The very moment that we repent and turn to Jesus for salvation, we are saved. Don’t let anyone deceive you, if you died the very moment you accepted Jesus, you would go to heaven. But for us who live, we are continually being saved as long as we walk on this earth in these tents of flesh. We are looking for the day when we will be completely saved. That is our hope and His appearance is what we are waiting for. God has given us His Spirit to train us to live godly lives so we can live self-controlled, moral lives today. Jesus died to cleanse us from all sin and make us a special people for His glory.However, you are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people who belong to God. You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9 (GW)This is our belief and our hope. We are called to stand firm, encourage and correct others. If they choose to ignore our words, they are ignoring God’s words and they do so at their own peril.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. — Phil. 4:8 NLT
If we follow Paul’s advice, we will pray and be thankful for all things that God has done for us. We must continually guard our thoughts and the desires of our hearts. We need to focus on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, excellent and worthy of praise. Then we will become God-conscious. Witnessing for Jesus will be a natural outflow of this kind of thinking. Our actions will be Christ-centered and people will know that we have something they don’t have. If we let our guard down, satan will rush in and have us thinking about the pleasures of the flesh. Then, satan will keep telling us about all the things we don’t have. After listening to that for a short while, we become sin-conscious. In that state of mind, we are of little use to God, ourselves or anyone else. Fight the good fight and stay focused on Jesus. Then we will enjoy God’s peace, joy will overflow and it will be completely natural for us to praise Him for His goodness.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. — Eph. 4:4-8 NIV
Though the official day of Thanksgiving has come and gone for another year, we need to continue to let that attitude of gratefulness rule in our hearts and lives on a daily basis. We are fast approaching the season that we will be celebrating the greatest Gift of all, so we have every reason to continue in our celebration of thanksgiving and remembrance of all that God has done and continues to do for us. We should continue to rejoice and cast our cares on the Lord by presenting them to Him through our prayers and petitions. If we do this, we will find that peace that transcends all human understanding. We need to keep our focus on Jesus, who is the total embodiment of all that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Think about such things, especially when satan tries to put thoughts in our heads that would destroy the peace that Jesus died for us to have. We have the Prince of Peace Himself as our constant companion, learn to lean on Him and experience the joy of total dependence on our Lord and Savior.
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. — Titus 3:4-8 NIV
God sees the big picture and is concerned with eternity. He is also concerned with each of us and the “now” , the present. The present is where our lives intersect with eternity. It is the only part of eternity that humans can see and deal with. We can’t change the past and we don’t control the future. Yes, our past experiences affect our present decisions and those decisions certainly may have future consequences, but what those consequences will be are not in our control. So, right now, today, let us “devote ourselves to doing what is good”. That is the example that Jesus set for us.
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. — Acts 10:38 NIV
God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power. We have access to this same anointing today. Without it, we are incapable of accomplishing the work God has for us to do. With the anointing, all things are possible and we can do things that are “excellent and profitable for everyone”. Ask God and He will give us everything we need to accomplish His good works.
32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? — Romans 8:32 NIV
1 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, the person who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber.2 The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The one who guards the door opens it for him. And the sheep listen to the voice of the shepherd. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he brings all his sheep out, he goes ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger. They will run away from him because they don’t know his voice.” 6 Jesus told the people this story, but they did not understand what it meant.—John 10:1-6 (NLT)
It is often heard that sheep are dumb,stupid animals. That statement is, of course, up for debate. Sheep are gregarious and are natural followers, this is for their own protection and it also makes them easier to herd. They do have an excellent sense of hearing which could explain why they know their shepherd’s voice. They will follow the shepherd because they know his voice. Without a shepherd, they will follow the lead sheep wherever he goes, even unto death. Where there is only one sheepfold, all the shepherds put their sheep into that holding area for the night. It is guarded by a gatekeeper who allows only the shepherds to go in the next morning and call their sheep. Only that particular shepherd’s sheep will follow him because sheep will not follow a stranger. Jesus wanted the people to understand that there was more than one shepherd in the world. Would they follow the voice of the True Shepherd or the voice of the deceiver? At birth, we humans are all in the same sheepfold and hear those same voices today. Which voice will you learn to recognize and follow?