In a moment of ministry frustration due to lack of time management and just a feeling of being overwhelmed, a dear friend reminded me to remind myself of what I was called to do. I have a tendency to get bogged down with this, that and the other; sometimes important, sometimes not, and then the things I really desire to get accomplished… just don’t. Combine that with the day to day of life, and the struggles therein and I’ve got a target on my back and I’m in the crosshairs of Satan.
1 Peter 2:9
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
Remember You are Chosen
Galatians 4:5 says: To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
As non-Jewish Christ believers we were adopted into the family of God. He chose us! That’s an important thing to remember as a child of God, because Satan would love us to believe we are a burden to the Father. And it’s an easy task for him to make me believe that. I fail God continually. So surely He get’s fed up with me not taking the price His Son paid seriously.
The truth is, God knew my faults when He chose me. He knew I’d fail Him. He also knew my heart to serve Him and to be a servant in the Kingdom of God. His Son died so that I could have that opportunity. I couldn’t have become a child of God any other way! I was chosen by God, and if you’ve been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, so were you!
Remember You are Peculiar
That’s not a stretch for me. I’ve always been odd. But this peculiarity is more along the lines of being set apart from the rest of the world for a specific purpose. Our uniqueness of gifts is the very thing that God placed within us for His purpose. Our talents are not our own.
Remember You are Called
I fully believe that God prepared me through childhood to call me to service upon Salvation. He put very odd gifts and desires inside of a strange little West Virginia girl. I would stand in front of the mirror and pretend to be a speaker… not a singer like most kids. I wanted to capture the attention of an audience who came to hear what I had to say. I just didn’t know at that time Who was going to hire me. God did that in 2010. We’re still negotiating salary. For now He provides my every need and listens to me whine when I don’t have what I want. I should just be grateful He’s letting me breath.
So today, I refocus… again. 1 Peter 2:9 – Chosen, Peculiar, Called. – Shari
I began reading in the book of Chronicles, and as I was going through the first two chapters of name after name after name in the genealogy of Adam, my eyes began to glaze over and I began to talk to the Lord. “Lord, please, I know something in this list of names should be stirring my heart, but deed, I’m missing it today.” And so I continued on believing it would just be out of obedience and nothing would be spiritually gained. But as I continued came upon the name of Heman. And in honesty my mind wandered as it often does and I giggled under my breath remembering the show my girls watched as children, “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.” This caused my mind to wonder as to whether or not Heman was a He-Man. What role did he play that was so notable that got him mentioned in the names of fame in 1 Chronicles Chapter 2.
Interestingly enough Heman played a role near and dear to my heart, he was appointed to Praise the Lord. “What an awesome job!” I thought. And then my brain kicked back in and I considered myself… appointed, anointed Praiser for God. And that a job I often forget the importance of, was so important to God that it was mentioned among the great and notable of the Bible that we are so familiar with.
Perhaps you are one of those who have been called into the music ministry, either in song or instrument, or perhaps you’re just setting back in the congregation. This message is for both you, and anyone who needs a reminder or encouragement that praise is serious business in the eyes of God.
Fifteen times Heman is mentioned throughout, Kings, Chronicles and Psalms.
There is Wisdom in Praise
Heman was notably wise. 1 Kings 31 says of Solomon, he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman…” No one was wiser than Solomon, but Heman was obviously not a slacker. Solomon and David both took the praise of the Lord serious enough to put the wise, faithful and prudent people in those places. When called by God into a position of praise, we too should understand that God has called us into that place of accountability and honor.
The Waiting of Praise
When I think of waiting, I most often think of the delay of something.
1 Chronicles 6:33 says “And these are they that waited with their children. Of the sons of the Kohathites: Heman a singer…”
They were waiting, as in the service provider, (waiter/waitress). An old time preacher that once attended our church said that a song prior to service was a “sermonic solo meant to prepare the hearts of the people.” Glory to God that puts a shout in my soul to think that a song I sing or a word I say would cause another to praise our Lord!
The Willingness of Praise
1 Chronicles 16:41 reads “And with them Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest that were chose, who were expressed by name, to give thanks to the Lord, because his mercy endureth for ever;”
There should be an instant willingness in the people of the Lord, both those called to serve on the platform and those sitting in the congregation, to give praise to God in a manner fitting Him. Many aren’t comfortable of outwardly vocal praise because they’ve never been exposed to it in the churches they attend. I’ve had the blessing of being in vocal and non-vocal churches. Guess which one I prefer? And guess which one I’ve felt the presence of God in the greater degree? There’s a reason God “appointed” people to praise; it was because He knew the power behind it, and He wanted faithful people in those positions. It stirs the soul, it creates a desire to become one and be a part of the congregation as a whole. It’s builds a unity in the believers when they are in one spirit, praising and glorifying the work of the Lord in that place. It’s every bit as important to the congregation to praise as it is the singers and musicians. But it does usually start with the “sermonic solo’s or duets, quartets and choirs.” Woah… I wrote myself happy again.
The willow tree is my all-time favorite tree. I don’t have any in my yard, but perhaps someday I will, especially after reading Isaiah 44. I’m an illustration learner, I must have visuals or soul stirring words to capture my attention and plant a seed that will stay; otherwise it just rolls off this hard head of mine and onto the ground. I need something that will penetrate my heart. God knows. And so as I’m talking with the Lord this morning I hear “Isaiah 44,” and in curiosity I followed the Lord’s leading. I’m so glad I did. It was there that I discovered perhaps why the willow tree has appealed to me over the years.
A Call to the Chosen
44:1-2 Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen:Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.
Have you ever gotten a call from someone that made you feel pretty important? That’s how Israel should have felt in Isaiah 44:1. In modern day it would be as if they picked up the phone and God Himself was on the line saying, “I could have called anyone, but I chose to call you.”
We take the calling of God so lightly! He didn’t have to save us. But He did. He did not have to speak to my heart in 1996, but He did. And I am ever so grateful! What does it mean to you to be chosen by God? Take a minute just to let that soak in. That He created you to be who you are. The way you look, the desires of heart, the talents you have… everything was designed by Him. Do you criticize or disregard the vessel God placed you in? I know I do. Think of how much effort He put into you! It’s the insanity of the world to think that we could have just “happened.” No… we were splendidly, awesomely designed!
A Comfort for the Called
3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: 4 And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.
What a peaceful image to imagine sitting by a river beneath a willow tree that has been soaking up the water and is lush and green. Especially when you’ve been out in the dessert as the children of Israel have been. Or what about us? When you’ve been in a dry place where we sometimes don’t see the working of God and nobody is excited about anything spiritual. The world is full of depressing news and frustrating people; but then you open up the word of God and feel Him pouring into you the water of life and suddenly your disposition changes, because your position changed. The world will say nobody cares, there’s no way out, the whole world is going to Hell in a handbasket, but from the word of God springs hope, life and direction. There is great comfort in that!
A Concept of the Creator
5 One shall say, I am the Lord’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel. 6 Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. 7 And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them. 8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
We tend to put labels on ourselves. Sometimes it’s from a family characteristic, perhaps it’s from a past mistake or a title given to us by the world. We put far too much stock in titles given to us through our employers.
How hard is it for us to grasp the concept of the Creator? What was it that God created you for? What is your purpose and design? Why do you think God gave you the personality and passions that He did. How can those be used for His glory, and are you using them for that purpose.
Lots of questions to ponder today…
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I heard a sermon preached from this text a few days ago, and I’ve been chewing on this scripture like a piece of Willy Wonka’s bubble gum that never loses its flavor. Again and again I’ve tasted that word in my mouth; and today I finally sat down to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write what’s on my heart, and to determine what God has for me through this word. Perhaps He has something for you too. If you’ve ever experienced great fear, either from the known or the unknown, reading the words from Isaiah 43:5 will lead you to say, “Yes, but…” followed by why you fear in spite of it. I’ve been in a, “you couldn’t possibly understand why,” mode. Satan had all but convinced me that I am alone, leading to a series of songs that I’ve written (which are a blessing) but it’s also hard on the heart to let those words spring forth from my soul. I’ll post one below so that you might get a glimpse of that work. But first the Word.
I am Called By His Name
Isaiah said in verses 5-8
5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. 8 Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears.
Isaiah is specifically speaking to the Israelites. But being engrafted into the family of God through the blood of Jesus Christ, means that he speaks to me as well. I am a daughter of the Most High King. I am called by His name when it is said of me that I am a Christian. Those facts I believe, as well as the fact that I have been created for His glory. Yet I am often still blind and deaf as to what exactly God is doing in my life much of the time. I fear…a lot. It feels as if God is having to drag me forward into a place that I know not what. I’m not fighting Him, I’m simply dead weight. Paralyzed. I am called. And sometimes I am called chicken.
I Am Confirmed by His Work
9 Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth.10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.11 I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. 12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.
God for certain bears witness in my life. He has done some amazing things! Much like the children of Israel I have been brought though the sea on dry ground. He has rescued me from myself so many times. Until now. And now I am in need of rescuing, I’ve been waiting for the waters to part and there hasn’t even been so much as a drop that has fled from before me. I feel as though I am drowning. Again and again I bear witness to myself of God’s deliverance. I bear witness of His confirmation of my purpose in life for which He has not only given me the passion for the purpose but the ability as well. But not in a way that sustains my life which leaves me drowning and opens a door for Satan to ask “if you are called and confirmed, why are you not cared for?”
I Am Created By His Ways
13 Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?14 Thus saith the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships.15 I am the Lord, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.16 Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; 17 Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow. 18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
When I identified myself in Christ, I became a new creation. Yet the old Shari resurfaces on a pretty regular basis. I often find myself thinking to have “figured God out.” Ha! That’s hysterical when I write those words out. How could I possibly think that I have figured God out? What I mean is, I believe to have figured out God’s ways. And yet I know that the scripture is clear when it says His ways are not my ways. I think that Israel may have thought they too had God figured out. They looked for Him to snap them out of their bondage in the same manner that He had brought them out of Egypt. The water that they were sure would be their demise, He parted. He got rid of the issue of water. But now water is not the issue. The barren wilderness is their issue. But the children of Israel are stuck remembering the parting of the sea. And while it’s good to recall how God brings us out, it’s not to say He’s going to bring us out the same way. God doesn’t change, but His methods certainly do. He told them He’d be doing a “new thing.”
I’ve been waiting for God to deliver me in the same manner as before, He has not. There’s a new manner of business. And clearly I need my eyes open and my ears ready to hear what the Lord says. I covet your prayers if you’re so inclined. I know my purpose. But I need to understand the provision.
At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents.
I’ve been in the book of Numbers for a couple of days, and I’m really not a numbers fan. I speak of numerical numbers not the book. Speak math to me and my eyes glaze over and I go semi-comatose until our conversation is over. It’s true. It’s just never been my forte. But the book of Numbers has captivated my attention as well as broken my heart in several verses. Moses, having been instructed by God, is numbering the servants in the service of the Lord. Even as I type those words my eyes well up with tears; for they are few in the modern church. Even in a church with big numbers of bodies there is not necessarily a big number of servants.
I was born with a servant’s heart. But that too gets me into trouble, because I can get pulled into serving others and away from serving God for whom I’ve been called to serve. What about you? Have you been called to serve? Well… if you are a child of God, then the answer is yes and it might shock you to know that God is pretty serious about it, after all, you are a priest.
What? Yep, it caught me a little off guard too, even though I knew it. It wasn’t until I related an Old Testament truth with a New Testament truth that it clicked. As Moses was numbering the Levites and the Priests, doling out their responsibilities to the house of worship, bells went off inside my head and drew my mind’s eye to my very own verse in 1 Peter 2:9 ~ But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
Every child of God is a member of the priesthood. And while we’re not to don robes and hats, the responsibility is the same. We have a role in taking care of the church. Everyone. Not just the preacher, the deacon, the Sunday school teacher, etc. Even the guy or gal on the 8th row back, who shows up on Sunday to do their due diligence of church. And I meant that totally sarcastic. Showing up on Sunday is not your due diligence… well it is, but it doesn’t end there. Paul told the church of Corinth in 1 Corinthians 12:27-31
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
You have a gift that is intended for the service of the Lord, where ever that may be. Which brought me to the verse in Numbers 9 this morning and the little girl packing the suit case. God expects the church to be on the move and ready to roll when service calls. In less than two weeks I’m headed to Minnesota to serve in a Revival. I’m excited, God’s been speaking to my heart about “stuff.” Just as He spoke to Moses, He speaks to us. Perhaps not audibly but every bit as real. Instant in season and out of season the scripture says, be ready! Are you? My heart is broken for the churches across America because Revival is hard to come by. Too many people are sitting and waiting for the Lord to show up, when actually the Lord did show up… they just weren’t willing to move out of their seat to greet Him and so He moved on.
God is in the details. There are many details to a church service and everyone is important. Serve well friend… It’s all about numbers, for which you are one.
Child of God or no, there are very few people that I’ve ever met that didn’t worry. If any really? Some call it “concern” and in the spiritual sense I get that. We know that God has this world under control and that nothing occurs without first having His stamp of approval on it. But when you’re in the thick of heartache and trouble, serious “concern” has a way of creeping up on you.
Isaiah 43 is looking at the release of the Jews out of their captivity and looking even further than that to the redemption of them and us through the Lord Jesus Christ. Verses 1 through 7 are filled with great promises for us to cling to when Satan is whispering in your ear… “you’re goin’ down.”
7 Promises in Isaiah 43
1 – 1But now thus saith theLordthat created thee,
If God can speak the universe into existence, is there anything He cannot do? Yes… lie.
O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for 2 –I have redeemed thee,
On the cross of Calvary Jesus redeemed us, purchased every child of God with His very own blood sacrifice. As the teens and I studied the “Crazy Love” of Jesus Christ in our Wednesday night service a little girl came to know His saving grace. It was one of those nights where you could feel the Spirit moving and had absolutely nothing to do with me. God had shown up and anointed that class room with His presence before I ever opened my mouth. Two thousand years ago He redeemed little Theresa and planned it out so I could be there the day she came to understand.
3 – I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
There’s something awesome in knowing that God owns me. I belong to the Creator of all the universe and He has plans for me. He called me for a purpose. It’s like having the CEO of the universe ring your number today and say, “Hey, I have a little something for you to do.” How cool is that!
2 When thou passest through the waters,4 – I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
No matter the troubles we face, we’re going through. They cannot consume us for we are eternal beings in the hand of God. Many days I’d just rather not go through. I’d much rather go around. But I have yet to go through a trial where I didn’t see the purpose when I arrived on the other side. Every heartache and trial I’ve endured has allowed me to glorify God to someone later. It’s not fun, but if we didn’t have the bad times, we NEVER appreciate the good times.
3 For5 – I am theLordthy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.
When the children of Israel went through the plagues prior to leaving Egpyt, a great many Egyptians died. God didn’t take that lightly. He did not want those people to suffer, and He didn’t want the Israelites to forget that their freedom came with a high price and ours with an even higher price, His Son. The Egyptians were rebellious and refused to heed God’s request. Jesus willingly went to the cross with no sin of His own to pay our debt, because those whom He creatare precious in his sight.
6 – 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.
7 – 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
He’s with us now and He’s going to bring all His children together someday soon. Oh glory!!!! That’s a promise that I love holding on to.
That was the question to myself yesterday during the business conference I’m attending. Perhaps it was because my sinus’ have caused my head to feel as though it’s going to pop off of my shoulders, or a half dozen other factors of the week, but one session yesterday left me in a seething mood as the rude woman spoke. Her information was outdated and non-relevant and she read all 57 gray and black slides with little emotion and an occasional awkward snicker. The conference folk made the mistake of giving me a link to an online evaluation survey of her piece of the event at the beginning of the session. Well, in my boredom I felt compelled to fill it out on my iPhone. I didn’t care if she thought I was texting and being rude, she was rude. And as I entered each little black dotted rating I happen to wonder what God might think of my own behavior. After all… as a speaker I’ve been extended favor and mercy on more than one occasion and amazingly enough been invited back. Seriously Shari… why are you being so ugly?
1 Peter 3:8-9 ~ Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
A Compassionate People
I certainly want compassion in my life when I have an off day. For certain the woman was not ready for the conference, she stumbled over ordinary words in her slide that would likely not have been an issue if she’d studied. Tell me you’ve never shown up somewhere less than prepared… I can’t. Another issue I have issues with is uncompassionate people who feel compelled to rip everyone apart as if they’re they authority on life, I just about slipped into that one myself.
A Contrary People
I’ve met many a contrary railing people. They’d argue with a fence post if nobody was around, but Peter said contrariwise blessing. I highly doubt God has appointed you or me as “Heaven’s Critic.” Our job is to be a blessing, and that can’t be done when you’re tearing someone apart. Let some chick gain a little wait (or a lot), have on an unkempt pair of jeans or a dress without a slip and watch the party start among critical women. Oh my goodness, I’m meddlin’ now! But it’s the truth and if you’ve been in any church across America you know it’s a fact. I remember one particular time the “slip” issue slipped out of someone’s mouth about a mother of several children. My first thought was “are you serious? You’ve never seen the profile of a leg before?” Not to mention the fact that this perfectly tailored lady had grown children and had long since forgotten what it was like to pile the kids in the car and get to church on time. It was a miracle she was at church, and you dare comment on her lack of a slip. The truth of the matter was, she’ll likely find a slip before that lady finds some manners.
A Called People
Knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing….
We’re called to not only be a blessing but to inherit one. My lesson today, as I began another day of long sessions is to remember what God called me to do. I’m to be the example of Christ. When someone looks at me that should see something contrary to the world. The world will eat you up and spit you out, I should have no part of it. My presence should be like a balm on a wound of a soul in pain, because that’s what my Lord has been for me.
2 Timothy 1:9-11~ Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
I love scripture that affirms eternity past and future, purpose and position in life. It makes sense of my nonsensical world. Timothy was a young believer and Pastor privileged to be mentored by none other than the great apostle Paul. Paul’s burden for Timothy was apparent in his letters to him, and their mutual respect for another’s genuine faith. He was touched by Timothy’s tender heart, verse 4 says ~ Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;” and as Paul’s time grew short on earth he was grateful to have a comrade on the battlefield in whom he could depend. Paul and Timothy’s faith allowed them to apply the past to the purpose of the present so that their future could be anticipated with promise.
The planning in the past
Before the world began God’s plan was in action and I was in it! I know, it shocks even me that with all of God’s planning and time I wouldn’t have turned out better. But it’s not about me or my abilities (my works) it’s about His own purpose. That’s where it gets foggy for me. I try to impose my disabilities on God’s abilities. God says show up as you are and He will use us where we are, but so often I think there has to be advanced planning. There was….in eternity past God provided the grace we’d need for today. It’s already there before our feet hit the floor in the morning.
The purpose of the present
is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Manifest – meaning it’s now made known. I know, I know, if you’re like me you don’t see it often times either. But it’s there in the evidence of Christ at work in your life. I’m amazed at the awesome people that God puts in my life at specific times; those who have just appeared at the right time. Every pivotal experience in my life generally has a new person involved that made it possible. God working through them. But even more amazing than that is when “I’m that person.” I fear that I’m missing the boat of opportunity because I don’t often step up or out when God nudges me for fear of stepping over the bounds. However, who’s bounds am I in fear of stepping over, God’s or mans.
Acts 17:24-27 says “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitiation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
I love that! The boundaries that God has set were determined from the beginning of time and so long as I continue to search for Him, He’ll continue to direct my paths and place people in my path. I need to stop focusing on the boundaries and spend more time focusing on the boundary setter.
The promise of the future
…who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
Christ came to provide eternal life through the light of the Gospel, and He chooses to use vessels like you and I to spread that hope. If we’ve been saved, we’ve received the appointment; it’s on our schedules whether we want it or not. Someone, somewhere needs to see Christ in you today, their future may depend on it.
As I get ready to embark on 2014 it is going to be a New Year in a great many ways I hope. I always love the New Year, a clean sheet of paper in a new notebook mentality where anything is possible! At years end I always desire to be, though I seldom feel that I am, closer to the Lord and more determined to live out His will for my life. I desire to not only read His Word, but to Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15). God has so generously given me this platform, I really don’t desire to fall off of it, I’ll graciously step down should that be His will. A platform is not meant to be viewed as a pedestal, but more so an individual given the opportunity to elevate Christ. I should never be “lifted up” but rather I should be lifting up Christ. Some have that wrong. Jude had it right.
Jude 1-3~ Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
Jude, not only a servant of Christ, although he held that in the highest esteem, and a brother to James (showing piety to family), but he too was a brother to Christ. He grew up in the same house with the same Momma and no doubt grew up witnessing his Brother’s miracles first hand. I have to wonder if at times there wouldn’t have been contention between them seeing that Mary worshipped Jesus, knowing Who He was. What must His brothers have thought? Or maybe they too knew in their hearts very young that Jesus was not just an ordinary child, we’re not given that insight, only speculation which can be wrong, and so I digress. But here in this place we find Jude all grown up. There is no animosity toward his Brother, only reverence.
He is Called
Just as those of us who are saved and redeemed by the blood of Jesus have been; each of us are called to a purpose. Contrary to popular belief you were not called to take up space in a pew. Sunday morning from 11 a.m. to 12 noon is not service, it’s worship; or it should be. And you should be desirous of that time for all Christ does for you the rest of the week. The service to which you are called is the rest of the week, on the job or in the home, on vacation or on the internet you are called to be a servant of Jesus Christ as was Jude. What you’re doing should in some way be pointing back to Him and lived out in humility. Jude was proud of his family, he loved his career, but He served Christ.
He is Concerned
He desired mercy, peace and love for his brothers and sisters in Christ for which he considered them an equal (common salvation). Every one of us get saved in the same manner. We may have traveled a different path to get there but the final journey to salvation is the same. We admit we’re a sinner and deserve Hell, we believe He was born of a virgin and died upon the cross to pay for our sins, and we confess He is Lord and the only worthy sacrifice. It is at that point, with Him living in us, that our servant’s heart should be concerned for our brothers and sisters wellbeing, praying mercy, peace and love be multiplied. Are you praying for your fellow servants?
He is a Contender
I didn’t watch the movie “On the Waterfront” but most of us know Marlon Brando’s quote “I could have been a contender…” and we even know the manner of which he said it. Jude was a contender and so he advises us to be as well. It’s going to be a fight, we know this from past experience. Any time we step out and make a decision I’m going to do more for the Lord, Satan counterattacks, it’s a given. I don’t want to say “I could have been a contender in 2014.” I want to be a contender for the faith, I want to do more! Will you join me?
Please begin by praying for this ministry, that the Lord open doors and I go through only those He opens. Thank you! in advance.
Writer, Speaker, Singer… but most of all, Servant of Jesus Christ