And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13)
The transaction of redemption is legitimized when Paul says in Ephesians 1:13 that believers are "sealed with the promised Holy Spirit" (RSV). In Paul's time, a seal was used to confirm that an object or a document was genuine and/or to mark a thing as one's property. The Holy Spirit is a deposit or payment of earnest money guaranteeing the inheritance promised by God. The Spirit is our down payment, the first installment made in advance, that secures the "legal" claim of our redemption.
When all seems lost. . . when it seems that God is silent. . . when it looks like God has disappeared. . . remember, God has not forsaken you. Jesus Christ died for you. The Holy Spirit secures God's payment in your relationship with Him. Read the Truth - cling to the Truth - and trust God!
"I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever." Psalm 86:12
From Genesis to Revelation, we see that God has one central purpose for creation and for mankind. It all comes down to one issue - His glory!
As Christians live like Christ, others see the character of God fleshed out before them. Our visible lifestyle spotlights the invisible, yet Almighty God... and that brings Him glory! In contrast, the Hebrew word that is translated "profane" basically means "to treat as common or ordinary." We "profane" God's name when our lives reflect that our God is just "ordinary." Today, we either glorify or profane God's Name by what we say and think and do.
You profane God's Name when you harbor anger or bitterness against someone.
You glorify God's Name when you forgive.
You profane God's Name when you steal the limelight when you use His gifts.
You glorify God's Name when you're in His shadow and give Him the glory.
You profane God's Name when you are critical of others.
You glorify God's Name when you build others up.
You profane God's Name when you gossip or when you are quick to speak.
You glorify God's Name when you think before you speak.
You profane God's Name when you squander your time.
You glorify God's Name when you use your time wisely.
You profane God's Name when you are jealous of what others have.
You glorify God's Name when you are thankful for what God has given you.
Are you glorifying or profaning God's Name?
We profane God's Name when...
Money is a higher priority than God
Our careers are a higher priority than God
Approval from others is more important than approval from God
Achievement is a higher priority than God
Possessions are a higher priority than God
Notoriety is a higher priority than God
When we attempt to use any of these to meet our needs instead of God, we proclaim to those around us that "God is not enough."
What about you? Are you glorifying God's name or making it "ordinary"?
God was very specific with John the Baptist’s purpose in life, it was to prepare the people for Christ’s arrival. And John was commended for his service when Jesus said, “I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist. . . “ (Matthew 11:11).
But, John the Baptist wasn’t the only one who had a specific life purpose, so do you! God created you for a unique purpose to fulfill in His Kingdom. Before you were born God planned the good works that you would do (Ephesians 2:10). He has given you a unique personality, a unique background, a unique set of talents and gifts, and a unique life experience. Only you can fulfill God’s purpose for your life.
So, what is your God ordained purpose in life? Why did He create you? What is it that only you can do for His Kingdom? Half the fun in life is listening for God’s voice and His directives for your life!
How can anyone live a life that is worthy of God? If God is perfect, does He expect perfection from us? No. Our sins don’t surprise God. After all He sent His Son to die for our sins. If anything, the one sure thing that God could expect from us is failure! So if He doesn’t expect perfection, what does God desire from us?
He desires. . .
§ Repentance rather than rejection
§ Love rather than lip-service
§ Our worship rather than works
§ Obedience rather than offering
§ Living a public faith rather than a private faith
§ Time with us rather than testimonies from us
§ Our pursuit of holiness rather than giving us a perfect life
§ Us to know Him rather than to know about Him
§ A relationship with Him rather than a religion.
In spite of all this, they kept on sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe. (Psalm 78:32)
God miraculously delivered the Israelites after 430 years of slavery in Egypt. Time and time again God demonstrated His power and dominion over nature and mankind as He rescued and guided the Israelites to the land He had promised them.
He split the Red Sea, making the water stand firm like a wall on either side of them and allowed the Israelites to escape the pursuing Egyptian army. (Psalm 78:13)
He guided them with the cloud by day and with light from the fire all night.(Psalm 78:14)
He split the rocks in the desert and gave them water (Psalm 78:15)
He rained down food (manna) from the sky for the people to eat (Psalm 78:24)
He rained meat (quail) down on them and they ate until they were filled (Psalm 78:27-29)
Miracle after miracle, and yet the Israelites continued to sin against God..."in spite of his wonders, they did not believe." But, before we're too quick in pointing a finger of disgust at the Israelites, let's inspect our own lives.
What kind of miracles has God done in your life? How about God's demonstration of his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Or the miracle of new life through believing in Jesus Christ (Romans 6:4). Our own relationship with God is nothing short of a miracle!
Take some time today and look back. . . look back at all that God has done in your life. Keep your eyes on Him so that it will not be said of you. . . "In spite of God's wonders, his or her heart was not loyal to God."
Marji "Mike" Kruger
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." (Luke 2:15)
If man were to script the Son of God's birth, Jesus would have been born in a palace or a mansion. The news of His birth would have first been sent to one of the power brokers of the day - King Herod or Caesar Augustus.
But, God's script was different:
no palace, but a manger surrounded by animals...
no power brokers, but the social outcasts of the day, a band of shepherds...
They were considered untrustworthy and their work made them ceremonially unclean and as a result they could not participate in worship.
After being surprised (and terrified) by a visit from the angel of the Lord, and then a large group of angels, the shepherds were confronted with what to do with the message they heard: "Today is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11). What did the shepherds do with the first announcement of the Gospel? They believed! Their immediate response was: "Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about" (Luke 2:15).
They don't stop to discuss whether it's exactly according to what was written in Daniel.
They don't question if they really saw angels or if they're just imagining things because they're overworked.
They don't get a religious leader to accompany them.
They don't even get cleaned up!
They hurry off to Bethlehem to find Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. They believed all that God had told them!
What are you doing with what God has told you? Are you acting and reacting with faith?
Or are you discussing logistics?
Bargaining with God?
Nit-picking the assignment?
Getting another interpretation?
What is God asking you to do today in faith? Just believe!
And you will be amazed at how God works in your life...
how He works through you to reach a hurting world...
how He spreads His message to expand His Kingdom!
Written by Marji "Mike" Kruger