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November 8, 2021

Joel 2:32  And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. This is an extraordinary promise God makes through His Old Testament prophet, probably at one of the bleakest times in Judah's history. It was made, in all likelihood, when God's people didn't feel like calling on the name of the Lord and in fact thought that their God had let them down in their struggle against Babylon. What good will calling on this God do? Where had He been?

These questions are not limited to the people of the old covenant, who had experienced national calamity. We ask them, too, in our moments of crisis, and we long for God to deliver us. In those moments, calling on the name of the Lord is very difficult to do.

For precisely that reason, God first calls us. From the very first transgression in Eden, God goes looking for His people and calls to them. Most important of all, He calls us through the Gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ, whose resurrection victory over sin, death, and evil is the definitive expression of God's saving will toward us. He calls us by name in Baptism and makes us His own possession again.

From within this new relationship that He has established, we can now call on His name. We do so not out of despair, discouragement, or hopelessness, but in the assurance that God hears us and that He wants us to call upon Him all the time, in all kinds of situations, with all our needs.

Calling on the name of the Lord is the highest form of worship. Calling on the name of the Lord gives us the chance to tell others how Jesus Christ became our Lord and continues to be the source of our life and salvation.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

November 4, 2021

Hosea 6:1  Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but He will heal us.

It was the dead of winter in Montana. A woman and her child were crossing the frozen prairies in a bus. They were the only passengers besides the driver.

It was bitterly cold. But what was worse, the heating system in the bus had failed. And the driver realized that the mother was gradually becoming unconscious from the cold.

So he suddenly did a strange thing. He stopped the bus, grabbed the baby from the mother's arms, and wrapped it warmly, placed it underneath the seat.

Then he seized the mother by the arm, dragged her outside, and drove away, leaving her in the freezing snow.

Stupefied, the mother saw the bus leaving, and ran after it, crying piteously for her baby.

When the bus driver was sure the mother's blood circulation was going again, he allowed her to overtake the bus. He opened the door and restored the child to the mother's outstretched arms.

Only then did she realize that he had saved her life.

Often God permits severe spiritual tests to come to our lives. But then - and sometimes only then - are we restored to faithful, vigorous Christian living.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

November 3, 2021

Daniel 9:9  The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him.

The story is told of a woman who had a portrait painted of herself in an expensive studio. When the artist was finished with the portrait, the lady peered onto the canvas in utter dismay. "That painting certainly doesn't do me justice," she uttered. To this the artist quipped back, "Lady, you don't need justice, you need mercy!"

In a way, the same is true for us all. We have all missed the mark of what God expects of us as His creation. We sin against Him in our thoughts, words, and deeds. We not only do the evil God forbids, but we we fail to do the good He commands. Justice deserve a guilty verdict. Yet the wonderful news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that in Him, God has mercy on us. Instead of giving us what we deserve (eternal damnation) because of the ugliness of our sins, God gives to us what we need most (Forgiveness) and what He has earned for us (eternal life).

Through Jesus Christ, we can all personally know and experience God's forgiveness and life. Every day, the newness of God's mercy makes today the best day of our lives. Each day of grace is lived to the glory and honor of Him who suffered the punishment of our sins and won salvation for us.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

November2, 2021

Daniel 3:17  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it.

Have you ever said, "Oh! I'll do that! You can count on me." At the time the words were said, you really meant it. However, money was tight, bills were due, time was short, and other opportunities appeared. Your "I'll do it!" became "Can you find somebody else?"

For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, "find somebody else" would have seemed appropriate. When Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, summoned the three men and asked them, "Is it true...that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up?" (Daniel 3:14), they knew that a positive response to the inquiry meant placement in the fiery furnace. Even knowing the penalty, they responded, "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O King. But even if He does not, we want you to know, O King, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

These men were faithful to their God. They knew Him well. From past experiences, they knew He was able, if He chose, to deliver them from the blazing furnace. They were committed to following Him even if it meant death.

This story serves as a reminder to us to know and to continue to know our God better on a daily basis so that when we are confronted with "fiery furnaces" we will depend on the one who can deliver us. By knowing and serving the right master, we are insured of deliverance for all eternity.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

November 1, 2021

Lamentations  3:22  Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

The Chinese have an unusual type of bamboo tree. They plant the tiny seed of this bamboo tree. They water it, weed it, fertilize it, and care for it for five years. During that time, absolutely nothing happens. Then, during the sixth year, a remarkable thing happens. The tiny seed grows one foot each day, until it is 60 feet tall in a mere 60 days.

God's love and patience with us is also amazing! He created us. He re-made us in Christ our Savior, and then He watches for the results of a productive Christian life. There are many days when nothing fruitful happens. Yet God's faithfulness never ceases! Despite our faithlessness, He remains faithful. His compassion never fails us.


 

The Faithfulness of our compassionate God is seen most clearly in Jesus Christ, who died and rose for us. God's love and forgiveness in Jesus makes each day new and fresh. Every day becomes a celebration of God's eternal faithfulness.

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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,
 

October 21, 2021

Jeremiah 31:3  The Lord appeared to us in the past saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness."

Perhaps one of the hardest things about love and loving is to love unconditionally. If a friend is kind, it's easy to return the favor. If a child is obedient and respectful, it's easy to show love. If a spouse treats us with affection and consideration, it's easy to do likewise.

But God's love is unconditional. Jeremiah says it's also everlasting. It depends on Him and His faithfulness, not on whether we deserve it or respond in kind. For if that were the case, we would have no comfort and no hope.

Even before earth's frame was laid, we were the objects of God's love. He sought us when we didn't even know to look for Him. He draws us to Him with the loving-kindness of the Gosp[el, the sweet message of salvation in His Son. It is God's loving-kindness, His mercy, that most completely defines His nature. For everything that He is and does is shaped and determined by His love for His creation.

When He disciplines and chastens His children, it is always within the context of that love. His goal is restoration, never destruction or revenge.

God's loving-kindness is gentle and pure, yet it also has great power. It has the power to draw us to Him, to keep us in His grace, and to overcome the evil the world would have us follow, until that day when we live forever in His everlasting love.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,
 

October 20, 2021

Jeremiah 10:23-24  I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps. Correct me, Lord, but only with justice - not in Your anger, lest You reduce me to nothing.
 

Chris could see the freeway she needed to be on but couldn't find the on-ramp. Three times she tried following the road signs, and three times she ended back where she started. Suddenly she had an idea. She would reverse the route. She quickly made a U-turn and expected to see the on-ramp. Instead, she saw the flashing lights of a police car pulling up behind her. Chris was so frustrated she was nearly crying as she told the officer her problem.

"You can't get to the freeway from this road," the officer said gently. "You have to be on that other road." He pointed to a line of cars flowing onto the freeway. The officer wrote Chris a ticket for the U-turn, then told her to follow him, and he would show her the way to the on-ramp.

Sometimes in life we get on the wrong roads. We make wrong turns and get into trouble. We need correction to our routes to get back on track. Sometimes the Holy Spirit corrects us by convicting us  in our hearts until we choose to change. Sometimes God corrects us through reproofs and feedback from other people. At other times God corrects us by letting us suffer the consequences of our wrong choices.

But always, God is ready to lead us in the paths of righteousness after we accept correction, repent, and desire to do right.

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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,
 

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