“A Chosen People”

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9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. — 1 Peter 2:9 NIV

Think back to a time in your life when there was a particular group that you wanted to be chosen to be a part of.  Do you remember the joy and exhilaration that you felt when you saw your name on the list or heard it called out?  Multiply that feeling by a zillion zillions and you won’t even be close to the joy that we should feel every day because God has chosen us.  Knowing that we are God’s special possession should fill our hearts to overflowing and cause us to shout praises from the mountaintops or in the deepest valleys.  In the best and the worst of times, we, the chosen, can proclaim:

31 If God is for us, who can be against us? — Romans 8:31​b​

Think back to the time when you were a child and you were afraid of the darkness and how great it felt when Mom or Dad walked into the room, turned on a night light and took time to comfort and encourage you.  Or as they stayed, held you and you drifted peacefully off to sleep.  Multiply that feeling and that peace by a zillion zillions and you won’t even be close to the feeling of peace and the brightness of the light that comes when we answer the call of Jesus to come out of the darkness into His wonderful light.  And think of this, they left the room when you drifted off to sleep, but we have the added assurance that God will never leave us nor forsake us.  He is here to comfort and protect us all day and night, every day and night.

8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” — Deut. 31:8 NIV

No matter what circumstances are surrounding us or what situation we find ourselves in, we should be filled with joy because we serve a God who has been there, is there now, and will always be there.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. — Phil. 4:4-5 NIV

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

“Chosen and Precious”

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4 As you come to him, the living stone who was rejected by people but was chosen and precious in God’s sight, – 1 Peter 2:4 ISV 

1 Peter 2:4-6 ISV

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was rejected by His own people.  He could do very few miracles in His own hometown because the people there thought of Him as just a carpenter, the son of Joseph and Mary.  We can expect to be rejected as well, the created should not expect better treatment than the Creator received. Just as Jesus was ridiculed and rejected by those who knew Him only as a human, so can we expect to be treated the same way.  This rejection did not keep Jesus from loving and ministering to those around Him who accepted the words that He spoke. Neither should ridicule or offensive remarks keep us from loving and witnessing to those around us.  Jesus was chosen by God to give up everything, come to earth and live among humans who would not welcome Him as the Son of the Creator.  We are chosen by God to give up nothing to receive everything and live among humans as holy priests.  Our sacrifice is spiritual, we speak the words that the Holy Spirit gives us.  This is acceptable to God.  The ultimate end of the earthly ministry of Jesus was not shame but glory.  If we trust in Him and remain faithful, our ultimate end will not be shame but an eternity in heaven praising Jesus because He was faithful and was chosen to rule the universe.

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:​“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb​ be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” — Rev 5:13 NIV

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

“Because I AM 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

“Be Holy, Because I Am Holy”

13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” — 1 Peter 1:13-16 NIV

We are saved by grace through faith and that is the only way anyone can be saved. Good works and good intentions cannot save us, only the grace of God. That is our belief, that is our hope. That hope is eternal based on the mercy and grace of God. We will not know the fullness of His grace and mercy until Jesus Christ returns in all of His glory to receive us into heaven. The eternal hope that we have through the grace of God should fill us with so much love for Jesus that we choose to remain obedient to His teachings and example.  Our flesh desires to stay conformed to lusts and other evil desires.  But now that we know those are displeasing to our Savior, we should attempt to “abstain from the very appearance of evil”.  Is this a call for perfection? Yes. Will we attain perfection while we remain in this tent of flesh? No. But that does not excuse willful, deliberate sin nor is it an out for us to do whatever we desire and ask for forgiveness. Every moment of every day, we are making decisions. Those decisions will either lead us closer to Jesus or take us farther away from Jesus. Perfect? No.  Forgiven? Yes. But we must determine at every moment whether or not we will press on toward our goal.

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. ​ — Ph​il. 3:14,14 NIV

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

“Because I Am Holy”

15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”–1 Peter 1:15-16 (NLT)
22 You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.–Eph. 4:22-24 (NLT)

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, His Holy Spirit sets up a residence in our hearts. God has sent His Spirit to “lead us into all truth”. There are some things (and those things are different for all of us) from which we are immediately delivered. We could make a long list of those things: smoking, drinking, overeating, gossiping, lying, bitterness, hatred and we could go on and on. And those instant deliveries should encourage us to continue on in the faith. But none of us are instantly delivered from all our erroneous ways and habits. It is a daily process of being led by God’s Spirit and learning more of the truth. As we study God’s Word, we find more things that we need to allow God to change so that we can be transformed into His image. We all still sin, but we have to stay on guard and not let satan bring us down with guilt. We must repent. That means more than turning away from the sin, it means we turn to something else. Each time we empty a spot in our heart, we must allow God’s Spirit to fill it with something new. Pay close attention to Paul’s instructions in verse 24, “clothe yourself with the new self”. When we put off the old, we should be careful to put on the “new”. The “new” will guard us against the fiery darts of our enemy.

6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.—Romans 7:6 NASB

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

“Called To Be His People”

1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,​ 2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called​ ​to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name​ ​of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:​ 3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.—1 Cor. 1:1-3 (NIV)

Paul founded the Church at Corinth on his second missionary journey in A.D. 50 -51. While he was in Ephesus on his 3rd missionary journey, he received some negative reports concerning the morality of the believers there. He immediately sent Timothy to correct the situation at Corinth. He also wrote this letter to the church, probably thinking that it would arrive before Timothy got there. The members of the church were starting to return to the old ways of idol worship. In particular, the immorality with the temple prostitutes and overindulgence in both food and drink. But, if we read verse 2 very carefully, we find that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote this letter to me and you. It reads: “to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours.” That includes us and we should take it as a stern warning not to go back to our old ways. While we may not have shrines where all types of immoral acts are carried out, we have more than enough idols of our own making. Each one of us needs to take a few minutes and ask God the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the idol(s) that are standing between us and our God.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.1 John 1:8-10 (NIV)

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

“His Spirit Has Made You Holy”

2 God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. — 1 Peter 1:2 NLT

1 Peter 1:1-5 NLT

It has always been God’s plan to send Jesus into the world to redeem us from sin. We are His chosen people, called and cleansed by His Holy Spirit. We are saved by grace and as we walk in obedience to God, He gives more and more of His grace and peace. We have been bought with a price that we could not pay and now we have a priceless inheritance in heaven. We are joint-heirs with Jesus. Because we are saved by grace through faith, God is protecting us until we receive the final step of our salvation, which comes after His re-appearing. That is the hope that we have and we know that we are secure in that hope. God will finish the work He has started in us.

Romans 1:16-17 NLT

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

Post 01-06-2020

“Surrender to God”

7 So then, surrender to God. Stand up to the devil and resist him and he will turn and run away from you. – James 4:7 TPT

James 4:4-7 TPT

The Greek word (moi-kho’s) that is translated as adulterers has more than just a sexual connotation. It is anyone committing an act of infidelity or unfaithfulness to God. These actions are what depict us as “friends” of the world. If we live a lifestyle that is filled with these kind of actions, then we show by our actions that we are “enemies” of God. Our flesh is constantly warring against the Spirit that God has placed inside us. We need to be guided by God’s Holy Spirit not by our fleshly desires.

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil​l​ the lust of the flesh.17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.–Gal. 5:16,17 (KJV)

We cannot win the war by ourselves, the flesh is too strong. But God gives us grace and mercy. He is made strong in our weaknesses. If we are faithful to walk “in the Spirit”, God will fight and win every battle for us.

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

Post 12-31-2019

“Work At Living A Holy Life”

14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.— Hebrews 12:14 NLT

Hebrews 12:14-17 NLT

Our salvation is by grace through faith, not by works and it is a free gift. But living a holy, peaceful life requires diligence. We must stay in God’s Word and depend on the leadership of God’s Spirit. To accomplish this, we must be sure that we forgive others so that no root of bitterness springs up in our hearts and pushes out the love that we should have. We must look after each other and teach others to lead a Godly, moral life. This should be done humbly and modestly, not trying to bring glory to ourselves but focusing on Jesus. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, but we must encourage others to do it now and not wait until it is too late. God’s Spirit will not always strive with men. So, pray that others will accept the free gift before it is too late, at the same time, being sure that we don’t fall to temptation.

41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak! – Matt. 26:41 NLT

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

Post 12-08-2019

“Be Holy For “I AM” Is Holy!

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12 It trains us to renounce ungodly living and worldly passions so that we might live sensible, honest, and godly lives in the present age – Titus 2:12 ISV
 
We who have accepted Jesus are saved by grace through faith.  That offer is made available to everyone.  Once we accept the gift of salvation, there will be a change in the desires of our hearts. Worldly, material things will mean less and less to us as we allow the Holy Spirit to change us.  There will be things that we used to do, that will no longer hold any attraction for us. Whereas, before the flesh was in control and we followed after the things of the flesh, now, the Spirit is in control and we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  We now want to live a lifestyle that is upright and Godly.  If we have truly repented and turned from our sins, we will now focus on Jesus and use His lifestyle as an example for us to follow.  As Christians, we have a living God and Savior, a claim that no religion can make.  We have a high Priest who became flesh and has endured the same temptations that we endure.  Our hope, the hope of an eternity with Jesus, cannot be offered by any religion.  God, as Jesus, gave Himself to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify us. This purification process starts after we accept Him and continues as long as we are in the flesh.  We are being changed from “me first” creatures to “Jesus first, others second and us last”  images of the living God. The death and resurrection of Jesus fulfilled the law and brought the dispensation of grace.  There are those who will choose not to believe, but others will believe and turn to the Lord,  It is God’s desire that everyone should be saved and transformed into His image.

15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. — 2 Cor. 3:15-18 NIV

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 07-22-2018