Series: The called according to His purpose (part 1)

 

Hey there BCU Family!

Please enjoy the audio version of the study (by clicking on the icon) or read through the written version. Either way, we pray you’ll be blessed!

Before we get into our study, let’s get some foundational principals down. Romans 8:28 is a familiar passage of Scripture that reminds us “…that all things work together for good to them that love God and are the called according to His purpose”. When this is said in a church setting, while the Spirit of God is high, it usually evokes an heavy agreeance, sometimes emotional response and we leave feeling invincible!

In the days coming after that, the enemy will bring a temptation, trial, or situation where we forget the Word we were told and start going to God seeking asylum from the situation, fussing, murmuring or doubting He even cares.

It happens to the best of us, myself included, and in praying to God about that, we need to reinforce our foundation. In Luke 6:47-49, Jesus says that whoever comes to Him, hears His words and does them, he is like the man who build a house and DIGGED DEEP, AND laid the foundation on a rock. So when the flood came and the stream beat vehemently on the house it could not be shaken, because it was founded on a rock. Conversely, those that hear and do not follow the word, is like a man that built a house without a foundation—just on the soil or earth. Who the stream beat vehemently (the flood did not even get a chance to come) the house immediately fell and the run was great. Family, we have to DIG DEEP and make sure our foundation is on solid ROCK. That starts with Jesus on the inside—Acts 2:38-39 is the foundation to build on—all other ground is sinking sand!!!!

So with the Holy Ghost on the inside, in addition to attending a good Bible-believing, Spirit-filled house of prayer, we need a steady diet of prayer, the Word and application of the Word. The application is important–remember in Luke 6, Jesus said whoever… hears and does His word (James 1:22-23 says the same), that Word helps us to stand in the storms of life. This is why we need to know who God says we are and believe it. If you are ill-prepared or get caught out in a storm, the enemy presents situations where you doubt who God says you are— victorious, more than a conqueror—and are likely to make decisions based on emotions and immediate, temporary need, versus hearing what the Word of God says. If we are not careful, we get taken full advantage of! Think about how many decisions we regret because of not heeding the Word of God—not trusting on who He is, or in who He says we are?

This is where we need to dig deep—and get GROUNDED and ROOTED in who God says we are. Grounded is a builders term..meaning ATTACHED to the foundation—not propped up, securely attached forever. Rooted refers to stability—the deeper the roots the stronger the plant. This was we know who we are in the happy AND the trying times! Amen? Amen!

We really need to take the entire book of Romans into account, but for time’s sake, we’ll reference as much as we can here, and you all can read throughout the week.

Paul wrote this letter to the Christian Romans who started this church made up of a mix of Jews and Gentiles. This is important because many of the Jews still went by the law and in some of the New Testament, expected the Gentiles to do the same (eating certain foods, circumcision things like that). Chapters 1-3 speak on the facts of the gospel, chapters 3-5 on how we are justified in Christ, chapter 6 about how we are free from the power of sin. Chapter 7 speaks of being free from the law, and in chapter 8, reminds us of the love of Christ, how He frees us from sin and who we are in Him. Rather than just say we are the called, we have to see why and what else goes along with that calling. Let’s begin!

1) We are NO longer condemned

Verse 1 reminds us those who are in Christ Jesus, filled with His Spirit and walk in it– we are no longer condemned or penalized.

Let’s talk about walk—the Greek word is peri/peteo meaning conduct my life, to live, to be occupied with. Keep that in mind.

So Spirit-filled people, our penalty has been paid and we are not to feel guilty or ashamed, nor do we let people make us feel badly about who we used to be! A couple of years ago, I was reunited with old friends and one said “do you know what I remember about you? The Lord already dropped in my heart she would recall some unsavory detail about my B.C. (before Christ) days. Immediately I said something like, “oh, girl that was before I knew the Lord!” The crowd laughed and she never did tell me what it was. As far is the east is from the west, is how far my transgressions are removed from me (Psalm 103:12).

2) We walkers in the Spirit

Verses 2-4 reminds us if we are following after the Spirit, we are not practicing or sinning intentionally and over and over again. While we stumble or make mistakes, we do not use that as an excuse to continue willfully sinning. When we choose to continue to sin or walk in the flesh (lying, adultery, fornication, drunkeness, envy, idolatry, witchcraft, wrath, jealousy, lewdness Galatians 5:19-21), condemnation or punishment awaits. The condemnation is that you will NOT inherit or enter into the kingdom of God.

We are free from the law of sin, and the death it brings because of Jesus dying for us on the cross—He paid that penalty. So our mission with God’s help is to continue to walk in the Spirit so that we don’t walk in the flesh—acting out carnally rather than what Jesus would have us to do. For if we live after the flesh we will die (be eternally separated from God) but if through the Spirit we do mortify (make dead) the deeds of the body, we will live (eternally in Heaven with God).

2a) Our business is minding things after the Spirit—verse 5 is clear, there are only two sides, you either mind things of the flesh or of the Spirit. If you are Holy Ghost filled, we mind the things of the Spirit—what God says.

2b) And as a result we have life and peace (v6) rather than death. Think about the peace that comes with having Jesus on the inside and walking with Him. Mark 4:35-31 tells the story of Jesus being asleep in the back of the ship when a great storm of wind and waves beat on the ship full of disciples. After they panicked and woke Him, He just said Peace, be still. And the calm came about. That’s the God we serve—the one who wants us to lay down and sleeping peacefully, even in the midst of the storm. So while this doesn’t speak to who He says we are, because we have Him, we get these benefits. But wait, there’s more!

2c)We have power through the Spirit. In verses 7-13, Paul emphasizes that while walking/conducting your life in the flesh you cannot please God, do not have the Spirit and you are none of His. We that have the Spirit inside, so He gives us life through the Spirit and power over being dictated by the flesh. Paul repeats this several times, apparently as a warning to ensure we do not continue in sin—otherwise we die. Stay in the Spirit and live.

3) We are the sons of God

Verse 14 says we are the sons or children of God (those led by the Spirit).

We are not in bondage to fear—we’ve been grafted into the family—adopted by Christ. In the Roman culture, anyone adopted now identified with the new family, took on their ways, and had all rights, privileges, and shared in the inheritance. Similarly, we are no longer a part of the adversary’s family, and no longer practice His ways. We gave up the trick inheritance and shaky, temporary, deadly promises he offered, for the TRUE inheritance, promises, and privileges God promises. We can now say Abba Father! (translated meaning Daddy—what young children call their father). It marks a close intimate relationship where there is complete trust. As young children, we trusted our parents. That’s the way we should trust God. Also, the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. This is significant, BCU Family!

People claim to be children of God quite a bit, but you just cannot walk in any ol’ way and label yourself as a child of God. No siree, Bob! This is a privilege reserved for those who have Jesus down on the inside. The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD! Let the redeemed say SO!!!!!! We KNOW who OUR FATHER is!!!!

Lift up your heads, O ye gates! We know who the King of Glory is!!!! Rejoice everyone!

4) We heirs of God and joint heirs of Christ

4a) While that is wonderful, that “heir-ship” comes with a cost. Still in the royal family, looking at verses 17 and 18–we can’t expect “royal” treatment in this present world—as joint-heirs in Christ, suffering is a part of our walk, but what we go through now, pales in comparison to the glory in us!  Don’t let that situation steal your joy—what’s coming is what’s better than what’s been, verse 18 says so!

Verses 19-23 talk about how we want to be with Jesus, we just have to wait and in the meantime, The Spirit makes intercession, according to the will of God for us during the suffering times. Paul through Christ is preparing us for the fact that trials will come. All the things we’ve learned before —no condemnation, walking in the Spirit, the power we have, being part of the royal family we’ve been adopted into and the heir-ship, NONE of that goes away when tough times come. Jesus is His Word and it is true no matter what season we are in!

That brings is to our 5th point–we are THE CALLED according to His purpose!

For we know that all things work together for the good—to them that LOVE God (we love Him, and we are a doer of that by walking in the Spirit, thereby keeping His commandments), and are the called—according to His purpose.

The word called comes from the Greek word, klesis meaning invited. Purpose means deliberate, intended result. So our God called/summoned/appointed YOU out to and chose this life, situation, issue, blessing, family, friends, job, neighborhood, church, co-workers, skin tone, personality, gifts, talents, everything for a deliberate result that pleases Him! For it is God what works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). So it’s in our best interest to embrace what God has for us with His grace. It is all for a deliberate result—sometimes we see and understand it right away, other times later on, and sometimes not on this side of Heaven. Our duty….is to trust our Abba Father!

Well Family, we’ve come to the end of our study for today! I know it was getting good to you–I know it was for me! The next time we’re together, let’s plan on finishing up Romans chapter 8.

Thank you all so much for the encouragement, love, likes, thumbs up, shares and comments–that truly blesses us here at BlenCouragesU.com and the Word is blessing  and encouraging others–that’s what it’s all about!

May God bless, make His face to shine upon you and until the next time we’re together, #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love,

 

BCU

Now and later….Where are you in Christ?

Hey Family,

I had another post in mind, but as the news unfolds about the attacks in Paris, I felt it apropos to speak what the Lord laid on my heart.

As much as we don’t want to think about it, our days are numbered. In fact, Psalms 90:10 says, the days of our years are threescore years and ten, (age 70) and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, (age 80) yet it is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off and we fly away.  And we well know some people fly away sooner than those ages, according to God’s divine plan, so unless He specifically tells you, we have no idea when our last earthly moment will be, what it will entail and after that, we have to give an account to God (Romans 14:12). With all the things going on in this present world, it is scary to think about dying, yes. What we want to ensure right now is WHERE we live after we die.

As the Giver of Life, all souls belong to the Lord and whether or not we choose salvation along with how we live here determines if we go to Heaven or Hell. No, the Bible does not support places in between, purgatory, praying and paying for souls to come out of Hell. reincarnation, coming back as a worm, or anything other than Heaven or Hell.

Fact: Luke 16:19-31 tells the story of the rich man and poor man Lazarus. The rich man who apparently did not accept Christ lifted up his tormented eyes in hell, and seeing Lazarus and Abraham afar off, (presumably paradise or Heaven) begged for mercy and water (verses 23-24). Abraham spoke up and told the rich man, in part, there was a great gulf fixed and neither of the could leave where they were (verse 26). Think of the regret the rich man was and is living with. “If I only had known, I would have..” That is not how we want to spend eternity.

Bottom line: Let’s be clear, I DO NOT know where the victims of this hideous and cowardly act of terrorism were in their walk with God–that is now between them and Him.  As my heart weeps and prayers go out to the families and friends who are directly dealing with this unspeakable grief, fear, anger, disbelief and any other emotions, my prayer for anyone who is reading this to make the decision to repent (being godly sorry for all you’ve ever done to sin against God), be baptized in the name of Jesus (there is no other name under Heaven that we can be saved (Acts 4:12) and be filled with the Holy Ghost (everyone needs the Holy Ghost–see Acts 2).  Be advised there is NOTHING you’ve done that JESUS will not pardon! He wants all to come to repentance and be filled with His Spirit! Ask the Lord to help you find a church home that is focused on caring for your soul and teaching you how to live according to what the Bible says. Ensure your place on Heaven today, so you can truly rest in peace when your time comes.

We do not want to live on Earth and reject Jesus NOW only to find out it we need Him for LATER. Give your life to Jesus today!

God bless you and thank for reading!

Blen

Do you act like a Christian?

 

Hey there Family,

Recently, my mom was telling me about someone who was trying to erroneously “get her way” by telling my mom she was not acting like a Christian. Mom quipped, “I’m not supposed to ACT like a Christian, I’m supposed to BE one!” We laughed, but she makes a good point.

Let’s define the meaning of a Christian from the Word of God. People were called Christians or followers of Christ in Antioch after Saul and other assembled together for a year and taught many people (Acts 11:26). Besides the necessity of water baptism in Jesus name and the gift of the Holy Ghost for salvation (Acts 2:38-39), and other important areas, the disciples also lived what Christ taught them–among other things, having a prayer life, using gifts/talents to God’s glory, and how to love and treat others. Notice they LIVED what Christ taught them, rather than ACTING what Christ taught them.

When you act like something or someone, it’s a role. You are the character for a certain amount of time, in certain circumstances, at a convenient time or place, when people are watching or listening. When we act like a Christian, we do things out of fear of the lack of/reaction we will receive. Thus, we risk being an enabler (like always giving money to that able-bodied, non-motivated to work relative or worse—-boy/girlfriend), or you interfere with the law of sowing and reaping. So if Junie keeps getting speeding tickets and you pay them, when will he learn to drive carefully? He needs to learn there is a consequence to bad behavior. HE pays the tickets.

Conversely, when you are/being something, it’s part of who you naturally. So in the case of Jesus living down on the inside via the Holy Ghost, He shows up on the outside consistently. Sure, we will have our days where we are not perfect, but in our desire to please Christ and live more like Him, we will not practice willful sin.

Moreover, while Jesus taught us how to love and treat others, this does not give the general population carte blanche to get whatever-they-want-when-they-want-no-matter-what-and-you-better-like-it-because-that-is-what-Jesus-would-have-you-to do. Seriously? Not so, Family!

In Matthew 4:1-11, the enemy temped Jesus three times, did our Awesome God do what the devil told Him? NO. Jesus did not answer the Pharisees regarding the authority He had, because they demanded it of Him (Matthew 21:23-27). Need an “earthly” example?  What about Simon who offered the apostles money in exchange for the being able to lay hands on people for them to be filled with the Holy Ghost? (Acts 8:12-21). Rather than give in to Simon, Peter rebuked him so sharply that Simon requested prayer for protection! (verses 22-24). See what I mean now?

Bottom line: With the help of the Lord, we cannot allow any and everyone to take advantage of our Christ-like nature to “keep the peace” or be “humble”. Now when the Lord tells you to do something, you of course follow His command. But be sure it’s the Lord talking and not guilt or fear–this is where prayer and being in tune with God’s voice will come in—remember HE wants us to make the right choices. This is where we start to BE more like Him.

Thanks for reading and God bless you MUCHO!

BCU

Spiritual PSA: What is in you comes out of you, any act has a limited shelf life,  will eventually who you are will surface. It is better to get Jesus down on the inside and let His spirit direct your paths.

Seasoned saints: The importance of salt in your life–Part 2

Hey family!

I trust God blessed you all with a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mine was fantastic, filling and went by fast! 🙀

Last post, I started on a “salt series” that talked about salt production and how vital it is to our natural body and in the body of Christ on a spiritual level. This time around, lets see what the Word is on salt.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men (Matthew 5:13).

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One of the earliest mentions of salt is in Leviticus 2. That chapter outlines detailed instructions on how sacrifices had to be prepared to be given to the priests and then offered to God. In verses 4-6, you’ll see God was very specific about the flour, oil—and even if the grain sacrifice was made pan versus a frying pan. (Side note: note how you just couldn’t bring God a sacrifice any ol’ way. That’s important for us to think about when we bring Him our sacrifice of praise, worship, time, money..anything we have for Him). Looking at the verses 11-12, God specifies the “seasonings” on the offering–that there should be no leaven or honey, but:

Every offering you shall season with salt. You shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt” (Leviticus 2:13).

Okay, Blen, so what does that mean? I am glad you asked! Salt was just not a food enhancer or monetary trade items like we learned last time, it was also used as a covenant symbol.

History mentions that people used salt as a sign of binding loyalty and a symbol of alliance. In fact, in Europe and parts of the Middle East, salt and bread are offered to guests as a sign of friendship (hence the phrase “we have salt between us”). Additionally, treaties and truces were formalized using salt. Each person would take a lick of salt (similar to shaking hands) to “seal the deal”.

Salt was also used to heal a rift between parties as well. If there was a disagreement between folks, you would invite the person into your home to share a dish of salt. Each of you would lick your finger, dip it in the salt and then eat the salt together. Peculiar as this may sound, when a promise was seasoned with salt, it was so serious, that people would rather die than break that promise! Let’s examine another Scripture on the Covenant of salt.

2 Chronicles 13 tells of a war between Israel (King Jeroboam) and Judah (King Abijah). Jeroboam had the bigger army and was pretty sure he could take Abijah down. King Abijah reminded Jeriboam of God’s promise.

“Should you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the dominion over Israel to David forever, to him and his sons, by a covenant of salt? Now look, God Himself is with us as our head, and His priests with sounding trumpets to sound the alarm against you. O children of Israel, do not fight against the Lord God of your fathers, for you shall not prosper!” Then the men of Judah gave a shout; and as the men of Judah shouted, it happened that God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah”
(2 Chronicles 13:5,12,15 NKJV). Yessss–God ALWAYS keeps His word and Judah triumphed!!!!!!

Are you connecting the dots, Family? Isn’t it wonderful to see how God shows us how He keeps promises with something as simple, yet as powerful as salt? How about the promises we make? 🙊Are they “salt-worthy”? Solomon warns us think before we vow:

Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few
(Ecclesiastes 5:2 NKJV).

I cannot speak for you all, but if someone promises they will do something and they don’t follow through, I am so disappointed! Because the Lord has made me more mindful about keeping my word, He reminds me to say “with God’s help I will”…or, “if nothing changes, I plan to”, or “Lord will, I’ll…” Keeping that last verse in mind, it really helps us to rely on our perfect God to help us keep our word. Also, if we something does happen, it’s a good idea to circle back to the person quickly and fulfill your promise as soon as possible.

Bottom line: If you can’t season your promise with salt, it really best not to promise at all. I heard a cartoon character say, a broken promise cannot be easily put back together. How true.

I’ll leave you to meditate on this post, as we prepare for the next salt installment, that will talk more about why we need (more) salt in our natural and spiritual lives.

I pray you all were blessed by what you have read! Thanks and God bless you for stopping by!

Love,

Blen