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Preparing for Revival

Preparing for Revival

“In all labor there is profit,
But mere talk leads only to poverty”

Proverbs 14:23

Over the next few weeks, I am going to share a series of blogs on how to prepare for revival. I will post them on Wednesday mornings. Let me be clear that when I speak of revival, I am speaking of a time of scheduled revival meetings, not the actual act of spiritual revival. The actual act of spiritual revival is an act of God, and God alone. Man cannot bring forth revival. However, we can prepare ourselves for it, pray for it, and seek God for it with the faith and heart of seeing God pour out revival upon us. That is one of the main purposes of having revival meetings. Therefore, when I am referring to revival, I am referring to revival meetings. However, I am not interested in having revival meetings for the sake of having revival meetings but having revival meetings for the purpose of seeking God for genuine revival. In this blog, I will share both practical and spiritual ways that we need to prepare for these revival meetings.

Unfortunately, many churches are no longer having revival meetings. One of the main reasons they do not have them is because they claim they are no longer effective. Statistics prove this to be false. Churches that have annual revival meetings and use a God called, and gifted evangelist statistically has more baptisms and church growth than churches that do not have annual revival meetings. I will agree that churches and pastors who look at revival as just another scheduled event on the calendar and therefore put forth little to no effort will most likely have an ineffective revival.

The truth is, planning a successful revival is time-consuming work; at least it should be. Most churches plan for months in advance for their VBS, and so they should. The same labor-intensive work that a church invests into VBS should also be invested in a revival meeting. VBS is often called the greatest evangelistic outreach of a church. A well planned VBS should reach a great harvest of souls, and they very often do. At the same time, thousands of people, from young to old, are saved in revival meetings every year. As an evangelist, I am friends with many other evangelists. I can’t tell you what a thrill it is to hear from them of the great harvests that are being reached in their revival meetings from week to week.

The planning and preparing of a VBS is often very difficult and time-consuming. Though that is true, I have seldom seen or heard of churches looking at it as a tedious task. Rather, they enjoy the labor because they are full of expectation of what it will produce-souls saved. With that same joyful expectation, churches should excitedly labor in their preparation for revival. With that same joyful expectation, churches shouldn’t allow anything to stop them from having revival meetings. Most churches that regularly have VBS would be appalled at the idea of not having one-and rightly so. In the same way, they should be appalled at the idea of not having a revival.

Prior to accepting the call of an evangelist, I was a pastor for eighteen years. I know that pastors are busy and church calendars get full fast. But we are talking about revival. We are talking about the saved being kindled afresh, and the lost being snatched out of the domain of darkness and brought into God’s marvelous light. Isn’t that worthy of proper planning and preparation? Isn’t that worthy of any tedious and time-consuming labor we will endure? Hebrews 12:2 tells us that with the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross. By no means was the cross joy. The joy was on the other side of the cross. Jesus had to endure the cross to reach that joy and make that joy available to us today. Anything worth having is worth working for. Let us labor for revival. Let us labor for lost souls. Let us labor for a mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God. Let us labor in preparing ourselves to be usable vessels.

 
 

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Peace on Earth

Peace on Earth

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14

Every year throughout the Christmas season, in one form or another, carolers gather to sing of the wonderful news the angels pronounced to the shepherds that first Christmas night. One of the most popular themes recorded in song is “Peace on earth, and good will toward men.” Yet, we must ask ourselves, what did the angels mean when they spoke of peace on earth?

The writers of these beloved carols seem to think they were referring to world peace here on this earth. Edmund H. Sears, a unitarian minister who made no mention of Christ in his carol, was bothered by the social conditions that ultimately led to the Civil War when he wrote, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. Henry Longfellow wrote, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, amid great personal tragedy during the Civil War. The newest of Christmas Carols, Do You Hear What I Hear, was written with concern of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Though there will be perfect peace on this earth when the Prince of Peace returns, Christ’s first coming was not at all intended to bring world peace. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 10:34, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” The purpose of Jesus first coming was to bring peace between God and Man.

The bible clearly teaches that all have sinned, and our sin puts us at enmity against God. In a sense, our sins are a declaration of war against an all sovereign God. Though God has not wronged us in any way, He has initiated a peace offering. His Son, Jesus, is that peace offering. Jesus is God’s means of reconciliation.

Prior to the host of angel’s declaration of peace on earth, a single angel announced the birth of a Savior who was born in the city of David, which was Bethlehem. (Luke 2:11). That Savior was Jesus who was born into this world to live a perfect life that would ultimately be laid down on the cross of Calvary as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind.

Today, for those who repent and turn to Jesus by faith, their sins will be forgiven and washed away, they will be justified, in other words put in right relationship with God, and they will have peace with God. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is a true peace, and this peace is the gift God gave to this world on the first Christmas day; a gift that is still available to anyone who will put their faith in Jesus.

For more information about Rusty Kuhn Ministries visit, www.rustykuhn.com

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2018 in Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Living Stones

Living Stones

Jesus asked the disciples in Matthew 16:13, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They said in the next verse, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” Jesus then asked them in verse fifteen, “But who do you say that I am?” At this time Simon boldly answered in verse sixteen, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” In the next verse we see that Jesus was greatly pleased with Simon’s answer and said, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Jesus then renamed Simon Peter saying, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church.”

When Jesus renamed Simon He called him Peter which is Petros in Greek. Petros is a small stone or a rock. A brick can fall under the category of a petros. It is certainly not a foundational stone that someone would build a house on. Rather it would be the small stones, like bricks, that would rest upon the foundational stone.

After Jesus named Simon Petros, He said “upon this rock I will build my church.” The word that Jesus used for rock was a different word than the one He used for Simon Peter. Jesus used the Greek word petra as the rock that the church would be built upon. Petra is a large rock, a foundational stone that is much different than the small stone, petros, Simon was called. Clearly Peter is not the foundational stone that the church is built upon; Jesus is. Jesus is the one who gave His life so He could redeem the church. To say any other is the foundation of the church is not only biblically inaccurate, it is outright blasphemous.

Peter clearly understood what Jesus was talking about. Peter wrote in I Peter 2:4-5, “And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” Who is the living stone? Jesus is. He is the one that was rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God. We are the ones who come to Him also as living stones that are being built up as a spiritual house. This is the perfect portrait of the church.

The church is not a physical building, an address, or location. The church is a spiritual house. Jesus is the living stone that is the foundation. We are living stones being built up on that foundation. Just as bricks are laid atop of the foundation of the building we are laid atop of Jesus who is the foundation of the church. We are also laid atop of all of the other believers who came before us such as Peter. Peter was named Petros because he was the first to confess Jesus as the Christ. Upon our confession of Christ we are saved and therefore laid atop of the foundation of Christ as the church.

After Peter gave us this wonderful picture of the structure of God’s spiritual house he then gave us an understanding of its function. He said in I Peter 2:9, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Jesus didn’t save us to give us a get out of hell free card. He saved us out of darkness and into light so we would have a relationship with Him and so we would proclaim to the rest of the world, which remains in darkness, of His excellencies and His marvelous light so they too would be drawn to the light and have a relationship with Him and not stand in darkness separated from God doomed to eternal condemnation. Clearly, this is one of the main functions of the church; the whole church.

Paul wrote in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” If the gospel is truly the power of God for salvation, as the Word of God says that it is, and we refuse to share the gospel we are then guilty of condemning this world to hell. How will they repent of their sins if we don’t tell? How will they walk out of darkness and into the marvelous light if we don’t tell? How will they know their sins will eternally condemn them if we don’t tell? “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15).

The feet that carry the good news may become callused, bruised, and bloody; they may become dusty, dirty, and grimy; they may become tired, weary, and worn, but they are beautiful to God. Far, they are bringing the good news of Jesus to a lost world of whom He loves.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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The Gospel Must be Communicated

The Gospel Must be Communicated

Have you ever heard someone say “I allow my life to be my witness?” Clearly the bible teaches we should do good works. Titus 3:8 says, “This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.” Jesus Himself said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). Godly living and good works should go hand in hand. However, good works alone is an insufficient witness.

Clearly we want the unreached world to see our good works so our Father who is in heaven will be glorified. However, good works alone can be dangerously misleading. The bible clearly states that we are not saved by our good works and that we are only saved by placing our faith in the works of Christ. (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Titus 3:5 says, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit”

If we fail to communicate the gospel, which is the works of Christ that lead to salvation, we can lead the lost world into believing that their good life and good works are sufficient to save them. They will think they simply have to be a good person and perform good works to get to heaven. Paul said of those who teach this perverted form of the gospel, which is really no gospel at all, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8, 9). This is usually not the intention of the one who desires his life to be a witness. However, this is the danger of living a good life and doing good works without communicating the gospel.

True biblical evangelism consists of communication. Jesus said in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” One cannot preach without communication. The word preach means to proclaim. We are commanded to proclaim the gospel to all creation. We are called to be witnesses of Jesus and his teachings to the whole world starting where we are at. (Acts 1:8).

In the Word of God we find two distinct calls to preach. Paul tells Timothy, who is the pastor of Ephesus, in II Timothy 4:2, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” This type of preaching is pastoral preaching. It is preaching directed to the church with instruction that leads to godly living.

The other type of preaching is what Jesus commanded in Mark 16:15-preach the gospel. It is evangelistic preaching, or proclaiming. It is preaching directed to the lost with instruction of how to be saved. The Greek word used here is euaggelizesthai. It means, to evangelize. To evangelize is to share, preach, proclaim the gospel. Euaggelizesthai is a verb. It is a word that demands action. This word is used fifty two times in the New Testament.

Preaching is God’s choice of the communication of His gospel message. I Corinthians 1:21 says, “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” Whether we are proclaiming to the masses or sharing with individuals we must communicate, preach, proclaim the clear message of the gospel. Every Christian is called to this task.

In the Word of God we find two ways that the gospel can, and should be, communicated. Clearly the first way is verbal. Acts 14:1 says of Paul and Barnabus, “In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks.” The spoken word is the most prominent form of communicating the gospel in the New Testament. However, it is not the only form of communicating the gospel.

John said in I John 5:8, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Luke also stated his purpose in writing the book of Luke in Luke 1:3, 4 where he wrote, “it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” A quick read through the book of Romans will show you that it is the greatest gospel tract ever written. Writing isn’t preaching, but it is a wonderful form of communication that God has given to us to share His gospel message.

Whether we choose to preach, proclaim, share the gospel through the spoken word or the written word we must clearly communicate it. We are called and should be compelled to proclaim the gospel with the lost with every available opportunity we have. Apart from the proclamation of the gospel the lost world stands condemned to an eternal hell. When we proclaim the gospel they may chose to reject. Regardless of their decision, we have given them an opportunity to make a decision by communicating the gospel. If we however reject the call to proclaim, we not only stand in rebellion against God, we also have to ask, how then will they ever have the opportunity to make the choice?

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Proclaiming the Gospel is an Act of Love

Proclaiming the Gospel is an Act of Love

The ultimate act of love is seen in the act of God so love the world. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God didn’t wait for us to change our wicked ways and then turn to Him. Apart from the power of the blood of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit we can’t turn to God. Apart from the work of God we would never even want too. Philippians 2:13 says, “It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

We did not choose to love God, He chose to love us. I John 4:19 says, “We love, because He first loved us.” He chose to love us despite the fact that we were living in rebellion against Him. He loved us enough to pay the price for our sins on the cross of Calvary, suffering greatly in humiliation and anguish knowing that His sacrifice would purchase redemption of sin and reconcile us into a right relationship with Him. We love the Lord today because He first loved us.

Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus demonstrated His love towards us by laying down His life. As a result of the cross God also requires us to lay down our lives. Not as a dead sacrifice, but as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God. Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Because of the mercies of God, which is the act of Jesus on the cross, we are urged to give our lives as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God.

Jesus told us to preach the gospel to all creation. In order to do this we must sacrifice. We will sacrifice our time, our energy, and sometimes our money. We may think that the world is wicked and cruel and therefore is not worthy of my sacrifice. But, we need to ask ourselves, “Are we worthy of Jesus sacrifice?” Absolutely not! Fortunately for us, God didn’t give us what we deserve; instead, He gave us grace and mercy-because of His love. We to are called to demonstrate grace, mercy, and love to a hostile and often rejecting world. We as Jesus did, are to overlook the hostility and rejection of the world in love, hoping to win a few for the Lord.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). God loves the world and everyone in it. Does He love their ways? Of course not. This is why He sent His Son to die on the cross and save them from their sins empowering them to repent and live for Him. Paul writes in Romans 10:14-15, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?  How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” The feet of those who carry the gospel to the unsaved are beautiful to God. They are carrying the good news of Jesus salvation to the world in which God loves so they can hear, and therefore believe. But how will they hear unless we love them enough to go and tell. By telling we carry on the ultimate act of love-God’s sacrificial love.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Boast In the Lord

Boast In the Lord

No man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  I Corinthians 1:29-31

The city of Corinth was about fifty miles from Athens, the center of all Greek learning and the heart of all human wisdom.  The people of this part of the world prided themselves in their intellectual human wisdom and boasted in their great learning. They viewed the word of the cross as foolishness, and those who rejected their man made wisdom as ignorant and unlearned. (I Corinthians 1:18).

Paul said among the church of Corinth, “that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble.” (I Corinthians 1:26). However, they possessed something far greater than any works, or wisdom man could provide. They possessed the wisdom of God which was Christ Himself; a wisdom of God that produced in them righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

We should never come before God thinking we are wise and learned. For this is boasting before God. Does this mean we should remain uneducated so we will not be guilty of boasting before the Lord? Of course not. Paul himself was a greatly educated man. II Timothy 2:15 tells us, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” In other words, work hard at studying and knowing the word of truth so when you proclaim it you will not be ashamed before the Lord and you will handle it accurately.

What then shall we do? We understand that our wisdom and education is not sufficient in progressing the Kingdom of God and bringing God glory. Therefore, we surrender whatever wisdom we have, great or small, to God in service unto Him, knowing He is the all knowing God who has made foolish the wisdom of the world. We submit ourselves to God and present ourselves to the world as knowing nothing but Christ and Him crucified. Of course, this is foolishness to the world, but it is “God who has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.” (I Corinthians 1:28, 29). Since it is God at work in us, we understand whether we are greatly educated or completely illiterate we can be powerful servants of the Lord. God’s only requirement is total surrender.

Though we may be fools for Christ to the world, we obtain a wisdom that is far greater than any wisdom the world can offer, we obtain the wisdom of God, Christ Jesus His Son. Therefore, we don’t boast in our works, or our wisdom, we boast in Christ alone. “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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The Greatest of Treasures

The Greatest of Treasures

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves” II Corinthians 4:7 NASB

Every man woman and child stands in need of the grace of God. God has given to us His law as a standard by which we are to live. However, the Word of God clearly teaches that all in one form or another have broken the law. Because we are lawbreakers we await judgment, a judgment that will lead to eternal damnation. However, God is not willing for any to parish but for all to enter into repentance. For this reason God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty on the cross of our judgment. Apart from the grace of God we are utterly hopeless.

Jesus said in Mathew 5:20, “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” The scribes and Pharisees, although lawbreakers themselves, prided themselves in keeping the law through their ritualistic routines within their daily lives. How then is our righteousness going to surpass the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees? It can’t. Thus, we need another means to enter the kingdom of heaven. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

So often we overlook and therefore take for granted how great the gift of grace truly is. The greater we understand grace, the more we will come to realize what a treasure Jesus truly is. The grace we have received is through God giving His Son as a gift. Although we are sinfully blemished and undignified God gave us His Son who is sinlessly perfect, unblemished, excellent, and dignified in every way. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (II Corinthians 5:21). God gave to us, whose righteousness is as filthy rags, His Son, the King of Glory, the Ancient of Day’s, the one in whom the angels in heaven worship, the one in whom all things was created for. God gave to us, mere men, His Son, His only begotten Son, His Son of whom he loves, His Son who is near and dear to His heart.

What a wonderful treasure we have received in these earthen vessels; a treasure that outshines all others; a treasure worthy of giving all to receive, yet a treasure freely given. A treasure we are unworthy of receiving, yet our God, a God of grace, gladly, and lovingly gives. A treasure we should share with those whose treasures have tarnished. Truly Jesus, given by grace and received by faith, is the greatest treasure.

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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The Gift of Conviction

The Gift of Conviction

“And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” John 16:8

Jesus taught the disciples many wonderful truths about the Holy Spirit. Just before His ascension Jesus told His disciples to go back to Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit. (Luke 24:49.) On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit fell on each believer filling them with power from on high to fulfill the ministry Jesus called them to, and to teach and lead them on their journey of life. Today everyone who believes in Jesus receives the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:9-11.) However, as believers we need to daily seek being field with the power, anointing, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We seek Him by staying focused on spiritual things, (Romans 8:5), and through prayer.

The word convict that is used in this scripture is a word that requires action. When God convicts us we humble ourselves before Him agreeing with Him that He is right and we are wrong. It should produce repentance within our lives. In reality God is always right; if God then convicts us of a wrong we must repent or stand in danger of being in rebellion against Him.

We shouldn’t fear God’s conviction. God’s heart is not to bring us down but to build us up. We should rejoice over God’s convicting work in our lives. God convicts us of our errors to restore us into being healthy and productive. Apart from the convicting power of the Holy Spirit we would never know we are sinners standing in rebellion against a holy God. Nor, would we ever know His righteousness, or His righteous standards. Even if we did know of His righteousness and His standards we would not have the ability to live in accordance to it. Praise God that the Holy Spirit empowers us, teaches us, guides us, and convicts us to live in harmony with Him. Truly, the Lord has not left us on our own.

Only the unrepentant should fear the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Not only does the Holy Spirit convict us of sin and righteousness, meaning that we need to turn from sin to righteousness, the Holy Spirit convicts the unrepentant, the “World” of judgment. If one is unrepentant he must know that judgment awaits him. Often times when someone asks me to pray for one who is still in their sin I will pray that God will make them miserable until they repent. That sounds harsh but it is a lot less harsh than the judgment that awaits them if they don’t repent. We should truly rejoice and praise God over the fact that He sends the Holy Spirit to convict. No doubt, conviction truly is a gift!

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Called for His Glory

Called for His Glory

“For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble.” I Corinthians 1:26

More often than not God calls the week to demonstrate His might. Why? He wants His glory to shine and not ours. What we perceive to be our strengths so often become our weaknesses in the kingdom of God. We think we have wisdom, strength, and might, and think our skills and abilities are sufficient, not realizing they can lead us to great failures when we don’t surrender them to the Lord.

Paul was a greatly educated man with great skills as a leader. However, he said, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” (I Corinthians 2:2). He also said in I Corinthians 2:4, “and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” Paul didn’t trust in his education or his skills; he trusted in the power of God.

Whether we are unlearned or greatly educated God will use us if our heart is to let His glory shine. If we are unwise and unskilled God will give us a great anointing and ability through His power if we are surrendered to Him. If we are full of wisdom and skills they too must be surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus. Even the greatest of education and skills are nothing compared to what God will give to us if we are humble. However, if we are full of pride we will fail. God will not share His glory with another.

Repentance isn’t just turning from sin, it’s turning from self. Repentance is turning from our ways, our heart, our desires, our goals, our visions, and seeking God’s. Remember, true repentance is turning to Jesus, making Him the absolute Lord and authority of our lives. Anything else falls short of His glory. After all, why would we want to trust in our abilities since I Corinthians 1:25 tells us, “The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Saved with a Holy Calling.

Saved with a Holy Calling.

One of the difficulties we often have is understanding how totally depraved we are apart from Christ.  We often think that we are deserving of the gifts and the blessings of God. However, the Word of God says in Isaiah 64:6, “our righteousness is as filthy rags.” Our righteousness is the best we can give, and it alone is not enough. The Bible also says in Ephesians 2:3, “by nature we are children of wrath.” The word of God gives a very bleak picture of the nature of man. Every man, woman, and child that has ever lived upon this earth has made a conscious choice at some point in their lives to rebel and sin against God. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.”

The Bible also tells us that God requires death as the payment for our sins. (Romans 6:23). Death had to be paid as a penalty of sin, but praise be to God that I Corinthians 15:3 tells us, “Christ died for our sins.” We should have paid the penalty for our sins but Jesus stood in our place. Although we have turned our backs on Him time after time, God loves us enough to send us His son to become sin for us. II Corinthians 5:21 says, “He (God) made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Due to this great sacrifice, John said in I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” No one is worthy of this great gift of sacrifice. We deserve death and hell; yet, God gives us grace by giving us His Son.

With this grace in mind, Paul said in Romans 12:1, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” He is urging us, because of the mercy of God, to give ourselves entirely to Himself as a living and holy sacrifice. God doesn’t want dead sacrifices. He desires living sacrifices that are set apart for His own purposes. If we truly understand the mercies of God and the great grace that God has bestowed upon us, we will have no problem serving Him. The mercies of God have purchased us from sin, death, and hell and have reconciled us into a right relationship with Him. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” (Ephesians 2:4).

As the Apostle Paul began to write his second letter to young Timothy, he knew his life was going to end soon. He was imprisoned and about to be executed because of his faith in Jesus and his faithful service to Jesus. With this in mind, Paul wrote these words to Timothy in II Timothy 1:8, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.” Now, anyone else would have said, “Are you out of your mind? You are about to die and you want me to come join with you in suffering!” What reason would Timothy have in joining with Paul in suffering? Why would he continue to walk down this path of service and loyalty to Jesus when this is the very path that has Paul where he is? Paul answered that question in the very next verse when he said, “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.” I will serve Him for no other reason than that I am saved by His wonderful grace.

What an honor and a privilege to serve God. When God saves us, He calls us; however, we must also understand that when He calls us, He equips us. When we are called by God, we are not our own, we are His! The bible says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Through Christ we are called to good works. By the hand of God we are shaped, formed, and fitted to fulfill them. God may not have called you to be a pastor or an evangelist or to go to a foreign mission field, but you are called nonetheless. The calling He has placed upon your life may be done in a manner where no one in the world may ever be aware of it. However, it is still a glorious and honorable calling. If we were to be called upon by a king or dignitary of this world to render service, we would consider it an honor. We, however, have been called by the King of Kings. What a glorious honor; for He has saved us and called us with a holy calling.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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