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Month: November 2018 Page 1 of 8

Friday 11/30 ~ Satan is still beautiful & still lying his way into people’s lives

The scripture for today, November 30 (10/30), is Proverbs 11:30 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”

Remember back in the Garden of Eden? Going by the age of their three sons, Adam and Eve were in the Garden close to one hundred years.  Instead of centering on what they did wrong, look at what they did right.  They were sinless for nearly a century! Hardly any of us can accomplish it in 100 minutes.

Just think. Walking through a garden lush with the beauty of holiness.  Walking through a garden with the water of life to drink. Walking through a garden with God (materialized) himself.

How many times did Satan, upright like a king’s scepter and perhaps with a crown of gold and ruby on his head, make his way gracefully through the garden, laughing and enjoying the company of newly made humans? How many times did he coil up his tail like a maelstrom spiraling through heavens full of light and beauty as he watched the couple enjoy the fruit of the garden? How many times did this magnificent creature sway back and forth, back and forth as cobras as he spoke hypnotic words to make them feel like gods?

“Oh, look at the fruit on that tree over there? God told you never to touch it, but God is wrong.  Go ahead. Touch it. That’s right. Did anything bad happen to you? Of course not, because God is wrong.  How about touching it with your lips? That’s right. You’re not really eating it. You’re just touching it. Smell it too. Have you ever smelled anything so wonderful? God doesn’t want you to have it. He knows you will learn what evil is and then be as smart at him. God is jealous of you. Go ahead. Take a tiny bite. It won’t hurt you.  See there? Are you dead like he said you would be? No. You are still alive. God is a liar. I am the only one who tells you the truth. I am on your side. God hates you. Sure, go ahead and take another bite, and Adam might like some too.  It’s harmless. Do not believe anything God says. He hates you. I am the only one who loves you.”

That was a long time ago. Now the Tree of Life, which God withheld from Adam and Eve, is in heaven. Today, our assignment is to warn the world of the wiles of Satan and save their souls from him. But be careful, he is still out there, still beautiful, still successful, and still lying his way into people’s lives.

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Thursday 11/29 ~ Let’s trade

The scripture for today, November 29 (11/29), is Matthew 11:29f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Ah, Lord Jesus. I am so weary worn.  It seems everything that could ever go wrong in my life is happening right now. Just when I think I have one problem at least partly under control, another raises its ugly head. Or should I say Satan raises his ugly head?  Satan, why are you doing this to me? It is you who is causing all the diseases and problems at work, and the car wreck and progressive blindness.  Was it you who set me up in that posh job which you knew was never popular in the company and would only cause me grief? Was this new house I bought with my pay raise worth it after all?

I am so tired. Help me, God?  I don’t know which way is up anymore. God?  I’m calling for you. God? Don’t you even care?

“Let’s trade, my child. I’ll take your burdens and you take mine.”

But, Lord, I do not understand. What could your burdens possibly be? You’re all comfortable in heaven.

“My child, my burden is to reach out to everyone and tell them how much I love them. My burden is to take their burdens on my shoulders. You can do it too. You can write encouraging notes or emails to them every day. You can open up the newspaper and pray for everyone in it by name. You can call someone who is depressed like you and sing them a sweet song.”

But when, Lord? When would I find time?

“Use your brooding time, your crying time, your anger time. Let loose of them so I can brood, cry, and be angry for you. Remember, it’s a trade.”

Friends, will you continue to carry your burdens and let them weigh you down so you cannot move? Or will you let go of them and smile as Jesus smiled, reach out to others as Jesus reached out, teach God’s love as Jesus did?

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Wednesday 11/28 ~ I think I’ll skip this time

The scripture for today, November 28 (11/28), is 1st Corinthians 11:28,31 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup [of the Lord’s Supper]…If we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.”

“When they met on THE first day of the week to break bread” (Acts 20:7), these first-century Christians were meeting to keep the Lord’s Supper, for the word (“met”) in the original Greek of the New Testament means a religious meeting. Interestingly, the word “the” in the original Greek means each and every without exception perpetually.

Even if we did not know the Greek, look how the Jews (and we) interpreted “Remember THE Sabbath Day to keep it holy”. They did not remember the Sabbath day monthly, quarterly or yearly, but weekly. Therefore, the first-century Christians realized that “When they met on THE first day of the week to break bread” (Acts 20:7), it meant every Sunday.

We can sing, pray, teach and read the Bible any day of the week. What makes Sunday special is that’s the day Jesus came back to life, the day Jesus ascended back to heaven, and the day the church was established. Today, on the special first day we are to meet to take the Lord’s Supper, the Communion ~ the bread representing his body dying in our place, the wine representing his blood dripped out of his body in our place.

During the Communion, we consider Jesus’ terrible sacrifice in order to save us from hell. And we consider our sins that made his sacrifice necessary to save us from hell. Today’s scripture tells us that. During our weekly partaking of the Communion, we should be examining ourselves, comparing ourselves to Jesus. It is kind of like taking weekly exams so we will be ready for the big final exam on the Day of Judgment.

God thought of everything ~ weekly remembering the sacrifice of our Lord so that we never take him for granted, and weekly remembering our sins. And, in the process, our souls fall at his feet and whisper “Thank you.”

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Tuesday 11/27 ~ Teaching your teachers

The scripture for today, November 27 (11/27), is Mark 11:27f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“…the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him [Jesus]. ‘By what authority are you doing those things?’ they asked. ‘And who gave you authority to do this?’ “

Of course, the answer to their question is that no one needs authority to teach God’s Word. You do not have to be “ordained” by someone else who is a teacher. Actually, you do not have to be “ordained” by another preacher to preach although elderships sometimes laid their hands on people to send them out as missionaries. But that is all. Now, what about you as a teacher?

As you learn more of the Bible, consider teaching your community’s Bible leaders and teachers. Have the courage to speak up and quote something in the Bible which that church may not be following? Then, when your religious teachers and leaders go to you wanting to know by what authority you teach something new, be ready for them with the scriptures.

Periodically tell them about this newly-discovered truth in private ~ gently and respectfully ~ again and again.

Just remember that leaders often take longer to accept a new teaching. It may take them months or years to accept it. Keep on keeping on. And be patient with them.

Pray for your community religious teachers and leaders.  Ask God to touch their hearts. He will not go against their natural nature, but if they have honest hearts, it will work. Plant the seed, and God will give the increase (1st Corinthians 3:16). God said, “My Word will not return to me void” (Isaiah 55:11).

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Monday 11/26 — Never die?

The scripture for today, November 26 (11/26) is John 11:26 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

” ‘ And whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ “

Jesus was talking to the sister of his close friend, Lazarus, who had just died. Of course, we understand he was talking about spiritual death ~ the death of our souls. And death in the original Greek means separation; so in the case of our souls, it would be separation from God.

Revelation 20:6 & 14 refer to the second death which is the lake of fire. So what is the first death of our souls?

In John 3:3 Jesus said we must be born again of water and the spirit. Romans 6:4 says “we were therefore buried with him through baptism into death [of that sinful life] in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a NEW LIFE.”

Someone has said “Born once [physically], die twice. Born twice [physically & spiritually], die once.” If we emerge from the waters of our mother’s womb, that is the first birth of our souls. If we emerge from the waters of baptism, that is our second birth.”

Ah, the thought of living on inside the walls of salvation in heaven where Satan can never touch us again. The thought of walking and talking with God and never growing tired of it. The thought of singing with God with pleasure unending.

How reassuring to us when Jesus said believers’ souls would never die. Oh, glorious thought.

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Sunday 11/25 ~ Afraid of dying?

The scripture for today, November 25 (11/25), is John 11:25 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.’ “

This has always been puzzling to me: People who have been Christians all their lives find out from their doctor that they are going to die, and they weep and beg God to keep them alive. Why? Heaven is your final destination, not earth. You claim you want to go to heaven, but you do not want to do what is necessary to get there. Death is the door to heaven. Death is not the end, but the beginning! Why would anyone want to cling to this life in this world with all its problems? Why would anyone who claims to be a Christian wail and cry? Is it because living here is like living in a dark cave and we cannot imagine life with light and color and warmth? Where is all that faith you claimed to have?

Be willing to look death in the eye and say, “Jesus has conquered you! I will close my eyes here and open them again to behold my Creator and my Savior!”

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#death, #heaven

But God knows where you are going.

My prayer for Saturday

Ah, my Lord, from the cross that day, drops of grief fell with your blood. From those hands pierced through with nails, drops of shame fell with your blood.  From your feet stabbed through with a rusty spike, drops of sin fell with your blood.  From your side where your exhausted heart burst, drops of disgrace fell with your blood. I can only begin to understand what you went through spiritually on the cross that terrible day. That day of horrors which you turned into a day of victory. That day of degradation on which you were crowned with glory.

You are my bread of life that feeds my hungry soul as it yearns for you. You give drink to my heart that longs to be refreshed in springs of mercy. You provide a path for my wandering spirit as it seeks to join you in that holy of holies, heaven. You keep me alive when I am weak, breathe your love into me, and hold me in your everlasting arms. How can I thank you for loving me this much? I worship you.

Saturday 11/24 ~ Does the Holy Spirit make you fall down?

The scripture for today, November 24 (11/24), is Ezekiel 11:24 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“The Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the exiles in Babylonia in the vision given by the Spirit of God.”

How did the Holy Spirit move people? Not by making them fall down, but by lifting them up. Ezekiel was the prophet who experienced this most often, and the Spirit never made Ezekiel swoon and fall down. It always lifted him up.

Jesus said in John 14:17 that he would send the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth. And in John 17:17 he said, “Your [God’s] Word is Truth.”

The Word of God does throw some people off emotionally but not physically, and that’s because they don’t like everything it says. So they, in turn, throw the Bible down in a symbolic sense, not literally.

Even today, the Word of God lifts up the soft-hearted and receptive. If we let it, the Word of God can turn our lives around (in a symbolic sense ~ we don’t physically turn around) and our souls can soar to the throne of God (in a symbolic sense, not literally).

Be careful when reading something in the Bible that is symbolic to not turn it into something literal. Symbolism is there to convey a greater understanding of God that cannot be put into human words.   Keep on reading the Word of God and let the Holy Spirit continue to lift you up.

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God is still in control

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