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You are known by God

Do you think that the Queen of England ever forgets her status? Do you think she ever gets up in the morning, looks around the royal bedchambers, notices a staff member setting up the tray for her morning tea, opening the curtains, laying out her things and wonders, “Well, who is this and why are they doing all this?”
No. Of course not. She’s the queen, and that life is what is afforded for her. It is part of her rank and status that she would be so cared for & so well attended. While she may have no real power, she is still beloved by those who are hers.

We often forget what we have been afforded in Christ. We look around at the world God has created, at he provision He has laid out for us, we forget how dearly loved we are. We forget =Whose= we are and we fall into the trap of disbelieving just how deeply and how greatly we are loved.

Galatians 4:1-11
I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything,
but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.

God has made provision for =you= in Jesus Christ. He has shown the depth of His love, and breadth of His grace. He has given us a wonderful gift beyond measure. But so often we see and observe, and we turn back to what we once had. That is what Paul is dealing with in this portion of his letter to the Galatian church. Why would we turn back to the life that once had us, to the pain that once ensnared us? Why would you turn back to death once you have been brought back to life?

But we do it every day.

We leave behind the rich appointments of grace to wallow in the filth of our own sin.

This is why we are daily glad for grace, and for the presence of the Holy Spirit that corrects us.  There is mourning that comes with this realization, but it is a mourning that is infused with hope.

Lamentations 3:19-26
19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
    the wormwood and the gall!
20 My soul continually remembers it
    and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.

You are deeply loved and dearly bought when you are clothed with Christ. You are afforded a richness that comes with being drawn into the presence of the Living God. Jesus gave proof to His disciples after He was resurrected by doing something simple, He ate with them. He wanted them to see that this was the new reality, the new normal. The life they had been appointed to was past and there was something new on the way. This is what Jesus does for us, this is what God has laid out for us. It’s all for =His= glory, but as heirs, we share in the glorious promises of righteousness.

Luke 24:36-49
36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them.

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

God will take great care to clothe us, care for us and shower us with His love. We are His children, deeply loved, dearly bought. Just as Christ did simple things, like eating fish, to convince His disciples that things really were as they were, even thought it was beyond hope, maybe even beyond belief, He was alive again and there, present with them. Just as He did that, we need to remember that every day, through many convincing proofs, God reminds us that He is present with us, loving us. He is our Abba, our Father, our Daddy & He cares very much for us.

Rest in His arms today. Let Him sing over you. May the joy of the Lord be your strength.

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Foolish Hearts

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Psalm 14

1The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
    there is none who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
    to see if there are any who understand,
    who seek after God.

They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
    there is none who does good,
    not even one.

Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
    who eat up my people as they eat bread
    and do not call upon the Lord?

There they are in great terror,
    for God is with the generation of the righteous.
You would shame the plans of the poor,
    but the Lord is his refuge.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
    When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
    let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

 

There aren’t a lot of praises coming from 2016 in Western Culture this year. Most people in the media and online have made it clear that they are glad that the books on 2016 are closed and that there’s a new year laid out before us. There always seemed to be news of celebrity deaths, we endured one of the most excruciating political seasons in in recent memory and if there was ever a year to complain about something, be offended by something or to get upset over seemingly trivial things, 2016 was the year.

As Christians, we have long since learned to look to God for what is good in this life. It isn’t prepared for us by our culture, it isn’t fostered by the mass media and it certainly isn’t perpetuated by trends on social media. The world cries out, lost in its godlessness, and is repeatedly upset and devastated when things don’t go in a way that perpetuate the image for life that they have built for themselves. It is an adolescent mindset, an entitled worldview that constantly screams for everything to go the way they want.

This world is broken, and in our obvious need for a Savior, those whose hearts are set alongside the agenda of sin and worldliness continue to cry out that there cannot be a savior. They want so desperately to be their own. But what hubris! What a mass of pride wells up from within this mindset, from within these hearts! You would think that the evidence would be plain in front of them, but sin-stained hearts create blind eyes, deaf ears and hard hearts.

They openly mock the ones who find hope in the wasteland, who claim a joy they cannot obtain. They shame us, revile us and try their best to silence us, but the Good News of Jesus Christ cannot be silenced. Behold! There is a voice that cries out in the wilderness: “Make a straight path for the LORD! ”

Matthew 3:1-12
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
    make his paths straight.’”

Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Where Herod silenced John the Baptist, the world tries to silence us. John called out Herod’s sin, and as bearers of the Truth of Jesus Christ, we call out sin still today. And the world will not have it, through anger and violence and loud rhetoric, pounded relentlessly in our faces, we are told to be silent, to be still, to keep our beliefs to ourselves. And we feel like Jeremiah the Prophet, persecuted by those within our own culture, workplaces, families and schools. We are denounced, rejected and ridiculed. The truth is not welcome.

Jeremiah 20:1-13
O Lord, you have deceived me,

    and I was deceived;
you are stronger than I,
    and you have prevailed.
I have become a laughingstock all the day;
    everyone mocks me.
For whenever I speak, I cry out,
    I shout, “Violence and destruction!”
For the word of the Lord has become for me
    a reproach and derision all day long.
If I say, “I will not mention him,
    or speak any more in his name,”
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
    shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in,
    and I cannot.
10 For I hear many whispering.
    Terror is on every side!
“Denounce him! Let us denounce him!”
    say all my close friends,
    watching for my fall.
“Perhaps he will be deceived;
    then we can overcome him
    and take our revenge on him.”
11 But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior;
    therefore my persecutors will stumble;
    they will not overcome me.
They will be greatly shamed,
    for they will not succeed.
Their eternal dishonor
    will never be forgotten.
12 O Lord of hosts, who tests the righteous,
    who sees the heart and the mind,
let me see your vengeance upon them,
    for to you have I committed my cause.

13 Sing to the Lord;
    praise the Lord!
For he has delivered the life of the needy
    from the hand of evildoers.

But even when things seem bleak, when we feel like we aren’t allowed to have a voice, we must remember that God is with us. Jesus promised us this before He ascended into heaven (Matthew 28,) we are never alone. Even as Elijah had to hide in the wilderness and was fed by ravens (1 Kings 17), God will sustain His church, He will provide and be a refuge for those who bear His Name and who stand boldly for the truth.

Be resolved to be bold. It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in man.(Psalm 118:8) The Lord is with you.

Lord, help us believe, that we might see You come.
Let our souls rise up to meet You, as the day rises to meet the sun.Give us the boldness of John, the endurance of Jeremiah and the faith of Elijah.
May we honor You above our own need for comfort, may we never be content in siding with the world’s agenda. Let us instead be your ambassadors of grace through Jesus Christ our Lord, standing firm in Your truth. Amen.

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