A Missionary Call

Thursday, July 13, 2017, 11:11 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “It All Depends.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read several scriptures (in the ESV) on the subject of the call of God on our lives.

Send Me (Isaiah 6:8-9a)

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people…”

A Christian missionary is called of God, a disciple (follower) of Christ, and a messenger of God in sharing the gospel of our salvation and in teaching the Word of Truth (the Word of God) to the people of the world. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are all called to be missionaries in that we have all been called to be Christ’s witnesses and to make disciples of Christ of people of all nations, and we are all to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. Also we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and we are to let our light – the light of Christ and of his gospel – shine before all people. The light is not to be hidden or kept only to ourselves (Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:18-20; 1 Pet. 2:9; Matt. 5:13-16).

When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, and his Holy Spirit comes to live within us, we are gifted of the Spirit of God with spiritual gifts and we are given assignments by God within the body of Christ, his church, which we are to fulfill (See: Ro. 12; 1 Co. 12; Eph. 4). We have all been called to belong to Christ, to be holy, to be his saints, according to God’s purpose, by the will of God, into fellowship with Christ, by his grace, to freedom in Christ, to eternal life, and to share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings and for the sake of the gospel (various scriptures). Yet, we are each given specific assignments, as well, which God will reveal to us if we are listening to him (See: Psalm 139:16). So, when God speaks, we should listen, and we should respond, “Here I am, send me.”

God Appointed (Jeremiah 1:4-9a)

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me,

“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth.

Before the creation of the world, we were chosen by God to be conformed to the image of Christ. We were called to a holy calling in Christ Jesus. And, we were chosen in Christ to be holy and blameless before him. All the days ordained for us by God were written in his book before one of them came into being (Ro. 8:29; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; Eph. 1:3-4; Ps. 139). God placed us in the wombs of our mothers, which means he placed us in the homes we were brought up in, even knowing the good and the bad that would happen to us. God is completely sovereign over all that he has made. He had a plan and a purpose for our lives even before he created the world. He knew us and he chose us and he called us to something very uniquely designed by God for us to do and to be.

God did not place us here on this earth so we could live life however we want, and so we can entertain ourselves and be entertained continuously by others. He has a mission for each one of us to fulfill. He has a specific assignment for us. He has somewhere he wants us to live and to go, and messages he wants us to give and people to whom he would have us minister the love, grace, and mercy of Christ, and with whom he would have us share the full gospel message of salvation. And, we don’t have to worry about whether or not we can do this, because if God is in it, and if he has called us, he will equip us, and he will give us all we need to do what he has called us to do. He will supply all we need, and he will go before us and prepare the way and guide our steps, and give us the words to speak.

A Servant and Witness (Acts 26:15-18)

“And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’”

Perhaps you have been resisting his call on your life, because you want to live your life how you want, make all your own decisions, live where you want, and go about your day according to your own plans and purposes. Or, perhaps you only serve God on your own terms, and will only follow him if he doesn’t ask you to do anything that would involve much personal sacrifice. Yet, he may ask you to leave friends and loved ones behind to go to the regions beyond. Still, you may be among those who fear that if they listen to the Lord, and if they seek his will for their lives, that God may ask them to do something they don’t want to do, something that would take them into the unknown, or something that may get them majorly rejected, persecuted or even killed for their testimony for Christ and for his gospel.

So, he is calling us to take a stand for him, to not waver back and forth in our commitments, but to be faithful to him in service in being who he has called us to be, going where he wants us to go, and doing what he says. He is calling us to accept his call on our lives and to say “Here I am. Send me.” And, he promises to provide all we need to do the work of the ministry to which he has called us.

Yet, God has not called us to just be nice people and to make people feel good about themselves while they are still dead in their sins. He has called us to open blinded eyes, to turn them from darkness (sin, wickedness) to light (truth, Christ, righteousness) and from the power Satan has over their lives to God to walk in his ways. Then they will receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified (purified) by faith in Jesus Christ. So, we need to tell them the truth, for their eternity depends on it. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars. True faith in Jesus Christ results in being crucified with Christ in death to sin that we might live with Christ in newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

It All Depends
Jerry Nelson / Don Marsh

Would I leave the place
Where I have lived and settled down?
It all depends.
Break with my attachments,
Sentimental though they be?
It all depends.
Would I find myself uprooting
All the stakes I’ve driven down,
Leaving friends and loved ones far behind,
Captive to the call of some far off distant land?
I can only answer, that depends.

It all depends on where He needs me,
For where he leads me my feet must go.
It may be down an unfamiliar pathway
Or cross the mountains so bleak with snow.
His faithful hand will always guide me.
He’ll walk beside me, let come what may.
Why should I dread the night?
My faith has found its sight.
I’ll do his will through the rest of my life.

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Days Formed for Me

Thursday, July 6, 2017, 6:06 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Search Me, O God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 139 (Select vv. ESV).

He Knows Me (vv. 1-7)

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?

Our God and Lord knows us, the end from the beginning, inside and out, thoroughly and completely, because he is the one who made us. He knows everything we do. We cannot hide from God. Nothing we do is hidden from his sight. Even if we go into a dark place, he still sees and knows everything we are doing. Nothing escapes his notice! He is acquainted with all of our ways. We may be able to fool people, but we can’t fool God. He knows. He sees. So, if we are doing wrong, and we are trying to look good on the outside, while inside, when we are alone in the darkness, we are doing what is wicked, although humans may not see and may not know, God knows. And, what he says he will do will be fulfilled. We can count on it!

Yet, if we are doing what is right, this should serve to be a comfort and an encouragement to us that God knows us completely. Because he does, even if others misjudge us or reject us based on a misconception or on their own prejudice, God knows the truth. He knows our hearts, who we are, and what we do, and the reasons we do it, even if no one else does. And, he will comfort us with that knowledge, fill us with his peace, and assure us of his grace, strength, and the knowledge of his will for our lives. Even before we utter a word in prayer to him, he knows what we are going to say, and he may even begin to answer us or counsel us in our minds before we even vocalize our requests to him, or even before we even know what to ask.

In My Mother’s Womb (vv. 13-16)

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

None of us are here on this earth by chance or by mistake. God formed us in the wombs of our mothers. What this means is that he placed us in the families we were born into, even knowing what would happen to us – good or bad. He didn’t cause evil, but he allows evil to exist for his purposes. He doesn’t always protect us from harm, but he protects us emotionally and spiritually through the storms of life, if we trust him. He didn’t promise us we would never face adversity. In fact, he said the opposite. He said that, as his followers, we would be treated like he was treated. He uses our life experiences to mold us and to shape us into the people he created us to be. And, he is quite capable of seeing us through any and all circumstances, no matter how difficult, and to give us the wisdom and strength we need to endure, to persevere, and to “come out shining like gold” (1).

For those of us who know God, and who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives, we must know that even before God created the world, he chose us, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He predestined us to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. And, he called us to a holy calling in Christ Jesus, our Lord (See: Ro. 8:29; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; Eph. 1:3-4). He has something for each of us to do. He has a plan and a purpose for our lives. He didn’t save us so we could live however we want, and so we could plan out our own lives. He has given us spiritual gifts and he has given us each assignments within the body of Christ which we are to fulfill for his purposes and for his glory (See: Jer. 1). This is my assignment, to write out what he teaches me each day, and to post it on the internet.

Lead Me, I Pray (vv. 17-18, 23-24)

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

God doesn’t think like we do, as humans. His ways are higher than our ways. What might not make sense to us makes perfect sense to God, because he knows the end from the beginning. He knows what lies ahead for us. Sometimes he allows delays and roadblocks because he has a plan that is greater than our understanding. So, what might seem like a failure to us may not be that at all. We need to learn to trust God and not lean on our own understanding, for our understanding is flawed (imperfect), whereas his is absolutely perfect. We also need to understand that God’s timing is not the same as ours. I think that in today’s culture, particularly here in America, we want everything fast, and we have lost the art of patience. But, God is very patient, and he is willing that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance. So, we need to wait on God’s timing.

God knows our hearts and our minds. We sometimes think we know like God knows, but we don’t always, although we do have the mind of Christ (See: 1 Co. 2:16). Sometimes we even misjudge ourselves or we are self-deceived into thinking thoughts about ourselves which are not true. So, it is good for us to have God search our minds and hearts and to show us what we are not able to see about ourselves, so that we can be changed in heart and mind in conformity to Christ and to his will for our lives. We might think we are serving the Lord, and that he is pleased with us, but we might be missing the mark. So, it is good to have those soul-searching times alone with God where we pray and we ask him to reveal to us any sins or if we are going the wrong direction, and for him to guide us and to lead us in the way he would have us to go, because, again, he has a very specific assignment for each one of us which he wants us to fulfill, and so we need to fulfill it.

Search Me, O God / An Original Work / July 12, 2012

Based off Psalm 139

O Lord, You search and know me.
You know all that I do.
O Lord, You discern my ways.
I put my trust in You.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
Where’er I am, You are with me,
Guiding me in love.
O Lord, You search and know me.
You know all that I do.
O Lord, You discern my ways.
I put my trust in You.

O Lord, You made and formed me
In my own mother’s womb.
Your hands beautif’ly made me.
I give my praise to You.
My frame was not hidden from You
When I was made in the dark place.
All the days ordained for me
Were written in Your book.
O Lord, You made and formed me
In my own mother’s womb.
Your hands beautif’ly made me.
I give my praise to You.

O Lord, how precious to me
Are Your thoughts, O my God.
When I wake in the morning,
You are still here with me.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offense.
Lead me in Your truth.
O Lord, how precious to me
Are Your thoughts, O my God.
When I wake in the morning,
You are still here with me.

References:

(1) https://www.scribd.com/doc/101911488/Lyrics-I-Am-Willing-Lord-Joni-Eareckson-Tada

Beside Quiet Waters

Sunday, May 28, 2017, 11:22 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Oh, To Be Like Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 23 (NASB).

Not in Want (v. 1)

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.

Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd. In his death on a cross, he laid down his life for his sheep. Through his death and resurrection, he provided the way for us, through God-given faith in him, to be delivered from slavery to sin and eternal death, and to be freed to walk now in Christ’s righteousness. He also became our merciful and compassionate high priest, who suffered like we suffer, and thus he is able to sympathize with us in our weaknesses. Not only is he our Savior, but he is also our provider and sustainer. We are not lacking in any good thing he desires for us. He meets all of our needs.

He Leads Me (v. 2)

He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.

Sometimes, though, as humans, we become anxious about our lives, our needs, our circumstances, and our loved ones, etc. And, there are times when we need to be reminded that he is our shepherd, and that we are not lacking in anything we truly need, for even when we do lack, he provides, or he fulfills us where we are lacking. He reminds us, too, that we need to put our trust in him and not in humans, and not in the things of this world, for all these things are going to pass away. Our trust needs to be solely in the Lord, and so we must rest in him, believing that he will provide, not necessarily all that we think we need, but what he knows is what we need.

Restores My Soul (v. 3)

He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

When we feel anxious, and we call upon him, and he fills us with his peace, because we are now resting and trusting in him, he restores our souls. And, he leads us in the right way, in the way we should go; in the way of faith and rest in him, and not in the way of the flesh or of the world. He shows us his truths in contrast to Satan’s lies, and he teaches us his ways, which is the way to true peace and contentment. We can rest in him and believe him in all things because he is God, he is all powerful, and he is completely sovereign (in control) over all that he has made, and over all powers, dominions and authorities on the earth and in the heavenly realms.

The world teaches us many ways to live, much of which is in contrast to God’s ways. So, if we spend much time immersing (engaging) ourselves and our minds in the beliefs, attitudes, thinking, philosophies and behaviors of this sinful world, it will be reflected in our own thinking, attitudes and behaviors. Yet, Jesus will guide us in the paths of his righteousness, but we have to be open, available and receptive to listen, and then to do what he says. God’s grace, for instance, is not carte blanche (free rein) to continue in sin without guilt and remorse, using God’s grace as a cop-out for willful sin. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and desires, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14).

Death’s Dark Valley (v. 4)

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

In our spiritual walks of faith in Jesus Christ, we will face hardships, persecutions, trials, tribulations and difficulties, as well as blessings. Sometimes our trials can be so troublesome that they are death-like, i.e. they hint to us a sense of hopelessness and despair, or an ending to something good, or a feeling of powerlessness over our circumstances. The reality of them may be, as well, that we are in danger of dying or of being killed, particularly for our faith in Jesus Christ. Yet, we are not to fear, for our Lord is completely sovereign (in control) over all things, and he will, in all things, work for the good of us who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Ro. 8:28), so we can rest in him.

I don’t ever have to be afraid of what humans may do to me, for my God is with me. He will lead me and guide me in the way I should go, and he will counsel me and watch over me. He, too, will console me and reassure me of his love, his grace, his mercy, his power and of his sovereignty. And, He will remind me that I can trust him, and that I can rest in him secure in all things. He has a plan and a purpose. And, his purposes will be accomplished. His plans cannot be thwarted! [Job 42:2; Is. 8:10; Is. 14:27]

Presence of Enemies (v. 5)

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have one prime enemy, which is Satan. He is the enemy of God and of all who follow Jesus Christ with their lives. He is like a roaring lion roaming around the earth seeking whom he may devour. So, we are to resist him, flee temptation and sin, and draw near to God in full assurance of faith. He has followers, too, though, and they are our enemies, also, but we don’t fight him or them with physical weapons of warfare. We fight off our enemies with spiritual weapons of righteousness which God has given to us to put on daily, so that we don’t succumb to the enemy’s devices and strategies he uses against us (See: Eph. 6:10-20).

Again, we don’t have to fear Satan or his many hordes, but daily we must put on God’s armor, and when we do, we will be at peace and at rest. Our Lord will provide us with everything we need to remain strong in battle, to not give up, to persevere, to be at peace, to retain our joy, and to keep on serving our Lord despite all opposition forged against us. He will provide us with wisdom, insight, spiritual gifts, faith, words to say, and a song in our hearts, so that the enemy of our souls will not gain the victory over us. And, he will do this in the presence of our enemies so that they can see that God is with us, that God is all powerful, and that no weapon forged against us will prevail, not even death, for death to us only means life with God.

Goodness and Lovingkindness (v. 6)

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

We read in Romans 8:14 that it is those who are led by the Spirit of God who are the children of God. If we live according to the sinful nature, we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity. So, it isn’t those who merely profess faith in Jesus Christ who are the sheep of his pasture, but it is those who walk according to the Spirit, who do not live by the ways of the flesh, and who, by the Spirit, are putting sin to death. Being led by the Spirit means we listen to what the Lord says in his Word, and we follow where he (his Word) leads us, in the path of his righteousness and holiness.

We are those of whom God’s goodness and lovingkindness (covenant loyalty) will follow us all the days of our lives. We have the promise of an eternal home with God. And, God is completely faithful to all he has promised those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. We can totally rely on him to do everything he said he would do.

Yet, his goodness is not necessarily as humans might define “good,” but it is according to what is best (in God’s estimation) for us. It is what is pure, holy, righteous, moral, decent, upright, truthful and just, and what is in accord with God’s perfect plan for our lives. Suffering, as we learn, is part of his design for our lives, so we should not feel he is not being good to us if he allows us to go through suffering. Even that has its place in our lives in growing us in our faith, maturing us, training us in perseverance, purifying us, and teaching us to rely on God and not on ourselves, as well as to conform us to the likeness of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Thomas O. Chisholm / W. J. Kirkpatrick

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

His Will and Purpose

Friday, January 20, 2017, 4:04 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Trust Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 1:1-14 (NASB).

To the Faithful (vv. 1-2)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul wrote here to the saints of God, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus. They are the loyal, true, trustworthy, dedicated, committed, persistent and continuous followers of Jesus Christ, who are full of and steadfast in faith and in allegiance to God, yet not yet perfect (fully mature). Yet, all the glory goes to God, for only in Him, by his grace, and in the power and working of His Holy Spirit within us, can any of us be found faithful in Christ Jesus.

Holy and Blameless (vv. 3-8a)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.

We who are in Christ Jesus, by faith in him, have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. So, what are some of those spiritual blessings we have been given? We have been granted faith and repentance unto forgiveness of sins and salvation. We have been delivered out of slavery to sin so that we can now become bond-servants (or bond-slaves) of God and of his righteousness. Also, we have been provided with new lives in Christ Jesus, free from bondage to sin, and free to now walk in the Spirit in God’s holiness, as well as the promise and hope of eternal life with God in heaven.

We, too, have been furnished with the Holy Spirit of God to indwell us, and to empower, strengthen and keep us in his love, as well as to teach, counsel, admonish, encourage, comfort and help us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing unto God. We have been given spiritual gifts of the Spirit for the building up of the body of Christ, and we have been assigned, by God, roles and responsibilities (body parts) within the church for the mutual edification of one another and for the furtherance of the gospel of Christ. And, we have been granted all we need, in the Spirit, to exercise these gifts and to fulfill these assigned roles, in love, and for the benefit of others.

We were chosen before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before God/Christ. What this means is that, even before God/Jesus created the world, he chose us to be one of his, and to be holy (set apart from the world because we are becoming like Christ) and blameless (because of what Jesus did in dying on the cross for our sins). He is the one who knit us together in our mother’s wombs, and who called us into his service even before we were born. What this is saying is that our God is absolutely sovereign over all that he has made, and that God even placed us with the parents he gave us, and he allowed us to go through the things we have gone through in our lives in order to make us into the people he wants us to be for his purposes and for his glory. And, he didn’t make us to be self-serving but to be God-honoring and obedient in all that we do.

According to His Purpose (vv. 8b-14)

In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

Our God is eternal, i.e. he is without beginning and without end. I, who am human, and finite, have difficulty with this concept, and yet I accept it by faith. My human mind thinks in terms of beginning and end, so eternity is something that is just difficult for my mind to grasp, and yet I believe it because God said it. Yet, because our God is eternal, and all knowing and all powerful, etc., he sees the whole big picture, and he planned the whole big picture, too. Even before he created the world he had us in mind, and who we should be, and what we should do, and what our ultimate end would be. And, yet, I believe he has also given us the will to choose him or to reject him, i.e. he didn’t make us puppets on a string and him the puppet master, as though we have no choice in what we do or how we behave. We do!

Anyway, the whole point of this is that we were not placed on this planet earth by chance or by accident. God made us for a purpose, and with eternity in mind. We are not here for our own will and good pleasure, but for the glory of God, and to serve his purposes for our lives. We are here on planet earth, in other words, to serve our Lord and to love our fellow humans with god-like (agape) love. We are also here to love God, and we love God by obeying Christ’s commandments (his Word).

When Jesus Christ died on a cross, he became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. We are for the praise of his glory! Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self) we will lose them (for eternity), but if we lose our lives (are crucified with Christ in death to sin), we will gain eternal life (See: 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Pet. 2:24; Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Ro. 8:1-14).

A lot of people are giving the impression these days that God’s grace is a free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse, but this is far from the truth. God’s grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. In fact, Jesus Christ “gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Tit. 2:11-14). Through Jesus’ death on a cross he redeemed us (bought us back for God) with his blood, not so we could live however we want, but so we would be his very own possession and he would be our Lord (owner-master).

When Jesus is truly our Lord, and we are following him in obedience, and in surrender to his will for our lives, which he had planned for us all along, not everyone will like us. Many will hate and reject us, just as they hated and rejected Jesus Christ, and for many of the same reasons. And, yet we are not to fear what humans may do to us, because God has a plan for it all, to bring many to faith in Jesus Christ, and for the growth and maturity of his followers. We often grow the deepest in our faith with our Lord when our faith is being put to the test, i.e. when it is challenged by opposition. So, don’t be afraid of persecution, because it must come before times will have reached their fulfillment, and our Lord will return for us, his bride. Be strong in the Lord and in his love, and keep sharing Christ and love God fully.

Trust Him / An Original Work / August 15, 2012

Based off Psalm 27:14

Wait for the Lord; be of courage;
Be strong and take heart today.
Do not fear when foes attack you.
Trust in God always.
He will rescue you in times
Of trouble and distress,
He’ll comfort you in all ways
As you trust Him with your life today.
Trust in Him always.

God is with you; He’ll not leave you.
You can always count on Him.
He will fulfill all He promised
Before you began.
His word teaches you
All that you need for this life.
Let Him lead you. Open your heart;
Let his truth envelope you today.
Listen and obey.

Love your Lord God; follow Jesus.
Repent of your sins today.
Make Him your Lord and your master;
Trust Him and obey.
Follow Him where’er He leads you
In His service; be His witness,
Telling others about Jesus’
Price that He did pay
For your sins always.

Who Am I?

Friday, November 18, 2016, 6:11 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Acts 6:1-7 (ESV).

His Purpose and Grace

We read in Psalm 139 that God created our inmost being. He knit us together in the wombs of our mothers. All the days ordained for us were written in God’s book before one of them came to be. We read in Jeremiah 1 that God knew Jeremiah before he formed him in the womb of his mother. Before he was born, God set him apart to be a prophet to the nations.

We read in 2 Timothy 1:8-9: “Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”

And, in Ephesians 1:3-4 we read: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”

In Romans 12:4-8 we read: “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”

And, in 1 Corinthians 12:11, 18: “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.”

As well, we read in Ephesians 4:15-16: “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

It’s Not Right (Ac. 6:1-4)

Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

You have probably heard the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” This figure of speech is “used in reference to a person that is competent with many skills, but no particular one” (Wikipedia). This can be good if you are a handyman, i.e. if your job is to do maintenance work in a building, and therefore you need to have multiple and/or overlapping skills. As Christ’s ministers, though, it is possible that this could be a detriment if we stretch ourselves over too many ministry areas and thus we neglect the one prominent area of ministry to which God called us even before the creation of the world, and before we were even formed in the wombs of our mothers.

Many pastors, for instance, are expected to do all the preaching of the Word, all the hospital and shut-in visitations, all the counseling, and all the planning and implementation of “church” programs, etc. In addition to this, in today’s modern institutional church, they are expected to be business men with marketing skills, and entertainers and actors who must keep the “customers” coming back for more. Thus, they feel they have to focus more on doing what appeals to human flesh, rather than on spending the necessary time and heart with God in prayer and in his Word so that they are able to lead their flocks to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in obedience.

Yet, this passage of scripture should not be taken as only applying to those who are professional ministers with congregations under their authority. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are all his ministers. God has called each and every one of us to something that we alone are to do. It doesn’t mean other people don’t have the same gifts or similar functions, but that God has a unique assignment for each of us. In other words, not one of the apostles was exactly the same as the other, although they were all apostles.

So, we need to focus our attention on who God created us to be, on why we are here, and on what he has called us to do. We need to spend time with God in prayer, and in his Word, and we need to seek his face concerning what part of the body he wants us to be, and then we need to dedicate ourselves to being that part, and to not trying to spread ourselves thin. Then, the body can grow, because every part is doing its assigned work.

Full of Faith (Ac. 6:5-7)

And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.

And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

If we don’t have faith in Jesus Christ, God does not have an assignment for us, at least not Holy Spirit empowered for the building up of the body of Christ. So, first of all, we need to examine ourselves to see if we are truly in the faith. Belief in Jesus Christ is not mere words we recite after someone else, or a one-time emotional or intellectual experience we go through. When we believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives, we die with Christ to sin so we can live with him to righteousness. We are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ in newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). If we say we have fellowship with God, but we conduct our lives according to a sinful lifestyle, then we are liars, and the truth is not in us (1 Jn. 1:6).

Once we are sure we have true faith in Jesus Christ, then we need to spend quality and quantity time with him each day in prayer (talking to God), in the study of His Word, listening to him speak his truths to our hearts, and then in obedience to what his Word teaches us we must do. God will guide our hearts into his truth, and he will show us the way we should go. As we follow him where he leads us, and we get to know him and his heart, we begin to see what gifts he has given to us and how he wants us to use them in the body, and for his glory. And, then we need to say “Yes” to his leading, and do what he asks us to do. We should then care more about pleasing him than we care about the acceptance of humans. He is likely to call us to do something which will get us rejected by other humans, and so we need to be willing to be hated, persecuted and even killed for obeying our Lord.

We may not always see immediate fruit for our labors, though. Some people are called to plant, while others will reap, so even if you can’t see all the produce now for the sowing you are doing in other people’s hearts, trust God, follow his lead, do what he says, and leave the results to him.

Let him have his way in your heart and life, and let him use you in the way in which he called you even before you were born. We won’t always know all the impact we have on other people’s lives. But, God will use our obedience for good, for the salvation of human lives, for the encouragement of the saints, and for the building up of his body if we surrender to him and let him mold us into the people of God he designed us to be. I surrender all!

Have Thine Own Way, Lord / Adelaide A. Pollard / George C. Stebbins

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!