Tag Archives: called

“The Real Christmas…It’s More Than Just Christmas Wrappings”

gift wrapping jude 1Jude 1:1 “The Real Christmas…It’s More Than Just Christmas Wrappings”

Where did summer go? Wasn’t it just Resurrection Day? But, here we are in October and the stores are brimming with holiday trappings. It won’t be long before we purchase gifts for loved ones and wrap them with care. Just as we choose with the recipient in mind, so God, in eternity past, chose us and then called us not because we were better or more handsome or some other characteristic but purely because of His love. Just as He told the children of Israel of His reason to choose them the same principle applies to us. It isn’t because we are more numerous, smarter or have more in other ways. No God chose them and He chooses us because of His love and His faithfulness to the promise He made.

Unlike the Israelites who were in Egyptian bondage to a cruel despot we were or are in bondage to an even crueler despot, Satan. Just as God planned their redemption so He planned for ours through His Son Jesus Christ who paid our debt on the cross. He redeemed us from clutches of Satan. And then just like a gift, God wraps us up in His love and keeps us until Jesus Christ either calls us home to heaven or He returns to take us as His pure virgin to the Father.

We are wrapped waiting that special Christmas morning when we will be unwrapped and clothed in our new eternal garments.

Think about this as you begin your “Christ”-mas shopping.  


“You Are Called! You are Significant”

Some days we feel rather insignificantthe chosen one in our walk with Jesus. On days like that we need to take a moment and walk through 1Corinthians 1 to see who we are in God’s eyes.

Paul begins by saying he is “called to be an apostle.” The word call in Greek means invited, thus Paul was invited by Christ to be an apostle. Here’s a question for you to ponder: What has God called to you to be? Try putting your name in that sentence.


“I am called to be…(fill in the blank).

As you ponder that answer it should cause each of us to stop and consider from where we have come and where we are headed. Our calling means we have a sure footing as we trod this world until we reach eternity. It should stop us to consider how significant we are that God has invited us to join his fellowship of believers. Think about the circumstances of your callNot many were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were born to a privileged position. [vs 26] But you were called, that is invited to this privilege. 

Recently I was asked this question: What would you see God calling you to if you knew without a shadow of doubt that you would not fail? The answer should be this; if I am called then I can be sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in [me] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. [Phi 1:6]

It was by God’s grace that we are given this privilege and we cannot boast for it is all of God’s work and none of ourselves. If we want to boast, boast in this: God called “me” and He is in the work of “perfecting” me in the path he has already foreordained in eternity past.

And that is why you and I are significant!


Photo: © Iqoncept | Dreamstime.com


Acts 7 “I Surrender All”

ImageThe hymn “I Surrender All” is a testimony of one, who in obedience to the Holy Spirit, discovered that when we yield, God opens the fount of blessing that had been hidden in the cleft of the rock but shielded from view by our faltering steps. When God calls you to His side, one of the first things he does is ask you to step out in obedience to Him and then provides a test to see if we are worthy to be called his disciple.  He calls you just as he did Abraham, Joseph, and Moses which was the text of Stephen’s message before the religious council. All of these biblical heroes of the faith stepped out in faith and yet each was tested that they might be found pure and holy in His sight. Where is God testing you at this moment in time? In what area has he called you to be a part of his work and you have yet to totally surrender?

The fruit does not fall far from the tree is an old saying that reflects the truth that even though we deny it,  we more often than not are mimicking the examples of our forefathers and this was true of the religious leaders. Three false charges leads to one message: you are unbelieving rejecting Israelites just as of old. These religious leaders had the Promised Messiah in their very midst “Jesus the Nazarene, a man clearly attested to you by God with powerful deeds, wonders, and miraculous signs that God performed among you through him, just as you yourselves know –“ [Acts]. With great power and miracles before their eyes still the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus and asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He rightly answered “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.”

After the death of Jesus, three times now these religious leaders have had the extended hand of mercy from God as they have witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of which they had not received, through the healing of the lame man and the power of the Word in Peter and John and now in Stephen. This will be God’s extended hand of mercy yet again as anointed Stephen revealed their true uncircumcised heart and ears as they continued to resist the Holy Spirit just as their ancestors did.

Beloved, when God presents opportunities to be His witness are we as anointed, prepared and courageous as Stephen? Are we ready to be a martyr for Jesus? But even more importantly, when and if we are called to stand for Christ are we not only willing but able to say: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!”?

Beloved, are you totally surrendered to Jesus?  

Fruitful or Barren…Which are you???

ImageIn the cold dark of winter here in the northern hemisphere one rarely thinks of fruit bearing for the ground is hard and the trees are barren. Psalm 1 uses the imagery of a tree to refer to a person that is blessed, lush and fruit bearing. The condition for the person to be fruitful is meditation on God’s commands day and night and it does not depend on seasons but on the person’s planting in the vine, by the river that flows continuously without freezing!  [Ps1]

Dr. Luke shares with us that John the Baptist was now ready to be a fruit bearer and the word of God called him to leave his home in the dry and thirsty land of the wilderness. Both John’s call and God’s calendar timing were aligned perfectly. Think back to your childhood and see if you can recall your parents recounting something extraordinary regarding your birth and what they hoped for you as you grew and matured. Mine was that Mother went into labor at a New Year’s Eve party and thus the rest is history. You can guess how many times I heard that story! John was probably no different. Yes, he was “weird” because he didn’t dress like the rest of the kids, he probably didn’t play the same games nor join the same  youth group. He was a loner by choice and design. He also most likely had listened to his father recount the angelic prophecy regarding his destiny and he rolled his eyes but took it all in and pondered what it all meant. When he left home he didn’t go and get married nor take on an occupation. He was after all a priest’s son and most likely read and studied the Torah like a pro! When did he decide to retreat to the wilderness is anybody’s guess. 

What did he do there in the wilderness? He had become an  expert it seems in catching locusts and finding the beehives from which he could extract the wild honey ..without getting stung! We would say he was a real backwoodsman! But he also had spent time meditating upon the Word of God and at the appointed time, God called and John without reservation obeyed. God turned him into a one man teacher who was “different.” He was not ashamed of the gospel. He preached as if there were no tomorrow’s and for him that literally came true when he spoke out against Herod’s illicit relationship with Herodias. He preached the message of repentance for the forgiveness of sin as he prepared the way of our Lord, the Lamb of God.

Do you find yourself in a wilderness and feel like God has yet to call you? Take heart, it is in this wilderness John was being prepared for his mission and it is in the wilderness that God is training you. He wants you and I to be “different” from the world and ready to storm it with his message of love, repentance and forgiveness. In God’s training camp  we are able to meditate upon his Word and hide it within our hearts and when we are ready and God’s calendar has our name penciled in,  he calls us to go forth and bear fruit.  God’s call is as important as the timing.  John came out of the wilderness at God’s appointed “season” to prepare the people for the entrance of the Lamb of God.

John challenged his listeners to produce fruit that proved their repentance which was to be a picture to others of their spiritual realignment. “John is not unreasonable in demanding good fruit. True repentance will always have fruit – and the basic fruit of the Christian life is love (Galatians 5:22 and 1 Corinthians 13:1-3).” [Guzik] Jesus taught the same in John 15. To be fruit bearers Jesus said one must abide in him because apart from him we can do nothing. We cannot bear fruit because we are not  rooted in the vine nor are we planted by the rivers of water being immersed in the Word and being washed by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Hearing his message the crowd asked John: “What then should we do?” John told his audience the basics of fruit that everyone should bear; the everyday ordinaries such as being a person of integrity, being honest, being generous, being faithful, being content. Perhaps you are still asking “what should I do?” God is saying fulfill all of these even to the least of these. Go and be my witnesses. Go and share the gospel through love and kindness. Go and bear the Fruit of the Spirit. Have you thought that you are not yet prepared to be a fruit bearer? Beloved, if we fulfill even just these simple ordinary tasks to our fellow man, to the Samaritans in our midst we ARE being a fruit bearer.

Beloved, think back; what did you do today  or what will you do tomorrow to be a fruit bearer for Christ to demonstrate your call?