VIDEO Forward, The Call of Jeremiah

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you. Jeremiah 1:5

It’s mind-boggling to imagine what God was doing before the creation of the universe. Since He is from “everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 90:2), there was some kind of infinity before time began. But only God Himself can understand that. Yet, we do have a few hints about it from the Bible. We know the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit enjoyed rich fellowship, for Jesus prayed about the glory and love He shared with the Father before the world began (John 17:5, 24).

Ephesians 1:4 says that God chose us in Christ “before the foundation of the world.” And Matthew 25:34 says that God has prepared a kingdom for us “from the foundation of the world.” 

God also knew you and planned your life in advance, so you could live with purpose and fulfillment. Before He formed you in the womb, He knew you and set you apart to serve Him. The apostle Paul said the same thing in Galatians 1:15.

Jesus has a lifetime of purpose stored up for you. Don’t waste a moment of it, but seek His guidance and go forward into His perfect will.

It should not surprise us that God was planning His kingdom before He created the universe. Lita Cosner 


The Call of God, Jeremiah 1:4-5 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

Preach or Plow?

From [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:16

According to the family legend, two brothers, one named Billy and the other Melvin, were standing on the family’s dairy farm one day when they saw an airplane doing some skywriting. The boys watched as the plane sketched out the letters “GP” overhead.

Both brothers decided that what they saw had meaning for them. One thought it meant “Go preach.” The other read it as “Go plow.” Later, one of the boys, Billy Graham, dedicated himself to preaching the gospel, becoming an icon of evangelism. His brother Melvin went on to faithfully run the family dairy farm for many years.

Skywriting signs aside, if God did call Billy to preach and Melvin to plow, as seems to be the case, they both honored God through their vocations. While Billy had a long preaching career, his success doesn’t mean that his brother’s obedience to his calling to plow was any less important.

While God does assign some to be in what we call full-time ministry (Ephesians 4:11–12), that doesn’t mean those in other jobs and roles aren’t doing something just as important. In either case, as Paul said, “each part [should do] its work” (v. 16). That means honoring Jesus by faithfully using the gifts He’s given us. When we do, whether we “go preach” or “go plow,” we can make a difference for Jesus wherever we serve or work.

By:  Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

How can you use your gifts to honor God in your vocation? How can you encourage others you know so they too can use their calling as a way to serve Jesus?

Help me, God, to be used right where You put me. Help me to see that my words, actions, and work ethic can profoundly affect others.

The Burden of False Guilt

Galatians 1:10

Guilt is an emotional response to wrongdoing. We should feel the Lord’s conviction when we disobey His commandments, or even when we break civil laws that do not contradict God’s laws. But there’s another kind of guilt that is not from the Lord but from man. Called “false guilt,” it has different forms.

Legalism is a form of religion that holds firmly to man-made rules rather than to Christ (Col. 2:16-23). It has no power for salvation or transformation but instead enslaves people to false guilt when they fail to keep the rules.

Perfectionism is a burden we place upon ourselves. If we don’t perform to our self-made standards, we feel like failures and can’t forgive ourselves. However, Christians are commanded to live for Christ, not for themselves and their own expectations.

Trying to please people is another source of false guilt. This could develop in the home, workplace, school, church, or anywhere that others place demands on us. 

Of course, the ideal is always to treat others with love and kindness. But with false guilt, the solution is to please God, not people. When guilt comes, evaluate its source. Is it from God or man?

Reconciled?

“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” (Colossians 1:21-22)

The reconciliation act abolishes one condition and establishes another. We were “aliens…from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12) with our “understanding darkened” and ignorance due to a blindness of our heart (Ephesians 4:18). We were enemies whose “friendship of the world” made us at “enmity with God” (James 4:4).

We are reconciled now. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). Indeed, we are also “saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:10-11) and are to be presented as a “chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2). Both individually and collectively, we are “being built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5) who will “shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

We can be absolutely sure that once we are reconciled, our alien state abolished and our adoption secured, our Lord Jesus remains the “merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). Reconciliation ensures that the Lord Jesus Himself will “stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:13).

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11). HMM III

Quantity Rather Than Quality Not Best

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. —John 6:66

Time may show that one of the greatest weaknesses in our modern civilization has been the acceptance of quantity rather than quality as the goal after which to strive….

Christianity is resting under the blight of degraded values. And it all stems from a too-eager desire to impress, to gain fleeting attention, to appear well in comparison with some world-beater who happens for the time to have the ear or the eye of the public.

This is so foreign to the Scriptures that we wonder how Bible-loving Christians can be deceived by it. The Word of God ignores size and quantity and lays all its stress upon quality. Christ, more than any other man, was followed by the crowds, yet after giving them such help as they were able to receive, He quietly turned from them and deposited His enduring truths in the breasts of His chosen twelve….

Pastors and churches in our hectic times are harassed by the temptation to seek size at any cost and to secure by inflation what they cannot gain by legitimate growth…. Many a man of God is being subjected to cruel pressure by the ill-taught members of his flock who scorn his slow methods and demand quick results and a popular following regardless of quality.   NCA007-008

Open our eyes, Lord, to evaluate our success or failure by Your standards, and be encouraged. Amen.

Saved to Worship

For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit…and have no confidence in the flesh. —Philippians 3:3

Even in our Christian circles we are prone to depend upon techniques and methods in the work that Christ has given us to do. Without a complete dependence upon the Holy Spirit we can only fail. If we have been misled to believe that we can do Christ’s work ourselves, it will never be done.

The man whom God will use must be undone. He must be a man who has seen the King in His beauty. Let us never take anything for granted about ourselves, my brother or sister….

I tell you again that God has saved us to be worshipers. May God show us a vision of ourselves that will disvalue us to the point of total devaluation. From there He can raise us up to worship Him and to praise Him and to witness. WHT077-078

There is no part of our existence which [God] cannot touch. There is no place in our varied experience where He cannot meet us. His humanity is as broad as ours….This is the secret of all-sufficiencythe friendship of Jesus, the indwelling life of Christ, our union heart to heart with One who, as no other friend could possibly do, lives out His very life in ours. PSP098-099

Under Orders

1 Peter 1:15

Someone said that impression minus expression equals depression. The study of facts about holiness will do more harm than good unless we follow up with the right acts. We Christians are under orders: “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do” (1 Peter 1:15).

You are a Christian; the call to holiness is always to believers, never to unbelievers. You are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and able to overcome temptation in His strength. In the popular phrase, you have a lot going for you. The pagan cannot help falling and failing and sinning, but there is no need for you to sustain defeat. Is this not what Paul implied by a sentence like this: “Our lower nature has no claim upon us: we are not obliged to live on that level” (Romans 8:12 NEB).

Paul, after three chapters of Ephesians describing our wealth, makes a plea for a holy walk (Ephesians 4:1). To the Corinthians he wrote about God indwelling His people, and then followed with the exhortation, “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).

When you set your face toward the sweeping transformation you need, you are ready to renounce whatever is wrong. Something of the old life must die (Romans 8:13, Colossians 3:5). This will probably be costly, and has been compared to a crucifixion (Galatians 5:24). In practice it means saying an unqualified and determined “No” to every action unworthy of a Christian. It means to reject all that stands condemned by the standard which Jesus sets for His people, that is the standard of Christlikeness. It means to make no provision in imagination or intention for anything less than holiness.

Accompanying the turning from all that is wrong will be an equally determined turning toward all that is right. Paul tells us what to “put off” and then what to “put on” (Ephesians 4:22, 24). Everything in our life must be either renounced or dedicated.

Christ is the pattern for His people. The little word “as” is potent: We are to “walk, just as He walked” (1 John 2:6 NKJV); to receive one another “as Christ received us” (Romans 15:7); to “walk in the light as He is in the light” (1 John 1:7); to love one another “as I have loved you” (John 13:34). The same mighty monosyllable is on His lips in that solemn prayer of consecration: “As You sent Me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (John 17:18 NIV).

Edward Read, Studies in Sanctification