Tag Archives: chosen

October 19; Sounds Like A Plan

Luke 10:21-24, 38-11:13, 27-12:21; Matthew 11:25-30

I read Luke 10:22 and Matthew 11:27 and understand why there are those who believe God is selective about which individuals are chosen for salvation, and which are chosen for hell. But God’s Word is more than a verse.

In the context here, Jesus is talking about wise men and children; the fact that God’s plan is hidden from the learned, and revealed to the simple. God does not reveal Himself through intellect, but through childlike faith.

Matthew Henry, in his Commentary on the Whole Bible in One Volume, (Zondervan Publishing House, 1961; page 1262) asks the question: why was Matthew, a lowly fisherman, chosen to be a disciple when Nicodemus, a Pharisee and leader of the Jews was not? Both men believed in Jesus.

Henry says, “this honor (was) put upon those whom the world pours contempt upon,” to magnify the mercy of God. What might make sense to us humans, doesn’t come close to what what makes sense to God. By choosing the disciples He chose, Jesus is demonstrating His great mercy and grace, revealing Himself as merciful and full of grace.

In the very next verse Jesus open Himself up to “all who are weak and burdened.” “Come,” He says to everyone, “and you will find rest for your souls.” I believe He chose those particular twelve to be His disciples to demonstrate His mercy, and to be the ones through whom He would use to get His Church going; and He chose the people of the world to save.

Jesus began this discussion by praying and thanking God for this plan. (verse 21). And I certainly thank Him, too! If God revealed Himself only to the intelligent, scholarly, big shots of the world, I’d be “chosen” for hell.

Henry reminds us that God “resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) Grace – God’s grace – is freely given to everyone who humbles themselves before Him.

So I will give thanks to God for choosing this plan of salvation. The highest IQ, the most successful businessman, the most important and famous come to God and are saved exactly the same way as a child, a homeless person, the average Joe – me. We might think God should be a bit more selective, but God selected all.

“Whosoever” believes in Jesus will receive eternal life. That’s His will. That’s His plan. That’s how He chose to redeem us all. And He is faithful to forgive anyone who comes to Him in humility, and repents of sin.

Sounds like an awesome plan to me.

Why we do what we do.

God asked the Jews an important question:

During these seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and early autumn, was it really for me that you were fasting? And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourself? (Zechariah 7:5&6)

It’s an honest question I think each of us need to consider for ourselves.

If I attend church services for a “worship experience”, who is the focus? Does God need the experience? Or do I? If I read my Bible, is it so I can feel good about my faithfulness?

I knew a woman who felt she had to take part in a communion service every Sunday because if she didn’t, she would have a terrible week.

If I blog, is it to be complimented on my post? I have to confess I like to see icons of people who “like” what I say. Is that what motivates me to hit “publish” each time?

If you listen to people like Joel Osteen you will likely begin to believe worship is about you, that following God is about you, that life is about you. Is it? Is it really?

Or is it about God?

Zechariah has a lot to say to us today. And he says something in 8:23 that I believe sums up why we worship, why we live lives set apart from the world, why we are kinder, more loving and forgiving, more honest than our unsaved neighbor. He talks about people from every nation going to Jerusalem to worship God. He says ten people will cling to the sleeve of one Jew and say:

Please let us walk with you, for we have heard that God is with you.

That’s our commission as Christians. All that we do, all that we say and are, is surrendered to God for one reason. Not so that we are blessed. But so that others are lead to the Savior.

That should be why we do what we do.

Heavenly Father, I want my worship to be pleasing to you, whether sitting in a pew on Sunday, or reading my Bible in my home, whether singing hymns in my car, or praying while talking to my neighbor over coffee. Forgive me for the tendency to make it about me. May the result of my worship of you in spirit and in truth cause people to want to get to know my Savior. I want my motivation to be you. I want my focus to be you. I want my life to be pleasing to you alone. 

December 12

Acts 28:11-31; Ephesians 1:1-3:21

The mystery of Christ “… is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus”. (Acts 3:4,6) Verses like these thrill me. And there are many verses that affirm that truth. God, who chose the Jewish people to reveal Himself to the Old Testament world and to be the family into which Christ was born, has chosen me to reveal Himself to my world in 2013. 

I was, by nature, an object of God’s wrath. “But because of his great love for (me), God, who is rich in mercy, made (me) alive with Christ even when (I was) dead in transgressions – it is by grace (I) have been saved”. (2:4-5)

Why does God save us? Read on in verses 6&7. “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

We who know Christ are chosen to continue the work of showing unsaved people who God is, what Christ has done for mankind, and the incomparable riches that come from knowing Him as Savior and Lord. We are like one body doing a job. And it doesn’t matter if you are Jewish born or not. You are a member of the body if you you know Jesus.

What kind of love brought Jesus into this world? How much love did it take for him to leave heaven and put on flesh and blood, to walk with men and women for 33 years, to be loved and hated, accepted and rejected. And to die a horrible death in order for all of us to have the opportunity to know him. Paul prayed that we would be rooted and established in that love and to grasp “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (3:17-19)

That’s a love worth knowing. And it’s a love worth sharing.

Jesus, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your great work. Thank you for your grace that enables me to stand before you no longer an object of your wrath. Thank you for bringing me into your body and may I be your hands and feet, your arms and your voice to introduce someone to you today. May I know that love Paul talked about and may others see that love in me. It’s an honor to serve you today. Lord.

November 19

Galatians 1:1-4:7

Don’t you love reading Paul’s letters? They are filled with a grass-roots look at the Christian life and encouragement to meet that life head-on! He certainly was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, was he?

When I read things like what he wrote in his letter to the Galatians I wonder why so many of us still consider the flesh and blood nation of Israel as chosen for some special treatment by God. I appreciate how Paul explains it when he reminds us God’s promise to Abraham concerned Abraham’s Seed. Not seeds. One person who is Christ (3:10). 3:7&8 say anyone who believes are children of Abraham. 3:26-29 emphasize the fact that God does not recognize any difference between Jew and Gentile, male and female. We are all heirs according to the promise when we believe in Christ.

God revealed his plan first to a Jew. He chose that man’s physical family to reveal God to the world until the Seed was born. Now it’s our turn to show God to our neighbors and friends and go across the ocean if God calls us. 

I know there are Scripture that suggests the flesh and blood nation of Israel is still set apart. But it doesn’t even suggest such here in Paul’s letter. In fact, Paul says plainly that all believers are members of the nation of Israel, heirs, children of Abraham. It has nothing to do with the nationality of our parents. It has everything to do with our response to Jesus.

You know what these amazing verses mean to me? God doesn’t love anyone more than he does me. God isn’t more interested in anyone else’s eternal soul more than he is in mine. I am the apple of his eye. And so are you if you know Christ as your Savior.

Dear God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and me. Thank you for Jesus and his obedience to your will. Thank you that his work on the cross allowed me to be adopted into your chosen family. Thank you that anyone who comes to you believing becomes heirs of the promise. And thank you for loving me so completely. May I live my life honoring you, my Father. And may others see Jesus in me.

October 28

Mark 11:27-33, 12:1-17; Matthew 21:23-46, 22:1-22; Luke 20:1-26

The Parable of the Tenants is here in what we read today. The landowner entrusted his vineyard to some farmers, then went away. But when it was time to collect the harvest, the tenants mistreated the landowner’s servants and sent them away empty handed. They beat some of the servants and killed others. Finally, the landowners sent his only son and the tenants killed him, too. Listen to what Jesus says about this.

Luke 20:16, Mark 12:9, and Matthew 21:41 say the landowner will come and eliminate the tenants and give the vineyard to others.

This truth is re-emphasized in the parable of the wedding banquet when the invited guests didn’t bother coming. So the King sent his servants out into the streets and brought in anyone they could find.

Jesus is making it clearer and clearer that the Jewish people are on the brink of losing something. He is telling them… and us… that “whosoever” includes all people, not just Jews. 

I am a citizen of God’s kingdom. As a Christian I am a joint-heir with Jesus. Not a second class citizen, but a woman invited to the banquet, clothed in Jesus’ righteousness. 

I am chosen. And so are you.

Father God, I thank you that you have chosen us to come into your kingdom. Thank you that Jesus’ death on the cross made it possible. And I praise you for the day I knelt before you and confessed my sins, accepted Jesus as my Savior, and became your child, loved and forgiven. I pray for those reading this today who still have not accepted your invitation. May they accept it today.

March 25

Joshua 3-6

God had parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could cross on dry ground during their escape from slavery in Egypt. Now he parts the Jordan River so the Jews could enter the Promised Land forty years later. Most of the people who crossed the Jordan were either too young to remember or hadn’t been born when the Red Sea parted. They had heard the accounts from their parents and Moses. But now they were experiencing the miracle for themselves.

Not only did a new generation of Jews witness the amazing power of God… but so did a new generation of foreign nations. 5:1 says the hearts of the Amorite kings west of the Jordan melted and they no longer had courage to go against Israel because of the power of their God.

Once again God chose the people of Israel to reveal Himself to the world. And once again I am challenged to allow God to do the same in me. Whether it’s the example of my walk with the Lord on a day to day basis, or the privilege of being a witness of God’s power in times of trouble. My prayer is that others will be drawn to God because they can see evidence of Him in me.