Silly Saturday or Sabbath Saturday?

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Daily Prayer for June 30

Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” Matthew 11:25, NIV

Lord our God, we thank you for your Word, which is light and strength to us. We thank you for all you give us. We thank you that we may be counted among the simple-hearted, among the children. We do not want to be anything great in the world. We want only to be with you as your children, helpless little children, watched over by you, the Creator and Father of all. Grant us your blessing. Help us in all that is good and right, also in our daily work, so that we can be your children and do what you have commanded. May your name be honored at all times, your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us the wrong we have done as we forgive those who have wronged us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

TODAY’S DAILY DIG

birchleavesPut your sword back! These are the last words – a definitive rebuke – the disciples hear from Jesus before they run away. If ever there was a moment in God’s eyes when violence would be justifiable, this is it! But Jesus is clear: Put your sword back! His followers are not allowed to respond with violence. They are not allowed to kill. They are not allowed to harm others. They are not allowed to threaten others. They are not permitted to “deter” violent crime with the use of violence.

Source: Jesus the Rebel

 

 

 

Verse of the Day

Inspirational illustration of Zechariah 14:9

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus taught us to pray for the day that the LORD would be The recognized King over all the earth. We look forward to that, because our faith will be shown true and the LORD himself will be glorified as he should be. In a world of profanity, a world where God’s name is blasphemed, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that he is not only LORD Yahweh, but he is also incomparable without rival, that his name is the only name worthy of reverence, honor, and praise.

My Prayer…

Great Almighty LORD, work to bring yourself glory, not only in me, but in your people, and in our time of history. With all my heart I pray for your name to be reverenced in all the earth. Do mighty works that show your control and sovereignty to help your people bring others to call on your name and to praise your grace. In Jesus’ holy and precious name I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

A July 4th Meditation:
“In God We Trust.” Really?
Which God? Trust How?

 

[Editor’s Note: This blog post unpacks the biblical implications of our national motto. It shows how fulfilling its truest meaning is the only hope our nation has at this hour full of intensifying strife among us and nervousness about global upheavals directed at us. As you catch David Bryant’s sense of purposefulness for us through Christ, it will ignite fireworks of faith in your heart, not only on this upcoming Independence Day but also far beyond.]

 

To help you prepare to celebrate our freedom as Americans, let me quote someone who currently has no freedom.

His name is Newton Francis. He has spent many years and has many to go as an inmate at one of America’s best-known maximum-security prisons. What he did to be remanded there was tragic. What’s happened to him since arriving, however, has been glorious!

Now fully devoted to Jesus Christ, Newton helps give leadership to one of the most phenomenal “Christ Awakening movements” anywhere in our nation—inside a penitentiary! (That’s a whole other story.) Among many accomplishments, this brother (whom I’ve known for years) just published his first book, The Prisoner’s Hope Personal Bible—and it’s all about Jesus.

This week he wrote me with fresh insights about our national motto, “In God We Trust.” I want to share some of them with you. Then I’d like to pass along additional reflections Newton stirred up in me about the motto.

This blog post is meant to enrich your 2018 celebrations of this Fourth of July—by focusing on how the Lord Jesus can bring us as a nation into the fullest implications of our motto in order for America to truly realize the destiny God wants for her.

 

 

 

 

What an Audacious Claim
for Any Nation to Make!

 

Listen to what Newton (his friends call him Carl) thinks about the claim we state on all our money:

What would move a nation with such bold authority as to inscribe on its currency, “In God We Trust”? No mystery—this is the working power of God himself inspiring a nation that He is the sole source of their revenue. You can’t find a dollar without finding God. This currency penetrates the nations where the Bible is refused and banned, with resounding testimony of a whole nation: “In God We Trust”! We have nothing for Caesar. All we have belongs to God. How humbling a way for a nation to honor its Creator.

He’s right, you know. Never in history has any other nation (other than ancient Israel) dared to assume such a claim about its entire population. How did this come about?

Although at different points in our history the phrase had been incorporated into hymns and patriotic songs, “In God We Trust” was voted into law as the official motto of the United States in 1956 because of the ominous threat of atheistic Communism during the Cold War at mid-20th century. It was a unanimous Joint Resolution of the 84th Congress, signed by President Dwight Eisenhower. It declared that as our national motto, the words must appear on all American currency, both paper and coin. Shortly after, these words were placed above the dais in the House chamber (between the clock and flag).

All of that is well and good—and positive.

Yet, the very wording forces me to ask two prior questions:

1. Out of all the deities on planet earth, including a colorful array worshipped in our own land, which god are we being called to trust in? Does knowing this make any difference concerning our strength and fate as a people?

2. Once we settle that question, what are we to trust this god for? In fact, what does “trust” really mean for a whole nation? Is it something we as Americans even know how to do?

My initial thoughts follow. I would enjoy hearing from you about how you might answer these same two questions.

 

 

 

 

 

WHO Do You Trust?

 

Beyond question, when it came to “God,” our Founding Fathers—including most of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence—held to a vague, remote, providential personality. He was veiled in mystery, responsible for the creation of the cosmos, designer of the human race, generally in charge of the outworking of nature and history, and willing at times to intervene in the affairs of peoples.

Thus, they concluded that among the “laws of nature” built into running his universe was the principle that all humans are equal by virtue of having the same Creator—equal in terms of three indisputable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Beyond that, it was anybody’s guess. John Adams saw God as a stern, New England, Old Testament-shaded Being. Thomas Jefferson saw him as merely a benevolent force, which is why he literally used scissors to cut out of the four Gospels everything (like all the miracles) that showed Jesus to be anything more than a wise and determined social reformer. In his first inaugural address, George Washington portrayed God as “Divine Providence” (leaving a lot to the imagination as to what that might include).

By the time we get to Abraham Lincoln, “God” had pretty much distilled into the personage envisioned by most Americans today—a generic though semi-personable, intelligent but enigmatic sovereign and lofty figurehead for a civil religion readily embraced by most Americans. He was a god to call on at times of national mourning, in the midst of violent war, during annual celebrations, in times of natural disasters.

In his 600-page watershed study, America’s God, Mark Noll, Notre Dame University’s distinguished professor of history, establishes that by the time of the Civil War, the concept of God in our nation, in both the North and South, had been tragically “brought down by the . . . synthesis of Christian theology and American ideology.”

Thus, our national religious overtures have been infected by a sub-biblical view of deity, leaving us with a watered-down concept of the Almighty.

Noll purports that America’s “God” had become merely the prime moral governor, lawgiver, judge, and dispenser of rewards and penalties (not unlike the Islam’s Allah in many ways). He concludes at one point: By the opening year of Lincoln’s presidency, the Christian view of God had essentially been “trivialized” and replaced.

In other words, America’s “God,” our jointly embraced Higher Power, is found to be far off the mark of the claims about God in the New Testament.

Jesus nails the difference for us in John 14:

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him . . . Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? (emphasis added).

Scores of other New Testament writings back up his claim, but there’s not enough space to present them here.

But the conclusion is inescapable:

No Jesus. No God.
Know Jesus. Know God.

It’s that simple. And that profound.

On this 4th of July, we need to come to grips with how pervasive in our land is the concept of a distant, tolerant, shiftshaping, grandfatherly, “generic God” who sits at the head of our national civil religion.

Unwittingly for most, but practically speaking, day to day this is the “God” whom we claim to trust as a people. This is the “God” who adorns our currency.

This brings me to my fundamental premise in this blog post:

If America is to survive and thrive, it will be by divine intervention and reclamation, by the transforming power and grace coming from the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ—the one true God before whom there is no other.

Therefore, for decades now I have called for the only hope we have as a nation:

We must as a people experience a profound, pervasive, Spirit-driven, nationwide awakening to the supremacy and majesty, to the greatness and glory, to the all-sufficient redeeming reign of God’s sovereign, saving Son—Lord of the nations and ruler of the kings of the earth (Revelation 1)—Jesus.

This is the One of whom the Bible says in Colossians 1:15-20 (making him the only hope for America):

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.

He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe . . . get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross (The Message, emphasis added).

 

 

 

Who Do You TRUST?

The dictionary defines TRUST as: “A firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.”

Have you ever experienced anything like the picture above—where you’ve been on a hike in rugged territory and found yourself in a fix with only one option: to reach out, take another’s offer to pull you to safety and trust that person to do what they claim they are able and willing to do? How did it make you feel knowing someone was there for you, in whom you could put total confidence in a moment of helplessness?

On the other hand, have you endured a relationship where you concluded, as in the title of this popular Prince ballad: “Eye Love U But Eye Don’t Trust U Anymore.” Trust can easily be dashed to pieces if it is placed in the wrong person for the wrong reason in the wrong way.

As noted above, when we say, “In God We Trust,” first we need to decide which “God” we’re trusting: What’s his nature? What is he up to? What are his promises? Where is his power? How do we find him and how do we make contact with him? Important questions.

Rather, trust is having “a firm belief” in the totality of who that “God” is and what he offers and then putting ourselves into his hands.

Taking a step further: Trust, as used in our motto, requires a commitment to that “God,” a surrender to what that greater Person is ready to do, a willful abandonment to him—in the way patients submit to a surgeon and his skills as they go under the anesthesia.

Once again, there’s only one totally reliable option to “trust” for true wholeness—for restoration as an individual or as a nation. The Bible brings us back exclusively to the Lord Jesus Christ, who said at the opening verse of that same section of John 14: “Trust in God. Trust also in me.

Fundamentally, Jesus meant one thing. He was saying to all believers—to all Americans who claim to have faith in God—something like this:

You started out trusting God without fully knowing all he is. Now, however, I have been among you and you have been introduced to the fullness of the living God as you’ve grown closer to me, because the Father and I are one—one in essence, in nature, in purpose, in power. So then, take up the trust in God you’ve experienced until now; take it and transfer it and expand it and anchor it in me as God’s Son and your Savior, Lord of all, Hope of the nations, Healer of broken hearts, Fountain of all wisdom, Renovator of the entire universe.

This brings me once again to my fundamental premise in this blog post:

If America is to survive and thrive, it will be by divine intervention and reclamation, by the transforming power and grace coming from the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ—the one true God before whom there is no other.

Therefore, for decades now I have called for the only hope we have as a nation:

We must as a people experience a profound, pervasive, Spirit-driven, nationwide awakening to the supremacy and majesty, to the greatness and glory, to the all-sufficient redeeming reign of God’s sovereign, saving Son—Lord of the nations and ruler of the kings of the earth (Revelation 1)—Jesus.

Our nation must become saturated with the reality of the REAL and TRUE God, who is none other than the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our nation must become saturated with a life of DEPENDENCE and RELIANCE and wholesale COMMITMENT to God’s Son as the One who brings us to the Father, shows us the Father, unleashes upon us the promises of the Father, and carries us forward in the purposes of the Father.

That is just as true for a nation of 360 million other Americans as it is for each one of us who can say, “this land is my land.”

 

 

 

Turn This “Independence Day” Into
the Beginning of “DEPENDENCE Day” for You!

Take five minutes—or more!—on July 4th to pray for nothing less in this hour than a nationwide Christ Awakening movement that will awaken and revolutionize our churches first of all and then spread across our whole land, beginning with a fresh encounter with the wonders of God’s Son in your own life.

Then take time to ponder the words from the radical Christ proclaimer, Martin Luther, in his introduction to his commentary on the Book of Romans:

TRUST in Christ is a living, creative, active and powerful thing. . . . It is a bold TRUST in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favor in Christ that it would risk death a thousand times TRUSTING in Christ. Such confidence and knowledge make you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, while you love and praise the God who has shown you such grace through his Son (emphasis added).

What if this approach became the way of life
for every American who claims that
“In God We Trust”?

Again, I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on this topic.

 

 

About the Author

Over the past 40 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly a minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI), and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and to Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ-awakening movements. Order his widely read books at DavidBryantBooks.com

 

 

 

<em>Christian heroes and martyrs</em> | William A. Foster | The Library of Congress

First Martyrs of the Church of Rome

Saint of the Day for June 30

(d. 64)

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/SODJun30.mp3

 

First Martyrs of the Church of Rome’s Story

There were Christians in Rome within a dozen or so years after the death of Jesus, though they were not the converts of the “Apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 15:20). Paul had not yet visited them at the time he wrote his great letter in 57-58 A.D.

There was a large Jewish population in Rome. Probably as a result of controversy between Jews and Jewish Christians, the Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome in 49-50 A.D. Suetonius the historian says that the expulsion was due to disturbances in the city “caused by the certain Chrestus” [Christ]. Perhaps many came back after Claudius’ death in 54 A.D. Paul’s letter was addressed to a Church with members from Jewish and Gentile backgrounds.

In July of 64 A.D., more than half of Rome was destroyed by fire. Rumor blamed the tragedy on Nero, who wanted to enlarge his palace. He shifted the blame by accusing the Christians. According to the historian Tacitus, many Christians were put to death because of their “hatred of the human race.” Peter and Paul were probably among the victims.

Threatened by an army revolt and condemned to death by the senate, Nero committed suicide in 68 A.D. at the age of 31.


Reflection

Wherever the Good News of Jesus was preached, it met the same opposition as Jesus did, and many of those who began to follow him shared his suffering and death. But no human force could stop the power of the Spirit unleashed upon the world. The blood of martyrs has always been, and will always be, the seed of Christians.

 

 

What Jesus Did! ‘Light to See’

[Jesus said,] “But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.” Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing!

Key Thought

Jesus longs to bring us his blessings. A blessing that we desperately need is the sight to see things as they are and to be able to discern Jesus’ will and follow it. So often we view obedience as a burden rather than a blessing. However, Jesus wants to bless us through our obedience just as he blessed the blind man. Obeying him, doing what he sends us to do, brings a much greater blessing than any perceived burden it might entail.

Today’s Prayer

O gracious and generous Father, please make my heart pliable and open to your truth. Help me move from merely understanding your will to obeying it with joy and expectation. Forgive me for being reluctant to obey when I do not fully understand why you want me to do something. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

Quotemeal: Jun. 30th, 2018

Illustration of Tim Storey — "Somebody is waiting on the other side of your obedience."

 

 

 

header-devo-broadcast-02.png

An Impossible Promise

Ah, Lord God! It is you who has made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.
Jeremiah 32:17

At the very time when the Chaldeans surrounded Jerusalem, and when the sword, famine, and pestilence had desolated the land, Jeremiah was commanded by God to purchase a field and have the deed of transfer legally sealed and witnessed. This was a strange purchase for a rational man to make. Caution could not justify it, for it was buying with hardly a probability that the purchaser would ever enjoy the possession. But it was enough for Jeremiah that his God had instructed him, for he knew with certainty that God will be justified of all His children. He reasoned thus: “Lord God, You can make this plot of ground useful to me; You can rid this land of these oppressors; You can make me sit under my vine and my fig-tree in the heritage that I have bought; for You made the heavens and the earth, and there is nothing too hard for You.” There was a majesty in the early saints, who dared to do at God’s command things that human reason would condemn.

Whether it be a Noah who is to build a ship on dry land, an Abraham who is to offer up his only son, a Moses who is to despise the treasures of Egypt, or a Joshua who is to besiege Jericho for seven days, using no weapons but the blasts of trumpets, they all act upon God’s command, contrary to the dictates of human reason; and the Lord gives them a rich reward as the result of their obedient faith. Would to God we had in contemporary Christianity a more potent infusion of this heroic faith in God. If we would venture more upon the naked promise of God, we would enter a world of wonders to which as yet we are strangers. May Jeremiah’s place of confidence become ours—nothing is too hard for the God that created the heavens and the earth.

 

 

National OOTD Day - June 30

NATIONAL OOTD DAY

On June 30, National OOTD Day gives us an opportunity to express ourselves and document our personal style by sharing our Outfit Of The Day.

Fashion and self-expression both play a role in self-confidence. On National OOTD Day, take a few extra minutes getting ready, select the perfect outfit that reflects your outstanding style and put on the perfect smile before taking a selfie. Then let the world know just how much better your day is going to be when you have your OOTD!

HOW TO OBSERVE

Stassi Schroeder shares her personal OOTD style philosophy saying “to take a good hard look at your body and choose your favorite parts. Got ’em? Good.”

  • Create a uniform accentuating your favorite features to develop your personal style.
  • This will become your go-to style.
  • Add accessories, different colors, and textures.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • reddit
  • LinkedIn

“When you have a great outfit on, your day is that much better, and in my opinion, you should honor that feeling with an OOTD! So, if you’re feeling your look, post that OOTD and celebrate what makes you feel good about yourself.”

Use #nationalootdday to share on social media.

HISTORY

Stassi Schroeder founded National OOTD Day on June 30, 2018, to share her OOTD style philosophy.

When you have a great outfit on, your day is that much better, and in my opinion, you should honor that feeling with an OOTD!
Xx, Stassi

The Registrar at National Day Calendar proclaimed National OOTD Day to be observed annually in 2018.

 

Social Media Day June 30

SOCIAL MEDIA DAY

Social Media Day is observed annually on June 30th.  In its short life, social media has redefined how people interact, communicate and share with family, friends and the world.

With the launch of Friendster in 2002 and MySpace in 2003, social media had become mainstream.  Then 2004 brought the founding of the king of social media, Facebook.  Twitter encouraged us to be succinct by posting our thoughts with fewer than 140 characters. We can be social through Instagram and Flickr by sharing all the pictures and videos you love.  And speaking of video, YouTube is the social place for everything from how-to to pop culture to what not to do with your fireworks on the 4th of July.

Social media has made it possible to stay connected and informed about with those important people in our lives.   Reconnecting with classmates, past work associates and more is also a valuable part of social media.  It has also made it possible to connect with ancestors and find relatives you never even knew existed.  Yes, the family tree has become a social media platform as well.   MyHeritage.com and Ancestry.com and many others all supply a social platform where distant family members have the potential to meet and built their family trees.

The internet has long loved food, and social media is no different. Pinterest, Tumblr, and WordPress all make sharing and socializing about the latest food trends accessible and exciting.  This may be the most addicting part of social media.  One moment a picture of a decadent, perfectly golden roast duck comes across your news feed.  In an instant, the complete video detailing how to execute this delicacy in 17 easy steps is provided for you.  One tweet later and you are off to the butcher.  In a Snapchat -Instagram -Tumblr hour you destroy your kitchen and end up with a Pinterest board titled “They Lied.”

HOW TO OBSERVE

Post something on your favorite social media platform.  Find a social media meetup in your area.  Use #SocialMediaDay when posting to remind others of this day.

HISTORY

Social Media Day was founded in 2010 by Mashable.

 

 

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