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Tag Archives: called

A Light to the Nations

Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you peoples from far away! The Lord called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb he named me. 2He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away. 3And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” 4But I said, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the Lord, and my reward with my God.” 5And now the Lord says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the sight of the Lord, and my God has become my strength— 6he says, “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” 7Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations, the slave of rulers, “Kings shall see and stand up, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.” (Isaiah 49:1-7, NRSV)

God has called you before you were born to be a light to the nations.

God gave you a gift to use to share God’s grace with the world.

The nations could mean all of the world, meaning you will get some frequent flyer miles and it could mean those who are not a part of the covenant. In Isaiah’s day that is non Jews or Gentiles. Today that could mean anyone who doesn’t follow after Christ.

Just know that you can help someone see the love of God.

 

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The Marriage of Ruth and Boaz

Then Boaz said, “The day you acquire the field from the hand of Naomi, you are also acquiring Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead man, to maintain the dead man’s name on his inheritance.” At this, the next-of-kin said, “I cannot redeem it for myself without damaging my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.” (Ruth 4:5-6, NRSV)

But after the next of kin realized that he would have to marry Ruth to get the field, he could not do it. It would ruin his own inheritance so he was not willing to do that.

Are there things you are not willing to do?

Sometimes we are called to do things we are not ready to do. This was not something this man was willing to do, but Boaz was willing. He stepped in and filled the void.

When have you filled the void?

 

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Partnership in the Gospel

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance. It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again. Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well—since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. (Philippians 1:18b-30, NRSV)

What would you say if I told you that some scholars think that Paul was contemplating suicide here? is really the

This part, ” I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.” Paul is talking about wanting to depart to be with Chris because that is really the place we as Christians should want to be. But Paul knows that the Philippians and others need him here to help them grow as disciples. Actually, this is good news for all of us. Aren’t there times you wish you weren’t where you are? And this is Paul. Paul knows that Christ needs him where He put him. We all have a part to play, and all of those parts are important.

So live your life as Christ called you to and be a beacon of His hope in the world.

 

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Paul’s Vision of the Man of Macedonia

They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. When they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them; so, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us. ”When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them. (Acts 16:6-10, NRSV)

Have you ever felt like you needed to do something?

Like you had to go somewhere?

That is what happened to Paul here. Only it wasn’t just a feeling. It was a vision. God sent him a vision of a man in Macedonia asking for help. And so Paul went there.

Do we always follow through on those feelings?

 
 

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Resurrection

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her. (John 20:1-18, NRSV)

Have you ever heard your name called out by Jesus?

You just lost everything. Your world has completely crumbled around you.

The man you have followed for three years, the man you thought was the Messiah was hung on a cross and killed like a common thief. You at least were able to put Him in a tomb. But now after the Sabbath, you come to mourn at Hid grave and the stone is rolled away and He is not there. Seriously! Isn’t it enough that you killed him but now you have to move His body!

And then you see who you think is the gardener in this garden and you ask Him where He has taken the body to. You don’t recognize your master and lord for fear and grief fave rocked your world. You ask through tear stained eyes that can’t really see anymore. And then the gardener says your name. He called you by name and I know that voice! That’s Jesus!

He’s alive! My lord and savior is alive and now I get it! Death has no victory for God has made away and He has called me by name!

Let Him call you by name!

 

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Samuel Anoints Saul as King

As they were going down to the outskirts of the town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the boy to go on before us, and when he has passed on, stop here yourself for a while, that I may make known to you the word of God.” Samuel took a vial of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him; he said, “The Lord has anointed you ruler over his people Israel. You shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their enemies all around. Now this shall be the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you ruler over his heritage: When you depart from me today you will meet two men by Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; they will say to you, ‘The donkeys that you went to seek are found, and now your father has stopped worrying about them and is worrying about you, saying: What shall I do about my son?’ Then you shall go on from there further and come to the oak of Tabor; three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there, one carrying three kids, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine. They will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall accept from them. After that you shall come to Gibeath-elohim, at the place where the Philistine garrison is; there, as you come to the town, you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the shrine with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre playing in front of them; they will be in a prophetic frenzy. Then the spirit of the Lord will possess you, and you will be in a prophetic frenzy along with them and be turned into a different person. Now when these signs meet you, do whatever you see fit to do, for God is with you. And you shall go down to Gilgal ahead of me; then I will come down to you to present burnt offerings and offer sacrifices of well-being. Seven days you shall wait, until I come to you and show you what you shall do.” (1 Samuel 9:27-10:8, NRSV)

If only the signs from God for us were this laid out and plain to see.

I wonder though if the signs from God that we were chosen and sent were as plain as this and as straightforward if we would believe them?

God chose Saul to be king and had Samuel anoint him and give him the signs. God has chosen you and named you as His child and wants for you to go into the world and share His love with others.

Do we need a straightforward sign to know this is true?

 

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open door

But Jews came there from Antioch and Iconium and won over the crowds. Then they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples surrounded him, he got up and went into the city. The next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, then on to Iconium and Antioch. There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.” And after they had appointed elders for them in each church, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe. Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. When they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had completed. When they arrived, they called the church together and related all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles. And they stayed there with the disciples for some time. (Acts 14:19-28, NRSV)

God had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles!

God has made a way for everyone to be included and to know they are welcome!

Through the crowds stoning Paul and thinking he is dead, and he rising up and continuing what God had called him to. And because of this, a door is opened for all to come to the mercy of God…

Are you ready to do what God has called you to?

 

 

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