Divided

Did you know that you have a holy inheritance? In Christ, we possess all things. Some would have you believe that coming to faith in Jesus isn’t freedom but to be saddled with rules when nothing could be further from the truth. What Jesus reminds us of in His first Beatitude is that being poor in spirit is really freeing us up to live this life for eternity. Because He then says to us in Matthew 5:3~…for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (NIV) We need to take this seriously. This is not mere Bible teaching, rather it is the path to greener walks with God, as we pursue Him.

Our New Testament principles for living can often find the best examples within the Old Testament. Abe and Isaac provide excellent commentary on the first beatitude: Isaac is born to an aged father. From Isaac’s first appearance, what love must have overcome Abe. In his arms, he held the promises of God. The covenant of a future filled with hopes and years. Even the long anticipation of messianic reconciliation. As Isaac grew so did Abe’s love, even to a perilous place, when God then steps in to save both father and son.

Genesis 22:2~Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love–Isaac–and go…Sacrifice him as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” (NIV) The sacred writer spares the close-up of agony and anguish of that night in Beersheba when an aged father must have surly begged and pleaded to the point of being emptied. Imagine your own feelings, as one may not have wrestled any harder until, Gethsemane. (Luke 22:44) Such mortal pain upon a human soul in great conflict. After that bitter and blessed encounter, the pronouns of my and mine hold nothing of what they once held for Abe. Many call Abe rich, but his true wealth was inward and eternal.

Our humanity often hinders us from giving up our treasures to the Lord. We are often fearful of their safety, and hard-pressed to release them to the Lord in trust. We forget the scriptures say in 2 Timothy 1:12~I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. (ESV) God wants each of us to give-up our defense and accept His generous gift of Jesus, that we might live our lives for the cause of Christ.

Today, don’t let fear own you! The Lord is the safest place one can store their treasures. Jesus said I did not come to destroy but to save, (Luke 9:56) everything we commit to him is safe. It’s the things we don’t commit to Him that are in jeopardy. Listen to Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:7~For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (NIV) Saint of God, God has given you everything and what He wants in return is all of you.

If we are to grow in our intimacy with God, then we must learn the way of renunciation. Only in rejecting our righteousness and pride can we begin to accept God’s amazing grace. Which will in turn set us on a lifelong pursuit of God. Sooner or later we will face this test and just as Abe’s test changed him, this test will change us. For our whole future will be conditioned by the choice we make when God levies the test on us. What will your choice be? Will you choose the self, or will you choose to live in a longing pursuit of God? The choice is yours.



Being Poor

What comes to mind for you when you hear the words, being poor in spirit? When Jesus said blessed are the poor (πτωχός ptōchos), the concept He posited is that of being humble. Our Lord was not saying to His Bride, I want you to be so impoverished that you will go out looking for something to make you feel better, or to fill your time. That concept would imply that would be a harlot. That is certainly not what God expects from His Bride. Listen to Ephesians 5:27~He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. (NLT)

When Jesus said blessed are the poor in spirit, what He simply meant is this: We must be humble in our spirits. If we put the word humble in place of the word poor, we discover a better handhold for us to grasp. For how much humility does it take to admit that we need help? One of

the things we must be giving-up is our pride, as we humbly ask for help. 

In other words, when we come to God, we must realize that the sin in our lives is our own sin. That we are spiritually empty and in desperate poverty. We must not be self-satisfied, attempting to position ourselves in an attempt to vindicate our choices, for this is proud in our hearts, thinking we don’t really need God. If we are attempting to live this way, then God cannot bless us. Listen as James reminds us in James 4:6~ But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (NIV) 

To be poor in spirit is to recognize our need for God. To discern that what we are lacking is a relationship that is freeing us, and not binding us. To be poor is to be in a position of need that begs humility as we ask for God’s help. Taking the position of humility we find freedom, we find peace, we find joy in our soul because we have asked of God and what He gives, is freedom. Freedom to enjoy, freedom of proximity, whereby we may enter with holy boldness before the throne of grace. (Hebrews 4:16) In God’s presence, with Him sitting on the throne of our hearts, we discover the freedom to revel in the love of the one who formed us. 

All too often, we go out seeking the repairman when what we need to be doing is seeking the Creator. It was God who formed and fashioned our lives. Psalm 139:16~You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. (NLT) When we give up on our way and accept God’s plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11-13), we find freedom from possessing all things, yet we possess everything in Jesus Christ. 

So are you Giving-Up, or are you giving up? Don’t take the road of apathy and just go through life allowing the days to fan past like pages in a book. Instead, give-up by surrendering your whole life to God. Take a few moments to let the Lord have everything. If you are like most people there is a small corner closet that needs to be given to the Lord. So, go ahead and ask Him to help you let go.



Identity — Changed — 1 Peter 2.9…Handout

Are you ever amazed at how fast time goes by? I know a minute is a minute, but some are really slow, Right? As time marches forward, we come to rely on certain things, Like a cellphone or a device. We once paid for texts and minutes and now, data is sold in packages, with subscriptions. Then some things are the same, ____ years you were bald, and still are. 1 Peter 2:9~You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a______ (ἅγιος hagios) nation, God’s very own possession…(NLT) Identity: Holy, Relationship, Change.

1) You are_______ of a Holy Nation. Holy means, set apart. Think sacred, pure, morally blameless, consecrated to God. Are you different today, than you were when you started following Jesus? Yes / No The moment we begin our journey with Jesus, our whole life shifts towards God and we began to_________. 2 Corinthians 5:17~Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has______, the new is here! (NIV) Salvation is the beginning of a life long journey of change. 

2) Relationship, Not________. God’s calling is, as it always has been, for us to be holy. He reminds us in Leviticus 19:2; Leviticus 20:7; Leviticus 20:26; Leviticus 21:8; Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 1:16; 1 Thessalonians 4:7 that we are to be holy. Belonging to God means we are in a________ committed relationship with Him, and not just trying to live by the rules. 2 Chronicles 16:9~For the. eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully_________ to him…(ESV) To not be like Asa, who was faltering in his faith, we must keep working on our_____________with the Lord who is looking to strengthen us. What does God desire to have with you? A personal____________. Life is not just about rules. Isaiah 28:1 & 10~Woe to the crown of pride…For it is: Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there. (ESV) Say this, God wants a personal relationship with____. The change being brought about in our lives is from the_______ out. We are made holy because God is holy. 2 Corinthians 5:21~God made______ who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (NIV) I want to encourage you that God is still working in your life. Philippians 1:6~being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (NIV)

3)_____ do we change? By killing the self, of course. 1 Peter 1:14~As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, (ESV) We must live a consecrated life, whereby we are re-molded in our minds, proving in practice God’s plan. Pete says, Don’t ______ back into your old ways of living. Paul says be crucified with Christ. (Galatians 2:___) This means the old person we were is_______to a cross. The old deeds are buried and gone. We are made new in Christ. 1 Peter 1:13~Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (ESV) How do we do actually do this? We Take-A-Step:__________________________________________________.