It’s THAT Day Again!!

Pray4

TODAY’S DAILY PRAYER

a green leaf with a red border and brown spotsTo have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1, TEV

Lord our God, we come to you in community of faith and trust, in expectation that you will act. May our hearts be strengthened in all the pain and in all the conflicts of our world. Reveal your will, Almighty God, and protect those you have appointed as our leaders and rulers. Let your will be made plain to them. O Lord God, help your people in these times and give them strength to wait expectantly for what is good, to live and serve in this expectation. Grant your help to all who strive for this. We can all tell of the help that comes from you, for you always support us with your power, also in hard times. Amen.

Daily Dig

Caffeine for your conscience

TODAY’S DAILY DIG

mushroomsbrownRealize that to know Christ you must lead a dying life. The more you die to yourself, the more you will live unto God. You will never enjoy heavenly things unless you are ready to suffer hardship for Christ. Nothing is more acceptable to God, nothing more helpful for you on this earth. When there is a choice to be made, take the narrow way. This alone will make you more like Christ.

 

 

Verse of the Day

Inspirational illustration of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Want to know something you can do that will please God? Rejoice in his grace. Pray for others. Give thanks for your blessings. It’s simply something that he wants us to do.

My Prayer…

Heavenly Father and Almighty God, I am thrilled at the very thought of being your child. Abba Father, please hear my prayer of concern for several people who are on my heart today… Loving God, thank you so much for the blessings you pour into my life each day. In Jesus’ holy name I pray. Amen.

 

 

BIBLE STUDY BUDDY

Image result for 1 Timothy 6:5

Read 1 Timothy 6:1-11..

All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2. Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves.

These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4. they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5. and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

6. But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

11. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
1 Timothy 6:5

v1-5 Christians were not to suppose that religious knowledge, or Christian privileges, gave them any right to despise heathen masters, or to disobey lawful commands, or to expose their faults to others. And such as enjoyed the privilege of living with believing masters, were not to withhold due respect and reverence, because they were equal in respect to religious privileges, but were to serve with double diligence and cheerfulness, because of their faith in Christ, and as partakers of his free salvation. We are not to consent to any words as wholesome, except the words of our Lord Jesus Christ; to these we must give unfeigned consent. Commonly those are most proud who know least; for they do not know themselves. Hence come envy, strife, railings, evil-surmisings, disputes that are all subtlety, and of no solidity, between men of corrupt and carnal minds, ignorant of the truth and its sanctifying power, and seeking their worldly advantage. 

Great Gain…

Over the past 15 years, a New Jersey businessman has anonymously given away more than $600 million to universities, medical centers, and other beneficiaries. When a legal complication forced him to reveal his identity, he explained his generosity by saying, ”Nobody can wear two pairs of shoes at one time. I simply decided I had enough money.”

A friend of the donor described him as a man who doesn’t own a house or a car, flies economy class, wears a $15 watch, and ”didn’t want his money to crush him.”

Few people seem able to treat their resources as a servant instead of a master. It seems so natural and sensible to grasp rather than to give. Even as followers of Christ, we may mistakenly believe that ”godliness is a means of gain” (1 Tim. 6:5).

To counter that dangerous mindset, the apostle Paul wrote, ”Godliness with contentment is great gain. . . . And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (vv.6,8). Contentment, according to one observer, ”is not an economic quality but a spiritual attainment. It is not a state of accounts but a state of heart.”

Are you a confirmed grasper or a contented giver? It will be demonstrated by what you do with what you have.

 

 

November 16
The Fruit and Benefit of Godly Sorrow
We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says:
“In an acceptable time I have heard you,
And in the day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
Therefore
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the LORD Almighty.”
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one. I do not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.
For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.
For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.
Therefore we have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I am not ashamed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting to Titus was found true. And his affections are greater for you as he remembers the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him. Therefore I rejoice that I have confidence in you in everything.
Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. But as you abound in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us-see that you abound in this grace also.
I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 6:1-8:9
WORSHIP
In my distress I cried to the LORD,
And He heard me.
Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips
And from a deceitful tongue.
Psalm 120:1-2
WISDOM
Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge,
One of those who is surety for debts;
If you have nothing with which to pay,
Why should he take away your bed from under you?
Proverbs 22:26-27

Quote of the Day

“The physical suffering of Jesus began in the Garden of Gethsemane on the evening before His crucifixion.”
~John Barnett (from “can someone sweat drops of blood?”)

Today’s Answer

Should Christians Attend Church?
Hank Hanegraaff

I have often said that walking into a church doesn’t make you a christian any more than walking into a garage makes you a car. Attending church does not save us, nor does anything else we do. We are saved by grace, through faith, on account of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone. This truth encapsulates how we are justified before God–in other words, how we are forgiven of all sin and declared righteous in the sight of our holy and merciful Creator. It follows then that a genuine believer will not lose his or her salvation by failing to go to church.

However, the Scriptures also teach that the Christian life should be lived within the context of the family of God (Ephesians 3:4Acts 2:1) and not in isolation. Hebrews 10 clearly tells us “not to neglect the gathering of ourselves together as is the custom of some” (Hebrews 10:25). Indeed, I cannot conceive of a true Christian not wanting to gather together regularly with fellow believers to worship the Lord through the sacraments and receive His Word through preaching.

Of course, our discussion presupposes the importance of being vitally connected not just to any group that claims the name of Christ, but to a healthy, well-balanced church that honors the historical and biblical Jesus. Such a church, first of all, worships God through prayer, praise, and the proclamation of the Word in the context of the essential teachings of the historic christian faith.

These essentials include the final authority of Scripture, the Trinity, the full deity and humanity of Christ, the substitutionary atoning death of Christ, the bodily resurrection of Christ, salvation by grace alone through faith, and so forth. As well, a true church soundly administers the sacraments. Furthermore, fellowship should be an integral part of a faithful church’s construct, where people come not only to give but also to use their time, talent, and treasure for the edification of the body. Finally, a healthy, well-balanced church equips and encourages people to go out and impact the world for Christ.

Originally published as “must christians attend church?” (used by permission).

 

 

Remember Those In Prison

Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison…  Hebrews 13:3a

As we see in Hebrews chapter 12, once we “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus,” we will be aware of how we should then live. The writer now turns to the issue of remembering those in prison.

Matta Boush, an outspoken evangelist in South Sudan was arrested on political charges under questionable circumstances. He was given a sentence of thirty years at a local military prison. Many people around the world prayed for him… and his family at home.

He asked prison authorities for permission to hold prayer meetings. At first they declined, saying, “We already have a mosque; you should go there.” But Boush persisted and eventually the authorities relented. For the first prayer meeting, only six people showed up. In a few weeks, more people were going to the prayer meeting than the mosque.

A few years later, he was transferred to another city prison. As he had in the first prison, he asked for, and received permission to conduct prayer meetings. Again he was told to limit his work to non-Muslims, yet as he continued to minister to non-Muslims, they, in turn would talk to Muslims. The result was that during his five years of ministry in that prison, he helped lead between 150 and 200 people to Christ.

Transferred again to another prison, he was able to help build a prison chapel there. After several months, prison officials told him that he did not really belong in prison, so he was given the freedom to leave the prison by day and return by night. Boush was glad to get out and meet with friends he had in Khartoum, but soon he realized that he could not effectively witness to his fellow prisoners if he had freedoms they were denied. He told the prison officials he would no longer go out. He knew it was not God’s time.

Later, he was offered private air-cooled sleeping quarters (summer temperatures exceed 100º F). But Bousch’s most productive time for witnessing was at night, so he declined the offer. He saw fruit for denying his own comfort to do what he felt God was calling him to do. In ten months, 200 more people came to the Lord in the prison.

Without warning, he was one day released early and returned to his family. Matta Boush’s enemies had hoped to steal his life from him by throwing him into prison, but God had given him a true “life” sentence; to share the hope of eternal life that comes through Jesus Christ.

RESPONSE: Today I will keep my eyes fixed on Jesus remembering to identify with my brothers and sisters in prison for their faith.

PRAYER: Lord, meet the needs of Christians in prison for You today around the world. Help them to glorify You in their situation. Bless their family members waiting patiently at home.

 

November 16

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.–ISA. xxvi. 3.

What comforts, Lord, to those are given,
Who seek in Thee their home and rest!
They find on earth an opening heaven,
And in Thy peace are amply blest.
W. C. DESSLER.

God is a tranquil Being, and abides in a tranquil eternity. So must thy spirit become a tranquil and clear little pool, wherein the serene light
of God can be mirrored. Therefore shun all that is disquieting and distracting, both within and without. Nothing in the whole world is worth the loss of thy peace; even the faults which thou hast committed should only humble, but not disquiet thee. God is full of joy, peace, and happiness. Endeavor then to obtain a continually joyful and peaceful spirit. Avoid all anxious care, vexation, murmuring, and melancholy, which darken thy soul, and render thee unfit for the friendship of God. If thou dost perceive such feelings arising, turn gently away from them.
G. TERSTEEGEN.

 

TODAY‘S

Christian Quote

Everyone wants to change, but change demands desire and discipline before it becomes delightful. There is always the agony of choice before the promise of change.

– Larry Lea
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A Prayer to Celebrate God’s Good Gifts in Us

By Suzie Eller

“‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.’” John 1:48 (NIV)

When my brothers were small, they’d often tiptoe into my room and climb in bed with me at night. Home was hard at that time for all of us. We found sanctuary as we huddled close, and I told stories.

“Say a word,” I’d prompt.

“Dragon!” one little brother whispered.

“Forest,” said my other little brother.

Off we went on an adventure, as I wove a story about a fierce dragon caught in a forest, with two sweet boys hanging on every word.

I didn’t know it back then, but storytelling was a gift God placed in my heart. It wasn’t just a knack for telling stories, but something He would use for His purpose. On the nights when my little brothers and I snuggled in for a good story, He used my gift to calm their anxious hearts.

Little did I know God would continue to use this throughout my life.

Likewise, Jesus knew a thing or two about gifting and purpose.

In John 1, we find Jesus in Galilee. Nathanael is walking toward Him, and Jesus calls out, telling all within hearing distance that Nathanael is a good man.

“‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked.

“Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.’”

Long before they met in person, Jesus knew all about Nathanael. He knew of his character. He knew his giftings. He knew this man had a purpose.

Jesus knows us. Isn’t that incredible?

Years ago, when I was telling stories to my brothers in the midst of a chaotic home life, I didn’t know it was a talent God had given me. I didn’t understand — until much later — that Jesus not only recognized those gifts but desired to help me mature them.

Maybe you can point out others’ gifts, but not your own? You don’t always recognize them, or they seem ordinary. Take heart, friend! Jesus recognizes them because His Father put them inside of you.

Nathanael (also known as Bartholomew) went on to become a disciple and friend of Jesus. He traveled across India, Armenia, Ethiopia and Southern Arabia, sharing the gospel and drawing many to Christ. When he encountered Jesus, he stood under a tree minding his own business. As he trusted that Jesus knew him inside and out, it changed the direction of his life.

What gifts are inside of you?

They may seem ordinary, but not to your Creator. He sees your gift of hospitality. He sees your deep compassion. He listens as you create music or string together words with care. He delights that you are good with kids, a dreamer and planner, or that you have a natural ability to lead others.

Jesus sees those gifts, but we also play a part. I was a storyteller, and I could hide that gift away or hold it up to the One who loves me best.

I want to challenge you today …

Acknowledge your gifts, even if they are in the beginning stages.

Hone your gifts, even if there’s a learning curve.

Then, use your gifts to draw others to a Savior who sees and knows them, and loves you as His own.

Jesus sees you, right where you are. He knows you and delights in the gifts unique to you. Hold your gifts up to Him today and trust He’ll use them in ways you may not even comprehend.

Dear Jesus, although my gifting seems small or rough-hewn, I will no longer hide this gift. But instead, I’ll hold it up to You, asking You to use it in ways that delight Your heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Prayer for Thanksgiving Day
By Debbie McDaniel

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness, come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God, it is he who made us, and we are his, we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise, give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good; his love endures forever, his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:1-5

All across our nation, Thanksgiving is a day that we set aside in order to do one thing.

Be thankful.

prayer-for-thanksgiving

And usually what goes along with it, is lots of food, family and friends, laughter and fun, times of giving to others in need, maybe some football, or traditions that you’ve recognized through long years.

And sometimes too, there is also loneliness. And struggle. Or deep loss. Feelings of hurt and painful circumstances that you’re still trying to hurdle over.

Whatever you’re facing this Thanksgiving Day, in the midst of all of it, may we remember again that God gives us the opportunity each and every day, to give worship and thanks to Him. Every morning He gives us breath, is His invitation to come joyfully into His Presence. He reminds us that He alone is God and we belong to Him. He assures us that His plans in our lives are for good, that his love covers us securely, and His faithfulness extends from generation to generation.

No matter what, He’s given us so many reasons to choose thankfulness and joy this day. Let’s do what the Psalmist of this great chapter says:

– Shout for joy.

– Worship the Lord with gladness.

– Come before Him with joyful songs.

– Know that He is God.

– Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.

– Give thanks to Him and praise His name.

– Recognize His goodness, love, and faithfulness, through all the generations of our family.

Dear God,

Thank you for your goodness and for your blessings over our lives. Forgive us for when we don’t thank you enough, for who you are, for all that you do, for all that you’ve given. We’re so grateful you for your amazing love and care, for your mercy and grace, for always working on our behalf, even behind the scenes when we’re unaware. Thank you that you are always with us and will never leave us, even through loss and the most difficult of times. Thank you for your incredible sacrifice so that we might have freedom and life. Help us to set our eyes and our hearts on you afresh. Renew our spirits, fill us with your peace and joy, this Thanksgiving Day and every day.

We give you thanks and praise, for You alone are worthy!

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

 

 

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Can We Still Believe in Life After Death?

Ever met a Sadducee? Me neither.

That’s not surprising considering that the last one died 2,000 years ago. And even back then, there were never very many of them. It was always a very select group, like a club for the very wealthy. If you lived in Jericho, you were much more likely to run into a Pharisee than a Sadducee. They were a very select group with some very strange views.

And that’s part of what makes this story so interesting. It starts with a weird question and ends with a very surprising answer. If we just skim it on the surface, we might assume that it has nothing to say to us in the 21st-century. But we would be wrong about that.

This story presents us with an issue of profound importance. Can we still believe in life after death?

*The Sadducees said no.
*Jesus said yes.

CBS News poll revealed that 78% of Americans believe in life after death.

The most religiously observant Americans are most likely to say there is an afterlife: about nine in 10 of those who attend religious services weekly or almost every week believe in it. This view is shared by seven in 10 of those who rarely or never attend services. Americans of all age groups believe in an afterlife. So do most men and most women.

The poll went a step further and asked if science will ever be able to prove there is life after death. Here the response was even more overwhelming. 8% said yes while 87% said no. That leaves us in a fascinating place.

*Most people believe in life after death.
*Most people believe it will never be proven by science.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of this question. If there is no life after death . . .

*Death really is the end.
*There is no heaven or hell.
*There is no reward or punishment.
*There is no resurrection of the dead.
*There is no purpose to history.

And if there is no life after death, then those of us who believe in Jesus have been profoundly deceived. We are, to borrow a phrase from the Apostle Paul, of all men most to be pitied. If there is no life after death, then we have believed a fairy tale, a nice story that has no real meaning. If there is no life after death, why pray? Why believe? Why live for Jesus? Sometimes I hear well-meaning Christians say, “Even if it’s not true, Christianity is still the best way to live.” Count me out. If it’s not true, then I want no part of it. I know some people say that Christ is so wonderful that even without heaven, it’s good to be a Christian. Listen, if this life is all there is, then what you call “Christ” is just a figment of your imagination. To borrow some words from Shakespeare’s Macbeth:

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

So is there life after death? Thousands of years ago Job raised the same question. “If a man dies, will he live again?” (Job 14:14). That is the question, isn’t it? We all die, but what then?

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
Is that all there is?

And that brings us to our text, an encounter that took place two or three days before Jesus was crucified. It is Tuesday or perhaps Wednesday of Passion Week. Jesus has come to Jerusalem for the final time. Pilgrims crowd the city in anticipation of Passover. Because of his rising popularity with the people, the Jewish leaders have already decided to find a way to put Jesus to death. Knowing that his time is short, Jesus takes every opportunity to confront evil and to present himself to the people so they can decide whether or not to follow him. Everywhere he goes, crowds gather to listen as he debates the religious leaders of that day. Mostly he deals with the Pharisees who were the largest religious group in Judea.

But on one occasion he faced off against the Sadducees who were very much unlike the Pharisees. Luke 20:27-40 tells us what happened when they came to him with an absurd question about a woman with seven husbands. From Jesus’ answer we learn a great deal about life after death.

I. The Sadducees’ Insincere Question   

In order to get a handle on the strange question they asked, we need to know something about the Sadducees. They were not the Pharisees. In fact, the Sadducees and the Pharisees were two different groups of Jewish leaders who had no use for each other. The Sadducees came from a small group of aristocratic families that represented the “old money” of the Jewish nation. As such, they tended to congregate around the temple in Jerusalem. You could find the Sadducees in the priesthood and in the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council. Because they were sticklers for law and order, the common people didn’t like them. And because they collaborated with Rome, they had power and influence.

When you think of the Sadducees, you need to know what they didn’t believe.

They didn’t believe in angels.
They didn’t believe in heaven or hell.
They didn’t believe in life after death.
They didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead.
They didn’t believe in the immortality of the soul.

The Pharisees believed in all those things, which was a major reason why the two groups didn’t get along. In 21st-century terms, the Sadducees would be like today‘s religious liberals who don’t believe in the supernatural. It was a rich man’s religion that offered power with no accountability to God. You live, you die, and that’s it.

Jesus was a direct threat to all they believed.

This passage is notable because it records their only direct run-in with Jesus. By definition a Sadducee couldn’t become a follower of Jesus without giving up what he believed. So that’s why they came with a question that seemed absurd in that day and sounds ridiculous in our day.

“Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. The second and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. Finally, the woman died too. Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?” (vv. 28-33).

This is not a sincere question. It’s obviously a made-up situation designed to trap the Lord and discredit him in front of the crowds that followed him during his final days in Jerusalem. The Sadducees intended to ridicule the doctrine of the resurrection. They often used questions like this to tie the Pharisees in knots.

In order to understand the question, we need to go back to Deuteronomy 25:5-10 which describes the law of levirate marriage. Because of the importance of preserving the family name, the law provided for the brother of a man who died childless to marry the widow and have children in the name of the deceased brother. It was a sacred obligation.

So the question is, after she marries seven brothers, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? In her case, Jesus’ answer was reassuring. Besides saying in essence, “That’s a stupid question,” Jesus says there is no marriage in the resurrection. She was probably happy about that. Seven husbands is plenty-and probably a few too many. The good news is, she won’t be married to seven men at the same time. The Sadducees framed the question precisely so we would laugh about it.

“Maybe she’ll be married to the first one.”
“Or the last one.
“Or the best-looking one.”
“Or the one with the most money.”

You could imagine the snickers in the crowd. The point is, you can’t say for sure whose wife she will be. The Sadducees used questions like this to show what they considered to be the absurdity of believing in life after death.

But behind the question lay an important (and wrong) assumption that the afterlife is only a continuation of this life. People often wrongly assume that eternity is nothing but the extrapolation of time into the future. They think the conditions in the age to come are the same as the conditions here. But that is not the case. In this life things are so messed up that we can’t imagine how God can straighten them out. But as someone said, “God has an eternity to make right what has gone wrong in this life.”

So the question, though insincere, does raise some important issues regarding what heaven will be like. And the answer is, it won’t be exactly the same as life on earth.

That’s good news-even if we don’t totally understand it all.

 

Devotionals Daily: A Year with Jesus

Jesus Lives
by Sarah Young

I want to make your life a glorious adventure, but you must stop striving for a lifestyle that feels safe. I know how ambivalent your heart is in all of this: You long for the adventure that a life abandoned to Me can be, and at the same time, you cling to old ways because change frightens you. Though you feel safest when your life is predictable and things seem to be under control, I want you to break free and discover the adventures I have planned for you.

The greatest adventure of all is knowing Me abundantly: discoveringhow wide and long and high and deep is My Love for you. The power of My vast Love can feel overwhelming. That is why many people choose to limit their knowledge of Me, keeping Me at a distance. How this grieves Me! People settle for mediocrity because it feels more comfortable. Meanwhile, they continue to battle fear. Only My Love is strong enough to break the hold that fear has on you. A predictable lifestyle may feel safer, but it can shield you from what you need most of all—Me!

When unexpected events shake up your routines, rejoice. This is exactly what you need, to wake you up and point you toward Me. Recognize that you are on the threshold of a new adventure, and that I will be with you each step of the way. As we venture out together, cling tightly to My hand. The more you abandon yourself to Me, the more exuberantly you can experience My Love.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.-Ephesians 3:17–18

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.

The one who fears is not made perfect in love.-1 John 4:18

My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. –Psalm 63:8

© 2009 by Sarah Young

 

Grief Not Allowed

I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. – >John 16:20

In our culture, it seems more acceptable for us to be angry than sad. Consequently, many of us stumble through life without understanding our feelings, completely out of touch with our emotions. We may be deeply grieved by a number of circumstances, but we don’t feel safe acknowledging our sadness. It’s socially “okay” for them to vent their anger, but not to explore and discuss the deep hurt beneath it.

When you feel sad, anger seems like a safe retreat. It causes your adrenaline to rush. It commands attention and demands respect. It allows you to stay in control, and it keeps uncomfortable feelings and situations at a safe distance. However your failure to grieve can actually poison you.

The Bible offers no precedent for us to suppress our grief. The Old Testament depicts many people showing real grief. The men of Israel would rip their clothes, sprinkle themselves with ashes, wear black armbands, and spend time in mourning.  They would wail before the Lord without feeling shame.

That experience allowed them to express their emotions and then move on without the baggage of repressed feelings. When we don’t grieve, we stuff our disappointments and sadnesses, and compensate for them with other less-threatening emotions, and at the top of the list is anger.  But Scripture gives you liberty to grieve, so when you need to, openly grieve!

“To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness.” – Erich Fromm (1900-1980)

 

The Daily Word of Hope Devotional

Bible Fun Fact: There was a king in Egypt named: So (2 Kings 17:4).

Get Me To The Church On Time

The children of Israel did that which was evil in Yahweh’s sight, and forgot Yahweh their God, and served the Baals and the Asheroth. Judges 3:7 WEB

Centuries ago, when it was time to go to church, there was an excitement in the air, and no one wanted to stay home. It was a convenient religion. Baal was the god of materialism and money, while Asheroth was the god of sex and fertility. Molech was the god of fire.

Worshipping these gods often involved extravagant drunken orgies. You were ‘required’ to sleep with prostitutes, each other’s spouses, as well as man to man and woman to woman. This often produced unwanted pregnancies and the offspring were conveniently burned as a sacrifice to Molech (Leviticus 18:21).

I used to read the Bible and wonder how people could worship idols like this. It just sounded so foreign and distant to me. Then as I grew older, the Lord revealed to me that it is still rampant today. Thousands of years later, most of the world still chase these same gods and Christians are not immune. It seems to be our default mode, when not actively seeking God. Lust, adultery, immorality, the love of money, abortion, and so much more. You don’t have to search hard to find all of this alive and well in the church today.

We need to keep Jesus at the center of our life so that He can bring balance to all areas. There is nothing wrong with money or sex, but it cannot be the most important thing in your life or it will become a snare to you. No one can serve two masters, for you will love one and hate the other (Luke 16:13).

There is a way out, and if you have been caught in this trap, start by putting God first in your life every day by beginning your day with prayer. Before long He will begin to guide you out of it and all the other things will fall into place. Don’t forget the Lord your God and begin to unknowingly serve the others, for we are, what we repeatedly do.

Prayer: Heavenly Father I thank You for guiding me and I want to make the most of my life. Please give me grace to flee from things that are bad for me as Joseph did. Forgive me of my past and lead me into a brighter future, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.

 

 

Today’s Scripture

“So they called the two apostles back in and told them that they must never, for any reason, teach anything about the name of Jesus. Peter and John answered, ‘Do you think God wants us to obey you or to obey him? We cannot keep quiet about what we have seen and heard.'” Acts 4:18-20 CEV

Thoughts for Today

Yesterday we talked about Paul’s eagerness to share the gospel. Today’s scripture describes Peter and John’s determination to do the same–even under the threat of persecution. “We cannot keep quiet about what we have seen and heard.”

Why were they so committed to sharing the good news? Their lives had been touched by Jesus. They KNEW that he was their long-awaited Messiah. They KNEW that he died and rose again. They KNEW that salvation could only come through him. They KNEW that all who trusted in him would be saved. And they were excited about what they knew. They could not keep quiet about what they had seen and heard.

Consider this …

How about us? If our lives have been touched by Jesus … if we know that he is the Messiah, the Son of God, our Savior … if we know that salvation can only come through him … if we know that all who trust in him will be saved … are we so excited that we cannot keep quiet?

Sadly, we are often lacking this great motivation to share the gospel. We might let busyness and distractions deter us. Perhaps fear slows us down. Maybe we’ve lost that first love and excitement.

Let us pray that whatever is deterring us … we will set it aside and focus on Jesus … that our fervor will be restored … and that we can join Peter in declaring, “We cannot keep quiet about what we have seen and heard.”

Prayer

Lord, I know I’ve lost some of my zeal about sharing the gospel with others. My priorities have jumbled. I haven’t focused on you as I should. Even though I believe I’ve been doing good things, I’ve let the busyness distract me from sharing your message with the lost. Please forgive me and fill me with a fresh excitement and eagerness to talk about what I have seen and heard. In Jesus’ name …

 

The Ultimate Franchise
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
November 16, 2017

And He said unto them, How is it that ye sought Me? Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business? Luke 2:49 KJV

Earth is God’s business. He has set up many franchises (churches) designed to send His representatives (Body of Christ) into the world to make known the best product ever given to mankind (Jesus). His branch managers (pastors) have been given the responsibility to teach and support those in the field. God’s goal is to establish a franchise in every nation, state, and city. It is the ultimate business because when you introduce someone to His product (Jesus), you receive a reward from the home office (Heaven). God has promised that His representatives will have all the tools and customer support needed to accomplish their strategic plans.

Jesus knew that He was to be about His Father’s business. He knew He was sent to earth not to enjoy the pleasures of lowly man, but to accomplish a task for which He alone was sent. When He had accomplished His mission, He was to entrust this mission to other representatives into whom He poured His life for three years. This field training allowed Jesus to mentor, model, befriend, and demonstrate firsthand the model for a successful business to be launched and sustained.

God has big plans for His franchise. He wants every human being to partake of His product; however, even God knows that not everyone will. Nevertheless, this does not thwart His efforts in seeking to make it known among His audience.

You have been called to be part of the ultimate franchise. How many new recruits have you been responsible for bringing into the franchise lately?

 

Passion for Praise: ‘Your Great Power’

Thursday, November 16, 2017

“We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign.”

Music Life
And what song does MY heart play?  Well, today it’s playing a slow, uneasy waltz……I can’t seem to catch my breath over the last few days……my Cardiologist, a new one since my long-time one decided that he needed a “change of scenery”…..well, she thinks it’s my blood pressure and it’s too low?  Well, I’ve been checking it myself and it’s fine, so what is causing my latest problem?  I’ll have to pray over it…..
Yourself
Could this be it?  Just when I thought I had this trouble “licked”, could it be returning to cause me further agony?
Just-let-things-play-out-quote
This still scares me…….
The Word
Thank You, Lord!!
Never Doubt
Love comes from MY heart……..it always will…..no matter how I’m treated, or MIStreated, I will never stop loving each and every one of them!!  I have decided to send the cards to them…….maybe late, and with no letters……just to let them know that they have a Mother (still) who forgives and still loves them…….
Throwbacklogo
Memories….

 

God bless you all!!!!

 

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