Sunday May 18th, 2014
Each Sunday is meant to be a celebration for God’s people! We gather after a week of being scattered like seed to produce fruit in our field of service. We gather to worship God and celebrate the victory of the Cross and resurrection! We gather for prayer and encouragement from our brothers and sisters who gather with us! We share our journey through focus on God and listening for His voice through the preaching of His Word. We are washed by the Word and made ready for another week of scattering in our field of mission, refreshed and ready for action.
God bless you and your family today! May you be refreshed and refocused on what is truly important!
In His Love, Pastor John and Mary
Scripture reading for November 22nd: 1st Peter 1:1-12
Peter was one of the Twelve disciples. Peter was notoriously impulsive and sometimes very fickle in his walk with Jesus. Jesus chose him, not for his perfection, but because of God’s sovereign purpose. Peter faithfully served the Lord by ministering mainly to Jews in the early church. We have two letters written by him to encourage those suffering persecution as believers in Christ. These speak to us today!
“To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by His blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” (1st Peter 1:1-2)
Peter began his letter by addressing those who would receive it. He first stated that they were God’s elect! God the Father chose them by His foreknowledge to be a part of His family. God knows the hearts of all men and chooses them. This does not mean that we do not have free will. God knows how we will choose and knows us completely from before creation! (Ephesians 1:4-5)
He told the believers that they were scattered by God. The term ‘scattered’ was a farming term used of the farmer that purposely placed the seed in soil where it would grow and produce a crop. Each believer is placed by God like seed. God’s purpose for us is that we will produce fruit–a crop of righteousness–for His glory!
To enable this, God’s gift of grace to us is the gift of His righteousness brought to us by the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit indwells us upon our obedience of placing faith in Christ’s sacrifice. The Holy Spirit works within us to sanctify us, that is to make us holy and complete.
“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1st Peter 1:9-10) What a privilege we share with the recipients of this apostolic letter from Peter! Thank the Lord for His calling and saving grace!
Scripture reading for May 27th: John 16:1-33
“I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you; Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:20-22)
Jesus spoke plainly about His coming departure and the grief that would come over the disciples as they witnessed the unfolding of events. They did not fully understand what He was saying, but He knew that the Holy Spirit would help them understand fully and remember what He taught them. He encouraged them to be patient and look for the joy that would follow.
Jesus likened the disciples joy at His resurrection to that of a mother who had just had a child. The time immediately preceding the birth would be filled with pain and anguish. The birth pains had to come before the baby was introduced to the world. So Jesus had to go through the battle with the ‘prince of this world’ and face the last enemy, ‘death’! But the ‘prince of this world’ had no hold on Him. (John 14:30) The ‘prince of this world’ must be driven out! (John 12:31) This battle would involve the cross for Jesus and the ‘prince of darkness’ would attempt to hold Him in death. However, Jesus would be victorious and emerge from the grave with the keys of death and hell! (Revelation 1:18) He would spoil the principalities and powers of darkness, and make a public show of them openly by the cross! (Colossians 2:15)
When these disciples experienced Jesus in resurrection, their grief would be turned to a joy that no one could take away! They would know God the Father was true and the Gift of the Father would teach them all things. They would understand that death had no hold on them either and live with a new boldness to share the love of God in Christ Jesus! Christ’s victory would assure them of their victory! Are you living in this joy? Why not put your faith in Jesus Christ and experience it for yourself?