Look through the mini-books within. God not only gives you examples of right and wrong ways to seek Him, but he gives you beautiful psalms and proverbs for your everyday life. And, wonder of wonders, He tells how He came down to us and walked among us as Jesus. Seek him there. He is talking to you.
Well, don’t you have anything to say about this? Of course, you do. The conversation turns the other way when you talk to him in response to what you have read, or what you are trying to apply to your life, or your concern for others.
Yes, seek and you will find. This mutual conversation with God is the with-all-your-heart-and-soul kind. You can do it. He is waiting for you.
The scripture for today, April 28 (4/28), is Mark 4:28 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“All by itself, the soil produces grain ~ first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.”
Jesus was explaining that the kingdom of heaven is like a seed planted in the ground. It grows almost miraculously. The church (kingdom) is, indeed, like this. Planted some 2000 years ago, it has survived through every adversity and attack contrived by man. Sometimes the attacks were even from within. But at such times, just when it looked as though it was going to die, just like a seed dying in the earth, it would begin to sprout anew and grow up stronger than ever.
A little seed turning into a stalk is miraculous and amazing. The survival of the church for 2000 years in a hostile world is even more miraculous and amazing.
The scripture for today, April 27 (4/27), isActs 4:27b as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“…your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.”
In this prayer of early Christians, they acknowledged that God had anointed Jesus. What does anointing mean? In the Old Testament, men were anointed to become the high priest or the king.
Aaron was the very first high priest (Leviticus 6:20,22) and his son [and descendants] who succeeded him as high priest was also anointed. Saul was the very first king of the Jews (I Samuel 15:1) and he and all succeeding kings were anointed. This was a form of coronation.
And so when God anointed Jesus, he made him both high priest and king. Hebrews 4:14 says, “we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God.” And in Mark 15:2, Jesus acknowledged that he was King.
The scripture for today, April 26 (4/26), is Galatians 4:26 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.”
There is more confusion on the “new Jerusalem” than you might think. Well, let’s ask God.
What is “the Jerusalem that is above”? Revelation 21:2 says, “I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”
Aha! We learn two things. The New Jerusalem already exists. And the New Jerusalem is sometimes called our mother and sometimes the Bride of Christ!
So, what is the Bride of Christ? Ephesians 5:25,27 says, “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy…and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” How exciting! The New Jerusalem which is the Bride of Christ is the Church – all of us.
What else can we learn about the New Jerusalem? Well, the foundation of the New Jerusalem is the apostles. Revelation says it and Ephesians 2:20 says it.
Hmmm. This is getting more interesting all the time. Okay, let’s look at the 12 gates leading into the church; they are the 12 tribes of Israel, Judaism where all the prophecies of Jesus are found.
Always check out the symbolism in the Bible. It deepens your spiritual understanding. Like the Walls of Salvation around the New Jerusalem insurmountably high. The River of Life and Tree of Life are there in the New Jerusalem, the church.
Can you imagine on the final day when the church arrives in heaven and we are all arrayed in sinless white and are rushing into the arms of our groom, our Jesus?
The scripture for today, April 25 (4/25), is Proverbs 4:25 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that arefirm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”
There are a lot of interesting and fun distractions in life, so we have to remind ourselves over and over what is most important to us. We have only so much time in a day and in a lifetime. We can run back and forth from one sideroad to another; one fun thing to another, one power thing to another, one great–looking thing to another.
Before we know it, we have been on that side road a long time. Too long actually. We can barely see the main road we were on before. And God? He is now so far away. How can that be? We were always told God would always be there for us.
But God pretty much treats us the way we treat him. If we don’t like being around him, he doesn’t much like being around us. If we don’t like listening to his word (the Bible), he doesn’t much like listening to our word (prayer). If we don’t like to spend special time with him, he doesn’t much like to spend special time with us. God gives us the same courtesy we give him. God will not force himself on us, for he is a Gentleman.
So what do you have in your sights to do today? Next year? The rest of your life? What road are you on? Where is it leading you? Is that what you really want?
~~~BUYLINK for ebook or discount paper: http://bit.ly/HeartsOfBibleWomen
The Scripture for today, April 24, (4/24) is Jeremiah 4:24 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“I looked at the mountains and they were quaking, all the hills were swaying.”
I was living in a village near the bottom of Mt. St. Helens when it blew. We had lived there for eight years. We had often taken our children up to it and gone sledding, built snow forts, made snow angels, the works.
It was our mountain. Our beautiful mountain. It reminded me of an upside-down ice-cream cone. It was perfect in every way. Everyone knew it was a volcano, but it had formed thousands of years before and would continue like it was for thousands of years in the future. It was our mountain and it belonged to us to do with as we pleased.
But it wasn’t our mountain. One morning I looked outside. It seemed as though we had been plunged into the interior of a furnace with all its ashes. I stared. It was snowing gray ash. I stared more, wondering what the birds had done. Relieved, I saw them huddled together under bushes.
Of course, the radio and TV had switched to Emergency. We were told to stay indoors because ash is deadly to the lungs. If we did go out, we had to wear surgical masks. If we drove, we were told to put nylons over the air filter and not go over 10 mph. Even then, the ash flew everywhere. Our freeway entrance and exit were blocked. The most disturbing thing I heard on the radio (everyone kept their radio on day and night) was that we were at the top of the San Andreas Fault. And so we, like the birds, huddled and waited for more unknown.
Not only was our mountain turned inside out, but our world was turned inside out.
We have expressions that something is “as eternal as the mountains” or “as old as the hills”. Not true. Nothing on earth is eternal. That also includes things, people, power, position, belongings, even dreams. Eventually, they quake and sway and are gone. Only that which is spiritual is forever. Will your soul be able to handle it?
~~~BUYLINK to ebook or discount paper: http://bit.ly/HeroNoah
The scripture for today, April 23 (4/23)/, is Mark 4:23 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Some of us read a passage in the Bible and say, “I know it says that, but it doesn’t mean that.” We just don’t want to hear it.
It’s hard to admit we are wrong, isn’t it? It’s human nature. And in the realm of religion, it is even harder because we’re talking about our eternal soul. So reading that we’re supposed to be doing or not doing something that we’ve never followed before is like being on a bridge over a roaring river, and suddenly realizing the bridge is breaking and we are not as safe as we thought we were. Let us take our human egos out of the way.
Let’s say, for example, you have a wood or cooking project. If you leave a major step out, it results in your creation not turning out right. You might turn a blind eye to the correct way, give up and throw your creation away so that you never have the joy of whatever you were creating. Or you may go back and check what you have done until you find your mistake, are glad you found the mistake, see it with seeing eyes, correct it, and then have the joy of your creation.
Let us not fight God like spiritual teenagers trying to boss their parents. We are God’s creation. He is just trying to help us. Instead of spiritual blindness and deafness, let us have eyes that truly see, and ears that truly hear the Word of God.
The scripture for today, April 22, is Proverbs 4:22 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“…for they [my words] are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.”
Nearly everyone with a Bible picks it up at some time or another and reads something out of it. But random reading is like picking up a novel and randomly reading a few passages now and then. The passage itself may be beautiful but does not have a lot of meaning without knowing what came before and after that passage in the novel.
Why not read the entire Bible, beginning to end? Perhaps you can read a chapter a day. Or, if you want to read it through in a year, you can count the total number of pages in your Bible, divide by 365, and read that number of pages each day. If you have time, why not sit down and read it in just a few sittings? This way you will know all the things that occurred before and after your favorite scriptures. Then they will take on new meaning for your life.
For help with how the Bible is organized, go here: http://www.churchofchrist-cg-az.com/files/BibleOrganization4.htm
Proverbs even says God’s Word adds to your health. Do you suffer from any physical problems caused by anxiety? A lot of physical problems are. This is yet another reason to know the Word of God.
So much comfort. So much information. So much of answering our questions of how and why. So much of filling an empty soul.
(Editor’s Note: Ricky was raised in the pews of the church of Christ. His parents were Godly people and worked hard to raise their children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord [Eph 6:4] Ricky himself obeying the gospel as a young man and participated in the Lord’s church. However, Ricky fell into sin and found himself on death row at the Texas State Prison in Huntsville, Texas.
After eleven years on death row, Ricky was executed. He took responsibility for his actions and asked God for forgiveness. He wrote an open letter about his rebellion and subsequent repentance. This is that letter.)
Dear brothers and sisters,
I hope I may have a moment of your time. I am writing to you from prison, yes prison. In a way I hope to reach out in the way that Paul did while he was in prison, by letters. But I have a different reason for my letter, yet it is for the same purpose that Paul had, to help you live according to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
First, stop and think what it is that may or may not cause one of us to end up in prison. It is the same thing that can cause us to end up in HELL. What is that? SIN !!!
And one of the sins I want to speak about here today is: “REBELLION”
Rebellion is what most of us don’t think about very much. Like not listening to our parents when they tell us something. Like not listening to God when He tells us something. Like not listening to Governing authorities. And one of the greatest and easiest things that cause this rebellion is your friends. Yes, your friends will try to get you to do something, and if you say “no’, often they will say; “come on, are you scared?”, or they’ll call you “chicken”. Then most people will jump right in and do whatever it is, for most people don’t like to be looked at like that by their friends.
Or, you may only be running around with a crowd, and they do things that are not right. But consider this, if people see what they are like, and know that you run around with them, whether you partake of the things they do or not, people will think you are just as bad as they are. some say; “birds of a feather flock together”. If you don’t pick your friends, like some pick tomatoes, you may pick a bad one. And take it from me, someone who has been there, that can cost you more than I think you are willing to pay. I know what I am talking about, for all I have said so far, landed me on death row.
ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME ?????
Wild women, drugs, and fast living, was the road I took and look where it got me. Don’t think it cannot happen to you, for if you find yourself on any of these roads, you will sooner or later run into a situation that may hurt not only you, but your loved ones as well. And when you say, “Oh, I know what I am doing,” believe me, I said the very same thing, and see where I am.
I obeyed the gospel many many years ago and fell away, and now I have come home to the Lord again. I feel the Lord allowed me to end up here to wake me up from the sinful life I was living, for who knows, had I not ended up in here, I might still be living that fast life. When I obeyed the gospel, I was told through God’s word what to do, and I fell away. Jonah was told what to do also, but he didn’t do it, and ended up in the belly of a whale. If you have heard or read the story you know that he repented, and God had the whale spit him out on the beach. Now, I am not saying I will be spit out of this cement whale I call it, or that I will be digested in it, or will I live out my life to old age in here.
But, PLEASE HEAR ME, clean up your life if you are in the wrong way of life. In the back of your mind you know who you are and the life you live. And if you say to yourself, like I said many times; “I know what I am doing”, the TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, better known as TDC; has a number for you. Mine is 000893. I am only one of 340 some odd people on death row here in Texas. And if you run with the wrong people YOU could get the death penalty. For example; say you are riding around with a friend, and you pull into a gas station. Your friend goes in to pay for the gas and robs and kills the gas station attendant. You are only sitting in the car, but under Texas Law, a District Attorney can get a jury to give YOU a death sentence as well as the guy that did the killing. And Texas will execute people like that as if they were the one who did the crime. Do you think you can say; “I know what I am doing” NOW???
It is my prayer that you will stop and think about your life, young and old, for we are all under a law, God’s law. If we obey the Lord, then we can have eternal life, even if life on earth throws us a curve, like it did me. But I was able to repent of my sins, but I also could have been dead before I had a chance to repent, and I know without a doubt, had I done so I would be bound for Hell. But I did repent, and have the chance to meet you in Heaven come Judgment Day. So please, let’s work for the goal together, OK?
Your brother in Christ Jesus,
Ricky Don Blackmon
(This letter was passed on by the Borger Church of Christ in Texas.)