Friday, September 29, 2017

Living in Exile

Living in Exile
Do we ever consider that today there are those who live in exile from the will and hope of God because they fail to see and understand the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. You see as much as we might love this world we live in; scripture tells us that since Adam’s fall the whole world groans in anticipation of being set free once again. Just as each of us as Christians do (Romans 8:19-22 NLT). I look forward to that day every morning when I rise and every evening when I go to sleep. Yet as I wait along with you I have come to realize we live in exile from the place we long to be.

In 1 Peter 1: 1-2 we read a greeting that while addressed to certain cities and regions applies to each of us today. Peter states;

1 This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. 2 God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace. 1 Peter 1:1-2 (NLT)

Today we are living in a world that sees what we believe as Christians as more and more foreign to what the world holds as truth. We are foreigners in a country and a world that once held many of the same beliefs and was founded on the same principles outlined in God’s Word. Yet today there is a movement to forget that and move away from it and establish a world based on man’s ethics and ideas. So when we as Christian believers hold fast to God’s word we find ourselves mocked and ignored often seen as ignorant and intolerant of others.

The same was true of those Peter wrote to; many were dispersed and came to live in these places but many more were converted and began to change the communities in which they lived. The truth is the church flourishes under persecution and the more the world tries to exile it from the public the more growth it sees in the lives of people.

I just want to challenge you today to hold fast and know that to walk in the light of God’s Word through a real relationship with Jesus Christ will bring you one day into the place God has created for you and me. The exile will be over and one day He will welcome us home. —Rev Brian Mathis

Friday, September 22, 2017

Living for Tomorrow

Living for Tomorrow
At one point in my life I was an alcoholic. I was surrounded by individuals who required drinking as part of the organization and if you did not drink you were quickly replaced because there was a lack of trust in you as an individual. It was so bad that one time, we got in trouble for alcohol related issues and fifteen people had to start AA. Yes I was one of the lucky ones who got to experience that. Now I have no fight with individuals who drink; I personally believe that a little wine or moonshine at the right times provides medicinal relief for certain ailments, Paul even instructs Timothy to take some for his stomach problems. The reason I shared that was this morning I was studying and as I was reading Proverb 31:4-7 (ESV) it is advice from King Lemuel’s mother and it reads,
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink, 5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted. 6 Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; 7 let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.

You know throughout scripture; starting in the Old Testament with Daniel in Daniel 7 that we will rein and rule over all the earth. Again Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:2 and Jesus in Mathew 19:28 that one day we will rule alongside of Him. We will be judges and rulers over the entire world even judging the angels.

You might wonder what the point of this is. It’s not to bash someone who drinks but it’s to point out a simple fact that I have recently come to understand. If you desire certain things in your life you have to live and act like you really want it. Case in point I desire to serve as a chaplain and I need to lose weight to do that; but to be honest I need to lose weight, whether I ever get to serve as a chaplain or not. The bottom line is I must live the life I desire in preparation for the life that is yet to come. I hope that makes sense.

It’s not just about drinking or tobacco or any other point you might want to argue over that someone might call or consider a sin, but every area of our Christian walk. Do we want to see God move in our worship services? Than do we worship Him in our private time? Do we want to see Him answer our prayers and bring healing to the sick? Than do we pray without ceasing? Do we believe He can provide for our every need or do we work ourselves to death trying to provide for our wants?

I ask you today, are you drinking in the world trying to satisfy your flesh; thinking you have reached your greatest potential or are you willing to slow down and focus on God and follow after His leadership allowing Him to prepare you for the best that He has to offer?

Have a blessed day as you walk in the light of His Word. —Rev Brian Mathis

Friday, September 15, 2017

Living for the Cause of God

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)

Living for the Cause of God
Nothing in this world can change the plans that God has for us. Our life, best interest, and destiny are in His control. Our complete trust in this truth and full submission will yield blessings which are far beyond our imagination and human potential.

Our primary life purpose is not to just earn money and have a good life. It is not about worldly matters, trying to care for ourselves or create the perfect social image. The plans of God are great for us, He has assigned us the position of a co-heir with Christ and empowered us as ambassadors of the gospel. This life is about wholly trusting and serving the Lord while leading the lost to the eternal safety we have already found.  It is about giving Him praise and trusting Him for all our needs and wants. When we do the Lord’s will, we do not toil. His grace strengthens us to complete our mission. 

For those who trust and submit wholly to His plan, He faithfully clears the way throughout their journey, leading them to level ground. He uses them to be a blessing, to influence people with His word and to bring souls closer to Him. He establishes the work of their hands and freely gives them the wishes of their heart. He walks beside them scattering blessings and fulfilling their needs and wants by His grace.

Oh, what a wonderful Lord who promises to reward the heart’s desire of the faithful! Trust and faithfully obey to see His miracles happen in your life today. Deepika Emmanuel Sagar

Friday, September 8, 2017

Living Free Comes at a Cost

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 ESV)

Living Free Comes at a Cost
Paul understood something that I think we often forget; he was not saved for his own benefit but to serve God. You see he was zealous for God before he met Jesus. When Jesus brought him to his knees he finally really understood what God had been preparing him for. All the years of training and serving in and around the temple learning all the scriptures, the zeal for God and the determination to serve him was all in preparation for the future.

That is us today as Christians. God has brought us to this place with our wide variety of experiences so that when people we meet have a need we are prepared to witness to them about the difference a life in Christ can make.

Paul never really forgot what he had been saved from or the purpose he had been given. He did learn though to reach the lost he would have to continue living and working among them. Yes he gathered with those who were saved and taught them but he never forgot those who were once just like him and needed to hear the good news.

Verse 21 makes a statement that we must apply; we are as born again believers no longer under the law of God but we are called to live under the law of Christ. Christ gave us two clear commandments that were to love God with all your heart and the second was to love your neighbor as yourself. How many of us are able to say we can live under those two laws?

Paul lived a life loving people and he did it by becoming involved with them no matter what situation they were in. Can we as Christians today say that we love God and others enough to go were the needs are?

I pray you have a truly blessed day as you walk in the light of God’s Word. Rev Brian Mathis

Friday, September 1, 2017

Live From Your Calling

... I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. (Ephesians 4:1 NIV)

Live From Your Calling
Before Paul urged the Ephesians to live a life worthy of their calling he spent three chapters explaining "the calling" that God has placed on our lives:

Paul pointed out that through Christ:

  • we are saints (1:1);
  • we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (1:3);
  • we are chosen in Christ (1:4);
  • we were predestined to be adopted as God's son (1:5);
  • we have been redeemed and forgiven (1:7);
  • we are recipients of his lavish grace (1:8);
  • we have been made alive (2:5);
  • we have been raised up and seated with Christ (2:6);
  • we are God's workmanship (2:10);
  • we have direct access to God (2:18);
  • we are fellow citizens of God's family (2:19);
  • and we may approach God with boldness (3:12).

Paul knew it would be in response to knowing and believing all that Christ had done for them that the Ephesians would be able to live a life worthy of their calling.

The same is true for us today. It is only as we live by faith, believing what God says about us is true, that we are enabled to live effective Christian lives. Susan Barnes

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