The scripture for today, June 30 (6/30), is 1st Kings 6:30 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“He also covered the floors of both the inner and outer rooms of the temple with gold.”
About 40 years ago it was figured that Solomon put $3 trillion worth of gold in the temple to line the ceiling, walls, and floor. And that figure would probably be around $12 trillion today. Talk about streets of gold in heaven!
There are some people today asking for money to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Even if they accomplished it, what would it do for Christians? The book of Hebrews in the New Testament explains to the Hebrew (Jewish) Christians that they no longer need or want the temple. Why? Hebrews 8:13 says, “By calling this covenant (Testament) ‘new’ he has made the first one [Old Testament] obsolete.”
Let’s look at the temple in a spiritual sense through the eyes of a Christian ~ and of Jesus himself in Hebrews 9:1. “Now the FIRST COVENANT [TESTAMENT] had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. 7 Only the High Priest entered the inner room [Most Holy Place]…and never without blood.…. 11When Christ came as High Priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle [temple] that is not man-made. 12. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves, but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood [He being the Lamb of God ~ John 1], having obtained eternal redemption. 24. For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered HEAVEN ITSELF. For this reason, Christ is the mediator of a NEW COVENANT [TESTAMENT].’
Why in the world would anyone want an imitation temple and holy of holies made with hands back in Jerusalem again, along with all the animal sacrifices on the altar, and priests who would have to be of the Tribe of Levi, and tithing and all the other over 600 laws of Moses?
Thank God, we live in a more spiritual age ~ the age of Christ and the temple of heaven itself.
YOU CAN BE A HERO ALONE is stories of Bible people who had to stand alone and became our heroes. There are isolated Christians everywhere today ~ in countries where Christianity is illegal, in prisons, in universities, in extended-care homes, shut-ins, etc. They do not need a temple or church building to worship in. All they need is the knowledge that they are not alone and they are our heroes today. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this: https://amzn.to/324ArTw
The scripture for today, June 29 (6/29), is John 6:29 as found in the New Testament of the Bible.
“Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: To believe in the one he has sent.’ “
Yes, it is true that the gift of salvation is just that ~ a gift, a free gift. That’s because God was the only one powerful enough to overcome Satan. Satan wanted God’s death as a ransom in order to free you from your bondage to him. God gave Satan what he wanted, then tricked Satan and came back to life. You could have never freed yourself.
And it is true that you cannot be good enough to earn salvation from Satan because you don’t know how to be sinless, and heaven can only be occupied by the perfectly sinless. Satan is always lurking in the shadows to lure you back. It only takes one sin to be a sinner.
But at the same time, James 2:18 says “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” In other words, there are things you need to do to obtain salvation. You have to believe there is a gift for you somewhere, walk over to it, reach out, and grasp it.
Believing is a work because you have to find and spend time listening to or reading the Word before you can believe. And Jesus himself said believing (faith) is a work.
How do you go about obtaining faith? By believing what other people tell you to believe? Romans 10:17 says faith comes by hearing/reading the Word of God ~ the Bible. It is going directly to God’s Words to find out for yourself. It takes a little bit of work to read through it. But then, you can know that what you believe is really what God said.
What a marvelous, delightful, magnificent thing it is to find out what this invisible God did for you and to bask in the glory of such knowledge through invincible faith.
LUKE: SLAVE AND PHYSICIAN started out his life being a slave and believer in may gods. All physicians in the first century were slaves. Then, one day, he met Paul, learned about the one God who would free his soul from slavery to Satan. Then, his master, Theopholis, who had learned to love him, gave him his physical freedom. After that, Luke was unstoppable. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this: https://amzn.to/323txxV
The scripture for today, June 28 (6/28), is Luke 6:28f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
There was a book published several years ago entitled, Hurt People Hurt People. Have you been hurt? Perhaps by an insult, a neglect, an illness, losing your job? Have you turned bitter? Do you lash out at everyone, or a group of people or a particular someone?
One method of lashing out is when someone tries to console someone who has lost a loved one in death by saying, “I know how you feel.” Then the hurt person lashes out at the other person and says, “You DON’T know how I feel! How dare you pretend that you do!”
That is a hurt person trying to hurt someone else. It’s as though they are bragging, “My hurt is so amazingly great, any effort on your part to understand is puny and not worthy of the greatness of my hurt.”
How do you react to your pain? Do you run people off?
Stop letting that old hurt punish you. Stop putting your life on hold and living in the moment over and over for eternity. Stop being the victim and the aggressor both. You’re killing yourself ~ your mind, your spirit, your soul.
It is okay to smile again. Try it in private. Then in public. It is okay to let it go and hand it over to God. It is okay, when you feel cursed, to not curse back. It is a blessing to bless.
THE GOD-KING: SHADOW OF DEATH tells of Jesus’ last few hours before and during his death. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this: https://amzn.to/322IUXp
The scripture for today, June 27 (6/27), is Daniel 6:27 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“He [God] rescues and he saves, he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”
This was proclaimed by none other than Darius, Emperor of Persia and Babylon. He normally worshipped idols. What made him respect God? It was Daniel’s example of being true to God even in the face of death.
Everyone has problems. You can consider them opportunities. People of the world do not see any benefits to Christianity in their everyday life. You can show them the advantage by how you face your own difficulties by trusting God. They will notice.
A friend of mine was a logger (lumberjack). This big guy got up at 4 AM every day and didn’t get home from work and finish eating dinner until about an hour before bedtime. So, he began reading his Bible out in the forests during his lunch break. The other guys made fun of him.
They had to ride a small bus together to get deep into the forest, and the guys would harass him on the bus. One day they harassed and teased him so bad because of his Christianity (he wouldn’t cuss and swear with or at them) and Bible reading, that he asked the bus driver to stop. He got out and walked ten miles to his home.
Some time later one of the men who had teased and harassed my friend went to him in private with a problem. He said, “I teased and harassed you with everyone else, but deep down I admired you.” Then he went on to explain his problem to my friend “because you are the only one I know to turn to.”
So today, if you are facing a problem, face it together with God. Face it with courage. Face it with the belief that it is for a reason and that reason may be so you can be an example of godly strength to others. Give it a try. You can do it!
A CHILD’S BIBLE HEROES: DANIEL teaches loyalty to what is right when threatened by bullies or anything else the child is afraid of. At the end of each chapter is “Think and Do” to apply something from that chapter to their life. To BUY NOW, click a cover or paste this: https://amzn.to/31Y5Jvp
The scripture for today, June 26 (6/26), is 1st Chronicles 6:26ff as found in the Old Testament of the Bible.
“Elkanah his son, Zophai his son, Nahath his son, Eliab his son, Jeroham his son, Elkanah his son and SAMUEL his son. The sons of Samuel: JOEL the firstborn and Abijah the second son.”
This is a little long, but I think you will enjoy it.
The prophet Samuel came from a musical family who descended from Levi’s son Kohath. Samuel’s son listed in this scripture was Joel. Verse 33 called the son of Joel and grandson of Samuel “Heman the musician”. Just what did Heman the musician do?
David told the Levites to appoint “singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals“. Heman was the first one they appointed (I Chronicles 15:16f) and he had two assistants ~ Asaph and Merari (I Chronicles. 6:39, 44). David put them in charge of the music in the house of the Lord and they performed their duties according to the regulations (verses 31f).
So what David appointed was a choir and orchestra. When David first appointed them, Heman had 120 relatives in his clan, and his assistants had 220 and 130 in their clans (I Chronicles. 15:5-7; 19-22; 27-28) so they had a total of 470 musicians. Wow! And these musicians had a full-time job!
They were to minister before the Lord “according to each day’s requirements” of sacrifices as written in the Law of Moses. Heman and the others were responsible for sounding the trumpets and cymbals and playing the other instruments ~ lyres, harps and cymbals(15:19-21) ~ for sacred song (16:37-42). In addition to playing the prescribed lyres, harps and cymbals, trumpets were to be sounded to announce sacrifices, etc. (16:4-6).
By the time David was old, there were “four thousand…to praise the Lord with the musical instruments” (I Chronicles 23:5)! What an amazing choir and orchestra they had by this time! Remember, they were all male Levites, and were to help Aaron’s descendants, the priests, in the temple every day and at special feasts (verse 28, 30f). And what instruments were they still playing? Cymbals, lyres and harps “for the ministry at the house of God” (I Chronicles. 25:1 & 6).
Years later after David died and his son Solomon had completed the grand Temple in Jerusalem (II Chronicles. 5:1), “all the Levites who were musicians…stood on the east side of the altar dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres, accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. The trumpeters and singers joined in unison as with one voice to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and the other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the Lord” (verses 12-13).
Can you imagine such an orchestra and choir? The tinkling of the harps and lyres, with cymbalskeeping the tempo, and trumpets calling attention to it all? And all those singers! Was God pleased? Indeed he was, for in the form of a cloud “the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God” (verse 14).
All this occurred around 1000 BC. Three centuries later when Hezekiah was king, the same instruments were being played ~ cymbals, harps and lyres(II Chronicles. 29:25f). Why? Because they were prescribed by David, Gad the seer and Nathan the prophet as commanded by God through his prophets. (Acts 2:29-30 says David was a prophet too.)
So we see that during Old Testament times, God commanded that they have full-time musicians to sing and play during daily sacrifices and special feasts and they had to be male Levites and they had to play cymbals, harps and lyres, sometimes accompanied by trumpets.
What a family Samuel had! And I’ll bet he was musical himself. How proud he would have been of his descendants.
Interestingly, although God specified every detail of the instruments that had to be played in the Old Testament, nothing like that was specified in the New Testament. Did God forget? Perhaps God took us to a higher plain in the New Testament era. We do know that in I Corinthians 14:15, we are told to both pray and sing with mind and spirit.
And in Ephesians 5:19 we are told to “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.” The term “make music” in the original Greek language of the New Testament is to play on strings. Since we are to make music in our hearts, then it looks like we are to play on the instrument of our heart. How beautiful!
About 40 years ago when my father died, the funeral was in a little country church. The music consisted of a small group from the congregation who sang hymns without the accompaniment of an instrument. They were not good performers ~ they twanged a lot and sometimes were a bit off key. But it was some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard. Why? Because their singing was accompanied by their heart. They were telling my family, “We love you,” and I really felt that they did.
God looks down at our singing ~ no matter how good or feeble ~ and says, “I can tell you love me.” And that’s all that matters.
THE OLD OLD STORY SET TO OLD OLD TUNES is a fun songbook for children. Lyrics for 40 songs from the Old Testament and 40 for the New Testament. Paperback just $8. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this: https://amzn.to/2IOVMsE
The scripture for today. June 25 (6/25), is Matthew 6:25 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?”
Do you sometimes wonder how God can allow people to starve with such a promise as this? Try to remember the Big Picture.
Remember the Jews being in slavery in Egypt for 400 years? They must have prayed thousands of times to be freed, but most died still in slavery, believing their prayers never had been answered. God had a greater plan for them ~ a plan to give them time to multiply from the original 70 people who went to Egypt to the over 3 million who left Egypt.
So, too, God has a Master Plan for each person and each nation. It is your assignment to hang on and keep believing in Him and that which you do not understand. That means you may have to sacrifice something important to you for a future generation. It may even mean sacrificing your life for a future generation.
You may not understand, but God always does.
A CHILD’S BIBLE HEROES: MOSES is understood from ages 3 and up. Large print and hyphens between long words to help the early reader. “Think and Do” at the end of each chapter for the child to do a good work like sing a song, take a cookie to a neighbor. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this: https://amzn.to/2ZWOgBZ
The scripture for today, June 24 (6/24), is Numbers 6:24f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
This beautiful blessing from the Bible has been set to music and turned into a spiritual song. Enter this on the internet, and you should be able to hear it sung: http://bit.ly/1HAztLI
Sit back, close your eyes and imagine you singing or saying this to someone who does not understand God.
LOVE LETTERS OF JESUS & HIS BRIDE, ECCLESIA is an adaptation of Song of Solomon with each chapter a love letter to or from the church, Jesus’ bride. A great gift. A great reminder of who we are. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this: https://amzn.to/2IEkSdE
The scripture for today, June 23 (6/23), is 2nd Chronicles 6:23 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“Then hear from heaven and act. Judge between your servants, repaying the guilty by bringing down on his own head what he has done. Declare the innocent not guilty and so establish his innocence.”
Did you notice here that God brings down on our head what we do to others? It includes how we treat him too. If we don’t have time for God, God doesn’t have time for us. If we put God last, he puts us last. If we refuse to forgive others, he refuses to forgive us. This is the boomerang effect. Here are several scriptures that reflect God doing to people what they do.
“The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug; their feet are caught in the net they have hidden. The Lord is known by his justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.” (Psalm 9:15-16)
“In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises.” (Psalm 10:2).
“The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts.” (Psalm 37:14-15)
“Let the heads of those who surround me be covered with the trouble their lips have caused.” (Psalm 140:9)
“He mocks proud mockers.” (Proverbs 3:34)
“Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?” (Proverbs 6:27)
“If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it; if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him.” (Proverbs 26:27)
“Woe to you, O destroyer, you have not been destroyed! Woe to you, O traitor, you have not been betrayed. When you stop destroying, you will be destroyed; when you stop betraying, you will be betrayed.” (Isaiah 33:1)
“According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes.” (Isaiah 59:18)
“I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices.” (Ezekiel 7:8)
“As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.” (Obadiah 1:15)
In the meantime, we’re to leave punishment to God. And, if you are falsely accused of anything, God will declare you innocent. His is the important judgment.
WORSHIP CHANGES SINCE THE FIRST CENTURY shows what happens when worship is changed to become more popular. Who are we worshipping? The worldly or God? Do we commit the sin of Cain who worshipped to please himself? Dates for each change are listed. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this: https://amzn.to/2FrNJQG
The scripture for today, June 22 (6/22), is Ephesians 6:22 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“I am sending him to you for this very purpose: That you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.”
Have you sent a letter to anyone in your family lately? How about your elderly parents, your grown children, aunts or uncles, nieces or nephews? Do they love you? If they do, they are going to worry about you until they hear how you are.
I have a letter written by my great grandmother to her daughter (my grandmother) saying (besides the usual chit-chat), “You never write.” I have another letter written a generation later by my grandmother to her daughter (my mother) saying, “You never write.” And I have a letter from my mother saying to her daughter, “You never write.”
Each generation goes through this. We grow up, go out on our own, get busy, and forget to write our loved ones. They spent somewhere around 20 years raising you, taking care of you, making sure you were clean, your clothes decent, you did your homework, you got along with your friends, your scratches were healed, you ate right. How can they devote that much daily time and energy (both physical and emotional) on someone until they are grown, and then just turn it off? Just quit caring? They cannot.
So today, sit down and write a letter to someone who helped raise you. If you think you don’t have anything to say, you really do. Tell them what you had for lunch yesterday, what song on the radio you heard, where you went, who you saw. Just chit-chat things. All they want is to know how you are. Then they will feel a lot better. Because they love you.
APPLIED CHRISTIANITY: A HANDBOOK OF 500 GOOD WORKS provides how-to’s for every possible good work. We do not have to wait for a committee. We do not have to wait until the church has a program. Just go out and do it. Detailed how-to’s for every type good work. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this: https://amzn.to/2IyOZmI
The scripture for today, June 21 (6/21), is Romans 6:21ff as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Sometimes you do things you are ashamed of and decide God would be too ashamed of you to accept you as his child. But God can get rid of the shame, for he can forgive so completely, it is as though you never did those things.
Do you bristle at the phrase “slaves to God” or “slaves to Christianity” or even slavery at all? But we’re all slaves to something ~ a big car, high position, beauty, a hobby, chasing after the opposite gender, reading, eating, music, sports, etc. What are you a slave to?
From the beginning of time, anyone giving up their perfection by sinning always belonged to Satan who rewarded anyone following him with death. Death means “separation”, and in the case of sin, it means separation from God and belonging to Satan instead. God appeased Satan and held him off in Old Testament times whenever a sinner (everyone) killed a perfect animal in their place. But they had to keep doing it throughout life. Then Jesus came as our perfect Lamb of God and allowed himself to collect the wages for all of everyone’s sins and be killed in our place.
The reward of death was collected from Satan by Jesus. Yes, Satan paid mankind’s wages to Jesus. He set us free from Satan. Now we voluntarily make ourselves slaves to the one who freed us.
LUKE: SLAVE & PHYSICIAN is about a young man raised by Theopholis as his slave. But Theopholis learned to love him, gave him a medical education, and set him free. Then Luke became a slave to Jesus. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this: https://amzn.to/2ZDMkOk