The scripture for today, March 1 (3/1), is 1st Thessalonians 3:1,5 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“So, when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens….For this reason, when I could stand it nolonger, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts mighthave been useless.”
In Thessalonica, there had been a riot, and the man who had given Paul and his helpers a place to live was hauled into court. Paul just couldn’t put his host through that, so “when we could stand it no longer,” he left the city and went off by himself so he wouldn’t jeopardize anyone else.
Still the great Apostle Paul ~ who went everywhere preaching non-stop for decades; who stood up under beatings, stonings, hunger, and shipwrecks; who explained to church leaders how to lead their congregation; whose letters were prophecy and became scripture ~ the powerful Apostle Paul still felt very tenderly toward his fellow Christians.
He worried about how they were getting along spiritually. And when he “could stand it no longer,” he wrote back to Thessalonica to find out how they were doing.
Do you feel this way about the spiritual well-being of other people? Is there someone you need to call or write to today because you want to find out how they are? Do you have any words of encouragement for them? Any at all?
Tender love is a powerful love. A strong love. A love that will never, ever let go.
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My very being praises you. My every breath, my every heartbeat, every blink of my eye praises you. The mighty mountains and roaring seas praise you. The eagles flying high and soaring on the wings of the wind praise you. The fish great and small that thrive somewhere in the deep waters praise you. The unborn children still snug in their mother’s womb praise you. The stars dancing through galaxies around the orb of the universe praise you. Touch and sound, motion and stillness praise you. On ethereal wings, all things praise you.
Lord, I was in a hurry and I went way over the speed limit. Most people would call such guilt silly, but I feel it. I endangered others by going a speed the engineers consider dangerous. I didn’t listen. I paid no heed. I should have left home early enough. I didn’t. I endangered people because I was not prepared enough and was running late. And the place I was rushing to was not worth anyone’s life. What if I had hit someone and caused them all kinds of inconveniences in their life? Worse, what if I had killed someone. I am so sorry. But thank you for protecting everyone I drove near.
Ah, thank you, my Lord for color. How delightful color is. People who have been blind all their lives do not comprehend color. That just reminds me of what is in store in your world. What will heaven be like? I can only imagine. And for sound. Thank you for the sound of music, whether it be on the lips of a chorus, a child, a song bird, or the wind dancing among the leaves of a tree. How much fun it must have been for you to create the world. A little dab of blue here, a little dab of red there. A whisper of a song, the enchantment of a bubbling creek. Teach my eyes to see it all.
A CHILD’S BIBLE HEROES: ADAM AND EVE. How much fun God had in creating the world with splashes of color here and there and everywhere. And scents of flowers and fruit wafting through the breeze. Then there were Adam and Eve — his crowning achievement. They lived up to his expectations for probably a hundred years. We need to give them credit for what they did do — not singing for much longer than we can. To BUY NOW click a book cover or paste this: https://bit.ly/3l4WL84
The scripture for today, February 27 (2/27), 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.”
Do you want God to make it impossible for someone to insult or lie or cuss at you? Do you want God to make it impossible for someone to fire you? Do you want God to make it impossible to kill you? Do you want to stop free will? If that were the case, we would all be robots with no will of our own.
More and more people are blaming God for bad things happening in their life. That is their excuse for rebelling against God and declaring he does not even exist. Their view of God is a Santa Claus or Genie in a Bottle who grants their every wish and keeps them from all harm. No one ever dies, no one ever sins, and it is heaven on earth.
What they want is for God to stop his laws of Nature whenever you want. If someone throws a knife at them, it suddenly turns to gelatin. If someone’s car is about to slam into them and kill someone, they want that car to suddenly be made out of feathers.
Other people sometimes blame God for bad things happening in their life because blaming is one of the ways they handle their grief. 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 where it belongs.
Let us not blame God for the bad. Instead, let us thank Him for the good. And for hard things in our life so we can build our spiritual muscles. How can we have Victory in Jesus unless we have something to be victorious over? How can we be More than Conquerors unless we have something to conquer? Are we cowards? Do we run from hard work and exercise?
Look up! God knows what he is doing. He wants you to become a good person, a great person, a mighty person. But you must do it his way. He’s our father and Father knows best.
The scripture for today, February 26 (2/26), 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 you happy regardless of how much wealth you do or do not have? Do you require things in order to be happy? Are you always out shopping around for new clothing, a new car, a new computer or television? 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 highly educated and intelligent 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 you lost everything tomorrow, would you panic? Or would you use God’s wisdom and knowledge to create a new happiness? Might you look around and begin doing something you have always wanted to do but were too tied down with things to do it? If you lost everything tomorrow, might it bring a new freedom to you or paralyze you?
The scripture for today, February 25 (2/25), 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 whispered, “You made it, Mother! You made it! You never faltered. Through all those years of ups and downs, you never wavered in your faith that Jesus Christ was real and would accept you into heaven. You stuck it out. And now you’re home!”
May you live your life in such a way that, despite your ups and downs, you never wander from Jesus. Stick with him through every storm, every flood, every blast of tragedy, every tumbling of dreams. Hold on to what you have until the day you see Jesus coming for you.
The snowflakes outside my window praise you with all their intricate designs. The icicles praise you as they hang on upside down and grow longer with each drip, drip, drip. The scampering squirrels and fluttering little birds praise you as they brave the cold outside and look in my direction every once in a while as though to say, “Come on out. The winter’s fine”. And, oh how the stars take on a special sparkle and effervescence in the wintertime when so much of the earth is asleep. It is as though they are saying, “Go ahead, world, and sleep. I’ll be here watching over you.” You are in everything because you made everything. How exciting it must have been for you those days of creation.
There are people in this world that seem to have no conscience. They had just as soon kill a person as to step on an ant. I am afraid of people like that and do not want to be around them. Even though they are overtly doing the work of Satan, I must cover them with prayer. I don’t do it. I don’t pray for my enemies or the enemies of the world. Grab them, God, and invade their heart so the hardness will leave and they can catch a glimpse of you.
Thank you for little babies. They remind me of my helplessness to make food grow and my dependence on you. Thank you for little toddlers who patter around discovering their world and giggling in delight. Thank you for adults who are mentally still like children. They remind me of innocence in an adult body and how I should be more like them. As I look around this world, I see blessings you give me in every corner of the universe.
The scripture for today, February 23 (2/23), 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.”
This verse tells us the Son and Father are one. Isaiah 9:6 calls the child to be born both the Son and the Father and Mighty God. The Son gives birth to the Father; the Father gives birth to the Son. In other words, God is self-existent and one.
When you speak into a tape recorder and your voice then comes out of that machine for other people to hear, that doesn’t make you two. You are still one; you have just chosen to put your voice in something where you can be heard by people away from you. That tape recording is just another form of you. You can also put your voice and body in a movie. That doesn’t make two of you ~ one on the screen and one in your physical body. You are still one.
God is One, and yet he revealed a part of himself in a burning bush to Moses just like you revealed a part of yourself in the tape recorder or movie. Does that mean there were two Gods ~ one in heaven and one in the bush? No. God can and has sometimes revealed himself in different ways. Remember how he walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?
Some say, “If Jesus was God on earth, when he died, God was dead.” No. That temporary body was dead, but God’s Spirit, God’s Soul, God’s being continued to live. Jesus, the Word of God, did not depend on a body to be alive.
Why would Jesus be called the Son of God, since he was not a son created in the literal way we have sons? You have thoughts, and those thoughts have existed as long as you have. But you still created those thoughts. When your thoughts become hearable or seeable, people call that your “brainchild.” In that same sense, Jesus was God’s “brainchild” ~ God’s thoughts in hearable and seeable form.
How was he the only begotten Son? God has only one Word ~ the Bible. “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God…All things were made through Him, and without Him, nothing was made that was made” (John 1:1-3). When God spoke the world into existence, that was Jesus. Every time God spoke, that was Jesus.
Isaiah 9:6 says the Son shall be called Mighty God and Everlasting Father. And so he was. And so he is.
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I can’t help but praise you, my Lord, each day and all day. You alone are worthy of this. You alone are God and there is no other. You are the life of my body and spirit. You are the love of my heart and soul. Your words are absorbed in my heart and treasured in my soul now and forever.
Lord, I was in someone’s house yesterday and they had the most beautiful rug. I wanted such a rug for my house. I almost envied them. Then I caught myself. What difference does it make how I decorate things? Help me look at the beauty of their souls instead. Help me want what I have and no more. All I need is you.
Thank you, God, for the little birds I see outside my window each morning. There they are, ready to greet me. And the sun. Each morning it rises just to say, “I’m back. Didn’t I promise you I would be?”. The darkness is good because it makes me rest. But how I love the morning and the world waking up with it. And thank you for pouring your heart out to the world in your Bible. Now I can know you and have no doubts. How many in this world are willing to pour out their heart to others as you did? I think the world is your song.
The scripture for today, February 21 (2/21), 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 will be beautiful.
The scripture for today, February 20 (2/20), is Galatians 2:20 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”
The apostle Paul wrote this. He had been an angry, spiteful, and hateful man in his younger days. He had been a terrorist and had even declared holy jihad against Christians. He had gone around the country rounding up Christians, torturing them to get them to renounce Jesus, then sending them either to prison or to their death. He hated Christians.
But once Jesus got his attention and Paul realized he was persecuting those who could tell him the true way to heaven, he switched sides. Jesus had to do it himself because all the Christians were afraid of him. Then Paul, so to speak, crucified his old self, and let Jesus and his words live in him instead. All his tremendous energy that he had used for hate was now used for love, and he turned his part of the world upside down for Christ.
Is there someone in your life or that you know of who is angry, spiteful, and hateful? Dare to talk to that person and tell them how much God loves them. S/he will argue with you and maybe even be meaner to you than ever. But when things calm down, try saying something else, perhaps about what Jesus did or said once in his life.
It may take you months or years. S/he will be curious why you keep coming back when s/he is being so mean to you. And eventually, this same person who uses all his enormous energy in a negative way, just might turn that same enormous energy around and use it for Jesus in a great way.
Give it a try. If you are crucified with Christ, then nothing anyone says can hurt you because your ego is dead. Keep trying to reach this enemy of Jesus. Keep trying to help this person become Jesus’ friend and defender.
You may be the only one in his or her world with the courage to do it. Keep trying. Cry in private after the insults, then take a deep breath and try once again. And once again. And again. Never stop. Who knows?