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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 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/

Joy in fasting?

The scripture for today, June 17 (6/17), is Matthew 6:17 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face.”

This is interesting because Jesus did not say “If, you fast,” but rather “When you fast.” It was as though he was teaching us to take for granted that we would fast ~ it would be second-nature to us. In a sense, it is, for when most people go through a sudden tragedy such as loss of a loved one, they often cannot eat.

But what about voluntary fasting? The early church sometimes fasted. Acts 13:2 says a congregation in Antioch, Syria, fasted and worshipped, then chose men to go out as missionaries. Queen Esther fasted before going to the king uninvited with a request he might not like (Esther 4:16). Isaiah 58:3 says people fasted in order to humble themselves.

Some people respond, “I’d die if I had to fast.” Perhaps that’s kind of the idea. We know we would die if we went without food long enough. So perhaps one day of fasting is a way of saying, “God, I would die for you if I had to.” Yes, fasting is a humbling experience and frightening to some people. But perhaps that is the point.

Is something important coming up that you know you will be urgently praying about? Once you skip one meal, you will have conquered your desire to eat. Then, with your brain not having to concentrate on digesting food, it will be able to focus more on that important thing happening in your life. Your prayers will be more focused. You will be more focused with your eyes more clearly on God.

So, take a shower, comb your hair, put on some nice clothes, and look like you have something important to do. Then fast.

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APPLIED CHRISTIANITY:  A HANDBOOK OF 500 GOOD WORKS.  Handicapped? Wanting to do good works for others anyway? Too busy to add good works to your already cluttered life? What do you say when a friend’s relative dies? Wonder how to handle gossip, baby showers, mean bosses, etc. in the workplace? Do the poor in other countries bother you? Want to teach your children to do good deeds? To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  https://bit.ly/APPLIEDCHRISTIANITY  https://northernlightsbooks.org/1107-2/my-book-applied-christianity/

 

God loves to answer prayer

The scripture for today, June 12 (6/12), is Luke 6:12 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“One of those days, Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”

How in the world did Jesus think of enough things to say that he could pray all night? Most of us, on a good day, only manage a 5-minute prayer. The next verse says that the next morning he selected his twelve apostles. Aha! He had a list. He had probably spent at least half an hour each praying about them by name, as well as about others he was considering. Jesus knew what his apostles would be facing someday. Which ones would be loyal enough, stubborn enough, strong-willed enough to someday in the future endure persecution, torture (skinned alive, beaten to death, burned), and martyrdom for him?

Who do you pray for by name? Do you have a prayer list? How about opening the newspaper and praying for all those people in the news ~ perpetrators, victims, causes, governments, situations? Or everyone you work with? Or everyone your children go to school with? Or all their teachers and administrators? Or the clerks in the stores you go to regularly? Or members of an organization you belong to? Or every member of your congregation? What about countries where people become Christians at risk of their freedom and even their lives?

There are always people in need of prayer. And one of the joys of such a prayer life is now and then telling people whom you know that they are in your prayers, or writing a note to someone who is a stranger to you telling them that you pray for them.

Some people have never heard their names in prayer. Some people have never even been told that someone prays for them.

God loves to answer prayer. Do you love prayer?

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TOUCHING GOD.  SILVER-WINGED PRAYERS: YOUR SPIRIT TO GOD’S. I dare you to pray for 50 people, 100 people, 500 people. You do not need to explain each person’s needs. God knows them. If all you can do is bring their names before the throne of God, then do that.  May these prayers help you along the way to connect with your Maker, your God, the Lover of your Soul. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  https://bit.ly/SilverWingedPrayers    https://northernlightsbooks.org/365-silver-winged-prayers-your-spirit-to-gods/

 

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

Tears Blended with Your Blood

Lord, you never forget me. You have so much to do in the universe to keep the stars in their heavens, the planets in their orbits, and the seas in their bounds. More, you are always thinking about me. I am always on your mind. You watch me and do all that is necessary to guide me, though you leave the choice up to me. You are so boundless in knowledge and wisdom, yet you respect my decisions ~ right or wrong. Even when my decisions are wrong, you do not interfere. You give me room to think and change my mind. I lift up my hands in praise to you. You are the Great God of the universe, Ruler of heaven & earth and King of my heart. 

Your eyes were so sleepy on the day you were born. Ah, what a journey you had made. By the time the wise men found you, your eyes were big and wide and full of curiosity.  As you grew up, your eyes looked intently at what was around you and a vague memory approached of you having made it all. As a full-grown man, your eyes looked with pity on the sick, the crippled, the diseased, the handicapped and you healed them all. Then one day those eyes were filled with tears as you looked down from the cross at people bragging they were at last killing you. Those tears blended with your blood fell on the hearts of mankind. I kneel before you, my tears mingling with yours and I worship you.

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THEY MET JESUS:  SHADOW OF DEATH. The priests thought they had killed him.  The Romans thought they had killed him. Satan thought he had killed him.  Wrong. They had all been wrong.  You cannot kill God.  In holy defiance, he re-entered that mangled body, renewed it, and came back to life to live on forever.  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/

 

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/

How long is your prayer list?

The scripture for today, May 26 (5/26), is 1st Thessalonians 5:26 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“Brothers, pray for us.”

Do you have a prayer list? How long is it?  Five people?  Twenty?  Fifty?  Five hundred?  Often prayers get bogged down and short because the only person we “remember” in prayer is ourselves. Well, and maybe a relative or two

There are many people who need your prayers: Your family is obvious. How about your neighbors? If you don’t know their names, pray for them by house or apartment number. What about the newspaper? Every one of those bad-news stories is crying out for prayer. The school near you needs your prayers ~ students, teachers, administrators, janitors. It doesn’t matter whether you have a child in that school; pray for them anyway.

Who are your local government officials? Not liking them doesn’t make any difference, for Jesus said we are to pray for our enemies too. And that leads to the list of your enemies; do you have any at your workplace? Include them too. It’s pretty hard to resent someone you pray for.

One other thing you might try doing in addition to having a prayer list: Have an answered-prayer list. Write down when you pray for someone, then when it is answered. Keep it as a reminder when you are down and don’t think He’s ever going to answer your requests. God does care, after all.

And speaking of requests, by the time you’re done praying for all the other people on your prayer list, you won’t have a lot of time to pray for yourself. And that is okay too, for others are praying for you!

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365 SILVER-WINGED PRAYERS: YOUR SPIRIT TO GOD’S is volume III in the TOUCHING GOD SERIES.  Each day is a prayer of praise and a prayer of thanksgiving.  Prayers of confession are taken from lists of sins scattered throughout the Bible.  The prayer requests are left to you. Combine this book with 365  Golden Bible Thoughts: God’s Heart to Yours, and 365 Pearls of Wisdom: God’s Soul to Yours to a period of daily devotion and meditation.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  https://bit.ly/SilverWingedPrayers                                             https://northernlightsbooks.org/365-silver-winged-prayers-your-spirit-to-gods/

 

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/

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/

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