“10 CENT COKES!”

“Their children will be as in days of old, and their community will be established before me; I will punish all who oppress them.” Jeremiah 30:20 NIV

 
Read:  Jeremiah 30:17-24

 
A dime coke and a nickel’s worth of peanuts was a great snack in those ‘good old days’.   Or maybe, you remember bread for fifteen cents a loaf or gasoline for nineteen cents a gallon.  Mrs. Baird’s bread bakery in 1975 had a customer counter with a row of stools where you could get two slices of toast (right off the bakery line) served with butter and honey for a dime and a cup of coffee for another dime.

According to a recent internet story about the ‘good old days’, we may have selective memory…or maybe even a bad memory with a very active imagination.  Remembering those good old days, do you have a bad memory or a very active imagination?

 

Not all of those good old days were good.  In fact, if you really ponder, some of those good old days were pretty bad and full of regrets and heartaches.  Now, life expectancy of a newborn is 20 years longer than a newborn a few decades ago.
Scriptures tell us of those good old days and not so good old days as well.  Good and bad.  We can recount in our own lives times we held GOD close and times we rejected HIM.   HIS people, in the short days after GOD rescuing them from Egypt, turned on GOD asking to be returned to Egypt as slaves so they would have food to eat.   They remembered the ‘good old days’ and forgot the reality of being enslaved, beaten and killed.   How soon we all can forget the truth of those ‘good old days’.

How about you?   Do you just remember only the good times or just the bad times?   We all have good times and we all have some bad times.  The thing that separates us is our faith during those times.   Scripture tells us to give thanks to GOD in all things.  That may seem difficult during difficult times.  Still, GOD is with you during the good times and the bad.

Today will be tomorrow’s ‘good old days’.

Today’s prayer:   “LORD MY GOD, Thank YOU for being with me during those good old days that were sometimes not so good.   Help me be more aware of YOUR presence and all the goodness YOU have for me today.  Amen.”

“WHERE ARE YOU?”

“GOD said to Moses, ‘I AM who I AM……This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.'”  Exodus 3:14a, 15b NIV

Read:  Exodus 3:1-15
How close to GOD are you?  Most of us would be quick to answer; “Very close!”.  Are you really?  Would you like to be even closer?  You can be.

To get closer to GOD, you first have to understand where you are.   It starts with faith.   Where are you in understanding your faith?   You have established a doctrine.  Part of it may be from your understanding of GOD when you were a child.   Part of your doctrine may be from your studies of your Bible over the years on your own or as part of a study group.   Part of your doctrine you may have taken from the church you attend.
Can you imagine a bull’s eye target with GOD in the center?   That is where we all should want to be.  In the next circle out is where our faith doctrine is.   How accurate your doctrine is determines how close to GOD you really are.

The next circle out is your opinion.   You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but opinion is just that; an opinion which everyone has.   Opinion is not based upon theology or doctrine.  This is one step further from GOD than your doctrine.

If you want to be closer to GOD, depend less on your opinion and more on what you have to do to be close to GOD.  Your opinion can be keeping you from being close to GOD.  Your doctrine is a bit more confusing.   Your doctrine can help you get closer to GOD  or it can be keeping you from HIM.

Instead of depending upon yourself, ask GOD where HE wants you to be.  Ask GOD what HE wants for you and what HE wants of you.  Listen carefully and just do what GOD tells you.   It’s more simple than what you might think.

Today’ prayer:   “GOD MY FATHER, Thank YOU for always being here for me.  I do want to be closer to YOU.  I am sorry for the times I have wandered from YOU.   Help me to accept all YOU have for me and understand what YOU want of me.   Amen.”

 

“NOT SAFE AND NOT SECURE!”

“We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.”  1John 5:18

Read: 1John 5

All the doors are locked with double dead bolts and the burglar alarm system is activated.   You feel safe and secure these things are going to protect you from all evils.   Wrong!

You have saved and budgeted wisely.  There is six months of income in your savings account and your retirement account should support you for 30 years after you retire.   You feel financially secure.   Wrong!

You try to eat right with few fried foods and you have cut back on the amount of your salt intake.   If time allows, you even walk around the block once a week.  Your recent physical was not too bad.  You think you are healthy.   Wrong!

You go to church almost every Sunday and you tithe most of the time.  You even read your Bible two or three times a week…some weeks.   You are more faithful than a lot of others so you must be going to Heaven.   Wrong!

Your locked doors and security systems are deterrents but are not absolute protection.  In an economic collapse as we have seen, a dramatic part of your savings can be gone in hours or days.  And your health, are you kidding yourself? Health is a temporary situation.

What about your faith or your lack of faith?   Going to church and tithing will not get you into Heaven.  Reading your Bible is good for you, but will not get you into Heaven.  Comparing yourself to others may make you feel good about yourself, but is no key to Heaven’s gate.

Your only safety and security comes by accepting JESUS as your LORD and SAVIOUR.   If you have not accepted CHRIST’S gift and had all your sins forgiven, lay in the safety and security of HIS arms by praying:

“JESUS, I am a sinner.   I know YOU are the SAVIOUR of the world and I need to be saved.  I want to follow YOU.  I want to know more about worshiping YOU and learning more of YOUR WORD.   Please accept me and cleanse me today. Amen.”

“I AM BETTER THAN . . . “

“I AM BETTER THAN….”

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”   John 13: 14-15 NIV

Read:  John 13:1-17

How often do you compare yourself to someone else?   Do you envy their new car or how many vacations they take?  Maybe, you wish you were as tall as they are or if only you had their job.

The opposite is also true.  With a bit too much ego, you might find yourself feeling more important than someone else.  You think, ‘I spent 8 years in college to get where I am so I am deserving of being treated better than others.’   Maybe, you were born very poor and pulled yourself up by your bootstraps and you feel more worthy because of your hard work.

GOD created us all alike and still all so much different.   HE created us the way HE wanted.   Then, HE gave us each free will to things our way or HIS way.  Feeling we are better than others is not GOD’S will.   If you ever feel you are better than someone else, that feeling alone is proof you are not.  Let’s read this last sentence again.  If you ever feel you are better than someone else, that feeling alone is proof you are not.

We are not to be better than.   We are to be servants of our TRIUNE GOD.  In Mark 9:35 we read: “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.'”   Does this describe you?
In Romans, Paul describes himself in verse one as “a servant of CHRIST JESUS, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of GOD”.  Are you set apart for the gospel?   You are.  Accept it.   GOD created you to be HIS servant.

That guy at the car wash; are you his servant?   Are you submissive to the clerk at the department store?  Don’t they deserve your respect?  Are not they created by GOD to feel HIS SON’S saving grace of salvation just as you?   Often repeated as a scripture (even though it is not), it is a faithful lesson:  “There but for the grace of GOD, go I.”   Take it to heart!

 

“UNCLE! UNCLE!”

“I call with all my heart; answer me, Lord, and I will obey your decrees.  I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes.   Psalm 119: 145-146

Read:  Psalm 119:137-152

As a boy, I remember being forced to yell “Uncle!, Uncle!” during friendly scuffling matches.  It was that final cry announcing to all the world that you gave up.  This is not just an American custom.   It is reported to exist in several countries around the world in several languages.

Did you know this cry of defeat probably dates back to the time of CHRIST from the Roman empire?  In Roman custom, the defeated would cry out “Uncle!” begging for their uncle (actually their father’s brother, not their mother’s brother) to come to their defense.

We all have that time in our lives when it seems there is no way out of a situation and we are exhausted from all the efforts to regain our strength.  That is Satan’s plan.   He intends to wear us down so we don’t call on the ONE who can help us.  Who do you call out to when you are attacked and it seems like all is lost?

When you are near defeat, do you call out “Uncle, Uncle!” and give up?  If Satan can beat you down physically, emotionally or spiritually, there is someone to call upon who can really help you.

Don’t call out ‘Uncle, Uncle’ and never get an answering help.   At those times of depression, rejection, feelings of defeat and failure, call out “JESUS!, JESUS!”.  JESUS will come to your rescue.

Today’s prayer:  JESUS, Thank YOU for always being there for me.   Help me to call upon YOU first in all I do rather than calling upon YOU as a last resort.  Amen.”

“ARE YOU TAKING YOUR ENEMY’S POISON?”

“But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  Matthew 6:15 NIV

Read:  Matthew 6:12-15

Have you ever wanted the forgiveness of someone who you wronged in some way?   Even after going to them and asking for their forgiveness, they have not forgiven you.   Are they filled with a bitterness and refuse to forgive you?

There is an old saying; “What goes around, comes around!”

Is there someone you need to forgive, but you just can’t seem to forgive them?  Why not?  Is it self guilt or your own selfishness?

Do you wish bad things upon others?   Is there someone you have decided will always be your enemy?   You are only hurting yourself by carrying this emotional baggage.

Are you taking the poison you would wish on your enemy?   Unforgiveness is taking a double dose of the poison you would wish on them.  Every time you refuse to forgive, you are taking another dose of poison.

The only way to stop poisoning yourself is to forgive others.   And sooner is better than later.  Stop drinking the poison of judgement and drink the cleansing water of forgiveness.  You will be better off and so will they.  Then, you might just find someone else will forgive you.

Forgiveness starts with one.  Will you be the one it starts with?  If GOD can forgive you, you can forgive others.

Today’s prayer:  “LORD GOD, Thank YOU for forgiving me of all my wrongs.  Please forgive me for carrying the sin of not forgiving others too long.  Help me be more forgiving and less judgemental of others.  Amen.” 

“DO YOU PEEK-A-BOO?”

“‘Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?’ declares the Lord.”  Jeremiah 23:24 NIV
Read: Jeremiah 23:23-24

When you think of peek-a-boo you probably instantly remember a time you played peek-a-boo with a baby.   During those precious developing months, the learning reactions to the unknown of those babies brings a smile to our faces.

It doesn’t take long for those delightful months to pass and the innocence of the time is soon forgotten.  As the baby develops, it soon discovers you really did not disappear at all.

Do you still play peek-a-boo, not with a baby, but with others in your life?   Do those temporary hidings of the truth give you moments of security?   How long can you hide the truth from others?

Like the old saying; you can fool all of the people part of the time and part of the people all the time, but you can never fool all the people all the time.   At best, you can play a game of part of the time and part of the people.

You may feel at times you have gotten away with something.   No one ever knew, you think.  Recently, we have seen celebrities arrested and sued by those whom it seems were wronged years, even decades ago.   We do our best to put those wrongful acts behind us, but there is always someone who knows what we did.  Seldom ever do we take secrets to our grave.

Have you ever tried to play peek-a-boo with GOD?  Sin, big sins or little sins as you might call them, cannot be hidden from GOD.

Even if you can play the game of peek-a-boo with part of the people or part of the time, you can’t hide from GOD.  GOD doesn’t play peek-a-boo.   HE sees all, knows all and remembers all.  Eventually, we all will have to answer for those things we hid.

If you are a Christian, you have the HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD living inside you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  You can’t play peek-a-boo with yourself.  Whatever you do, you know and GOD knows.

Today’s prayer:  “LORD MY GOD, Thank YOU for forgiving me of all the times I tried to hide my sinful actions.   I am tired of trying to hide my sins.  Help me to live as YOU would have me.  Amen.”

 

“IS ME, ME, ME! YOUR SONG?”

“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-

just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:26-28 NIV

Read:  Matthew 20:17-28

If you are screaming ‘me, me, me’, it is doubtful you are trying to get in tune for a solo song.

Are you important?   Are you so important that you are more important than others?   So, how important do you have to be to put yourself above others who were created like you by GOD?

Is it because you were born with family money or that you are ‘self made’ financial success?   Or are you more important because you are smarter than most others?   Maybe, you feel you are more important since you feel you are more attractive than others you know?  Do you feel more important because of your job or social position?

Money, brains, looks or position will not help you in the least when your body is laid in a casket and you are headed to hell or Heaven.   So, what will help you?

One thing and one thing only will help you. You must know JESUS CHRIST is your LORD and SAVIOUR.

Two of JESUS’ teachings come to mind.   In Matthew 20 and Mark 10 we are told of John and James asking JESUS to sit at HIS side in Heaven.  They wanted special treatment over everyone else on earth.  JESUS also taught us to be humble in Luke 14:7-14 (read these verses!), telling us to take the least important place.

Are you humble enough to take the least important place?  It takes a stronger person to help others up the ladder of life than to crawl over others to get to the top themselves.

Today’s prayer:  “LORD, Thank YOU for all YOU have given me in this life.  Help me to use these blessings to bless others.  Keep me mindful YOU are GOD and I am YOUR servant.  Amen.”

 

“AFTER SCHOOL SATAN CLUB!”

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces as of this world rather than on Christ.”  Colossians 2:8 NIV

 

Read: Colossians 2:1-23

Several years ago the Supreme Court ruled that clubs meeting after school could not be restricted based on religion.  Since then thousands of Christian clubs have been formed and are meeting mainly in elementary schools across America.

Now, a satanic group met in (where else) Salem, Massachusetts to kick off ‘After School Satan Club’.   Chapters in several states will attempt to infiltrate our public elementary schools in the next few weeks to have their ‘clubs’ available when school starts.   They profess children need to be aware there are alternatives to Christianity.

Are you willing for your tax dollars being used in public schools to support these ‘After School Satan Clubs’?   You may not be able to keep your school district from allowing these ‘clubs’ to organize, but you can keep your children from being influenced by these evil people.

This is another reminder of where our country is going at breakneck speed.  A country founded by Christians to be able to exercise their faith without government interference, is becoming a country where the government is dictating what of a person’s faith can or cannot be practiced.

Churches are restricted by fear of losing their non-profit IRS status if they even mention a political person in a light of a recommendation to their own members.  Christian teachings are being more and more restricted.   What are you doing to defend your rights to practice your Christian faith?

Today’s prayer:  “LORD MY GOD,  Thank YOU for being the Goodness in my life.  Please help me be aware of all the evils Satan is creating in our world and of the things YOU want me to do to fight our enemy.  Amen.”