“God’s Very Own Possession”

9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. — 1 Peter 2:9 NLT 

1 Peter 2:9-16 NLT

What was/is God’s purpose in choosing us, making us royal priests, holy and special? God doesn’t need our abilities to accomplish His purpose. But He desires our availability to work with Him in bringing His plans to fulfillment. Could He do it without us? Yes, but He wants to fellowship with each of us. So, He paid the full price of our redemption. He sent Light into this world to push back the darkness. That Light was Jesus Christ. When we were in slavery to sin, we were nobodies, we were not a people. But God, in His great mercy chose us, picked us up, cleaned us inside and out and put His marvelous Light inside us. Once we become a child of God, we are no longer citizens of this world, we are aliens and foreigners here. But we still have to live here for a while. As long as we are here, our flesh will be tempted to do wrong. But we are to live a lifestyle that reflects the life of Jesus Christ so that He will receive glory. We are free from the flesh, but bound by God’s Holy Spirit.  We will have troubles here but our response should be to rejoice forevermore. This will cause others to ask us what is the hope that lies in us and causes our joy. We should always have a ready answer for that question. That answer should always give glory to God and magnify the name of Jesus.

16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.  — 1 Thess. 5:16-18 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 06-18-2019

“The Lord Pours His Unfailing Love Upon Me”

8  But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. — Psalm 42:8 NLT
Psalm 42 NLT

This Psalm was written  by the descendants of Korah.  Korah, a cousin of Moses, was the one who led the rebellion against Moses during the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land.  He was the leader of the group that was killed when the earth opened up and swallowed all of the rebels.  Not all of the sons of Korah rebelled.  There was a remnant left to carry on the family name.  This family had experienced both the wrath of God and His loving kindness.  From these experiences, we can deduce that they understood that it is okay to complain to God as long as it is done in a respectful way. Just as this Psalm begins with how much they long for the goodness of God, then it proceeds to alternately complain and remember the blessings of God.  When we are complaining to God, it is good to mix in a little worship with the whining.  It is good to recount the times He has blessed us and thank Him for those times.  The writers of this Psalm question themselves.  What reason do they have to be sad and discouraged ?  We need to ask the same question and arrive at the same conclusion they did.  If we put our faith and our hope in God, we won’t be sad and discouraged, but we will be filled with joy and praise for God and His goodness.   We will long for His presence just as a thirsty deer longs for a drink of cool water.  God’s presence is like an oasis in a desert of depression.  Spend time in that oasis, drink deeply from the healing springs and thank Him for His goodness.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 03-21-2019

“Showers of Blessings”

16 Because he was full of grace and truth, from him we all received one gift after another. — John 1:16 NCV

John 1:14-18 NLT

All the blessings and gifts that we receive while we are here on earth are because Jesus was and is full of grace and truth. There is nothing we can do to earn these blessings.  If we could earn them, they would not be called gifts.  Every blessing and every gift is given for one purpose and one purpose only.  They are to be used to further the works of the Kingdom of God.  We do not need to be worried or concerned that God will run out of blessings and gifts.  No matter how much He gives, there is always more to be given.  As we use these blessings and gifts to further God’s work, we lay up our rewards in heaven.  God has given us everything we need to live a Godly life here and has given us promises of an eternity with Him.  The fulfillment of those promises is the hope that helps us to endure persecutions and to share His Divine nature while we are here on earth.

1 Peter 1:3-7 NLT

Let us be thankful for all of the blessings He pours out for us and rejoice that we can share in His goodness every day.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 01-01-2018

“Your Grace Has Brought Me Safe Thus Far”

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So the men did as Joshua had commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River, one for each tribe, just as the Lord had told Joshua. They carried them to the place where they camped for the night and constructed the memorial there. — Joshua 4:8 NLT

Often when a major event had occurred in the lives of the children of Israel, God would instruct them to set up stones or build an altar.  These stones or altars were built or erected as a token of remembrance for God’s help in bringing them safely this far. It was also a reminder to tell future generations about the goodness and the mercies of God. They were unique in that they were always built with natural, uncut stones.  Crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land for the first time was a once-in-a-lifetime major event. The Israelis put twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan to mark the spot of the crossing and carried twelve stones to Gilgal and erected them there to mark the spot of their first encampment in their new homeland.  We need to be aware of the major events in our lives and construct mental and/or physical landmarks as a way to remember these events.  We need to point out these times to our future generations as a remembrance of what God has done for us.  When Samuel erected the stone between Mizpah and Jeshanah (1 Samuel 7:12) to mark the spot where God had defeated the Philistines for the Israelis, he named it “Ebenezer” which means a stone of help.  It is by the help of God that we have come this far safely.  Let us stop, set up an Ebenezer, pray, worship and celebrate God’s goodness and mercies in our lives.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 11-12-2018

“Be Holy”

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16 For it is written, “You must be holy, because I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:16 ISV

1 Peter 1:13 -16 ISV

God has made each of us different, but there is one thing that every human has in common, we were all born in sin into a sinful world.  We have all succumbed to those fleshly desires that kept us from enjoying the freedom that Jesus died to purchase for us.  When we have those thoughts that we might be better than others we need to be reminded that there was a time when we lived in ignorance of the goodness and the graciousness of God. Paul warns us in Romans not to think of ourselves as better than others.

 
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. — Romans 12:3 NIV

In Philippians, Paul takes it a step further and advises us to put others and their interests above ourselves and our interests.

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. –Phil. 2:3, 4 NIV

If we practice doing this instead of being judgmental, we will be following the example that Jesus set for us.  If we have this mindset and focus on the fact that the only difference in us and them is the grace that God has so generously given unto us, it will cause us to show those around us the same kind of grace and forgiveness that God has shown to us. That is a step toward being holy even as God is holy.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-20-2018

Overflowing With Thankfulness!

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6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. — Colossians 2:6 7 NIV

The most important thing to be thankful for is salvation.  So, from the very moment we are saved, our hearts should begin to be filled with gratitude.  From that point on, all the blessings that we receive daily should continue to fill our hearts with thanksgiving and praise for our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  To the extent that we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit, our evil thoughts and desires are changing to good thoughts and desires.  There has/will come a day when we should be overflowing with joy and gratitude because of the goodness and greatness of the God that we serve.   Each day should bring less complaining and more reason to give God praise and thanksgiving. The praise and gratitude that fills our hearts will be reflected in the words that we speak.


 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. — Luke 6:45 NKJV

Every time we bring our petitions before the Lord, we need to remember to bring with them an offering of thanksgiving and praise!  

 

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good;His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.  
— Psalm 100:4, 5 NKJV

This is for now and  all generations, not just the future when we enter into the gates of heaven and the courts of God. Every time, we speak His Name, we are entering into His gates and His courts. Let our hearts and our mouths overflow with praise for His goodness and mercy!

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-09-2018

“Taste And See”

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Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
 or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
– Psalm 1:1-3 NLT

 
There are thousands of books written in an attempt to make us feel better about ourselves. Do this and get rich, do this and influence people, do this and look better. Money, power and good looks do not come with bags of joy that can be opened at any time we need to feel good. All of these things are external and have nothing to do with the real problems of today.
The changes we need are from the inside out. It isn’t our natural diet that makes us who we are, contrary to what we have been told, we are not what we eat. The diet that determines whether we will be full of peace and joy is our Spiritual diet. Be filled with the Holy Spirit! The third person of the Trinity really is a person. He abides inside us to give us all the peace, joy and hope we need or desire. He knows our every need and is waiting patiently to give it to each of us. He weeps with us and when our hearts are broken, so is His. He feels the pain that we feel and He wants to restore our joy and hope when we are down and out. We need to learn to praise God and tell others what He has done for us. While we are praising Him, we will find that our joy will start to flow out from us to those around us. Praise and pray! God hears the praises and the prayers. He will not reject our prayers or withdraw His love from us. Eat your fill of Spiritual food each day, it is non-fattening, fulfilling and it purges us, pushing out all the sadness, worry and fears. Start with a taste and soon you will find that it takes a lot of Spiritual goodness to keep you satisfied!8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. —​Psalm 34:8

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 05-27-2018