“Jacob…whom I [God] have chosen…You are my servant; I have chosen you….” (From Isaiah 41:8-9)
Lord, You chose Jacob (Israel) and You have chosen us also. You chose us to go and bear fruit for Your glory. Thank You. Please help me serve you well today. Amen.
Jesus said in John 15:8 and 16, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last…..”
In Colossians 3:12, Paul calls us “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.” Wow! Holy—set apart for His service—and dearly loved. Not just loved, but dearly loved. What encouragement to live seeking to please God and joyfully serve wherever He directs! Why do I forget so often and start whining? I want to form a new habit. When I hear myself whining or complaining, I want to remind myself that I’m part of a holy people, chosen and dearly loved.
“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
How wonderful to be selected, called! And we’re called for a purpose—not to be pampered or play games. We’re called to serve God even in difficulties, fit into His plans whatever they are, and bring Him glory. It is the path to real life. I didn’t learn this when I was young, but I believe God gives me each new day so I can learn it now.
Thank You, Lord.
[All Scriptures are NIV]
Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me bless His Holy Name!
O Lord, You paint the eastern sky with sunrise every morning,
And at end of day You brush sunset colors over the opposite canvas.
Dark of night reveals the multitude of stars which populate the heavens.
Your creation praises You! I will join them with a song of joy.
I will praise and thank You for the symphony of blooms in our front yard.
The Bridal Veil and Forsythia blooms began the melody.
Then the Bradford Pears added their white-frosted branches to the mix.
Their flowers faded out, but the lilacs chimed in with their fragrant purplish mounds.
Our Spirea bushes pour forth fountains of flowers.
The flowering cherry trees add their own notes of beauty.
And daffodils, daylilies, and irises of various hues complete the chorus
To You, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Let Your people praise You! Let all the people praise You, Creator and Lord!
People can admire creation’s beauty and write about its loveliness. Some can paint replicas of nature on canvas. But we couldn’t begin to create life. You alone create living things, whether plant or animal.
You are the awesome, amazing, living God! Let everything that has breath praise You! Amen.
From the hymn “God Who Touchest Earth with Beauty”
photo by Tricia Opitz
God, who touchest earth with beauty, Make me lovely too; With Thy Spirit re-create me, Make my heart anew.
Like Thy springs and running waters, Make me crystal pure; Like Thy rocks of towering grandeur, Make me strong and sure.
Like Thy dancing waves in sunlight, Make me glad and free; Like the straightness of the pine trees, Let me upright be. …
(Lyrics by Mary S. Edgar; music by Frederick Arthur Gore-Ouseley)
(Source – Baptist Hymn Book )
Real faith results in obedience. For me to respond in faith to what God says in His Word means putting it into action in my life. I would choose to obey—to do what the Word says instead of just listening and nodding my head in agreement. (Romans 2:13; James 1:22)
This afternoon I got frustrated with a customer service representative who couldn’t seem to understand my question no matter how many ways I tried to phrase it. I’ve had problems like this before, and in the past (like last week) I’ve gotten quite upset.
But today, I’m looking at 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I’m in Christ Jesus. Therefore, God wants me to always rejoice, continually pray, and give thanks even in frustrating situations—even when I can’t get the help I think I need. This is an opportunity to let the Holy Spirit bear fruit in me—patience and self-control specifically. I can choose to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. I could pray, “Lord, please help me to let go of my old ways and be renewed in Christ-likeness. Thank You for this chance to grow.”
Ephesians 4:22-24 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
(Both quotes NIV)
I’ve appreciated Pastor Tom Hilpert’s sermons on the Book of Revelation. Three I especially liked were #17 “War, Famine, Disease and Death: In All Things God Is In Control which I reblogged earlier today; #20 The Joy That Awaits at https://clearbible.blog/2018/02/27/the-joy-that-awaits/ ; and #21 The End of Grace at https://clearbible.blog/2018/03/13/revelation-21-the-end-of-grace/
I hope you’ll check them out.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!” (Psalm 34:8 New Living Translation)
I always thought of “tasting” in this verse as “taking a little sample” of God, like tasting the soup to see if it has enough salt. Since the rest of the verse says that the taste reveals God’s goodness, that understanding is probably right.
However, today I thought about “tasting” God like I taste my favorite foods. As I eat them, I savor and enjoy them. They satisfy me and give me energy and nourishment. Today I think I’ll savor and enjoy God. He will nourish and satisfy me. As I wait on Him, He will renew my strength (Isaiah 40:31). I will delight more and more in His goodness.
Verses from Psalm 86: 1-5, 8, 12-13, New International Version, with my thoughts:
1. Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Am I poor and needy? Maybe not financially since any American is rich compared to most people in other parts of the world. But I am spiritually poor when my faith is small and I get discouraged. I’m needy because I am a broken person living in a broken world and both body and soul can be wounded and/or knocked off balance.
2. Guard my life, for I am faithful to You; save Your servant who trusts in You. You are my God. The key to receiving God’s help is for me to faithfully seek Him instead of other answers and to trust His power and care. I will have no other gods besides the living God, Almighty Maker of heaven and earth. I will be faithful to You, Lord.
3. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to You all day long. I will be persistent and patient in prayer.
4. Bring joy to Your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in You. I will trust in You, Lord, with all my heart and not lean on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). (In Your presence is fullness of joy—from Psalm 16:11.)
5. You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. Thank You, Lord, that You abound in love to me as I call on You.
8. Among the gods, there is none like You, Lord; no deeds can compare with Yours. For example, what other god could cause a dead stick to bud, blossom, and bear almonds as You did with Aaron’s staff?
12-13. I will praise You, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever. 13 For great is Your love toward me. You have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead. Yes, I will glorify Your name forever and praise You with all my heart, Lord, for great is Your love for me!
(Image from Pinterest)
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 New Living Translation)
The old me was touchy, irritable, grumpy, and rude. She sought only self and her way. She spent time with gossip, deception, unfaithfulness, anger, greed, quarreling, and jealousy. (See Galatians 5:19-21.)
The new me is patient, loving, pure in heart, and hardly even notices a wrong done to her (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). She fellowships with peace, kindness, joy, forgiveness, honest and loving speech, generosity, courtesy, and other such companions.
O Lord, please grant me grace to take off and dispose of the rags of the old me and put on the clothing of the new me which is renewed in the likeness of Christ. Holy Spirit, please help me do that more! (See Colossians 3:5-10.)
Advertisers love to proclaim Christmas in July so we’ll buy more stuff. Now how about Thanksgiving in August? The official Thanksgiving holiday is over 3 months away, but I’ve decided to celebrate God’s goodness a few months early. After all, giving thanks to the Lord is always in season.
Let me share one of the things God has used to help me escape and stay out of the pit of a negative outlook on life. About a year and a half ago, our pastor challenged us to write down at least one thing we were thankful for each day from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I accepted the challenge, and wrote a few items down daily for which I was thankful. I decided not to stop at Christmas and have been keeping up my “thanksgiving journal” ever since. I’ve experienced much more of the Lord’s joy since starting this practice.
I hope you have never fallen into ugly habits like whining, complaining and self-pit-y, but they have been too much a part of my personal past. I do praise and thank God and also thank my pastor for helping me start this one simple thing that has made such a difference in my life.
“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15, New Living Translation)
Mark 6:53, 55-56 Amplified Bkible “And when they had crossed over, they reached the land of Gennesaret…. and they ran about the whole countryside, and began to carry around sick people on their sleeping pads or mats to any place where they heard that He was. and wherever He came into villages or cities or the country, they would lay the sick in the marketplaces and beg Him that they might touch even the fringe of His outer garment, and as many as touched Him were restored to health.”
I wonder how many today come to Jesus and receive healing for themselves or someone else and go away. They’re content with healing and don’t go on to become His disciples. Following Jesus instead of our own interests requires laying down the lordship over our own lives, but the rewards are worth the price. Jesus offers healing because He is good and merciful, but He offers so much more as well. He offers forgiveness of sins, peace of mind, joy, fulfillment, strength, and on and on. The most important thing He gives, though, is relationship with the living, triune God—in this life and the next.
Dear Lord, please don’t let me ever settle for anything less, but remind me to take up my cross and follow You so You can give me the greatest gift—You, Yourself. Amen.
Really good sermon by Pastor Tom. I especially appreciated the firefighter illustration of true belief/trust. Hope you’re blessed by it.
We are not necessarily called to an life of increasing comfort and ease. We are not called specifically to get more and more financially secure. We aren’t even directly called to success, or even excellence. What we are definitely called to is the cross. A faith that says: “Yes I believe, but not so much that I would give up my life for him,” is not a faith that truly grasps who Jesus is.
To listen to the sermon, click the play button:
To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer: Download Matthew Part 55
Matthew #55 . Matthew 16:20-27
I’m afraid that I’m going to have to take this section slowly also. Don’t blame me: blame Jesus, for saying such profound things. Let’s start with this:
And He gave the disciples orders to tell no one…
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