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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/

 

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/

 

The Unknown Future

The scripture for today, June 20 (6/20), is Matthew 6:20f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

In describing heaven, terms are used like pearls, diamonds, emeralds, gold, and so on. So, certainly, God is not against riches. Otherwise, he would not have described heaven with those terms.

So, what is the problem? Ask yourself, “If I lost everything tomorrow, could I face life?.”  You may say yes, but what about your friends? They may not want to associate with someone with nothing. So, it is not only a greed problem but a social problem. It is a problem of losing both your possessions and your friends.

Some have solved this problem by moving out into the country where possessions and social status don’t mean so much. Or you could stay where you are and just change your choice of friends. Your new friends may be truer friends than you ever had before and may need you more.

Lastly, if you lost your job, your car, your home ~ your identity ~ would you be so devastated that you would contemplate suicide as some have done? Or would you be able to look around and see what you can do without being paid and a job to occupy your time?

There are always things you can do for others. Is that truly where your heart is? In that case, loss of everything would not bring catastrophe. Rather, it would give opportunity to reveal what stuff you are made of deep down inside where your true treasure is ~ in your heart.

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THE ROAD TO HEAVEN.  It’s a long road.  It began in the Gaden of Eden.  What has it taken to get you forgiven?  It’s been a long battle between God and Satan, both of which are trying to get you on their side.  And the logistics God worked out:  He’s always fooling Satan.  Satan does not understand God. So, even though he thinks he is winning, he is not. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….https://bit.ly/Road-To-Heaven                                           https://northernlightsbooks.org/the-road-to-heaven/

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/

 

Have they lost hope?

The scripture for today, June 11 (6/11), is Job 6:11 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects that I should be patient?”

Many people use the expression, “patience of Job.” But he had on-and-off patience, for he was very sick. By descriptions he gave of himself ~ sores, rancid breath, low voice, partial blindness, skin turned hard and black, bloating, nightmares, extreme pain, unrecognized by his closest friends ~ some believe he had a grotesque form of elephantiasis leprosy.

What did he need from his friends? He surely didn’t get it, for they spent their time trying to prove he had sinned, and God was right to be punishing him. His reply? “I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all! Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing?” (Job 16:2f).

So how do you comfort someone who feels utterly hopeless? You certainly do not put the blame on them, nor do you tell them it’s “all in your head’ or to “snap out of it.”  You can share times when we felt hopeless. You can weep with them. You can hold their hand. You can sit with them in silence. You can pray aloud for them. (Some people have never heard their name mentioned in a prayer.)

And you need to let them talk. Sometimes they will say things they don’t mean in the long run, but at that brief moment, they do. Or sometimes, they need to talk through things they are unsure about. They may even say contradictory things.

At one time, Job said, “Surely, O God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household….God assails me and tears me in his anger and gnashes his teeth at me” (16:7f). But another time he said, “I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end, he will stand upon the earth….I myself will see him with my own eyes ~ I and not another. How my heart yearns within me” (19:25f).

Do you have a very sick friend? Do you have a friend who has lost hope?  Let your heart yearn with them.

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A CHILD’S BIBLE KIDS:  JAIRUS’ DAUGHTER.  She was lively Leah and very happy from the time she was born.  But, when she was 12, she got very sick. The doctor came, but could not make her better. Her father was a rabbi and decided to ask Jesus to heal her. He found Jesus and begged him to come heal his little girl. But a surprise happened.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….http://bit.ly/JairusDtr                                                       https://northernlightsbooks.org/a-childs-bible-kids-book-7-jairus-daughter/?frame-nonce=dcd871ac5b

Can I ever smile again?

The scripture for today, June 9 (6/9), is Job 6:9-8 found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut me off!”

Job was suffering terribly. The Bible says he had sores all over his body. There were other symptoms listed elsewhere in Job that indicate he had a form of leprosy. Now he just wanted to die.

When you get into a life problem that seems hopeless, do you just give up and say, “God, I can’t go on like this. Just take my life right now. It’s too hard. I can’t do it anymore”?

God knows what you are going through. God knows that Satan is attacking you. When things are desperately low, your job is just to hang on. It often takes God time to shift around a lot of other people’s lives in order to alleviate your pain.

Remember, God hurts just as much when you suffer as when he watched his own Son suffer on the cross. His Son’s suffering accomplished something wonderful for others. So too, someday your suffering will somehow, in some way, accomplish something good. And ultimately, just by surviving, Satan loses, and God wins.

This too, will pass. You may not think so, but it will. You may think you will never smile again, never want to go around people again, never sing again. But you will. Just as Job did.

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MEFIBOSET: CRIPPLED PRINCE.  He lost everything ~ his father, his grandfather, his throne, his palace home, use of his legs.  Though he must constantly deal with three enemies who do everything they can to make his life miserable, Mefiboset, grandson of a king, is an overcomer, a climber, a conqueror who triumphs in the end. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….https://bit.ly/Crippled-Prince                                                                                          https://northernlightsbooks.org/books-more-biblical-historical-novels/book-4-mefiboset-crippled-prince/

 

What if Jesus had refused to forgive you?

The scripture for today, May 25 (5/25), is Galatians 5:25f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking, and envying each other.”

When someone is better than you in doing something, do you pick fights with them as punishment, or spread gossip about them in order to get others to quit respecting them? Do you become a persecutor?

Perhaps you don’t do this all the time. But what about times when there is something you feel you are really good at, but another person not as talented gets the honor? That’s when it’s hard to “keep in step with the Spirit.”

Someone else may say, “But they just barged in and didn’t ask my permission.  I can’t get rid of that hurt.”  When you sin, do you ask God’s permission before you do it? If you didn’t, do you think God “just can’t get rid of the hurt”? God treats you the way you treat others.

Whenever you envy or resent someone, deep down, you consider that person your enemy. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45a). What are you willing to do to continue being a child of God?

To many, loving our enemy is the most difficult command in the Bible. Perhaps one way to love your “enemy” is to realize that Jesus loved his enemies. Every time you sin, you become one of his enemies. But Jesus keeps right on loving you, even when you don’t want to stop doing whatever you shouldn’t.

Jesus demonstrates the love of the Son of God. And here he says, if you love your enemies, you are demonstrating what the children of God do. And that is far more important than honor and respect that goes to those you envy or resent. Leaving behind conceit makes it much easier to love everyone.  Love everyone?  What an intriguing thought.

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THEY MET JESUS:  SHADOW OF DEATH.  In a sense, the whole world since the creation of mankind, crucified Jesus.  That’s whose sins he carried on himself.  What if Jesus had refused to forgive the world for sinning against him and crucifying him?  What if….?  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/

Being Mad at God

The scripture for today, May 23 (5/23), is Exodus 5:23 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your [God’s] name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”

This is Moses talking to God, and Moses is very angry. Is it a good idea to be mad at God? Deuteronomy 34:10 says there was never a prophet like Moses “whom the Lord knew face to face.”

Getting angry [not violent, that’s different] sometimes is part of a healthy relationship, as long as (1) we stick to the facts and not get into a blame game and (2) are willing to stay around long enough to understand the other person’s point of view. Moses did not call God bad names nor did he desert God. He spoke his mind, then waited to see how God would reply.

It wasn’t that God didn’t want to rescue his people from slavery in Egypt. God was not quite through putting Pharaoh in his place. And he probably did not rescue his people in the manner Moses had in mind. But Eventually ~ after a little patience on Moses’ part ~ it happened: God rescued his people.

Are you angry at God over something? Tell him so. Then stick around and wait for him to express his point of view. It will happen someday. Maybe it won’t be your point of view. Probably it will be better.

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A CHILD’S BIBLE HEROES: JOSEPH. He had every right to be bitter.  Everything in his life had gone wrong from the time he was a child with his jealous older brothers, through being sold as a slave, then jailed for a crime he did not commit.  Did he blame God? We have no evidence he did.  He kept a positive attitude and “bloomed where he was planted.”  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this………. http://bit.ly/Child-JosephInEgypt

A Child’s Bible Heroes Book 5 ~ Joseph

And keep Satan frustrated & puzzled

The scripture for today, May 18 (5/18), is 1st Thessalonians 5:18 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

This is one of the most difficult verses in the Bible to follow. How can we rejoice with the loss of a loved one, of health, of a job, of a home, of a position? The Christians at Thessalonica, in Greece, had been suffering a lot of persecution for being Christians. Some had even been killed for their faith.

Satan will do all he can to cause bad to happen in your life in order to get you to blame God and forsake him. But the real blame belongs on Satan. It may sometimes seem like the harder you try to follow God, the worse things get in your life.

Satan is afraid of you and is trying more than ever to weaken you, to break you, and get you back on his side. He doesn’t have to attack people he already has.

And sometimes, God stands back and tells Satan, “Do your best. This person will grow stronger, not weaker.” Along with the Christians in Thessalonica, you can “become a model….your faith in God…known everywhere” (1st Thessalonians 1:7-8).

So, through your tears, rejoice that Satan is so afraid of you. And at the same time, keep your eyes on Jesus, who never gave in when Satan caused bad to happen to him. Through your discouragement, rejoice that you are counted worthy to be treated the same way Jesus was treated. Give thanks, and keep Satan frustrated and puzzled.

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A CHILD’S BIBLE HEROES:  MOSES.  For 400 years, the Jews prayed to be released from slavery. For 400 years, they thought God had forsaken them and didn’t really love them.  But God was preparing them for future generations.  During the 400 years, they grew from 70 to millions.  Now God was ready to release them.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  http://bit.ly/PrinceMoses 

https://northernlightsbooks.org/a-childs-bible-heroes-book-6-moses/?frame-nonce=1e7c6b1760

Then wish will be reality

The scripture for today, May 17 (5/17) is John 5:17 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.’ “

Psalm 115:12 says God is thinking about you all the time. When you’re walking, riding, talking, doing, coming, going. God is always working for you. A popular song a few years ago was, “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands.”

But does he always keep you from harm? He gave you free will, and sometimes you don’t make good choices. Others around you have free will, and they sometimes don’t make good choices.

If everything was perfect, this would be heaven. But it is not.  Heaven is for later after we go through some tests. Regardless of what happens here, God is beside you if you fall, ready to get to work, ready to hold out his hand to lift you up.

How he loves you and cherishes you and cares for you. He always will if you follow him.  Then, after you have fulfilled your own work here on earth, you can follow him right through the gates into that perfect world you wish you had now ~ heaven. Then wish will be reality.

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WRITINGS OF AND ABOUT CHURCHES OF CHRIST 14th-17th CENTURIES ENGLAND.  This is volume III in the RESTORATION REPRINT LIBRARY.  Nearly 800 pages of images and quotes. Witness the ups and downs of Christianity in England through the centuries. Behold the Lollard Knights protecting the commoners’ congregations. Cringe as the church-run governments burn our brothers and sisters in Christ at the stake.  Rejoice when translators of the Bible bring enlightenment to commoners who had been lied to regarding what was in the Bible. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  https://bit.ly/RestorationLibrary3

Writings of & About Churches of Christ 14th-17th Centuries England

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