Reaching the Lost. Discipling the Saved. Sharing the Love of Jesus with Everyone.

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Holy and Blameless Before Him

Today’s Scriptures from Ephesians 1 is an exercise dilemma. There is so much in the passage it’s difficult to know where to begin. Where to focus.

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.

Ephesians 1:3-4

For our time I want to focus on the amazing truth that we were chosen by God before the foundation of the world!

That is mind-boggling!

But note something else in that statement of reality: “that we should be holy and blameless before Him.”

Ok, that part may be a problem.

He “has blessed us…and chose us…that we should be holy and blameless.”

I know my life and decisions. I know my heart and mind. They certainly aren’t blameless.

Neither are yours.

But our text doesn’t lift us up in amazement just to dash us back down to reality.

What He demands, He has also supplied.

As we read on, “In [Jesus] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.”

We were not holy and blameless, but that wasn’t going to thwart God’s choice of us before the foundation of the world! Our sin wasn’t going to stop His predestined plan of adoption of us, nor would it stop His requirement of us being holy and blameless before Him for eternity.

The solution?

Jesus!

Through faith in Him, we are forgiven. We are made right with Him. We are purified. We are holy. We are now blameless before Him!

Mind boggling!

Thank You, Lord, for choosing us before the foundation of the world, redeeming us by Your blood, and through faith, making us holy and blameless before You! Grant that we live and share that reality and blessing with others!”

Scriptures

  • Psalm 85:1-13
  • Ephesians 1:3-14

The Right Reason to Rejoice

We like big. We like important. We like showy.

Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

Luke 10:20

More to the point, we tend to get distracted with those things instead of focusing on what’s really important.

Big conversion stories. Spiritual warfare. Apologists ‘winning’ arguments.

Even better if we are in those situations!

The disciples were sent out and saw some amazing things in the name of Jesus! Big things. Important things. Showy things.

And, like us, they were amazing and rejoiced in these things; mostly because these things seemed to elevate themselves.

But Jesus changes the focus. The reason for them to rejoice is not because they happen to be God’s instruments when He does amazing things, but that God has focused on them to be with Him forever and written their names in heaven!

What is the greater reason to rejoice? Their being saved and that they will be in heaven!

What is bigger than that? What is more important?

Through faith in Jesus, yes there are miracles that will happen. Yes, there will be things that will amaze. But those aren’t the point. Those aren’t the greatest reasons to rejoice. The greatest and right reason is that, through faith in Jesus, our names are written in heaven!

Thank You, Lord, for saving us and writing our names in heaven for eternity! Help us to rejoice in that reality!”

Scriptures

  • Luke 10:1-3
  • Luke 10:16-20

Faith Overflows

Today we hear of two miracles of Jesus. One is a lady who is healed through her faith in Jesus. The other is someone raised from the dead through some faith of her parents (though theirs seems a bit shaky).

Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”

Mark 5:36b

Faith is interesting. Putting trust in another and setting aside our own reason, experience, or feelings on the matter is not an easy or natural thing to do. But it is what we are asked to do, nonetheless. And when God is the object of our faith, it’s not as if we have nothing to go by. God’s track record on being faithful is perfect! Not only that, but faith tends to overflow to others! Faith infects! It points people to the One who accomplishes miracles; the biggest being the forgiveness of our sins and resurrection to eternal life! If He has accomplished those, what makes us thing that He won’t take care of our other issues?

“Thank You, Lord, for being faithful in all things. Send us Your Spirit and move us to be faithful as well.”

Scriptures

  • Mark 5:21-43

It’s Not What You Know, But Who You Know

We all know the saying, “it’s not what you know but who you know.”

[Jesus] said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

Mark 4:40

It’s a phrase telling us that knowing influential people is more important than knowledge, or qualifications, or abilities. It’s based on the assumption of a system skewed toward those with power or money or authority as being above laws and rules and fairness.

It’s cynical and nearly always penalizes the weak, the poor, and those without the right “connections.” It should be anathematized in any society that believes in the concept of fairness and “blind justice.”

Yet, we see this playing out in the open in today’s Scripture.

Jesus and the disciples are caught in a storm on a boat that is so bad, they feared for their lives. Jesus calms the storm with two simple words!

All the knowledge these seasoned fishermen had about the weather, the sea, and the wind was worthless. Having Jesus with them was salvation!

Yet it goes deeper than that!

Jesus chastised them for having little faith in this situation. The question has to arise, “if Jesus had not been there, would the storm have taken the rest of them and, if so, would it have been because of their lack of Jesus or their lack of faith in God?”

That’s a tough question – and not the point!

The issue is: faith in Jesus saves, and that faith should permeate everything we do and all that happens to us every day!

We know Jesus! We have faith and trust in Him! No matter what happens, we are saved!

It doesn’t matter what (or who) else we know, because we know – and have faith in – Jesus!

That’s all that matters!

Thank You, Lord Jesus! Strengthen our lacking faith!

Scriptures

  • Mark 4:35-41

New in Christ — Now and Forever

I do not understand – or care about – fashion. It occupies the same status for me as modern art or makeup or the Kardashians.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

I don’t have an issue with those who like or understand and like those things. They are just not me. In any way. At all.

But I do think a lot about Heaven. What it will be like. What we will do. How things will work. I think about the descriptions God gives – like in today’s Scripture – about our Heavenly dwelling and clothing.

What an amazing and glorious time to anticipate!

But that forthcoming reality is not just in our future; it is also in our present!

Yes, “we will have a building from God” for which we “long to put on,” but because we believe in Jesus (whose love controls and compels us) Who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee, the new dgis aren’t just at some point far off, but is our reality now! “If anyone is is Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

We are in the “now and not yet” of history!

The future is both assured and experienced now – albeit imperfectly!

So how are we to live in this “now and not yet” reality? Within our “once and future” clothing of righteousness?

By living for others, showing them what can be theirs through faith in Jesus!

He dies for all, that those who love might no longer live for [ourselves] but to Him who…died and was raised!”

Our eternal future is so secure in Jesus we experience it now; so we are free to live for and serve others! We are released to use the rest of this life sharing the saving Gospel of Jesus! We are compelled by the Jesus’ love to share His salvific work so others can be His new creation, too!

Thank You, Lord, for our present, future, and everlasting reality with You!”

Scriptures

  • Psalm 1
  • 2 Corinthians 5:1-9
  • 2 Corinthians 5:14-17

Naked and Afraid

The show “naked and afraid” seems strange to me. Why anyone would want to be on that show is beyond me. And, for the record, more and more, if I’m naked and see a mirror, I’m afraid, too!

With You there is forgiveness, that You may be feared.

Psalm 130:4

What’s interesting is that before the Fall, there was naked and no afraid. Harmony and serenity with God and nature. Amazing!

But once sin entered the world, so did fear. So did shame. So did danger and hardship.

But the loss of perfect communing with God had to be the biggest loss. Sin produces alienation with God. Separation. Even more rebellion. It brings dissatisfaction, fear, and depression.

That wasn’t just true in the Garden at the Fall. When we rebell and sin, we can also experience that loss, that fear, that shame. We can experience the loss of communion with God and the love and safety that comes with Him.

The effects of the Fall – of sin – can hardly be overstated. It’s effects were immediate, devastating, and perpetual.

We are not the only ones not satisfied with the way sin leaves things between God and us. God wasn’t either. He set in motion the same day both the forgiveness of Adam and Eve as well as His Plan for the redemption of His people. Enmity would give way to victory. Sin to forgiveness. Death to life.

Whether or not we will be ‘naked’ in heaven (do you ever wonder that?), we will never be afraid, through faith in Jesus Christ, through Whom we have forgiveness, life, and salvation!

Praise the Lord!

Scriptures

  • Genesis 3:8-15
  • Psalm 130
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