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Joy in fasting?

00-cover-kindle-medium-newThe 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/

 

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

Feeling Rich When You’re Not

The scripture for today, June 10 (6/10), is Proverbs 6:10f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest ~ and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”

Oh! This scripture really comes to the point, doesn’t it? Perhaps during difficult economic times for some people, this can be a gentle reminder. If you can’t work for money, you can work for free. There is always work to do as a volunteer either in an organization or just by yourself. All it takes is for you to look around.

Well, if you’re already in the clutches of poverty, what will volunteering do to help the situation? People will notice you. They will notice your work ethic and your cheerfulness and your thoughtfulness.  They will know you are out of work and just might tell people looking for someone to hire. And in the process, you are helping others. That in itself can make you feel rich ~ even if you’re not.

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APPLIED CHRISTIANITY: A HANDBOOK OF 500 GOOD WORKS.  Every possible type of good work is included in this book, along with step-by-step methods. Something for everyone, whether you have 10 minutes a day or 1 hour a day available.  There is something everyone can do. I Corinthians 9:23 ~ “I am made all things to all men that I might, by all means, save some.”  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  https://bit.ly/APPLIEDCHRISTIANITY         https://northernlightsbooks.org/1107-2/my-book-applied-christianity/

 

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/

What are you doing for your country?

The scripture for today, May 24 (5/24), is Amos 5:24 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.”

When individuals of a nation begin taking advantage of each other, the nation loses its standard of justice. Eventually, nations fall because of it ~ maybe not right away, but eventually.

Although acting justly may decrease someone’s income or status or power, that just act will spur your nation to roll on and on like a river.

Injustice is not impersonal. Injustice begins with you. One person at a time until eventually, an entire nation falls. On the other hand, justice also begins with you. One person at a time.  That’s what will make your nation roll on and on like a never-failing stream.

What are you doing for your country?

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APPLIED CHRISTIANITY:  A HANDBOOK OF 500 GOOD WORKS.  Letter writing, benevolence, works for and by the handicapped, newcomers, military personnel, university students, works for Bible school class children to do, crafts, keeping your home, workplace by employee and employer, church office, worldwide missionary work, works for seniors, assisted-living homes, nursing homes, loss of loved ones, telephoning, prayer warriors, prayer partners, home Bible studies.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  https://bit.ly/APPLIEDCHRISTIANITY                https://northernlightsbooks.org/1107-2/my-book-applied-christianity/

The fight is worth it. The victory overwhelming.

I adore you, my God. I cannot see or hear you, but I know you are beside me and in love with me. You are higher than the stars, louder than the thunder, gentler than the butterfly, deeper than the ocean, sweeter than a flower. They are all a touch of you. I bask in the warmth of your love, the gentle breezes of your mercy, the quietude of safety in you.  I praise you, God, for all that you are. You are so strong, nothing can make you change. That is what makes you God. You are the doer, not the un-doer. You are the Creator, not the destroyer. You are the love, the light giver, the light provider. How I adore you.

Lord, I have neglected going to see people who need my encouragement. I know they need me, but I do something for myself instead. It has gotten out of hand. Open my eyes and forgive me.

Ah, my Lord, thank you for the Bible and revealing yourself in it. I never have to guess. Your mind is laid bare to me. You’ve exposed all your joys and pain, laughter and tears, hopes and desires, strengths and tenderness, justice and mercy. You dared expose yourself to me. All the rawness and transparency is there for me. Do I dare do less? My God, my hope is in you. My will I surrender to you. My heart I give you. My soul bows forever to you.  Thank you, Jehovah God, for giving me the Bible that explains why I am here and all you did to save me from Satan’s living death. Thank you that you are preparing me to live and reign with you over worlds I cannot imagine. Whatever they are, my will shall always be your will.  Without you, nothing good can ever happen.  With you, goodness reigns supreme.  With you, I can live forever. You have allowed me to stand with you. The fight is worth it. The victory overwhelming. 

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WANDERING SOUL, ENTITLED HEART, & THE SIDETRACKED CHURCH:  WORSHIP CHANGES SINCE THE 1st CENTURY.  This is the story of the power brokers who turned the church into big business. And the story of the martyrs who refused to fall in line.  Discover the hymns we sing still today written by the protesters, sometimes just hours before their torturous death.  Then be challenged to go forward! Back to the Bible. Be challenged to get rid of denominationalism and unite only in Christ with our only headquarters being in heaven. Can it be done? Christian unity? Read this, and make the challenge your own.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  https://bit.ly/Worship-Change 

  https://northernlightsbooks.org/1107-2/my-book-worship-changes-since-the-first-century/

 

 

 

Without you, who would I talk to?

It is spring. Little by little the flowers are blooming and showing a little more of your glory. Some will fade and rest until this time next year when they will return. Some will become fruit and nourish me with zest and delight, just as you nourish my heart. It is spring. Raindrops soften the earth, breezes waft and tease, the sun shares its warm rays while declaring you are the light of the world. What a wonderful, beautiful God you are!

I have to confess that I would rather watch something on television in the evening than spend that time writing a little note of encouragement or visiting someone who is lonely. Help me break loose of my habit of preferring my pleasure over that of others.

Thank you for allowing me to converse with you. Without prayer, who would I talk to about these deep and sometimes hidden things? You understand me even when I do not understand myself. You forgive me even when I do not forgive myself. If I do not forgive myself, it robs me of being able to have a second chance and be a new person all over again. Thank you for pouring out your heart to mine in your Bible. There is so much my stubborn mind misses. Satan tries to put blinders on me because he is jealous of you and wants me to rely on him ~ the father of liars. But I’ll keep trying. My copy of your Bible is right here in front of me, just as you are.

I praise you, God of glory. Your splendor is the light of your goodness and the richness of your comfort.  Your glory is your mercy when I do wrong and protection when others doing wrong toward me. You interrupt me when I am about to do that which I should not and you make me fail when I plan something that would betray you. You watch over me and it is too much to understand how you can. You know all my thoughts and prayers, actions and cares. You love me so much, refusing to let me go, I can only worship you.

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INSIDE THE HEARTS OF BIBLE WOMEN. Unbeknown to you, a seemingly stable woman may be going through any of these problems right now, and need suggestions from her sisters. Most such problems are not normally discussed openly, but we should not pretend they do not exist (James 1:24). Furthermore, we should not wait until, God forbid, you or a friend is thrust into one or more of these problems before figuring out how to handle it.  Let us prepare ourselves now while we are thinking clearly. Let us march confidently into that unknown future, our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of truth (Ephesians 6:15). Thus, we can courageously and assertively face anything! 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/

Smile anyway. The world will wonder why.

The scripture for today, May 16 (5/16), is 1st Thessalonians 5:16 (KJV) as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“Rejoice evermore.”

But how can we rejoice when something terrible has happened?

The Apostle Paul, who wrote this knew that the Thessalonians were being terribly persecuted (2nd Thessalonians 1:4), but he still said, “Rejoice evermore.” How could he say such a calloused thing amidst their suffering?  Had he no feeling, no empathy?

 Sometimes we have to suffer so the true nature of bad people pretending to be good can be revealed to the world.  Sometimes we have to suffer so we ~ like body builders ~ can build our spiritual muscles.  Sometimes we have to suffer so we can understand others going through the same thing.  Sometimes we even suffer so people around us wanting to do a good work will have someone to do a good work for.

There are many reasons for suffering. But none of them take away the pain. Just remember that, just as God was grieved when his Son suffered on the cross, he is grieved when you suffer. And just as God was able to bring something wonderful out of his Son’s suffering, he can bring something wonderful out of your suffering too.

In the meantime, chin up, shoulders back, stand straight, be brave, and smile. The world will wonder why.

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MEFIBOSET:  CRIPPLED PRINCE.  Despite his handicap, the beautiful Kisarra becomes his wife, King David becomes his friend, and the forests become his mission. 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……….http://bit.ly/Crippled-Prince   

https://northernlightsbooks.org/books-more-biblical-historical-novels/book-4-mefiboset-crippled-prince/

 

And God smiles

I adore you, my God. I praise you. I lift up my heart to you and my heart feels as though it will burst with joy. You are the water I drink for life and which turns my life into a glorious adventure.  You are the words I read to discover your love and my mind leaps from one marvelous revelation of you to another.  You are the light I follow to keep me on the path that rises before me and leads to the heights of your world. I will follow your path forever. I will keep on walking and keep on walking and keep on walking until at last I walk right through the gates of glory into your home.

As good as my intentions are, sometimes I feel as though I am going backward. Sometimes Satan attacks me with doubt. But you carry me for a while until I am stronger. You are so patient with me. Forgive my weaknesses.

Ah,  my Lord, I thank you  for the good life you have given me — not perfect, but good.  I haven’t been perfect either, of course, because Satan is always right around the corner trying to distract me from you. How he hates love. Sometimes I give in to him, ashamed even as I do it. When things get too rough, you step in, shoo him away from me and let me rest until I regain my strength. Then I rise like a bird soaring to its nest on a high mountain. And you smile.

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APPLIED CHRISTIANITY:  A HANDBOOK OF 500 GOOD WORKS.  Every possible type of good work is included in this book, along with step-by-step methods. Something for everyone, whether you have 10 minutes a day or 1 hour a day available. Letter writing, benevolence, works for and by the handicapped, newcomers, military personnel, university students, works for Bible school class children to do, crafts, keeping your home, workplace by employee and employer, church office, worldwide missionary work, works for seniors, assisted-living homes, nursing homes, loss of loved ones, telephoning, prayer warriors, prayer partners, home Bible studies, heavenly reward. For individual use, small and large congregations, small towns, big cities, old people, young people, active or paralyzed. There is something everyone can do.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  https://bit.ly/APPLIEDCHRISTIANITY  https://northernlightsbooks.org/1107-2/my-book-applied-christianity/

As old as whose hills?

The Scripture for today, April 24 (4/24), is Jeremiah 4:24 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills were swaying.”

I was living in a village near the bottom of Mt. St. Helens when it blew.  We had lived there for eight years. We had taken our children up to it and gone sledding, building snow forts, making snow angels, the works. 

It was our mountain. Our beautiful mountain. It reminded me of an upside-down ice-cream cone.  It was perfect in every way.  Everyone knew it was a volcano, but it had formed thousands of years before and would continue like it was for thousands of years in the future. It was our mountain, and it belonged to us to do with as we pleased.

But it wasn’t our mountain.  One morning I looked outside. It seemed as though we had been plunged into the inside of a furnace with all its ashes. I stared. It was snowing gray ash.  I stared more, wondering what the birds had done.  Relieved, I saw them huddled together under bushes.

Of course, the radio and TV had switched to Emergency. We were told to stay indoors because ash is deadly to the lungs. If we did go out, we had to wear surgical masks. If we drove, we were told to put nylons over the air filter and to not go over 10 mph.  Even then, the ash flew everywhere. Our freeway entrance and exit were blocked. The most disturbing thing I heard on the radio (yes, everyone kept their radio on) was that we were at the top of the San Andreas Fault.  And so, we like the birds, huddled and waited for more unknown.

Not only was our mountain turned inside out, but our world was too.

People have expressions that something is “as eternal as the mountains” or “as old as the hills.”  Not true. Nothing on earth is eternal. That also includes things, people, power, position, belongings, even dreams.  Eventually, they quake and sway and are gone. Only that which is spiritual is forever.

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APPLIED CHRISTIANITY: A HANDBOOK OF 500 GOOD WORKS.  Every possible type of good work is included in this book, along with step-by-step methods. Something for everyone, whether you have 10 minutes a day or 1 hour a day available. Letter writing, benevolence, works for and by the handicapped, newcomers, military personnel, university students, works for Bible school class children to do, crafts, keeping your home, workplace by employee and employer, church office, worldwide missionary work, works for seniors, assisted-living homes, nursing homes, loss of loved ones, telephoning, prayer warriors, prayer partners, home Bible studies, heavenly reward. For individual use, small and large congregations, small towns, big cities, old people, young people, active or paralyzed. There is something everyone can do. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this: https://bit.ly/APPLIEDCHRISTIANITY 

https://northernlightsbooks.org/1107-2/my-book-applied-christianity/

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