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Yet another assignment ’til it’s time to go on home

0-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-MediumThe scripture for today, July 10 (7/10), is Psalm 7:10 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.”

 Ah, my Lord, I become so tired sometimes. That latest assignment you gave me has been so hard. Sometimes I complain knowing I should not because that would make me a Christian coward.

Is it okay if I am afraid sometimes? I am only one and am trying to keep my head above water along with others I am trying to pull out of the flood with me. I’m trying, Lord. I weep sometimes, but amidst my tears, I continually think, “What should my next step be?”.

Sometimes I just stand still and let the turmoil go on around me while I close my eyes and sing a sweet song to you. That’s when I sense you are singing with me.

At other times I stand up to all the turmoil charging at me. You gave me your weapons: a smile, a touch, a gentle word.

Then there are those terrible times when I feel so beaten up, I think all is lost. Then I remember you are there.  You are always there.  And I know you are shielding me while I rest.

Then we start all over again, you and I, Lord. Another assignment. Another. And another. Until at last, you reach out your arms to me and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. It’s time to come on home.”

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STEPHEN:  UNLIKELY MARTYR.  In Antioch, Stephen’s best friend is crucified for defacing its patron goddess, and the city turns on Jews. He flees to Cyrene. There he meets Simon. Persecution against Jews is worse here.  When Stephen visits Jerusalem for Passover, he sees Simon carrying the cross of Jesus. They both become Christians and the persecution starts all over again.  Here he becomes a deacon to help Greek widows and is given the power to perform miracles by the apostles. Saul goes after both Stephen and Simon of Cyrene. They rush to save each other’s lives. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  https://bit.ly/StephenUnlikelyMartyr                     https://northernlightsbooks.org/books-more-biblical-historical-novels/book-7-stephen-unlikely-martyr/

 

I do too, Lord. I do too.

I praise you, Jehovah, Creator of everything I observe and more.  You are too large to see all of you. You are too small to perceive your intricacies, too much to fathom, too wise to comprehend. You are my monarch, my sovereign, my emperor, my king.  You reign over my heart, my mind, my spirit, my soul.  And one day I will see you face to face. What will it be like? Actually seeing he who made the universe with over two trillion galaxies, each filled with one hundred thousand million stars.  And you know them all by name.   Better, you know me by name. How I worship you.

Thank you for the rain we had to nourish my thirsty garden. How do you make such fantastic things out of tiny seeds? Beets with one seed, carrots with another seed, radishes with another, corn, wheat, beans, tomatoes ~ all from tiny seeds.  I put them under ground, they die, then they come back to life in delightful assorted sizes, shapes, colors, and tastes. Oh, how you must enjoy creating and giving life. Such pleasure you must receive from watching my little garden grow. I do too, Lord. I do too.

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A CHILD’S LIFE OF CHRIST:  HEARTS AFIRE.   1 ~ ZEBEDEE. 2 ~ SIMON THE ZEALOT, 3 ~ HURT MINDS, 4 ~ LEPERS, 5 ~ PARALYZED MAN, 6 ~ MATTHEW, 7 ~ JUDAS I, 8 ~ PHARISEES, 9 ~ TWELVE APOSTLES, 10 ~ THE WIDOW’S SON.  At the end of each chapter is “Think and Do” with little projects the child can do to apply that chapter to their life.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….http://bit.ly/AChildsLifeOfChrist                                  https://northernlightsbooks.org/they-met-jesus-a-childs-life-of-christ/

 

You’re Almost Home

My Father, you are my king. You are crowned with the sun. Your scepter is tipped with the moon. Your robe spreads across millions of galaxies.  Your throne is the dome of the cosmos encircled with a thousand rainbows. Your eyes sparkle like stars, your laughter is like the thunder, your tears like raindrops, your touch like billowy clouds gliding across the sky. Oh, my Lord. I love you, adore you, worship you.  I am your bride and long for you.

My Lord, you have given me so much. I have a decent place to live with air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter. I have decent clothes to wear, nutritious food, doctors nearby. I even have the luxuries of a TV, cell phone, and computer. I take them for granted far too much. I sometimes forget others in the world who live in fear their freedom and luxuries will be taken from them.  If it is your will that I become one of them, grant me strength to do it.

Ah, Lord Jesus. What a life you lived!  You never sinned and that means you never passed up anyone who needed you. I think you must have been skinny. You must have skipped many a meal to get to everyone. And the awesome miracles you performed! Growing cut-off arms and legs back, returning the noses, fingers and toes to lepers, making the forever blind see, opening the ears of the deaf so they could hear your voice and the amazing words that came from your lips. Thank you, thank you for showing us who you really were ~ God materialized.

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STEPHEN: UNLIKELY MARTYR.   Saul goes after both Stephen and Simon of Cyrene. They rush to save each other’s lives. Stephen distracts the Sanhedrin with a long history lesson until Simon can escape to Antioch….As Stephen takes his final steps toward the stoning pit, he can still hear his father in years past. “Take another step, Son. Now another. Hold your head high. Don’t let them see weakness. You’re doing fine. Now another step. I’m here, Son. I will never leave you. You’re almost home.”  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:      https://bit.ly/StephenUnlikelyMartyr    https://northernlightsbooks.org/books-more-biblical-historical-novels/book-7-stephen-unlikely-martyr/

The Divine Boomerang Effect

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.

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365 PEARLS OF WISDOM: GOD’S SOUL TO YOURS.  Most of the warnings in today’s devo come from the “Wisdom Literature” of the Bible.  This second of the trilogy, Touching God, provides a daily short saying from the ancient sheik, Job, from King David’s psalms, and from his son King Solomon’s Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs. Job lived some thousand years before David and Solomon; yet we see the same wisdom of God shines forth in every millennium of mankind.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:   https://bit.ly/365PearlsOfWisdom    https://northernlightsbooks.org/365-pearls-of-wisdom-gods-soul-to-yours/

 

What’s in the blood?

The scripture for today, June 14 (6/14), is Numbers 6:14 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“There he is to present his offerings to the Lord…a year-old ewe lamb without defect for a sin offering…. “

 A lot of people don’t understand what Jesus dying on a cross has to do with going to heaven. Romans 6:23 says, “the wages of sin is death.” ~ both physical and soul death. It is what we earn when we sin.  It is Satan who pays us our wages.

In the Garden of Eden, God told Adam and Eve, the day you sin you will die.  Indeed, the day they fell into Satan’s deceptive trap and sinned, their souls were separated from God.

Leviticus 17:11 “The life of the body is in the blood.” Although Hebrews 10:4 says the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin, their blood was a reminder of the horribleness of a violent, bloody death – whether physical or spiritual.

Finally, God the Word came to earth as a human, and John the Baptist called him the Lamb of God (John 1:29). Jesus was perfect; that is, he never sinned, he had no defects (Hebrews 4:15).  Therefore, Satan had no hold on him (John 14:30). But he took the blame for our sins (II Corinthians 5:21) and faced down Satan with them.

What does blood do?  It delivers oxygen to the lungs and it delivers poisons to be destroyed by the liver which is in our side.  So, after Jesus took that last belabored breath, a soldier opened his side with a spear, and out came all our poison sins along with the water which symbolizes rebirth.

Hours before his crucifixion, Jesus said in John 12:1, “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.”  How? In his dying, he could now cast out Satan’s greatest weapon – death.  Just when Satan thought he had won, Jesus came back to life so that “through death, he destroyed him who had the power of death – the devil” (Hebrews 2:14).

Then God said, If you’ll believe and imitate sinless Jesus, I will forgive and consider you sinless too (Romans 6). Then I’ll bring you back to life in heaven.

Power in the blood?  Wonderful power!

And, by the way, since he came back to life on Sunday, that’s what makes Sunday so special. It’s the I’m-sorry-you-had-to-die-for-my-sins Day. It’s the “Do-this-in-remembrance-of-me” Lord’s Supper Day.  It’s the Gratitude Day.

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THEY MET JESUS:  SHADOW OF DEATH.  It takes two chapters to entirely cover the crucifixion of Jesus — one chapter for the first three hours, a second chapter for the last three hours.  Then the measly funeral held in the cave with two secret followers, his mother. and four other women just as the sun slipped away on the most terrible day in the history of mankind.  The following book, COME FLY WITH ME, is the victory book.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  https://bit.ly/ShadowOfDeath-7                                           https://northernlightsbooks.org/historical-novel-about-jesus/book-7-shadow-of-death-adults-childs-versions/  

Be a hero to yourself: Hang on.

The scripture for today, July 13 (7/13), is in Job 7:13ff in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“When I think my bed will comfort me and my couch will ease my complaint, even then you frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions so that I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine. I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning.”

Job was extremely depressed. It happens to everyone sometimes. His depression was certainly valid ~ he had lost all his income and all his children in a recent storm. Now he had what the Bible translated as “boils” but the symptoms indicate he had a form of leprosy called Elephantiasis.

This particular form leads to nightmares in addition to the physical problems. Job had every right to be depressed. So depressed was he, that he no longer wanted to live, for his life no longer had meaning.

But, as miserable as Job was, he hung on. Patiently he hung on during the bad times. Sometimes during your bad times, the greatest thing you can do is “hang on” ~ be patient.

Romans 8:28 says all things work together for good to those who love the Lord. Job loved the Lord. Even in his misery and desire to die,  he continued to love God and trust Him.

And, although at such times you may believe your misery will never end and you will never even smile again, it will happen. The misery comes to an end. It did for Job. He got his health and income back and more children to comfort him. God will see you through too.

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INSIDE THE HEARTS OF BIBLE WOMEN.  What did Job’s wife endure with the loss of all her children? What did she go through as she watched her husband suffer physically and mentally. What was her own anguish?  The word “barek” translated “curse” is always translated “bless” everywhere else in the Bible.  Do you suppose she finally said, “Husband, it’s okay if you die.  I’ll be all right.  Just keep blessing God and go to him in comfort.” Read the story of Job’s wife and other women in the Bible and how they handled their own challenges.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  https://bit.ly/HeartsBibleWomen                                                                      https://northernlightsbooks.org/1107-2/my-book-inside-the-hearts-of-bible-women/

 

To Reign Some Day with My King


Ah, my Lord, you are all I need. You have a home prepared and all waiting for me at the end of my sojourn here. Oh,  blessed and joyous homecoming. How I long for it to be now. How I long to dwell with you and praise you each moment of eternity. And, having crowned me with your love, I will declare my fealty to you and reign with you as an unworthy exalted servant over whatever worlds you place under me. Forever, I will be yours. And so I worship you.

I’m neglecting other people too much. This is a constant sin I struggle with. How can you keep forgiving me when I do it over and over? Interfere with my life so I will look beyond what I like to what others like.

I know I cannot join you in your realm yet because you say I still have work to do. Thank you for the church so we can encourage each other’s work. So we can learn more about you as a group. So we don’t have to face our sins alone. So we can share our sadness with those who love us. So, we can be priests to each other and make sacrifices for each other. So we can pray for each other and read your Word together. So we can share our little victories with each other. So we can struggle to do better together. So we can lift each other and never feel alone. Thank you for your Plan to continue the wondrous life of Christ on earth through our combined efforts. And your promise to lift us up to reign with you some day in the heavens.

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REVELATION: A LOVE LETTER FROM GOD.  This is God’s last love letter to the world. He has done everything possible to help us escape hell, including offering his only begotten son to die in our place. We are his children. He loves us and does not want us to be hurt. Amidst their fear, he tells of the overwhelming joy he can give those who accept his Son as Lord of their life. One last reassurance. One last love letter from God.  To BUY, click a book cover or paste this:  https://bit.ly/REVELATION-LOVE              https://northernlightsbooks.org/1107-2/my-book-revelationa-love-letter-from-god/

Nails that pierced the heart of the world

Your love, oh God, appears from the most unlikely and impenetrable places. Like water out of a rock. Like life from a long-dead seed.  Like a pin of light in a deep and dark cave. Let your love burst forth and astonish mankind with a love that refuses defeat. Let your magnificence soar to the uttermost parts of the heavens. Let your victory chain Satan in his hell and shout your glory.

Holy! Holy! Holy! Because of you, Lord God, thieves stop stealing and rise up to call you holy.  Because of you, liars stop lying and raise their voices to call you holy. Because of you, drunks stop drinking and stand up to declare you holy.  Because of you, murderers stop murdering and lift their hearts to announce you holy. Because of you, the selfish stop hoarding and release all they own to  you holy. You are life in its purest form.

Oh, Jesus, that cross was intended to be an instrument of torture and shame outside of Jerusalem but turned into a tower of light for the world. That crown of thorns was intended to be a mockery but turned into a crown of gold that pronounced you king of the world. Those nails were intended to pierce human flesh; instead, it pierced the heart of the world. How can I thank you? How can any of us thank you for rescuing my wounded soul and making me a child of the King?

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SHADOW OF DEATH.  This book is available in both adult form and child form with the child’s vocabulary reduced to a gentle understanding of what Jesus endured on the cross.  It teaches them victory over death.  1 ~ PILATE, 2 ~ SIMON, OF LIBYA, 3 ~ CRUCIFIXION 1, 4 ~ CRUCIFIXION 2, 5 ~ THIEVES, 6 ~ RABBI JOSEPH, 7 ~ GUARDS, 8 ~ 5 RICH WOMEN II, 9 ~ PETER. 10 ~ JAMES JR & FAMILY.  Thought questions at the end of both versions.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….http://bit.ly/ShadowOfDeat-7   

https://northernlightsbooks.org/historical-novel-about-jesus/

You all fill my heart

The scripture for today, May 15 (5/15), is Ecclesiastes 5:15 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.”

As most people enter their senior years, they finally understand this verse. In their youth, they struggled to get jobs and status and things. Some accomplished it, and some didn’t. But in the senior years….

when health is gradually declining….

the world is passing them by….

and they are sitting in their chair most of the time

….the main thing people look back on is what difference they made in their world, and how they did or did not help people important to them.

Often in their senior years, when their income goes down, and they are living only on a small pension, and they are unable to keep their big house, and fancy car, and impressive stuff, they realize they are still the same person inside regardless of what they own.

Ask a senior what they want for a birthday present. It is not likely to be things. It is likely to be time spent with a loved one or something special given to someone in need.

What about you?  How much time are you spending on things?

I wrote this about twenty year ago when I was a young 61.  Yesterday I turned 81.  I went shopping to buy myself a birthday present, but didn’t see anything I wanted.  Instead, I looked through the 340+ birthday greetings I received on my two Facebook pages — friends I hadn’t seen in decades, strangers who loved me, delightful pictures, sweet verses.  You were my birthday gifts.  With you I had all I needed or wanted.  You all fill my heart.

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INTREPID MEN OF GOD.  TITUS: THE ARISTOCRAT. Titus is  born of privilege, surrounded by luxury in the family palatio, and a graduate of the university at Pergamum. His father is the supreme judge of Antioch and Flamin of Apollo, while his mother is Flaminica of Apollo’s Muses.  His ambition is to become important like his father and qualify for the purple border on his own white toga. Then he meets the Apostle Paul and becomes a Christian. He gives it all up to travel to church and places where Jesus is yet unknown.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  https://bit.ly/TitusAristocrat-8 

https://northernlightsbooks.org/books-more-biblical-historical-novels/book-8-titus-the-aristocrat/

Look up! He’s there waiting for you!

The scripture for today, May 13 (5/13), is 1st John 5:13f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: That if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

Ah, to know you have eternal life.  It’s easy to say. “I’m so happy because I have eternal life.”  Easy to say. But do you really believe it?

I hear Christians everywhere lament their death.  “Whew, I could have died in that car crash” “Oh, no, I just took the wrong medicine, and it will kill me.”  “Hurry, get me to the hospital before I die!”

Yes, life here is precious. But it is only the bud of the flower, the spark of the fire, the whisper of the song. Our life here is like living in a dark cave. 

Why would a truly believing Christian fear walking through that marvelous door where Jesus himself awaits their arrival?

True, part of looking forward to heaven is knowing what it looks like. Revelation gives you a hint, but it is symbolic. Cling to what you know. Rush to the door leading out of the cave in anticipation for the world you were always meant to live in.

Some people say, “But I want to be here to watch my children or grandchildren grow up.” What then? To watch them graduate and get a job and start having babies? When does it end?

Stop right now.   Take a deep breath. Ask God to forgive your doubts and selfishness and putting things and people before him. Then look up. Look up! He is there waiting for you. His hands are reaching out to you. Those hands that were nailed to the cross for you. His hands that are now full of healing and tenderness and glory just for you.

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COME FLY WITH ME.  His apostles refused to believe, while Thomas declared him God. Jesus dared and prepared his apostles to conquer the world. He interrupted his own memorial service and renewed five hundred of his closest friendships. He helped his brother, James, over the last faith hurdle, turned the movement over to his apostles, then returned at last to the outstretched arms of his heavenly Father. Religious leaders fought in vain to put out the new church’s torch, and Jesus invited the last apostle to visit him in heaven.  Glorious Day. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  https://bit.ly/FLY-WITH-ME   

https://northernlightsbooks.org/historical-novel-about-jesus/book-8-come-fly-with-me-adults-childs-versions

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