CHOSEN BEFORE CREATION
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. – John 17:24
God the Father had the plan of salvation worked out before He even created the world. Most of us would not have created the world and man if we knew the heartache and terrible sacrifice it would cost. But God is not man. In His judgment (which is the correct judgment) the prize was worth the cost.
We were chosen in Christ before the world began. The Lord did not choose us by our merit, but solely by our acceptance of Christ which His foreknowledge allowed Him to do before the foundation of the world. In the strictest sense, we were not personally chosen, but Christ was chosen and all those who are “in Christ” partake of His being chosen by His Father. Just as we are the beneficiaries of the covenant between God the Father and His Son Jesus, so we are chosen because we chose God’s chosen, i.e. Christ. The Father would no more reject us than He would reject Jesus because we are accepted by the Father through Christ.
None of us can claim that we are without blame in the sight of men because man looks on the outward appearance (1 Sam. 16:7) and all of us have sinned (Rom. 3:23). But the Lord looks on our born-again spirit which has been regenerated in Christ and He sees us holy and without blame.
If you look at any color through a red glass, that color becomes red. The same thing would happen if you looked through a green glass. Everything would become green. In a similar way, God looks at us through Christ and everything in our life becomes covered by the blood of Jesus. We are holy and without blame before Him because of His love expressed through His Son.
GOD IS WITH YOU IN YOUR FIERY TRIAL
DANIEL 3:25 …“I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” – Daniel 3:25
When Daniel’s friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, were cast into the fiery furnace by Nebuchadnezzar, guess who showed up? Jesus! He was there in the furnace with them to protect and deliver them. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego came out of the fire totally unharmed—“the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them” (Daniel 3:27)!
My friend, when you go through a fiery trial, the Lord is not somewhere far away, saying, “Yep, from the comfort of My heavenly throne, I can see what you are going through. Even though I’m not with you, I can see you, so just hang in there, okay?” No, He is right there with you in your trial. Not only that, He will protect you and deliver you. The Bible says that “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
So whatever the fiery trial you are going through today, God is right there with you. He will protect you, comfort you and make a way of escape for you. Put your hand in His hand and let Him bring you out of the “furnace” without even smelling of the smoke of your negative circumstances!
THRIVING EVERY DAY …
…I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]. – John 10:10, AMP
God doesn’t want you to live stressed and with a “barely-get-by” attitude. He has new seasons of increase in front of you. He wants you to thrive, to live an abundant, overflowing life!
Sometimes when things seem difficult, it’s easy to slip into “survival mode.” When times get tough, it’s tempting to just “hunker down” and settle. If you’re not careful, you’ll develop a survival mentality that will keep you from growing and embracing what God has for your future. You’ll be happy to just “break even.” But as God’s children, we’re not supposed to just break even; we’re supposed to break through to a new level! We’re supposed to believe for more of God’s favor, increase and promotion no matter what is happening in the world around us.
Make up your mind today that no matter how difficult things seem, you are going to thrive every day! Take hold of God’s promises and declare that you are rising higher. Expect His favor and increase and see His hand of blessing in every area of your life!
YOUR QUIET TIME WITH GOD (1)
Seek first the Kingdom of God. – Matthew 6:33
Jesus said, ‘Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.’ What kind of ‘things’ was He talking about? Things like money, houses, relationships, health and jobs. What did He mean by ‘the Kingdom of God’? Living under the rule of Christ each moment and submitting to His will in all things.
When Jesus used the word ‘seek’, He called for three things:
(1) Intentionality. When something important is lost, you must put aside other things and seek until you find it.
(2) Importance. Position, performance, prosperity, and popularity can be good things when properly used. But without the rule of Christ in your life, you’ll always be vulnerable to the devil.
(3) Importunity. No matter how long it takes, how hard you must work, or what you must rearrange, restore your quiet time with God to its rightful place. The psalmist wrote, ‘When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”’ (Psalm 27:8 NKJV) ‘Quiet time’ has been called many things throughout the history of the Church: morning watch, daily devotions, appointment with God or personal devotional time. It really doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as you have it regularly. Your quiet time with God is just daily fellowship with Him through His Word and prayer. It’s a time you deliberately set aside to meet with Him. The goal is that you might grow in your personal relationship with God so that you can know Him, love Him, serve Him and become more like Him.
YOUR QUIET TIME WITH GOD (2)
…it is for Your pleasure that they exist and were created.’ – Revelation 4:11
Did you know:
(1) God created you for His own pleasure and His greater glory. He also saved you ‘both to will and to work for His good pleasure.’ (Philippians2:13 ESV) Your attitude towards quiet time with God will be transformed when you realise this. Time spent with God brings Him great pleasure, honour and glory. He waits for you and welcomes you into His presence—He knows how much benefit you will receive from Him.
(2) The cross is what made this relationship possible. When Adam sinned, God drove him from the Garden of Eden and placed angels with swords at its entrance so that mankind could never re-enter. Then God did something truly amazing; He took on human form, lived among us, died in our place, and was cut down by the sword of divine judgment at the cross, providing us with a way back into His presence. Wonderful, isn’t it? In the Old Testament only one man, the high priest, could go into the Holy of Holies. And he could only do it one day a year. A thick veil separated God from the people. They stood outside wondering what God’s voice sounded like, what His presence felt like and what His glory looked like. Only the high priest knew. But when Jesus cried, ‘It is finished!’ (John 19:30NKJV), the Bible says, ‘The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.’ (Mark 15:38 NKJV) Now, as ‘priests unto God’ we can come into His presence at any time and meet with Him (Revelation 1:6 KJV). What a privilege! Grace makes it possible. And gratitude should be the magnet that draws you there each day.
JESUS’ BLOOD IS ON THE MERCY SEAT
Leviticus 16:14 He shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.
If you have watched the movie, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, you would remember that when the lid of the ark was lifted, strange-looking creatures floated out and destroyed the people around it. Interesting as it may be, this is biblically inaccurate—the ark of the Bible did not contain strange-looking creatures. What were the things inside it then?
There were three items in the ark: the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod and two stone tablets on which God had written the Ten Commandments. (Hebrews 9:4) These items are actually symbols of man’s rebellion. The golden pot of manna represents man’s rejection of God’s provision. The rod of Aaron represents man’s rejection of God’s leadership and the two stone tablets of God’s commandments represent man’s rejection of His standard of holiness.
But because God delights in mercy, He had these items put away in the ark and covered with the mercy seat, which had two cherubim on it. (Hebrews 9:5) And once a year, the high priest would enter the holy of holies where the ark was and sprinkle the blood of the animal sacrifice on the mercy seat. This means that God’s eyes, represented by the eyes of the cherubim, did not see the symbols of man’s rebellion. As long as the blood was there on the mercy seat, He saw only the blood and accepted the people.
Today, Jesus is our High Priest and He Himself has sprinkled His own blood on the true mercy seat in heaven—the throne of grace. (Hebrews 9:23–26) Interestingly, the number of times that the Old Testament high priest had to sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat—seven—speaks of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. And because His sacrifice is perfect and He is perfect, we who are in Christ have perfect standing forever before God!
My friend, as you come to God today, don’t worry about falling short of His standard of holiness. He does not see your sins. (Hebrews 8:12, 10:17) He sees His Son’s blood on the mercy seat. You have perfect standing before Him forever!