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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 Rush Like the Wind

The wind rushes anxiously down the mountains to worship you. The waters pound the shore so the sands will move aside and worship you. The snow falls in silence to purify the ground so it will worship you. All things worship you. They exist because of you. You are their Creator and their life force. Let me shout it to the world both now and in the infinity of forever.

Lord of all that exists, I bow to you because I never can live up to your perfection. I am weak. How can you love me so? When I fall, you lift me up. When I stray, you run after me and bring me back. When I weep, you wipe away my tears. When I collapse, you make me fly. Always you make me better than I am. You delight in me and make me your own. I lift my eyes to you in gratitude.

I rush like the wind to give my deepest thanks for all you did to save me from Satan’s trap.  He wanders in and out of my thoughts enshrouded by the darkness of his light.  His wisdom gives me permission to flaunt my will over yours. His lies cover up my willfulness so that I think I have won eternity without you. I rely on your Words to tell me what is truth. I rely on your Words to warn me of the shadows of his laughter. I rely on your Words to lift me up and carry me away from the Great Destroyer to safety in your everlasting arms. Only in you is there strength. Only in you is there wonder and beauty and everything magnificent that Satan does not want me to know of. Only in you is there true life.

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INTREPID MEN OF GOD.  LUKE: SLAVE & PHYSICIAN.  In the Roman world, phyisicians were slaves of wealthy families. Later, they were assigned to military legions. Slaves were gained from wars. As a child, his father is supposedly killed in a battle and Theophilus adopts him.  Luke is confused with all the gods, so prays, “Oh, thousand gods, hear me.”  But, when they move to Berea and he climbs Mount Olympus to talk to the gods, his anger grows hot when he realizes they are not there and may not even exist. Then he meets the Apostle Paul over in Macedonia.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  https://bit.ly/Lukephysician   

https://northernlightsbooks.org/books-more-biblical-historical-novels/book-3-luke-slave-physician/

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/

 

Ten thousand times ten thousand

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.

The deepest reaches of my soul praise you, Lord God.  I would burst if I could not.  When I awake, night merges into morning and I extol you for a new dawn. When I walk about through my day, I exalt you. When I lie down to sleep at the end of the day, I worship you. You are my breath, my heart beat, my reason for being.

Ah, my glorious God, you give me all things that I need and more. Above all, you gave me salvation from hell. With that I have all things. Though I grow depressed sometimes over human events and material things that do not work out, I remind myself that I still have heaven with You.  That is worth ten thousand times ten thousand more than earthly concerns. At the end, I will rise up and be always at your service as you rule supreme over all worlds. And forever worship you.

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INTREPID MEN OF GOD.  PAUL: THE UNSTOPPABLE. After terrorizing Christians, Paul joins them.  Walk with him over twenty years of crisscrossing the often hostile Roman Empire, challenging pagan priests and trying to convince Jewish rabbis to listen to him. Understand what Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, and Dr. Luke go through to keep this man alive to do what he has to do. With Paul, it is never enough. What drives him? Why can he not stop?  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  https://bit.ly/UnstoppablePaul   

Book 2 ~ Paul: The Unstoppable

 

How can I touch your holiness?

The scripture for today, February 10 (2/10), is James 2:10 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.”

Do we pray on Sunday and curse on Monday? Do we sing on Sunday and lie on Monday? Do we recite a scripture on Sunday and mock someone on Monday?

On the other hand, do we use this as an excuse not to go to church? Do we refuse to attend because there are hypocrites in the church?

Do we refuse to go to work because there are hypocrites there who talk behind the boss’s back? Do we refuse to go to school because there are hypocrites there who would skip school if they could? Do we refuse to sit for two hours in a boring airport because there are hypocrites there smuggling things in their suitcases? Do we refuse to go to sporting events because there are hypocrites there that would literally “kill the umpire” if they could?

Even Jesus had a hypocrite among his 12 Apostles ~ Judas. That didn’t stop him from doing what was needed to save us from hell.

In a sense we are all hypocrites because we go to church and sing songs about giving everything for Jesus, then we go home and don’t. Or we sing songs about going into all the world and teaching the gospel, then we go home and don’t. Or we talk about the importance of praying for everyone around us and their loved ones, then we go home and don’t.

Perhaps Jesus was the biggest hypocrite of them all because he, who never, ever sinned, took the blame for your sins and went through excruciating body and soul death in your place.

Oh, my Lord Jesus, how can I worship you enough? How can I thank you enough? How can my spirit touch your holiness?  I am weak and need you.

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PAUL: THE UNSTOPPABLE.  No one could stop him from cursing, jailing and torturing Christians.  Then Jesus got hold of him and he joined the camp of the enemy.  Once again, no one could stop him.  Not any of the beatings he endured, and going hungry, and being thrown into the sea and being stripped by thieves and being stoned until he was supposed to be dead.  For years he dared anyone to stop him from telling people the truth about Jesus and save their souls.  People hated him for it.  But always, in the midst of torture, he would shout, “Jesus!  This is for you!”  To  BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this:  https://bit.ly/3fw2mlA

Book 2 ~ Paul: The Unstoppable

 

I lift up the eyes of my heart and see you afar off

I praise you, my Lord and God, full to overflowing with power and might and glory. No one has power except what you give. No one has truth except what you grant. No one has life except what you provide. Without you there is no light and life, no love or truth. I lift up the eyes of my heart and see you afar off.  I lift up the eyes of my soul and feel you next to me. I am in awe of you. You deserve all worship.

Thank you, Jesus, for coming to show me how to live and how to die. You were stubborn in your love. You insisted on never denying the truth. You insisted on standing when everyone wanted you to fall. Someday if times come to that, grant me the privilege of dying for you just as you did for me. With you, death is but a door to real, true life. I fall at your feet unworthy of your undying love.

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STEPHEN: UNLIKELY MARTYR tells of a 17-year-old who runs away when his best friend is crucified for what they had done together.  By the end of the book he is a 28-year-old deacon in the church with wife, children, miraculous powers and everything to live for. What makes him walk into the Sanhedrin’s chambers knowing he will never leave them alive?  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….https://bit.ly/2XBFXvJ

Book 7 ~ Stephen: Unlikely Martyr

 

Faithful to my descendants

Jehovah God, your Master Plan of saving us from Satan and hell is perfect and grand.  It will continue, no matter how much we humans and Satan fight it. It will be carried out to the glorious end. Your will shall be carried out because you have the strongest will of all ~ love, justice, mercy. You shall win over Satan and hell and take me safely home to heaven. I am overwhelmed. I worship at your feet.

Thank you, Lord, for all those who have gone before me in the faith. People like Abraham and Joseph and Elijah who stood alone to believe in and follow you. Thank you for the apostles, their hard work, and enduring terrible pain when they were slowly killed rather than deny you.  Thank you for Christians around the world who believed in you, even when the other people in their countries ~ China, India, Africa, Europe ~ did not. Thank you for those who stood up against changing your rules, even though it meant being burned at the stake. Thank you for my own ancestors, some of whom were loyal to you to the very end. May I follow their example and be a faithful Christian ancestor to my descendants.

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STEPHEN: UNLIKELY MARTYR had always loved God and wanted to show Him to unbelievers. He tried everything he knew to do, but everything seemed to backfire.  Then he met Jesus. He escorted desperate widows in Cyrene to live in Jerusalem.  There he was made a deacon.  His messages were powerful, his miracles unbelievable.  The church grew.  He had everything to live for.  How could he have given it all up?  He knew when he entered their chambers he would not come out alive. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….  https://bit.ly/StephenUnlikelyMartyr

Book 7 ~ Stephen: Unlikely Martyr

Jesus! This is for you!

The scripture for today, December 12 (12/12), is 2nd Corinthians 12:12 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“The things that mark an Apostle ~ signs, wonders, and miracles ~ were done among you with great perseverance.”

This is so interesting. These are not things that mark Christians in general, but the Apostles.

Jesus told his Apostles that, when they taught the world about Jesus and baptized them, miracles and signs would accompany the believers (Mark 16:17). The miracles and signs followed conversions of believers by the Apostles to whom he was speaking.

Acts 3:6f and 9:40f involved healing by the Apostle Peter, and Acts 20:9f involved healing by the Apostle Paul, which they performed to prove their words were the Words of God.

In Acts 6:5-6, the Apostles laid their hands on seven men to serve the church in a special way. Of those men, Stephen performed miracles (6:8), and Philip performed miracles (8:5-7), both to prove their words were the Words of God.

In Romans 1:1,11, the Apostle Paul said he wanted to visit the Christians in Rome so he could impart some spiritual gift. In 1st Corinthians 1:6-7, the Apostle Paul said he imparted spiritual gifts to Christians in Corinth.

We have no examples in the New Testament of anyone other than an Apostle passing on the power to perform miracles. Even the writings of the “Apostolic Fathers” in the late 1st and early 2nd century say things like “Even down to those times there were a few miracles being performed including raising the dead.”

Yes, the reason for the miracles was to prove the words of the miracle performer were the Words of God (which had not yet been written down). It was this way with Jesus, and this way with his Apostles. Now that we have the New Testament (Jesus’ and His Apostles’ teachings in written form), we no longer need the miracles.

They were “marks of an Apostle.” The miracles including, healing, renewing the maimed (making limbs grow back), and bringing people back to life. All of them.

Interesting, isn’t it?

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PAUL: THE UNSTOPPABLE is a mega novel about this apostle’s life and how it might have been beginning with his youth as an accomplished athlete and ending in a dank prison cell doubled over with pain from all the beatings he had endured through the decades.   Traveling thousands of miles on foot, he encounters people of numerous tongues and gods who have to be convinced the God of Paul is the only God. As pagan priests, fearing losing their jobs, beat him, he cries out, “Jesus!  This is for you!”  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….  https://bit.ly/UnstoppablePaul

Book 2 ~ Paul: The Unstoppable

Shhh. Listen. God is calling you.

The scripture for today, January 11 (1/11), is 2nd Peter 1:11 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“And you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

How often do you forget that earth is not your home? As an old gospel song says, “We’re just traveling through.” Do you really believe that?

If someone told you tomorrow you were going to die, would you go into a panic? Would you beg God to let you live another ten or twenty years? Would you feel this was the beginning of the end?

To a true Christian, your dying is the end of the beginning. You have a whole “life” ahead of you in heaven. A never-ending life. Do you live like you believe it? Will you die looking forward to it?

Are you even a Christian yet? What is your life like? Do you even know what is in the Bible, God’s messages to you? Does the thought of heaven sound boring to you?  Do you even like God?

Stop and listen to the empty place in your heart (Ecclesiastes. 3:11).  Do you hear it?  Shhh.  Listen…  God is calling you.

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STEPHEN: UNLIKELY MARTYR tells the story of a cowardly 17-year-old who would give his life as a sacrifice for others eleven years later.  What happened in between to this young man who tried everything to get idol worshipers around him to pay attention to God, but who always failed?  What happened to this young deacon who finally found the way by following Jesus with wife, children and everything to live for?  Why did he enter the Sanhedrin’s chambers, knowing what he had to say would be his death sentence?  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….  https://bit.ly/StephenUnlikelyMartyr

 

Book 7 ~ Stephen: Unlikely Martyr

 

Those little churches

The scripture for today, November 21 (11/21), is Acts 11:21 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.”

What had just happened? Some Christians in Phoenecia (today’s Lebanon), Cyprus (the Mediterranean Island), and Cyrene (in today’s North Africa) went to Antioch, a major city in Northern Syria near the southern border of today’s Turkey. There they established a congregation.

This little congregation ended up being the home congregation of Paul and Barnabas for many years. It started small; we don’t know the size it grew to. Regardless of the size, it had foresight and Eventually, did great things.

Perhaps you live in a town full of churches, but you’ve compared them with the New Testament, and none of them follows the original pattern. Perhaps you have even given up going to church because of this problem. What is stopping you from beginning a little congregation after the New Testament pattern in your home?

New Testament churches were simple ~ not elaborate like those mega-churches out there. And those simple churches have always been dynamic in their simplicity. Who knows but that your new little congregation will someday produce a Paul or a Barnabas….

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PAUL: THE UNSTOPPABLE traveled thousands of miles over 20+ years preaching to people who didn’t want preached to, establishing congregations where pagan temples prevails, offering his already-shredded back to the whips of religious leaders.  One man after reading this historical novel said, “Wow!  Oh, Wow!”  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….https://bit.ly/UnstoppablePaul

Book 2 ~ Paul: The Unstoppable

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