Instrument of choice

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,[a] of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death so that we would rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.  He who rescued us from so deadly a peril will continue to rescue us; on him we have set our hope that he will rescue us again,  as you also join in helping us by your prayers, so that many will give thanks on our[b] behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. – 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

These words penned by a man who used to seek and destroy the early church.  In one glorious moment, Jesus appeared and called Saul to follow Him.  To that call he responded and turned from Saul to Paul – to be an instrument for God to use to bring the gospel to the world.

A chosen instrument with a chosen purpose.

If Paul was the chief of all sinners for what he had done before Christ changed his life and that he owes all to the grace of God – we have a great hope for us all!  For those of us who think we have no value, are broken and are old, in our Father’s hand He can make us new.

 

Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”  The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying,  and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”  But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem;  and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.”  But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel;  I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”  So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized – Acts 9:10-18

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Angels will bring us home

When Jesus describes Himself in the third person as the Son of Man and how He will come in power and with great glory, He is trying to make sure that we should not be confused as to who He is when the end times come.  Though many will try to act like they are Him, there is no one like Him.  How many times do we recite the Lord’s prayer, that He taught us to pray — “For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory?” Our hope is in His coming again and the power and the glory in which He comes the entire universe will know that the One whom all things belong has come back for those who love Him.

 Jesus’ returning in glory is the hope of the Church.

 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. – John 14:3

His return is a promise that will be fulfilled.

So we continue on in our lives today, renouncing our own temptation to put ourselves on the throne of our lives that should be given for God.  Let us continue to give out of His love that He has given to us and not be concerned with worldly affairs.  Knowing our own weaknesses, may the hope of His coming and the anticipation of being with Him forever, enables us to meet with Him daily and be reconciled with Him.  May Easter Sunday be in our hearts every day knowing that resurrection Sunday is the proof of the promise being fulfilled of a new life with Him. Joy, peace, hope and love our outcomes of our new life. 

 Even as the angels may gather us on that final day, we will not be angels, but glorified saints, serving throughout eternity right alongside them.   Thank the Lord for the living hope He provides for the believer in Jesus Christ.

So, if they say to you, “Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, “Look! He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.  For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.  “Immediately after the suffering of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken.  Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see “the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory.  And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. – Matthew 24:26-31

Bring Us Home – Michael Tait, Blanca Callahan, & Lecrae

God of the living

If you think about the spiritual health of the Church, we can see in history how the errors came out in doctrine because people did not know the Scriptures nor did they know the power of God. 

When it comes to living, death is an immediate afterthought.  At death, all our earthly hopes, joys and connections are taken away.  How terrible it must be for one to look for nothing better beyond the grave.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead – 1 Peter 1:3

Calvin says this —
“If we consider properly the doctrine of Scripture, the life of the soul, apart from the hope of the resurrection, will be a mere dream; for God does not declare that, immediately after the death of the body, souls live, — as if their glory and happiness were already enjoyed by them in perfection, — but delays the expectation of them till the last day… Since the Scriptures inform us that the spiritual life depends on the hope of the resurrection, and that souls, when separated from the bodies, look forward to it, whoever destroys the resurrection deprives souls also of their immortality.”

The same day some Sadducees came to him, saying there is no resurrection; and they asked him a question, saying,  “Teacher, Moses said, “If a man dies childless, his brother shall marry the widow, and raise up children for his brother.’  Now there were seven brothers among us; the first married, and died childless, leaving the widow to his brother.  The second did the same, so also the third, down to the seventh. Last of all, the woman herself died. In the resurrection, then, whose wife of the seven will she be? For all of them had married her.” Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God,  “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is God not of the dead, but of the living.” Matthew 22:23-32

His steadfast love

Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
    on those who hope in his steadfast love Psalm 33:18

It was Psalm 32 that God gave me when I was 14 years old, but it was Psalm 33 that expresses exactly what happened the night I read Psalm 32.

I started to go to Sunday School at a Presbyterian church, invited and taken by my friend and neighbour Mark Findley and his family – I was ten years old.  Two years later we moved and started to attend the closest church to our home, a Missionary church.  At twelve I knew something was missing and was just not sure what it was.  I knew though that I wanted God to be a very special part of my life.  At that time God was just beginning to be a resurrected interest in the life of my parents.

I started praying every night that God would take my life and use it and of course I wanted to know how He was going to use it so that I might prepare myself.  For two years He did not respond.

At fourteen, I remember that I had enough – praying every night and no response?  I fell across by bed and said to myself that there must not be a God and a split second later I remember telling myself, who was I kidding – He was real.  So I prayed what I thought would be my last prayer and asked God to show me what He wanted to tell me.

I picked up my Bible, opened it with my eyes closed, took my finger and landed on Psalm 32:8.  Could not have been more personal, could not have been more real, could not have been more perfectly timed – God had spoken.

Hope filled my soul – peace filled my heart – joy was deep and resident — this verse sustained me in years of hell. They were my anchor through the storms and in fact, may I dare say, they turned those years into moments of blessing because I always knew His eye was on me, guiding me, and loving me.

Could not have asked for more.  Today, those memories of hell are not remembered with ill-will.  They are remembered for so many teaching moments, so many moments when God’s love consumed by body and took me out of my hell for moments of incredible experiences with Him. I am today who I am because He instructed me, He taught me and He counselled me – and I put my hope completely in Him and Him alone.

I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. – Psalm 32:8

His Love Endures Forever – Michael Smith + Lyrics.wmv

Psalm 147:11

THE STABILITY OF HIS STEADFAST LOVE

In His Steadfast Love, God Will Meet Me

The Pleasure of God in Those Who Hope in His Love

Hope in God’s Steadfast Love

HOPE IN HIS STEADFAST LOVE

Steadfast Love