Tuesday, August 06, 2013, 6:57 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with this song: Near the Cross / Fanny J. Crosby / William H. Doane …Near the cross! O Lamb of God, Bring its scenes before me; Help me walk from day to day With its shadow o'er me. Near the cross I'll watch and wait, Hoping, trusting ever, Till I reach the golden strand Just beyond the river. In the cross, in the cross, Be my glory ever, Till my raptured soul shall find Rest beyond the river. My husband shared a video with me this morning which he had seen on Facebook. It is a dramatization of a make-believe conversation between the bride of Christ - the church - and Jesus. Yet it represents the reality of the relationship between much of today’s church and their Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. The allegory (or parable) pictured a woman (representing the church) in a wedding dress. At first she had a monologue conversation, and then Jesus joined her in the conversation. The woman represented the span of thought, belief and practice in the church all the way from strict legalism to loose libertinism. She spoke of how she was a fake, pretending she didn’t know why she exists and what she was supposed to do, when she did know. She combined a little bit of God’s will with a whole lot of hers. She got relaxed. She took the Lord’s return lightly. She wanted the blessings of God without the obedience. Jesus had given her the bread of life, but she chose to just get by with the “crumbs of commentaries.” No one was attracted to her, so she dressed up the gospel. She grew distant from Jesus. She admitted that she stopped addressing sin and that she became culturally relevant. Even though Jesus was waiting for her to repent, she listened to Satan’s lies instead and she became convinced she did not have to repent. She had “unexplainable cravings for sin.” She committed adultery. She became pregnant with falsehood, and it became nearly impossible for her to conceive the truth. She was deceived. So, she ran back to what was comfortable to her – being enslaved to sin all over again. Yet, Jesus reminded her of why he died. He suffered beatings, betrayal, rejection, abandonment, scourgings, and the cross for her, because he loved her. He appealed to her to give him her heart. He reminded her that she was to be his alone. And, he chided her for being too interested in her eternal rewards, which she believed she would one day receive, while forgetting about his presence in the here and now. She had quenched the Spirit. And, she felt unworthy of his grace. Yet, Jesus reminded her that she was the reason he embraced that cross. He reminded her of his love, and he asked her to return to him. She admitted she needed his grace and mercy. He reminded her that he is the One who is to supply the missing pieces in her life, which her heart longs for. She prayed for forgiveness. Jesus asked her to allow him to make her clean. And, then he reminded her that he is coming back. Then the dramatization ended with the question: “Will you be ready or not?” After watching the video with my husband this morning, I had my quiet time with the Lord in prayer and in the word. I read 1 Peter 1 (ESV). Wow! The video went along perfectly with this passage of scripture. This was so God!! He works this way all the time! http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Peter%201&version=ESV For Obedience The letter was addressed to God’s elect, i.e. to the saints of God, the bride of Christ, the church. These believers were specifically exiles. They were his elect exiles according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, i.e. according to his plans and purposes and will. Included in this divine purpose and will of God for their lives, and for our lives, too, is that we be sanctified (made holy; purified) of the Spirit of God for obedience to Jesus Christ. According to God’s great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope. That means we are given completely new lives in Christ Jesus - not cleaned up old lives – free from slavery to sin. And, he has given us an inheritance in heaven that is imperishable (not perishable like the things of this world), undefiled (not like the defilements we see now in the church and in the world), and unfading (not like the things of this world which are fading away). So, we should live our lives on this earth with eternity’s values in view instead of focusing so much time and affection on the things that are just going to pass away. Various Trials While we are still on the face of this earth we may suffer grief in various trials, which test our faith. But, we should rejoice in this, because the testing of our faith is part of God’s refining process in our lives – to remove our impurities, and to mold us into the image of Jesus Christ. First of all, these fiery trials test the genuineness of our faith, either showing us to not truly have genuine faith, or else to reveal our faith as genuine, resulting in praise, glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Then we will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” The outcome of our faith is the salvation of our souls, so it is essential that the faith we say we possess is genuine faith resulting in salvation. Many professing Christians have had their faith tested and refined through fiery trials of persecution throughout the world, even now, and I believe this is coming to America, too. Yet, we should rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer for the sake of Christ and his gospel. How We Should Live Because Jesus Christ loved us so much that he gave up his life for us to die on the cross for our sins, so we could be free from slavery to sin, our lives should reflect the faith we say we have. We should honor God with our minds, words and actions. We should be proactive in putting on the armor of God daily so that we can fight against the devil’s schemes. We should be serious-minded about our faith in Jesus Christ, not taking what he did for us lightly or for granted, thinking life is just a big party and/or that the goal of church is just to have fun. We should not live our lives on this earth as though we are permanent residents here and that our hope and future are dependent upon the things of this world. So many Christians are living to please the flesh – combining a little bit of God’s will with a whole lot of theirs; settling for a few crumbs instead of feeding on the bread of life daily; deceived; and believing the lies that it is ok to just get by. But, it is not ok! We are to set our hope fully on the grace of salvation we will receive, complete when Jesus returns for his bride. We are to be obedient children. Don’t believe the lie that says obedience is not required by God. It is! We are not to be conformed to the sinful passions and desires of our former lives. We are to be holy in all our conduct. We are to be pure in mind and behavior and to demonstrate moral integrity. We are to separate ourselves from all that is wicked. And, this includes separating ourselves from associations, the things we listen to and watch, and/or the activities in which we involve ourselves if they are dishonoring to God. We should picture Jesus doing what we do, listening to what we listen to, watching what we watch, because if he is in us, he is right there with us just like if he were sitting right next to us. If we can’t picture him doing what we do, then we shouldn’t be doing it. We should demonstrate reverence, respect, and honor for God in all that we do, think and say. Abide in Him / An Original Work / July 31, 2013 Based off Ps. 27:14; Is. 40:31; Jn. 14-15 If you wait for the Lord, Put your hope now in Him, He will give you His strength And endurance within. He will renew your strength, So you will not lose heart. You will soar on wings like eagles, Never depart. “If you abide in Me, And My words live in you, You will walk with Me daily And follow what’s true. I will live now in you; Give you peace now within, If you obey My teachings And turn from your sin.” “If you listen to Me, And do all that I say, I will give you My comfort; Be with you always. I will heal all your pain; Life with Me now you’ll gain, If in fellowship with Me You always remain.” http://originalworks.info/abide-in-him/ “Ready or Not” is a very powerful video and message: http://www.p4cm.com/video/ready-or-not.