“you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2: 5 NIV
We are being built into a spiritual house. Jesus was the first living stone and the cornerstone of the house we are building. So what are the spiritual sacrifices that we are to offer? Our bodies, souls, affections, prayers, praises, tithes and offerings and service. All with a joyful heart!
God is not asking anything of us that His Son was not willing to give Himself. It humbles me to think of the heart of Jesus. Such a beautiful and perfect example for us to follow.
There are times that I get all wound up in a frenzy of busyness. When I begin to rush and push and force things, it’s a good indicator that I need to pause. I need to check in with the Holy Spirit to see if I’m on track or not. Most often there is a more efficient and elegant solution than my own.
The beautiful thing about being a living stone is that we have a constant spiritual guide present, the Holy Spirit. He can get me back in alignment. Get me back in the headset of listening for direction and offering every moment up in surrender to a better way. Surrender. Obedience. Sacrifice.
Lord, thank you for Your perpetual living water that washes over me and flows through me. Thank you for Your constant love.
39” And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40 NASB
All these: Able, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, walls of Jericho, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets. All these had a testimony of faith and did not see God’s promise fulfilled in their lifetime. They saw the promise was for the future and embraced that. They recognized a heavenly, kingdom minded purpose that God had ordained for them. So I have to ask myself, am I willing?
Am I willing to look at what God needs for His kingdom and not look at any immediate manifestation in my lifetime? Do I have that kind of faith? Are there others that will come after me that need to be served by my heart for God’s purposes? Am I willing to even ask that question of God?
That’s a tough question. But the tougher question is: What if I’m not willing? As I look at the young men and women in my Sunday School class, the classrooms of students in guest teaching opportunities, connections through work, online communities and blogs, speaking engagements, etc. What happens if I am selfish? What about God’s purpose? How does it affect thousands of others I don’t know and may never know?
Lord, I pray that Your purpose will always come first in my life. I pray that I keep my eyes set on a heavenly horizon. Thank you for always giving me Your best. Thank you for Your grace and mercy and love. Thank you for Your faithfulness to every need, both today and generations to come.
32” Do not offend Jews or Greeks or any part of the church of God for that matter. 33 Consider my example: I strive to please all people in all my actions and words—but don’t think I am in this for myself—their rescued souls are the only profit.” 1 Corinthians 10:32-33 The Voice
I cringed a little when I read “do not offend anyone.” That sounds impossible! Some other versions read “do not give offense” or “do not cause others to stumble.” At first this really felt burdensome. This goes for both outside the church as well as inside the church.
Then as I read on to verse 33, I saw clarification. I realized I was looking at this through a people pleasing lens. It is impossible to please people all the time. If I look at it through the lens of God’s Word, I just have to stay true to that. Now that’s not always easy either! However, it is only possible to begin stepping in that direction if I let go of people pleasing. I have to use the ways of Jesus as the filter for my actions, not other people.
I have to look at people through the eyes of Jesus to see what they need. I have to look past behavior, choices, and circumstance. I have to simply look at a person’s heart. That is what Jesus did best. He looked at a person’s heart, diagnosed what they needed and met that need of their heart. Without fail, that was found pleasing to all who would receive Him. That is what it is always about: rescuing and transforming lives.
Father, help me to keep my kingdom glasses on as I look at people. Let me see everyone through Your eyes.
3 “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay. 4 “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.“ Habakkuk 2:3-4 NASB
Father, thank you for Your promises, Your deliverance and Your Word. Thank you for Your love, Your power and Your might that You wield on my behalf. Thank you for going before me and coming behind me. Thank you for Your favor.
Father, please search my heart to make it right and suitable for You. Take my heart and purge it of any prideful or soulish desires. I yearn to be in full communion with You, believing Your promises and waiting patiently and hopefully for Your timing.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 NIV
Our God is all about relationship. He wants to walk with us. He’s always there for us but sometimes we prefer to walk by ourselves. Have you ever taken a walk with someone and they always try to walk ahead or lag way behind? It’s really hard to communicate if they are not walking WITH you. In order to walk with God, He asks that out of love for Him we respect His ways. His ways are good ways and they certainly save us a lot of heartache. But most of all, if our heart is turned toward God, we will have intimacy with Him.
The deeper that intimacy grows, the more the desire to please Him grows. The desires of His heart become the desires of our heart.
Father, I pray that my heart will be so surrendered to You so that Your ways become mine.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NIV
We are special. We are chosen. We are royal.
Has anyone ever made you feel special? Not just kind of special. I’m talking over the top, out of this world, giddy with excitement special. The kind that gives you butterflies in your stomach and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Multiply that times a gazillion and you still don’t even come close to how special we are to God. It’s hard to comprehend!
So why don’t we celebrate more? How do we treat the people that make us feel special? I usually go out of my way to schedule time with them. I miss it when I don’t talk with them. I seek their input and like to partner with them in work and play. We laugh together. We hug each other and cry together. We anticipate getting together with excitement. It’s wonderful when it’s mutual. That is the very best.
We have that VIP invitation whenever we want. So let the celebration begin….
Father God, thank you for the reminder to celebrate every good thing You have for me daily!