Monday, October 31, 2011

People of His Very Own

Concept:  Our redemption and purification by Jesus make it possible for us to be God’s people
Concept:  Our redemption and purification by Jesus make it possible for us to be God’s people.

 2:14 Who gave Himself on our behalf that He might redeem us (purchase our freedom) from all iniquity and purify for Himself a people [to be peculiarly His own, people who are] eager and enthusiastic about [living a life that is good and filled with] beneficial deeds.  [Deut 14:2; Ps 130:8; Ezek 37:23.] AMP

The first part is a general statement that Christ gave himself for us, which is a reference to his vicarious suffering and death (compare REB "He it is who sacrificed himself for us"). A similar statement occurs in 1 The purpose of Christ giving himself for us is to redeem us from all iniquity. The verb for to redeem appears only here, in Luke 24:21, and in 1 Peter 1:18. In non-biblical writings it refers to the payment of a certain amount of money to secure the freedom of slaves or of prisoners of war. In the Old Testament it is used to describe God's powerful act of setting the Israelites free from their slavery in Egypt. This meaning seems to have been the immediate background of the usage of this term in the New Testament, so that it refers to God's (or, Christ's) powerful way of setting people free from the power of sin. This meaning is also central in the present passage, where redeem can be accurately rendered as "set free" or "rescue" (TEV). In some languages the repetition of the pronoun us in the first part of the verse will be unnatural style. In such a case one may say "He gave (or, sacrificed) himself to rescue us from . . . ."

Iniquity is literally "lawlessness," that is, living in complete disregard of moral and ethical laws, and by implication living in wickedness.
Positively, Christ's giving up of himself has for its purpose to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. Purify is a ritual term referring to the act of making something or someone free from ritual contamination, and therefore acceptable as an instrument for worship. An extended meaning of this word is to make someone morally clean, that is, free from all moral impurity or from any act that is not worthy of God's people. Of his own translates a Greek word that means "special," hence TEV "who belong to him alone." Thus purified we are then enabled to become zealous for good deeds, that is, "eager to do good."

An alternative translation model for this verse is:    
Titus 2:14 He sacrificed himself to rescue us [inclusive] from every wicked thing (or, all evil ways) and free us from all impurity so that we may be his own people who are eager to do good.  UBS New Testament Handbook Series

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Partakers of the Promise

Eph 3:6 [It is this:] that the Gentiles are now to be fellow heirs [with the Jews], members of the same body and joint partakers [sharing] in the same divine promise in Christ through [their acceptance of] the glad tidings (the Gospel). AMP
History is not everyone's favorite subject. Henry Ford is reputed to have said: "History is bunk." He felt that the only history that was really important was the history being made today. An inscription posted at the site of the Dachau concentration camp near Munich, Germany, expresses a different sentiment. It warns: "Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat its mistakes." To this we could add another: "Those who forget history are doomed to be ungrateful." This is especially true of spiritual history. The statement in Eph 3:6 that we are "sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus" is a reminder of what we were and what we will be.
In this section of Scripture, the apostle Paul explains that God had made him caretaker of a "mystery" (Eph 3:3,6). We usually think of a mystery as a puzzle that needs to be figured out. The reader of a mystery novel, for example, looks for clues that lead to the identification of the murderer. But when Paul uses the term mystery in the New Testament, he refers to something that had been previously known to God and is now made known to man. In this sense, a mystery is a form of revelation. If God had not revealed it by His Spirit, it would have remained hidden. The mystery Paul speaks of here, ". . . was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets" (Eph 3:5).
God revealed to the apostles and prophets that the Gentiles had a part in the promises of God through Jesus Christ. This mystery is one that we now take for granted, but it means that Paul's mystery is also our history. Because God made this mystery known, we have a hope of heaven. If it had been kept hidden, Paul would never have been allowed to preach the gospel message to those who were not of Jewish descent. Had that been the case, the message would never have reached our ears, and we would still be destined for hell. Instead, we are partakers of "the promise."
This promise is one of life (2 Tim 1:1). More specifically, it is the promise of eternal life: "And this is what he promised us—even eternal life" (1 John 2:25). It is also the promise of an eternal inheritance (Heb 9:15). It is the same promise made to the Old Testament saints and patriarchs, but which had to wait for the coming of Christ to find fulfillment: "These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect" (Heb 11:39-40). It is remarkable to consider that others had to wait so that we would not be left out.
In certain respects, however, we are in the same position as our Old Testament ancestors in faith. They received tokens of the promise but waited for its ultimate fulfillment. Like them, we too received a token of the promise when we were given the Holy Spirit as a down payment or "deposit" guaranteeing our inheritance (Eph 1:13-14). We have received forgiveness through Christ: "But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13).
What will this new heaven and new earth be like? The Bible tells us that it will be familiar. It will still be the earth, and in many ways it will be like the earth we know today. According to the book of Revelation, it will contain plants, rivers, and even cities (Rev 21-22; Luke 19:17,19). But the new earth, upon which believers will live following the reign of Christ, will be just that—new!
The new heaven and new earth will be a challenging place to live. Jesus promised that those who trust in Him will also reign with Him (Rev 3:21; cf. 2 Tim 2:12). Although we do not know all that will be involved, the language used implies a measure of responsibility. We won't be floating on clouds all day and strumming harps. There will be meaningful work for us to do .We will continue to grow and develop in our obedience to Christ. Someone has said that the thing that most of us don't like about work is that it is so daily. There is always an element of drudgery, even in the best of jobs. This is a result of sin (Gen 3:17-19). But in the new heaven and earth, the curse of sin will be removed, and with it the drudgery of daily work.
The most important characteristic of the new earth is that it will be "the home of righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13). At that time, all the brokenness that we see in this present world will be repaired. Our wounds will be healed, our broken hearts mended, and every tear dried.
As partakers of the promise, then, we stand in a unique position. Not only do we have the hope of the promise, we possess the promise itself. Paul makes it clear that the promise and all its benefits are encompassed in the person of Jesus Christ. While it is true that we look forward to the complete fulfillment of all that Jesus has promised, as those who share in Christ, we are already partakers of what He has promised (Heb 3:14).
The Bible is filled with promises that are the birthright of those who have placed their faith in God's Son. All of these promises find their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Ultimately, He is the promise.
Dear Father, do not let me forget that I was once a stranger to the hope that I now have. Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus, who embodies all the promises of God. Amen.
Thanks to John Koessler for allowing us to publish his
John Koessler serves as chair and professor of pastoral studies at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is married to Jane and has two sons, Drew and Jarred. John is the author of ten books and numerous articles. He also serves as a contributing editor for the Moody Bible Institute publication Today in the Word, where you can read his monthly “Theology Matters” column. You can contact John via email at or by phone at (312) 329-4077

The Eye of the Needle

An Urgent Word for Today's Church
Matt 19:24-26
24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go into the kingdom of heaven.
25 When the disciples heard this, they were utterly puzzled (astonished, bewildered), saying, Who then can be saved [from eternal death]?
26 But Jesus looked at them and said, With men this is impossible, but all things are possible with God.  [Gen 18:14; Job 42:2.] Amp

Jesus speaks a shocking Word.
In order for us to understand its weight and truth today we must look a little deeper. In the Old Testament times a person who had wealth was seen as blessed and favored of God. This adds to the shock value of the passage. Jesus is saying that even those who are seen as favored and blessed of God will not be able to make it into the kingdom unless they lay down their status, wealth, power and humble themselves or literally strip themselves of these.

A prophetic Word from the Lord for His Church Today
The Lord brought this passage to me in prayer recently. As I studied and sought the Lord about this He spoke clearly that we have entered a season as His people in which this passage applies to us all. Specifically this is referring to those in ministry and their ministries. Our gifts, anointing, influence, education and titles or position are not enough to take us into this new season. It is required of us that we lay down all of these things and that like the camel pictured in the illustration lower or humble (get on our knees) ourselves so that we might make it by the Lord’s power as He pulls us through the narrow opening into the Kingdom work He is calling us into in this hour.

What God will do as we move forward will be impossible for man or woman to accomplish but as the passage states all things are possible with God. The Blessings, favor, fame and status which you and your ministry now enjoy are like a vapor or mist in the coming storm. They will not survive outside the gate. The only way in is the Eye of the Needle. Those who humble themselves before the Lord and not just posture humility for others to see will prosper in the fulfilling of the Lord’s purposes.

Phrases like ‘new levels new devils’ will pale in comparison to the opposition we will face and the miraculous level of provision we will experience in fulfillment of the purposes of the Lord. We can rest and be at peace in God as we see the measure of His overcoming which will be manifested as it will be far greater than the enemies’ fierce and fiery storm.

Background study
How can a camel pass through the eye of a needle? There have been scholars who have refused the validity of the explanation that has been given; but whether or not the detail is true in the field of architecture, it is true in the field of theology. The city gates were closed at sunset, and beside the great gates there were small gates which, it is said by some, were called the needle's eyes. If at the close of day the great gates were closed, and a shepherd and his flock came shortly afterwards, he could turn
aside from the main way and easily enter the city by the small gate nearby, the gate called needle's eye. But if a caravan of a rich merchant came after the gate was closed, the camel upon which he rode had to be maneuvered through the gate also. To think of the man's riding through the gate in stately pride is out of the question. If he had come earlier, he would have ridden his beast with high disdain, and flipped a coin to a cringing beggar. But now the camel must be brought to its knees. The rider must dismount and walk through the gate like any lowly peasant. The camel, kneeling on a carpet, will be dragged through the gate, the frightened animal barely squeezing through.
This is the position of every man before God. The way of entry by works has been closed. The righteousness of God has barred the gates of pride. No man will enter into Heaven with the rich doings of his own life, and with the disdain and hauteur that accompany human pride. There will be no pride in Heaven except the proper pride of God, who alone is perfect, and who can alone rejoice in His own being because there is no lack in Him whatsoever.

(From Romans: Expositions of Bible Doctrines © 1966 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. All rights reserved.)

God says you are able.
God Calls your name today and He says, “You are able to lay down all things that would allow pride and self-righteousness to hinder you from entering into the fulfillment of His Kingdom purposes for the days ahead. Notice in the background study how the camel is even provided a carpet for his knees, even so God will provide provision and comfort even as we are taken through the Eye of the Needle!

The Time is Now!
So, I encourage you to seek the Lord with fasting and prayer to discover what you must do to get ready for Him to pull you through  ‘The Eye of The Needle’ that You will be useful in fulfilling His plans in the days which are upon us. Do not get stuck outside of the blessings and wondrous unfolding of His purposes that lay ahead of us.

Copy write © 2011 Wayne Newcomb
Artwork from

Saturday, October 29, 2011

People of God day six

Concept: The dwelling place of God is with people, and He will live (encamp, tent) among them; and they shall be His people, and God shall personally be with them and be their God
Heb 2:17 So it is evident that it was essential that He be made like His brethren in every respect, in order that He might become a merciful (sympathetic) and faithful High Priest in the things related to God, to make atonement and propitiation for the people's sins.
Heb 4:9 So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God;
Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will imprint My laws upon their minds, even upon their innermost thoughts and understanding, and engrave them upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Heb 10:30 For we know Him Who said, Vengeance is Mine [retribution and the meting out of full justice rest with Me]; I will repay [I will exact the compensation], says the Lord. And again, The Lord will judge and determine and solve and settle the cause and the cases of His people.  [Deut 32:35,36.]
Heb 11:25-27 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin NASU
Heb 13:12 Therefore Jesus also suffered and died outside the [city's] gate in order that He might purify and consecrate the people through [the shedding of] His own blood and set them apart as holy [for God].
1 Peter 2:10 Once you were not a people [at all], but now you are God's people; once you were unpitied, but now you are pitied and have received mercy.  [Hos 2:23.]
Rev 18:4 I then heard another voice from heaven saying, Come out from her, my people, so that you may not share in her sins, neither participate in her plagues.  [Isa 48:20; Jer 50:8.]
Rev 21:3 Then I heard a mighty voice from the throne and I perceived its distinct words, saying, See! The abode of God is with men, and He will live (encamp, tent) among them; and they shall be His people, and God shall personally be with them and be their God.  [Ezek 37:27.]Amp
The great creator, God above all who claim to be gods and above all the imaginations of mankind, the Great I am that I am, has come to live and dwell forever more among His people, those who given themselves in belief on His Son, Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus of whom hundreds of prophecies were told and fulfilled in even the smallest detail.
Jesus who was born of a Virgin conceived by the Holy Spirit coming upon his mother Mary.
Jesus who was born, lived and died without a single sin.
Jesus who paid the price for our sinfulness and redeemed us from the penalty of our sinful nature which was to be spiritual death and separation from God eternally.
Jesus who is the only way to the father has made it possible for us to be God’s people with whom God now dwells

Friday, October 28, 2011

People of God day five

Concept: Two concepts are zeroed in on in these verses. 1. God’s intention is that all peoples may come to Him according the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 2. God’s grace (favor, privilege) was granted and graciously entrusted us: to proclaim to the All people groups the unending (boundless, fathomless, incalculable, and exhaustless) riches of Christ [wealth which no human being could have searched out].
Rom 9:25 Just as He says in Hosea, Those who were not My people I will call My people, and her who was not beloved [I will call] My beloved.  [Hos 2:23.]
Rom 15:10 Again it is said, Rejoice (exult), O Gentiles, along with His [own] people; [Deut 32:43.]
2 Cor 6:16 What agreement [can there be between] a temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in and with and among them and will walk in and with and among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 
[Ex 25:8; 29:45; Lev 26:12; Jer 31:1; Ezek 37:27.]
Eph 2:19 Therefore you are no longer outsiders (exiles, migrants, and aliens, excluded from the rights of citizens), but you now share citizenship with the saints (God's own people, consecrated and set apart for Himself); and you belong to God's [own] household.
Eph 3:8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints (God's consecrated people), this grace (favor, privilege) was granted and graciously entrusted: to proclaim to the Gentiles the unending (boundless, fathomless, incalculable, and exhaustless) riches of Christ [wealth which no human being could have searched out], AMP

You who are followers of Christ also called Christian because of your belief in Him have been given without having earned it God grace and all that comes with it.

Now that is something to bring amazing joy to your life!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

People of God part four

Concept: Those who call upon the Lord do not need to become Jewish to receive Jesus or the Good News.
Acts 15:14, Simeon [Peter] has rehearsed how God first visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people [to bear and honor] His name. AMP
One of the mysteries of the Gospel is that God has a plan for all who will come to Him. Before there was an Israel there was an Abraham whose family worshiped the Gods of that country, but knew that Abraham had a heart of faith and would believe Him and thus the Jewish people were born. Even outside of Israel people were looking for Messiah they just had not known where to look.

God in His wisdom and mercy had a savior for all mankind, but He also had a chosen people from whom Messiah would come. While we honor the feast and other spiritual shadows in the Old Testament which teach us much about God, we need only Jesus to be saved.
God chose you, it does not matter if you are male or female, Jew, or Gentile all must come to the father through Jesus the Son of God.John 14:6; Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me. AMP 1 Cor 1:20-25, Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God made the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. NASU

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

People of God (part three)

Today's we continue to look into what scripture in the NT says about being People of God.    

Acts 3:22-23 Thus Moses said to the forefathers, The Lord God will raise up for you a Prophet from among your brethren as [He raised up] me; Him you shall listen to and understand by hearing and heed in all things whatever He tells you. 23 And it shall be that every soul that does not listen to and understand by hearing and heed that Prophet shall be utterly (cast out from among) exterminated from among the people.  [Deut 18:15-19.] AMP

 In a message first directed at the people of Israel and then to all who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus is proclaimed as the prophet whom God told Moses He would send. The penalty for rejecting Jesus the one whom God sends result in being disqualified and send out from God’s people. That however is not the key element here.

The focus here is on what we should do and the fact that God brings His blessings through Jesus. The secret to having everything that God intends for us to have is seen in one statement; Him you shall listen to and understand by hearing and heed in all things whatever He tells you.  

The secret to thriving as a Christian is contained in that verse; Thus Moses said to the forefathers, The Lord God will raise up for you a Prophet from among your brethren as [He raised up] me; Him you shall listen to and understand by hearing and heed in all things whatever He tells you.

Often authors, speakers and even churches make being a Christian seem almost impossible unless to follow their formula or have a red S (for Superman) on your chest. God however has a simple and comprehensive plan listen, understand and apply everything that Jesus tells us.
God even supplies His Holy Spirit to help us understand and have His Spirit’s strength to accomplish those things that Jesus teaches.

People of God (part two)

Today's we continue to look into what scripture in the NT says about being People of God.
Luke 1:17,”It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." NASU

In today’s verse,  which should be read in its context of Luke 1:5-25, we see the angel of the Lord appearing to and speaking with John the Baptist father while he was performing his priestly duties in the Temple in Jerusalem. The angel Gabriel’s message that day concerned the birth and ministry of his son and the ministry God had for him. The naming of Gabriel who was the angel appointed over Israel is significant here in that His appearance brings greater credibility to the event for Zacharias.

The focal point here could be on the Age of Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth. The real focus here is on the role which John is to have in making ready a people for the lord. This is accomplished in accordance with Old Testament prophecy concerning the coming of Messiah.

Today, you and I can rejoice that God cared so much about the fulfillment of His plan of salvation for us that each and every detail of it is laid out beforehand so that as we see it fulfilled and rejoice in His love for us as seen in every detail of His planning for our redemption.

Your salvation is not an accident or an impulsive emotional decision made by you in a moment of emotion, but a decision made as the result of God’s eternal plan made on your behalf to make you one of His people.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

People of God

Today's subject is of such importance that I want to take a few days to discuss it in our devotional.Concept: People of God.

The references for this topic start in Matthew 1:21 "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

One of the unique things about being Christian is the relationship God desires to have with us and what He expects from us and what His part in the relational covenant.

Those who said to be of the way, or as we were later called Christians, have a vastly different understanding of God then those who claim to be atheist or who follow some other religion? The foundation for this relationship is found in Judaism in what we call the Old Testament and then unfolded in the coming of Jesus who is God's only begotten or unique son and as scripture teaches is a person in the God head or three in one.

Back to our scripture. He came to save his people from their sins. The Good news or the Gospel of God's Son and His life, death and resurrection are first to God's chose people the Jews. Chosen because of the response of faith to God by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Although Abraham had another son in Ishmael, he was not of faith or of Abraham's wife but was an illegitimate child and not the first born according to neither God’s promise nor the marriage of Abraham and Sarah. He was actually the result of Abraham seeking to accomplish God's promise through natural means and not God's means.

God sent Jesus to save us from our sins, so we need to trust God to accomplish His will and we must not seek to accomplish it in our own scheming and strength

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fellow Citizens With God's People

Eph 2:19; Therefore you are no longer outsiders (exiles, migrants, and aliens, excluded from the rights of citizens), but you now share citizenship with the saints (God's own people, consecrated and set apart for Himself); and you belong to God's [own] household. AMP

We usually don't think much about our own citizenship. When the time comes to cross the border into another country, however, citizenship becomes very important. On those occasions, the country we call our own will determine which rights and privileges we can enjoy.
Citizenship is also important in the Christian life. Those of us who are a part of the church have had our citizenship transferred into Christ's kingdom. As far as our relationship with God was concerned, we were outsiders prior to our trusting in Christ. So much so, in fact, that the Greek term used by Paul to describe our former state is one that means "to be estranged" or "to be alienated." In other passages, Paul uses even stronger language and says that we were God's "enemies" (Rom 5:10).
Those to whom the book of Ephesians was originally written were doubly excluded, since their status as Gentiles also disqualified them from citizenship in Israel. Because they were "foreigners" to God's people, they were unable to lay claim to the promises related to God's covenants. Paul summarizes their condition by saying that they were "without hope and without God in the world" (Eph 2:12).
Fortunately, something happened to change this. Those who were once far away from God were brought near by Jesus Christ. His death was the means God used to close the gap for those who had been alienated. It did this by removing the barrier that had separated them from God and from the rest of His people. This barrier was "the law with its commandments and regulations" (Eph 2:15).
In these passages, Paul expresses a tension that springs from two seemingly contradictory aspects of God's character. On one hand, they point to the reality of God's wrath against those who have broken His law. Their sin had alienated them from God and made them His enemies: "God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day" (Ps 7:11). Those who are separated from Christ are separated from God and subject to His wrath. They are "condemned already" (John 3:18).
Despite this, God desires to reclaim those who are alienated from Him. While it is true that He cannot deny His own righteousness or change His standard without denying Himself, it is also true that He takes "no pleasure in the death of the wicked" (Ezek 33:11). Through the Cross, God was able to be true to both aspects of His nature without contradicting either. Because Christ fulfilled the law in every point, God did not need to lower His standard. Through His death, Christ became the object of divine wrath, suffering the penalty for those who had violated the law. In a single stroke, God's love and justice were combined to meet our need:
For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Rom 8:3-4)
Christ's death was equally important for the Israelites who would believe in Him. The same commandments and regulations that had separated Jews from Gentiles inevitably condemned the Jews who attempted to keep them. Since these laws were designed to reflect God's own righteousness, perfect obedience was the only standard that was acceptable to Him. This meant that even those who had been given God's law as part of their national legacy had been unable to keep it (Gal 6:13). The whole purpose of the law, then, was to show the Gentiles their need for Christ and to lead Israel to Him. The death of Jesus effectively removed the barrier that had separated both the Jews and the Gentiles from God and created an entirely new people known as the church. As a result, both Jews and Gentiles can be citizens of Christ's kingdom by faith.
What benefits do we receive because our citizenship now lies with Christ and His kingdom? One of the most important is the right to be a resident. As citizens of Christ's kingdom, we have a home with Him. He has promised that He will come one day to claim us as His own, so that we may be where He is (John 14:3; 17:24). But from God's perspective, we are already seated with Christ in heavenly places (Eph 2:6).
As citizens of Christ's kingdom, we also have a right to be protected by His power. The Bible tells us that through faith in Christ, we are "shielded by God's power" (1 Peter 1:5). Because we are the recipients of God's grace, we are protected from judgment and our salvation is assured. We are also protected from the power of Satan, as Christ has equipped us with the full armor of God, including the shield of faith "with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one" (Eph 6:16). Our hearts and minds are protected by the peace of God, as we share our concerns with Him in prayer (Phil 4:6).
The rights of citizenship, however, also bring with them responsibility. As citizens of Christ's kingdom, we are obligated to set our minds on the things that pertain to it. We are to set our hearts on things above (Col 3:2). This means that we must put the interests of Christ's kingdom above all other interests, even our own. If we do so, God says He will see to it that our other concerns are met (Matt 6:33).
Ordinarily citizenship brings with it certain rights. Citizenship in Christ's kingdom, however, may actually require that we set aside our rights for the sake of God's purposes. An American missionary couple who had just begun their term in Austria learned this lesson while waiting for a train. Seeing what they thought was a short cut, they ran across several tracks and arrived at the platform ahead of the rest of the waiting crowd, all of whom had taken the long way around. Once the missionaries were seated on the train, their host gently reproved them. "I know you didn't mean to," he explained, "but by cutting across the tracks, you offended everyone else who was waiting for the train. We just don't do that here."
Living in another culture is one of the best ways to discover the characteristics of one's own. Our experiences make us keenly aware of differences in core values and customs. This should also be true of those who belong to the kingdom of God. Each new day should make us more aware that our true citizenship lies with Jesus Christ and His kingdom.
Father, thank You for bridging the gap between Your justice and Your compassion with the blood of Christ. Make me more aware of where my true citizenship lies, as I set my heart upon things above this day. Amen.

Thanks to John Koessler for allowing us to publish his
John Koessler serves as chair and professor of pastoral studies at the
Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is married to Jane and has two sons, Drew and Jarred. John is the author of ten books and numerous articles. He also serves as a contributing editor for the Moody Bible Institute publication Today in the Word, where you can read his monthly “Theology Matters” column. You can contact John via email at or by phone at (312) 329-4077

Saturday, October 22, 2011

God Calls You A People of His Very Own

Concept: A people eager and enthusiastic to please Him!

 Titus 2:14 Who gave Himself on our behalf that He might redeem us (purchase our freedom) from all iniquity and purify for Himself a people [to be peculiarly His own, people who are] eager and enthusiastic about [living a life that is good and filled with] beneficial deeds.  [Deut 14:2; Ps 130:8; Ezek 37:23.] AMP

God wants to be around people who are excited to be with Him, so enthusiastic about Him that others things are not nearly as appealing. When someone is looking for a person to marry and spend their life with they want someone who is not eating out with them but keeps looking at every person of the opposite sex who passes by as they eat together. No, they want that person who eagerly waits to hear what they have to say and wants to be with them so much that no one else seems to matter.

Is that who you are to God? If not ask God to stir-up the fire for Him within you. The Bible says this in James 4:8,” Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” NASU

Spend time with Him. Seek in worship, prayer and reading the Word. If you do he will draw near to you as well. Pray as the prophets of old did that he would be merciful and hear your cry!

He is waiting eagerly for you!

Friday, October 21, 2011

God Calls You People Belonging to God

Concept: We are not our own, we have been bought with a price. That price was the shed blood and life of Jesus God’s only true son.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God's] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.  [Ex 19:5,6.] AMP

Today, in America we do not really know what it means to belong to another or even to God. We have raised our freedom to a pedestal which we often allow God to occupy, but we never seem to comprehend that if God is on the ruling throne of our lives there is no room for anyone or anything else.

This is difficult for us. We have been born and raised in a culture that values freedom above liberty and justice. We have allowed liberty and our will to be the greatest power in our lives and fight hard to keep them. We lack the understanding and joy that comes when we begin to experience the light of having God in control, which allows liberty in Christ to begin true fulfillment in our lives.

Praise God, we do have a patient savior who waits and encourages along the path to true liberty in Him to whom we belong once we receive Him as Lord and savior!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

God Calls You My Loved Ones

Concept: Those who accept the Lord are included in His promises even though not a Jew or direct heir of Abraham they are inheritors of Abraham’s promises because of faith in Jesus.
Rom 9:24 Even including ourselves whom He has called, not only from among the Jews but also from among the Gentiles (heathen)?

Rom 9:25 Just as He says in Hosea, Those who were not My people I will call My people, and her who was not beloved [I will call] My beloved.  [Hos 2:23.] AMP

"The contents of these verses refer back to the fact that Paul includes the Gentiles with the Jews within the scope of God's mercy. The "my people which were not my people," and the "beloved which was not beloved" are the Gentiles. Alford says: "It is difficult to ascertain in what sense the apostle cites these two passages from Hosea as applicable to the Gentiles being called the people of God. That He does so, is manifest from the words themselves and from the transition to the Jews in verse 27. In the prophet they are spoken of Israel, ...who after being rejected and put away, was to be again received into favor with God." He suggests that the explanation is as follows: "He (Paul) brings them forward to show that it is consonant with what we know of God's dealings, to receive as His people those who were formerly not His people — that this may now take place with regard to the Gentiles, as it was announced to happen with regard to Israel, and even more, — that Israel in this as in so many other things was the prophetic mirror in which God foreshowed on a small scale, His future dealings with mankind."

Translation. As also in Hosea He says, I will call those not my people, my people, and those not beloved, beloved. And it shalt come to be that in the place where it was said to them, Not my people are you, there they shall be called sons of the living God."  This is from Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

God Calls You Members of One Body

Metaphor: Members of One Body
Concept: If we honor and respect our bodies we have begun to understand being a member of one body with others who believe in Jesus as their savior.
Eph 4:25 Therefore, rejecting all falsity and being done now with it, let everyone express the truth with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one body and members one of another.  [Zech 8:16.]    
Eph 5:30 Because we are members (parts) of His body.
Col 3:15 and let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ's] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]. AMP
Our world system teaches us to look out for ourselves above all things. This selfish, self centered philosophy is a twisted version of our God given survival instinct. God gave us the built in instinct for the survival of our species, our family and then our self. With the fall from God’s plan in the garden came a self centeredness based in our insecurity because of sin and a deep awareness that we have missed the mark of God’s best for our lives.
This insecurity can be overcome as we grow in Christ and realize we are secure in Him and that we can do all things through Him. He has restored our relationship and has given us freedom to return to His original plan to think of others as a part of our well being. This requires transforming of our mindset and the security and grace of God as we interact with others in the family of God. It also requires that we be wise and not entrust ourselves completely to others even as Jesus did not because He knew people hearts.
We can be confident in Him and not be self righteous. We can consider others desires without becoming a doormat to them. We can encourage others to fulfill God’s plan for them without fear they will get something meant for us. Most of all we can be all He created us to be and allow others to be all that He created them to be and walk side by side as we serve God.