Not Chosen 1st but are Chosen

March 29, 2015

Growing up, we see people’s need to belong manifested as teams are chosen on the playgrounds, fields or courts. I am sure that most of us can remember a personal experience or the experience of a peer not being the captain who chooses the team and the one person who was not chosen. When one is not chosen, it conveys something about his/her value in that particular endeavor. None of us wants to feel as if we have no value, or we do not belong. Maslow is credited with his hierarchy of needs that evidence that need in man. Before Maslow, God created man with a need to belong and to have value, and He intended for man to seek to meet that need in Him not in other people or things, so when one is disappointed when he/she is not chosen first. By being on God’s team, people will realize that they are Not Chosen 1st but are Chosen.

For the believer, we need to hold tightly to the fact that we were Not Chosen 1st but are Chosen. 1 Peter 1:20 says

20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

The “He” in that verse is Jesus. It reveals His self-existent quality. He was before creation. It reveals that He too is God. We also learn that before the creation of the world that God’s plan was for man to be Redeemed by Jesus Christ.

Of Jesus being God’s chosen one, here are a few verses that confirm that it is through Jesus, the Chosen one, that God would Redeem man.

The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”
I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.

Of the believer being chosen by God to be Redeemed, here are verses that substantiate that truth.

Ephesians 1:4 
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love

But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

Matthew 25:34
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

“If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them.
And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
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.
The elder, To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth—
They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

I trust that the Spirit of God opened your mind to give you understanding of the scriptures. I trust that you understand that Jesus was first chosen by God then the called. If you do, it will strengthen you in every circumstance where you were Not Chosen 1st but are Chosen. All you have to remember is that you belong to God. You have value because Christ died for you. You have meaning because God chose to be on His team. You have purpose because God’s team is about sharing Him with others to build the kingdom of God.

Know that you are not Not Chosen 1st but are Chosen. Rejoice in being chosen by God. What an honor to have the ultimate captain choose you. Shout Hallelujah.

Redeemed

March 28, 2015

The word Redeemed carries many connotations, but the most commonly accepted one is to recover or buy back by payment. The notion of being Redeemed is not uncommon among us. In more recent history, slaves in America were often redeemed by benefactors paying owners for their freedom. The most renowned Redeemed slave is Frederick Douglas. After he ran away, supporters of slavery mounted a series of attempts to kidnap him, so his friends finally purchased his freedom. In biblical history, the people of Israel also knew about being Redeemed. In Deuteronomy 24:18, God says, “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there…”

In a spiritual sense, all people are slaves. One is either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness.  the Word of God says in Romans 6:16-1816 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”

In regards to freedom from slavery to sin, Jesus is the benefactor. He is the one who paid the price for man to be Redeemed. 1 Peter 1:18-19 says,
“18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
There is no way for any person to escape the control of sin without Christ freeing them. “18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.” Romans 6:19
Titus 2:11-14  says, “11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Christ has given his all, so that man can be Redeemed, but you must accept the terms of His purchase in order for you to be free from sin. As the Word says, you are either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness. What you value determines which one you will be a servant. Sin leads to death, but righteousness leads to life. Do you want to live or die? The obvious choice is to live; however, look at how you are living. Are you living unto God or unto yourself. If the vast majority of your choices are about you without contention from the way of God, you are a slave to sin. Jesus offers all freedom from sin. Surrender to Jesus and be Redeemed.

The Empty Way of Life

March 25, 2015

Life is said to be a number of things. Many metaphors and allegories have been made of life. Life is a… game, journey, dream, mystery, seed, river, and oh yea, box of chocolate. Those metaphors point to the search for meaning, value and purpose of life. More often than not, life is empty for so many people. Life is devoid of meaning, value and purpose. Among such a rich verse, this is why The Empty Way of Life stood out to me as I read this morning. It resonated with me, because before Christ became Lord of my life, life was empty. I experienced The Empty Way of Life.

In fact, God used The Empty Way of Life to lead me to himself. I just told a student about this on Monday after tutoring. She said, “You are very religious.” I said, “I just love God because He saved me from a life that had no purpose.” I shared with her that moment God brought me to call out to him “why am I here? What is my purpose? I don’t want to go to college to get a job, to buy a house, to get a girl.” It all seemed so meaningless to me. The world’s view which is The Empty Way of Life told us to go to school to get a good job to get the things you want in life. Well, being responsible for buying my clothes at 12, things no longer had such an appeal to me. That is probably why I still drive cars that are 24 and 22 years old. Things and the pursuit of them just did not cut it for me. I tried girls. I was successful at establishing relationships and getting girls to care for me and to do for me, but that too seemed meaningless. I had an old beat up car, but my brother had new one with a great wax job, sound system and sparkling spoked rims. When he went to Germany, it was appealing to drive that car. At first, it garnered a lot of interests, but like a warm breath on a cold morning, it too disappeared.

Nothing in my life, not good grades, good girls, good things nor good money, satisfied me. It was only until I met Jesus as Lord and Savior did I escape The Empty Way of Life. With Christ at the helm, I had meaning, value and purpose to life. I saw how my life was created to fit in to God’s redemptive plan (meaning). I experienced God coming to get me from The Empty Way of Life to put me on His team (value). The goal of God’s team is to replicate the character of Christ in this world, so God can use you to reconcile man to Himself (purpose). Christ freed me from pursuing power, prestige and popularity i.e. The Empty Way of Life. He gave me meaning, value and purpose all connected to the author and creator of life. While not a scrub in life, I became a MVP, and I did not even know it.

Being freed from the The Empty Way of Life is discussed in 1 Peter 1:18-19. Peter was reminding the believers of their position in Christ.

18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (NIV)

18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (NKJV)

There, Peter conveys that experiencing meaning, value and purpose in life was costly, real costly. Our freedom from The Empty Way of Life was purchased not with silver and gold, things that perish, “but with the precious blood of Christ.” That phrase signifies that God gave all He had, Himself, to redeem us. He bought us back fromThe Empty Way of Life. As such, we have an obligation not to give ourselves back to pursuing things or people who are less than God’s purpose – to build the kingdom of God by being used to draw people to God.

What is The Empty Way of Life that has entrapped and enslaved you? What do you seek after for meaning, value and purpose only to be disappointed time and time again. What has you chasing your tail like cat or dog? I am not stating that accomplishments are not fulfilling; they are, but I am saying that they are not sustaining. Things and people were not created to satiate your need for meaning, value and purpose. God exists for that, and He, in His creative plan, reserved those roles for Himself. There is nothing that you will endeavor which will fully meet those needs in your life except Him.

No matter where you are today, misguided or misaligned, God is calling you to Himself through Christ Jesus. If you are tired of living The Empty Way of Life, surrender your life to Jesus and get a full life. 2 Corinthians 4 says,

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed,but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”Since we have that same spirit of[c]faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Believers, that is to you. Those who have yet to trust Christ as Lord, it is for you to rid yourselves of The Empty Way of Life.

Walk in Fear

March 23, 2015

On the surface and without the enlightenment of the Spirit, one may think the bible contains contradictions. Let me assure you, it does not. God is consistent in presenting who He is as well as who we are. He is perfect. We are not. He is all knowing. We are not. He holds the future in His hand. We hold our hands up to Him for help if we have been given wisdom from Him.

Despite me attempting to address seemingly contradictions, I know that some will still think they exist. Rather than discredit you, I want to deal with a common misconception about God and His Word. Isaiah 41:10 is one of my favorite verses. In fact, it was the verse that God gave me when He told me to become a teacher in 1991. It is also the same verse God asked me to review when transitioning from my job as an administrator last year. God says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Psalm 91:5 says, “You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,”

Seemingly, we are not to fear. Then we 1 Peter 1:17 which says, “Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.” On the surface and without the enlightenment of the Spirit, it appears we are being told to live in fear. Just as current, custom, doctor, harbor, prune, reservation all have multiple meanings, we have to use the context of the scriptures to help us understand the multiple meanings of words like fear. In Isaiah 41:10, fear clearly means being afraid of harm or danger from outside forces, but in 1 Peter 1:17, fear does not mean being afraid of harm or danger from outside forces. Phl 2:12; 1Pe 1:17 present a comprehensive phrase: the reverential “fear” of God. The fear of God is intended to inspire a constant carefulness in dealing with others in His “fear” i.e. respect for who God is and how He deals with man.

You may be familiar with the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den, but in essence, there were people who did not like the status that Daniel had gained, so they conspired against him. They led King Darius into making a decree that no one could pray to a god or human other than him. The men knew Daniel would pray as he consistently had done. He did. Now the king felt trapped because He could not go back on his decree. He had to put Daniel in pit full of hungry lions. Then, King Darius shows us what fear of God looks like in every day life. First, Darius expresses godly fear as he trusts/prays for God to demonstrate who He is. Darius said, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” God did rescue Daniel! No Lion raised a paw against Daniel. In Daniel 6:26, Darius said, “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.”

The reverential “fear” of God will inspire a constant carefulness in dealing with others in His “fear”. You will look at life through the lens of God respecting His desires for the manner in which we should live. In the context of 1 Peter 1, Peter had just told the believers to be holy. A holy response would be to honor God by respecting who He is, what He has said, and that He addresses those who fail to honor Him. Go read Daniel 6 to find out what happened to those who set a trap for Daniel.

God does not want us to Walk in Fear of people or circumstance. He wants us to recognize who He is and trust in Him as we face people and circumstances that set up against us. As Stedman puts it, He wants us to “have an honest respect for the kind of Being God is. Remember whom you are dealing with. You are not dealing with another man who can be fooled by your actions and attitudes. You are dealing with One who knows you more thoroughly than you know yourself, and he is no respecter of persons. You cannot buy his favor. You cannot trick him into treating you differently than he treats anyone else. You cannot become his favorite. God does not act that way. Now if you begin to play fast and loose with him, the results that he says will happen will happen to you just as surely as to anyone else.” God will judge us impartially.

God also calls us to live like foreigners in this world. This simply means we should not value what the world values. Generally speaking, the power, position and prestige esteemed by this world should not motivate us to action for it is contrary to what God expects of us. If we are to Walk in Fear, we must not subscribe to the world’s way of going things but God’s way. We must honor Him not ourselves or the world. When God says Walk in Fear, that’s what He means.

Do You Know My Name?

March 21, 2015

Do You Know My Name? This question was posed to me by God. At first, I said, “Yes God; you know I know your name” Then, after a couple of the same questions by God, I began to feel like Peter. I was reminded by God that I, like Peter, deny Him on a daily basis. When I do, I forsake my responsibility to serve the world for the cause of Christ. Dying to self is what believers are called to do. Remember Colossians 3:3 - “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” God told me that if I really knew His name I would act/respond differently to circumstances in my life.

My writing today will be brief. God has said, “Move out of the way; Don’t write much let my Word say it all today.” Well, here is Psalm 9:7-10.

“7 The Lord reigns forever;
    he has established his throne for judgment.
He rules the world in righteousness
    and judges the peoples with equity.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
    a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name trust in you,
    for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

God has reminded me of the question Do You Know My Name? Then, the Holy Spirit brought Psalm 9:10 to mind. God had asked and answered the question for me. God has provided the criteria for me to evaluate my “knowing” Him. This criteria is for you too. God is asking us all Do You Know My Name? 

If we do, God says that we will trustin Him. That is to confide in, to put your hope and confidence in Him. Do we? I know many times there are other people, skills, resources, even fear that have my mind and not God. God also provides an addendum to the verse. While He does not need to, He does for our sake to remind us of His character. He says “for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

Are we really confiding, hoping, trusting in Jehovah? If so, our lives will evidence consistent instances of trusting God not self, others, or things. Fear will not subdue us if we are trusting in God.

Evaluate the condition of your faith. God says today’s post is a “service light” check.

Be Holy

March 19, 2015

I must admit that I have been reluctant to tackle Peter’s call to Be Holy. Actually, the call to Be Holy came from God way back in Leviticus. I was apprehensive because of my concept of holiness always took me back to a huge list of Do’s and Don’t’s. Growing up unchurched, my perspective and vision of church or God’s people was an amalgam of those I saw in my everyday life. Namely, those who were members of the Holiness Church. I have grown and so has my view of holiness.

What exactly does it mean to be holy? In the Old Testament, the term holiness is applied to God in two senses. First, God is separate, set above all which is created. Yet, it is God who calls us to an ethical purity. Secondly, things are regarded holy because of their connection with God—Holy ground, Holy Sabbath, Holy place. God’s holiness permeates anything touched by Him, especially man. Man’s encounters with the holiness of God in the Old Testament were often fearful. Following God’s destruction of Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea, the Israelites rested near Mount Sinai–-where God appeared to Moses in a burning bush. Before God would establish a covenant with His people, He ordered them to separate from impurity, to make themselves sanctified (holy) to God. On the third day of preparation, God descended to Mount Sinai, demonstrating His power and holiness (Exodus 19:16–20). God warned that anyone touching the mountain would be put to death. Only Moses and Aaron were permitted on the mountain. Mount Sinai was “set apart as holy”–-a reminder of the immeasurable chasm between the divine and the human. (AAG)

We are reminded in Revelation 15:4 of that separation.

Who will not fear you, Lord,
    and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
    and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Despite that, God tells us that we …”are being built into a spiritual house to beholy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5) Further in 1 Peter 2, God confirms our ability to be holy through Jesus Christ. He says, “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

Through Christ, God allows us to meet the mandate He established in Leviticus 11 “44 I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground. 45 I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.” Leviticus 20:7, God tells us again “‘Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God.”

According to dictionary.com, consecrate means to make or declare sacred; set apart or dedicate to the service of deity. In a practical way, this means that I should align my thoughts (think), my words (say) and my actions (do) with God and not the world. Let me explain. When I am wronged, God says “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing,”1 Peter 3:9. When I am angry with my wife, I am not to seclude myself and not speak to her for the Word of God says ““In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,” Ephesians 4:26 When I have been done dirty dog wrong, God says to forgive. “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:15

No matter how we slice it, God has a standard that his above our normal recourse of action. Isaiah 55:9 says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” To Be Holy, one must receive Jesus then seek to apply His Way and His thoughts to our ways and thoughts. We must be come one with Him.
I could not begin to think that I could capture the holiness of God in such few words and with my finite mind. God is incomprehensible, so I will never know all that there is; however, learning more about the character of God is what I am called to do on my way to obedience. We do know that God commands us to be holy. We must set forth on obeying His command to Be Holy.

It is through Christ’s blood that we are cleansed and through the indwelling Holy Spirit that we are led to live life of holiness. By the grace of God and the goodness of the Heaven Dwellers website, a great resource is made available – A.W. Tozer’s Knowledge of The Holy is available online. It is a great start to revealing how vast is the one true God.

Obedient Children

March 14, 2015

For the last 25 years, I have spent a minimum of 8 hours a day with children. Arguably, there isn’t any human interaction more enjoyable than relating to Obedient Children. It is refreshing to ask a student to do something which results in quiet compliance. Don’t get me wrong, I am not asking for blind acquiescence. I am solely looking for children who comply with reasonable requests. It just does something to me. It endears me to those students. I am willing to go the extra mile for the student who does what he/she is supposed to do.

On the other hand, there isn’t anything more emotionally disparaging than to deal with a noncompliant child especially one with a nasty attitude on top. It tries all patience and the goodwill that God asks us to demonstrate. While we are called to love everyone, this type of child is not endearing. In fact, you want to limit your interaction with the child. You don’t want the negativity surrounding you like an ominous dark cloud. Despite my knowledge that every human makes his/her own choices, I struggle in assigning blame to parents whose children are disobedient and disrespectful. Trust me, I have one student who daily pushes this. She simply talks too much about the wrong things at the wrong times. She never shuts up and gets upset when it’s addressed. She always has some type of retort. Ugh!!! God’s use of the negative to reinforce the positive behavior and obedience He expects of me. God is funny. While I am yearning for Obedient Children, God expects me to demonstrate that, so that I will shine like stars in a crooked and depraved generation.

Likewise, God does not want to deal with disobedient children. Make no mistake – He does, and He will. He does not lose patience. He does not tire. He neither slumbers nor sleeps, but He does confront the disobedient. Contrary to popular opinion, every person that walks this earth is not a child of God. John 1:12 clarifies that criteria. For those who have trusted Christ as Savior and Lord, Peter expresses God’s desire for those who are His children while others are merely His creation. Nevertheless, the book of 1 Peter is to His children. The call for Obedient Children is to those who have trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior. If you called yourself saved, then it is absolutely lucid that God expects us to change our behavior from selfish to selfless. Listen to Peter.

14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.

The call is for us to be Obedient Children. The presupposition is that we want to and will be obedient children. Consequently, God tells us “do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.” Another way to think of this is not act like we acted before we surrendered our lives to Christ. As believers, we are expected to surrender our desires to those of God. Philippians 2 provides guidance in the matter of obedience – “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” Throughout the scriptures, we are expected to follow the commands of God, so much so that He says that it is He that “who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” When we don’t will and act according to His good purpose, we either are defiant to God, or we don’t know Him as Lord and Savior. Either way, we are in sin.

For those who have not surrendered your life to Christ, your first call of obedience is to surrender to Christ. For those who have, your responsibility is to continue in obedience, to not conform to the evil desires you had when you refused to surrender your will to Jesus. No matter how we slice it, God wants and calls for Obedient Children.

Will you obey, or will you continue on in disobedience?

Setting Your Hope

March 11, 2015

The son of a friend of mine broke his leg. There is great concern because of where and how it was broken. The key for them was setting the break properly to make sure there is a full and seamless recovery. When it comes to setting, the proper placement of an object of focus, the desire is to get it right whether one is talking about a broken leg, a table for dinner, the ambiance for a special event or our hope in God as our text today encourages us. Setting Your Hope is what sprang off the page at me this morning. I have written a number of posts about hope but none any more important than this one.

The impetus for the post comes from 1 Peter 1. Hear the Word of God.

“10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. 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.”

The focus of today’s post is the last sentence in the text above, verse 13. With minds that are alert and sober, what does that mean. The KJV or the NKJV says, “gird up the loins of your mind,” What does that mean? It has been submitted that the phrase is “a metaphor derived from the practice of the Orientals, who in order to be unimpeded in their movements were accustomed, when starting a journey or engaging in any work, to bind their long flowing garments closely around their bodies and fastened them with a leather belt.” The idea in this phrase is of preparing for action, much like our phrase “rolling up your sleeves.”The intent is to be unencumbered as you seek to accomplish a task. The NIV says “with minds alert and sober”. When I think of alert, I think fully aware. Sober connotes that my perspective or view is not blurred by an over indulgence of wrong thinking. I am not inebriated by impure and sinful thoughts. I am looking at life with a clear, proper and serious view. How does one do that? We can only do that by seeing life through the Word of God.

Vines Expository Dictionary tells us that Setting Your Hope involves trusting fully, fixing your mind or to wait for salvation with joy and full confidence. Hope is nothing without the proper object of the hope. Peter tells us the correct and proper object of our hope – the grace of God. In Christendom, it is commonly accepted that grace is defined as the unmerited favor of God. In plain English, it is receiving from God that which we could not have done anything to earn or deserve. It is solely because God’s favor or love. Specifically, the grace of God referencing Jesus’ second coming. Here, it is a foregone conclusion that the “elect” or “pilgrims” as believers in Christ are called in verse 1 have received Christ; therefore, this reference to grace is not in Christ’s incarnation but His coronation. We will have a life and eternity of learning about the grace of God.

Setting Your Hope demands that we be alert and sober on the fact that Jesus will return not for returning sake but as the beginning of our eternal experience with the grade of God. When ushered into eternity by the return of Christ, the sole intent is to finally establish man’s relationship with God as He intended. Man is to experience God without the interference of sin. Experiencing God in that manner will enable us to optimally enjoy who He is and to glorify Him for who He is.

Peter is telling us to get rid of our desire for a new job, car, house, feet, hip, relationship. Our hope should be the grace of God that Jesus Christ will bring at His second coming. It is then and only then that we can fully and truly experience God in the manner in which He intended when He purposed man to know Him.

Like you, I am no immune to worldly desires. Peter though, the proper thing to do for life is Setting Your Hope. The proper placement of our Hope is on Jesus Christ and the hope that His second coming signals and guarantees for those who know God as God and Sovereign. We are asked to be “sober and fully alert” as we view life. I, among all people, understand how difficult that can be, but if we want to experience life as God intended, we must be vigilant in Setting Your Hope. My friend’s son was set in a cast, a fixed position, to ensure the proper healing of his lead. The cast for the believer is the Word of God. It is the standard for us to follow; therefore, we must read, hear, study, memorize, meditate on the Word of God to make sure you are alert and sober as we live life in anticipation of Christ’s return to which ushers us into the culmination of God’s grace – man in the presence of God to know and experience Him in unimaginable ways.

Now, I hope you have a better idea about Setting Your Hope.

Access to Power

March 6, 2015

Throughout all of our lives, we are looking to have Access to Power. The winter storms of 2015 have caused many parts of our country to experience power outages. In that cold weather, we all agree that people need power. Cell phone charging stations are ubiquitous in airports and other major gathering places. Why? People are looking for Access to Power for their cell phones, tablets and computers.

Likewise, people are looking for Access to Power in their personal lives. We know that Jesus upholds all things by the Word of His power. The Father has shown us that we are able to navigate life and its difficult situations by The Power of God’s Word: Standing on the Promises of God. Through those promises, God gives us Assurance of Hope by God through His Power and Plan. If one is fortunate enough, he receives God’s Reminder of His Power in and for his life.

What if one isn’t fortunate enough? God provides answer for that too. In Genesis 17:7, God says to Abram, “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” This conveys that God has a plan to reach out to man. Jesus tells us to “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) We see that God purposed and made a plan for man to have access to Him, but how can we have Access to Power from God?

Like many other questions, God answers through His Word. In 1 Peter 1, God tells us how we can have Access to Power. 

“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Where in that text are we told by God how we have Access to Power? We are told explicitly in verse 5. Let me extract it and explain it. The verse says, “who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” In context, Peter is telling us about the living hope we have in Christ and His resurrection. That same power that raised Jesus from the dead will raise us too. Listen to these texts:

Romans 4:23-25
23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

2 Corinthians 4:13-15
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

Colossians 2:11-13
11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ,12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,

1 Peter 1:20-22
20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. 22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

The last citation brings us right back to our text today, 1 Peter 1:5 which says you “who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” It is through faith in Christ that we are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. How doe we have Access to Power? Through faith in Christ Jesus. Peter tells us that faith in Christ activates and gives access to God’s power to shield and keep us until Christ return to complete our salvation.

All of the other verses above also point to faith or belief in Christ. If you did not see that, go back and look for the word faith or believe. In John 14:6, Jesus says, ““I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It is only through faith in Christ that we have Access to Power. 

Are you looking for Access to Power? Plug into Jesus Christ and be fueled for life here and the hereafter.

The Godhead In The Gospel

February 26, 2015

I readily admit that I am not a bible scholar. That is one of my shortcomings. I have not indulged myself deep enough into the study of God’s Word. Since its canonization, the Word of God has come into consistent challenge regarding its authenticity. We can quote scriptures like 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that attest that the Word of God was inspired by God. That is that God directed the writers on exactly what to say. We point to the fact that the bible talks about what we think are dinosaurs. We can point to the undisputable proof of the overwhelming 100% accuracy of Biblical prophecy. Literally, the Bible has thousands of fulfilled prophecies including those about the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. One example from Old Testament Messianic prophecies that Jesus fulfills is in Isaiah 53.

The Trinity is another divisive truth about God. If people do not reject God all together, many have difficulty comprehending that God is monotheistic yet is pluralistic in function. That is the doctrine of the Trinity. Questions are asked about how could there be three persons, God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit, but one God called the Godhead. How can this be? Like everything else in Christendom, you believe it by faith. Romans 1:17 says, “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.””

We see The Godhead In The Gospel throughout the scriptures. Again, there are a multiplicity of scriptures that demonstrate, announce and confirm the Trinity. Today, however, I will point to two in the text that I have been writing from over the past few weeks – 1 Peter 1.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus,Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his bloodGrace and peace be yours in abundance. (v1-2)

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. (v10-12)

In the first two verses, Peter clearly outlines the existence and work of The Godhead In The Gospel. I am not sure if you see it, so I will point it out. How do we see God the Father in the Gospel? The elect, those who are saved, were chosen God. How do we see Jesus in the Gospel? Jesus is the standard to which we are called to live that is the obedience. It is Jesus’ blood that those who have been chosen are purified from their sins. Similarly to the lambs blood on the door frames in Exodus 12, it is the blood of Jesus that saves us from death – the spiritual separation of man from God. How do we see the Holy Spirit in the Gospel? It is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us. Sanctify is to consecrate which means to set apart or dedicate to the service of God. Of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel, Jesus spells it out plainly for us in John. Now, we see Peter giving assent to Christ’s prophecy about the Holy Spirit.

Did you see the evidence of the Godhead in verses 10-12? I will not go on and on about The Godhead In The Gospel. It is true. It is there and the evidence supports it. The question is will you believe it. You don’t have to believe it, but if you deny The Godhead In The Gospel, John tells us what you can expect. He says, “18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

I thank God that The Godhead In The Gospel. Of the gospel, I will stand on what Paul said 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”” In faith, I trust that there is one God but works His redemptive plan through three persons: God The Father, God The Son and God The Holy Spirit. What do you have faith in? What do you trust? Will the blood of Jesus cover you when God sends the destroyer for the last time? Make a the right choice. Your place in eternity depends on it. 


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