Seize the Moment – Day 77

Victory over Evil!

Luke 22

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Tuesday, June 2.

 

Do you ever feel like there is an active force opposing you and any good that you try to do?

 

Years ago I memorized Jesus’ words from Luke 22:31-32, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

 

Sifting wheat is a violent action of separating the grain from the stalk and chaff; it is a process of literally tearing the wheat apart. Satan’s desire for Simon is to violently tear him apart; to separate him from God’s promises and purposes; to tear Peter away from God’s plan for his life. That’s what Satan wants to do to all people who confess Jesus as the Son of the living God—“the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy!” (John 10:10)

 

Jesus is our Living Redeemer who sits at the right hand of God, the Father, praying for us today. It is by faith that we overcome evil! As the Bible teaches us, “Greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). If God is for you, who can stand against you?

 

What can you do when you feel there are forces actively working against you and those you love?

 

Seize the moment and take the higher ground by praying! Stand firm against Satan who asks to sift you as wheat. Jesus’ promise that your faith will not fail will come true in your life, as it did in Peter’s and as it has in my own life. Turn back to God today and strengthen your family in Christ. Never forget, Jesus is praying for you!

 

If you need any practical assistance or would like to receive a personal phone call, please dial the phone number below and someone from FBC will call you soon.

 
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well.  Click HERE to visit the page. 
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 76

Keep Your Chin Up!

Luke 21

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Monday, June 1.

 

It’s Monday and for that reason alone, some people are struggling to have a good attitude. Add to that the current social unrest of our nation and many are discouraged, if not despairing.

 

I say to you this morning: Friend of God, don’t give yourself over to despair or discouragement.  Keep your chin up! It’s a choice!

 

In Luke 21, Jesus foretells of the dark days that would usher in His second coming. Jesus says in Luke 21:27-28, “And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

 

I love those words: “straighten up and raise your heads.” In other words, keep your chin up! In the midst of hardship, death, destruction, and so much going the wrong direction in the world, we, the followers of Jesus Christ, are to remain firm in our faith, resolved in our hope, and steadfast in our love.

 

Why? “Because [our] redemption is drawing near” (28). 

 

Jesus is our Living Redeemer and as His second-coming draws near we are to remain watchful and hopeful for Him, allowing our faith to superintend our emotions. No matter what may be happening right now remember this truth, “My Redeemer Lives” (Job 19:25)!

 

Is there a difficult circumstance you must deal with today? Ask Jesus to walk with you through this time. God is with you so keep your chin up!

 

Are you facing a difficult relationship decision? Trust God in your most important decisions and remember that God will never leave you nor forsake you, so keep your chin up!

 

Seize the moment and make a choice today: Live your life with faith, hope, and love! By keeping your eyes on Jesus, He will keep your chin up!

 

If you need any practical assistance or would like to receive a personal phone call, please dial the phone number below and someone from FBC will call you soon.

 
 
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well.  Click HERE to visit the page. 
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 75

A Call to prayer!

Key Verses: John 14-16

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Sunday, May 31.

 

Today is Pentecost Sunday and we have been planning a different kind of service to remember Pentecost and to celebrate the birth of the Church, so please plan to watch the service online at www.newcastlefbc.com, on our YouTube page (search New Castle FBC), or watch us on Facebook Live. If you are healthy, feel safe, and will follow the safety protocols in place, then you are welcome to join us in person for our 10:30 am service.

 

Today is also Graduation Sunday and we are celebrating our high school and college graduates—please consider sending cards and gifts to celebrate their accomplishments. Pray for them and let them know how proud we all are of each of them and their families.  Click HERE to watch the video honoring our graduates.
 
Finally, yesterday, Billy Graham’s son Franklin requested that churches set aside “a special time of intercession” in services today: to pray for our communities and nations. To pray for peace, perspective, and patience. After being caught up in the Spirit to personally pray for our nation this week, the Holy Spirit has confirmed this is right and true for FBC’s Sunday service, so we are gripping hands with many other local churches to pray. We were made by God for this—to shine His light of love!

 

We need to pray for PEACE, because “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).

Pray for PERSPECTIVE, because “the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17).

Pray for PATIENCE, because of God’s “kindness and forbearance and patience” toward us all (Romans 2:4).

And pray for an OUTPOURING of His wisdom and direction for our leaders and officials who are dealing with this crisis. Ask God to change hearts and heal this divide in our nation.
(You can see Franklin Graham’s original request by clicking HERE.)
 

Please expect today’s service to not only be special because its Pentecost Sunday and Graduation Sunday, but also because instead of a normal sermon, I will be leading us in petitioning the Lord through scriptural promises.

 

Seize the moment and pray this morning—be the Church we are called to be. Our communities and nation need us to fight this battle with prayer and in love. May the Holy Spirit lead us deeper into His presence and grant us His peace. We are His image bearers—hope bearers!

 

If you need any practical assistance or would like to receive a personal phone call, please dial the phone number below and someone from FBC will call you soon.

 

Listen to the message:

 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 74

Honest Conversations!

Luke 20

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Saturday, May 30.

 

Do you find it difficult to have an honest conversation with people in today’s world?

 

Luke 20 narrates a series of conversations where the religious leaders are trying to catch Jesus in His words so that they can justify their desire to murder Him. Listen to one in Luke 20:3-7,

 

Jesus answered and said to them, “I will also ask you a question, and you tell Me: “Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?” They reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ “But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it came from.

 

Jesus is trying to expose the duplicity of the religious leaders. And they immediately calculate the cost of each answer as if the truth was a commodity to be nuanced and peddled for their power and profit. The religious leaders are not interested in the truth; only themselves.

 

Are people any better today?  

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of what our inability to have an honest conversation is doing to our communities. The truth should not be shaped for influence and power. The truth should not be peddled for personal profit. Jesus said, “the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32).

 

Honest conversations are the only way to have substantial and life-giving relationships.

 

Is your communication going to be full of double-dealing and calculation or are you just going to be honest with yourself and others? Do you have a friend in your life you are willing to listen to give you honest insights about you and your life?

 

Seize the moment and start with an honest conversation with God. He’s waiting for you to take time this weekend to spend time getting to know one another.

 

If you need any practical assistance or would like to receive a personal phone call, please dial the phone number below and someone from FBC will call you soon.

 
 
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well.  Click HERE to visit the page. 
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 73

Pray for Our Nation!

Luke 19

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Friday, May 29.

 

How are you responding to the news and current events? Are you being moved by compassion to pray for our nation, our communities, the people, and our future?

 

Listen to Jesus cry out for Jerusalem in Luke 19:41-44, “And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.'”

 

Whatever the future may hold, you can trust that the Lord is good and just in all that He does. The Lord is holy and sovereign; whatever may happen God will use it for His glory. God uses nation-states and empires according to His will and desire. He is the Living Hope for all creation.

 

Are you putting your hope in Jesus as you watch the news? Are you trusting in Jesus as you see how people are reacting and behaving around our communities?

 

I invite you to start praying the way Jesus taught His disciples to pray: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” and then follow Jesus wherever He made lead you. The Church of Jesus Christ is the hope of the nations because we are the hands and feet of Christ to our communities and nations.

 

Seize the moment and cry out to God for His mercy for our communities and nations. Jesus is the only One who can give us peace.

 

Remain calm and pray… God is with us!

 

There is a perfect storm brewing out there, will you join me in praying today for our nation?

 

If you need any practical assistance or would like to receive a personal phone call, please dial the number below and someone from FBC will call you soon.

 
 
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well.  Click HERE to visit the page. 
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 72

Your Deepest Need!

Luke 18

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Thursday, May 28.

 

In Luke 18:41, Jesus asks the question, “What do you want me to do for you?”

 

The story is told in Luke 18:35-43, a blind beggar cries out: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (38). Even though he is rebuked by those around him, this blind beggar cries out louder and louder: “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (40).

 

This got Jesus’ attention. The blind beggar was socially ridiculed for crying out to Jesus, but he boldly risked their scorn for a chance to get to Jesus. He needed something only God could give him (Luke 18:27). And Jesus responded to his faith!

 

I wonder if you need something that is so deep, such a pressing need in your life, that you would be willing to face people’s rebuke and ridicule to cry out to Jesus.  

 

Do you even know your deepest need? What would you ask for if you were in the place of this blind beggar?

 

Not a want…

 

Not a temporary fix…

 

Not a band-aide on a gushing artery wound…

 

The truth is that without God in our lives, we are all blind beggars, in need of healing, in need of deliverance, in need of what only He can give. Does that truth offend you… maybe that’s your deepest need!

 

Seize the moment and put yourself in the shoes of this blind beggar from 2,000 years ago: “If Jesus asked you, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ what would you say?

 

Your answer reveals a lot about you.

 

I pray for you that the Lord Jesus Christ may lead you into a sincere faith as you cry out to Him today for the deepest need of your life. Remembering these words from Luke 18:27, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” May the Lord heal, bless, deliver, and rescue you today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

If you need any practical assistance or would like to receive a personal phone call, please dial the phone number below and someone from FBC will call you soon.

 
 
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well.  Click HERE to visit the page. 
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 71

The Home of God!

Luke 17

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Wednesday, May 27. Please join me in wishing a Happy Birthday to Drew Davisson and Lorene Dickerson.

 

The concept of being a part of a kingdom is so foreign to American sensibilities. We are an independent people, it’s a big part of our national identity and self-narrative, so we struggle to understand authority, headship, submission, and all the realities of living under the rule of a king. Therefore, we struggle to know exactly what Jesus is saying when He declares the Kingdom of God.

 

There is a biblical theme that allows us to understand the kingdom teaching by looking at the Kingdom of God as the Home of God with God as the Father and us being restored to His sovereign rule through the headship of Jesus Christ.

 

Listen to Luke 17:20-21, “Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, ‘The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in you.”

 

What a beautiful thought: the Home of God is in you! Jesus came to usher us into His Father’s Household.

 

This is your salvation! When you believe in God and put your faith in His Son Jesus Christ, then He seals you with a guarantee through the living presence of the third person of the Trinity—the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:14; 2 Cor. 1:22). Salvation is your invitation to and participation in the Trinitarian fellowship of God.

 

God has made His home in you!

 

Seize the moment and believe for the Home of God is here. The kingdom of God is here, not as a geopolitical empire with borders and laws, but as a home to experience the Father’s love for eternity. You are home in God because Jesus made a way for you and the Holy Spirit has made His home in you—rest in God!

 

If you need any practical assistance or would like to receive a personal phone call, please dial the phone number below and someone from FBC will call you soon.

 

 

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well.  Click HERE to visit the page. 
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 70

Every Soul Matters!

Luke 16

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Tuesday, May 26.

 

Each and every person has a soul! Souls are eternal and each has intrinsic value. That means people matter, every one of them, regardless of whether you like them, agree with them, or feel like they bring value to you or your view of the world. To relate kindly only to the people who help make your life work better for you may be simply utilitarian to you, but it is evil as a habitual practice. It’s dishonest!

 

The Parable of the Shrewd Steward from Luke 16:1-13, highlights how followers of Jesus are to be household managers of their wealth to influence people for God’s glory—to help bring them to the Father. Verses 8-9 makes the point of the story, “The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.”

 

Has God blessed you with the ability to work hard? Praise God! Now win souls by working hard, starting businesses, and creating jobs that produce wealth for the work force, so that more money can go to bless others, support ministries, and the work of the Kingdom.

 

Has God blessed you with wealth and the influence it brings in the world?  Praise God! Our culture values people with money more than all others so use that temporary influence to win souls because you can lose it all in a heartbeat.

 

No person is better than another because they have money. So invest what God has entrusted to you, not into a false sense of self-worth as defined by the world, but what matters for eternity. Use stuff to gain people for God’s Kingdom! The harvest fields are ripe. I’m praying for workers!

 

Seize the moment and make an eternal investment today.

 

If you need any practical assistance or would like to receive a personal phone call, please press 9 and someone from FBC will call you soon.

 

 

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well.  Click HERE to visit the page. 
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 69

A Day to be Thankful!

Luke 15

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Monday, May 25. Happy Memorial Day! Take time to pause and remember that our freedoms in this nation are not free!

 

Who are you thankful for today?

 

Listen to Luke 15:31-32, “‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

 

This is from the Parable of the Lost Son. It emphasizes the two earlier parables “The Lost Sheep” & “The Lost Coin”, but this one has a twist in it.

 

God is the central character of each parable: God is like the good shepherd who goes to great lengths to find the one lost sheep; God is like the woman who goes to great effort to find the one lost coin; and God is like the father who eagerly waited to receive back His lost son.

 

The twist in this parable is that, unlike the other two, no one went looking for that which was lost. The Father stayed home… Who was supposed to go looking for the younger son?

 

Luke 15 sets us up with expectancy: someone is going to go searching for that which was lost and when the natural older brother doesn’t do his job…we are left confused and hurt!

 

Jesus’ parable causes our hearts to yearn for our true elder brother to come search for us: to seek and to save that which was lost.

 

The three parables not only show us the heart of God, but teach us the mission of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the elder Son, sent by His Father to search for us, to bring us Home…

 

Seize the moment and rejoice in God’s rescue of His children! Today is a great day to be thankful! Freedom is not free—the elder Son paid the price! May your life tell His story!

 

Today is a great day to be thankful! Have a great Memorial Day and God Bless you!  

 

 

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well.  Click HERE to visit the page. 
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 

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Responding to the Plan of God – Week 6

2020: A Year of Celebration!

Image Bearers Steward their Relationship with Jesus!

(John 21:15-22; Luke 22:31-34 & Romans 12:1-8)

Memorial Day Weekend

 

What is most important to you?

 

Let’s take a moment to ask God to tell each of us the truth. I invite you to a conversation with Jesus that God is initiating through me to you. As we go to prayer right now, with each person entering into a space of grace, hear Jesus ask you: “Do you love Me more than these?” 

 

Time of Silence

 

From John 21:15-22, listen to a dramatic exchange between Peter and Jesus with Jesus starting the conversation with Peter the same way God just started the conversation with each of us:

 

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”

[Peter] said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

[Jesus] said to [Peter], “Tend My lambs.” [Jesus] said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

[Peter] said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

[Jesus] said to [Peter], “Shepherd My sheep.” [Jesus] said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And [Peter] said to [Jesus], “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”

Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.”

Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me!”

 

We usually cut this story short, in verse 17 with Jesus’ third “tend my sheep” and talk about how Jesus is forgiving Peter for his three denials after his boastful declaration that he would never forsake Jesus. From Luke 22:31-34, we hear this earlier exchange between Jesus and Peter:

 

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

But [Peter] said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!”

And [Jesus] said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”

 

While this conversation and Peter’s actions are the context for the exchange between the resurrected Jesus and the demoralized and discouraged Peter in John 21, we must keep reading to the end, verse 22.

 

As we see in verse 22, and repeated word for word again in verse 23, what actually ends the conversation with Peter and are the last words of Jesus in the Gospel of John:
 
If I want [John] to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”

 

Jesus doesn’t give you a job to do or a comparison to make with someone else’s life, but a relationship to have with Him!

 

This is what is first and foremost in the heart of God for all of His Children. So, I say to you, repent and return to your first love. Steward your relationship with God as your most precious possession and most important choice! Everything else flows out of what is on the throne of you heart. What is most important to you?

 

Many a pastor and Christian worker in the church has lost their way because they have cut this dialogue short, ending it in v. 17 with
 
“Tend My Sheep” and forget that Jesus’ first and last words to all His disciples are “Follow Me” (Mark 1:17 & John 21:22).

 

Christians, especially those diligent serious ones, became like Martha—worried and bothered about so many things! And they forsake the one thing that actually makes them a Christian—though they do plenty in the name of Jesus, are the spending time seeking the face of Jesus?

 

Jesus said to Martha in Luke 10:41-42,
 
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
 
What was Mary doing?

 

Mary was scandalously sitting at Jesus’ feet prioritizing Jesus and her relationship with Him. Many a dutiful Christian knows that this story is supposed to bring them back to what is most important in their lives, but if we are honest, many a church worker experiences the emotions of the “older son” when reading this story (allusion to Luke 15:11-32).

 

I have heard people, church goers and great volunteers, even comment that if we were all like Mary then who would get the work done… My answer is: God through us instead of us for Him. I wonder if we’ve tried to co-opt the Christian life that is for a Kingdom not of this world into making our lives work out better for us in the here and now.

 

We are worried and bothered about so many things because we have forgotten that we are human beings, not human doings! Our primary job is to follow Jesus by getting in His yoke and learning from Him how to be “gentle and humble heart”, then we no longer be “weary and heavy-burdened” by all that presses upon us, but we will find “rest for our souls” in the finished work of Jesus, the sovereign grace of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

 

Therefore, today, I am calling you to back to the biblical priority of your life as Image Bearers of God—your relationship with God through the only mediator Jesus Christ.

 

Hear this invitation from Paul’s words in Romans 12:1-8.

 

Paul appeals to us in Romans 12:1,
 
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

 

Every member of God’s Family is invited to be absolutely dependent on God (“a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God”). This is the only way for His body—the Church—to function under one rightful authority—the headship of Jesus Christ (emphasized in 1 Corinthians 12:12-30).

 

This is a posture of your heart and a priority of your life. As Pastor Andrew Murray wrote in his 1897 classic Absolute Surrender,

 

Oh, become nothing in deep reality, and, as a worker, study only one thing—to become poorer and lower and more helpless, that Christ may work all in you. Workers, here is your first lesson: learn to be nothing, learn to be helpless. The  man who has got something is not absolutely dependent; but the man who has got nothing is absolutely dependent. Absolute dependence upon God is the secret of all power in work. The branch has nothing but what it gets from the vine, and you and I can have nothing but what we get from Jesus.[1] 

 

Paul commands us in Romans 12:2,
 
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

 

Paul calls us to eliminate false worship and competing distractions from your life (seeing messages #2 & #5). Apart from this, members of God’s Family are chasing after the desires of their own hearts, which God wants to give you, but only after you seek Him first (Matthew 6:33).

 

It’s like I often teach you, your relationships (marriage, family, etc.) are for your holiness before your happiness, your sanctification before your satisfaction, your godliness before your goals. If you try to use people to make yourself happy you will neither be holy nor happy, but if you seek first godliness in your relationships, you will find you are both happy and holy.

Idolatry with people, work, hobbies, etc. is a subtle shift. You can enjoy the best this world has to offer, God has created it for us to enjoy, but let us not be like those in Romans 1:25-32:

 

For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

 

Jesus has established it that the world will know those who are following Him and Him alone. Those who follow Jesus will walk in oneness with Him, just like Jesus walked in oneness with His Father (John 17:11 & 22). Paul knew this and called every follower of Jesus to respond to the grace of God. From Romans 12:3-8,

 

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

 

We are absolutely dependent on God and mutually dependent on one another as fellow members! Humbly seeing oneself by the measure of faith given to us by God allows for God’s Family to be at its best and most reflective of God’s glory. We are the one body of Christ being built up in love for the glory of God (Ephesians 4:11-16). This is the work of the Holy Spirit—the faith and the gifts all coming together so that we are seen as one mature body with Jesus Christ as our head.

 

When the world sees you, they see what you reflect and what you reflect is your god. That’s the way God designed you as His Image Bearer. What are you reflecting? That’s what tells you who or what your god is! And your god is always what is most important to you.

 

That’s why it is important to realize that Jesus’ conversation with Peter ends with these words, because they are the words that the Gospel of John ends for every believer: “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”

 
 

Listen to the Message here:

 

To watch the video click HERE

 
 
 

FOOTNOTES:

 

[1] Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender, 76.

 

 
 
 
 

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