May 14

Today's Bible Readings
     Numbers 23
     Psalms 64-65
     Isaiah 13
     I Peter 1
''Receiving the end of your faith - the salvation of your souls." (I Peter 1:9)
      These verses in the early part of I Peter tell us some exciting things about the Christian. It is difficult to find a passage, which more clearly sets forth what a Christian is to be in the world than in these powerful verses.
      He is selected before the foundation of the world. The Bible still says that ''whosoever will may come'', but what a grand and glorious feeling to know that I have been in the mind, heart, and bosom of God from before the foundation of the world. You may not understand election and foreknowledge, but He wouldn't be much of a God if we could understand all about His ways. “I walked in the door that said, ''whosoever will may come'', and when I looked back, on the inside it said, ''I have chosen you." Election is based on foreknowledge. When God foreknows that you will decide for Christ, He places you in His elect. It boggles my mind, but it frees my spirit. Now, the Holy Spirit serves as God's agent, calling out the elect; the stranger in the world.
      In verse one, he uses the word “stranger” and it means “pilgrim”. Christians are to have a “pilgrim's character”. This world is not our home; we are just passing through. That means we are to be “in” the world and not “of” it. We are to use the world and not abuse it. We are simply strangers and sojourners.
      We are to be scattered throughout the world. The seed must never rot. It is to be scattered, bearing fruit. “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word.” (Acts 8:4) We have been saved “out of the world” to go “back into the world” to witness to the world, and that's the only business in the world that we have.
      We are secure while in the world. You may not keep the Lord, but He will always keep you. They call the doctrine the “perseverance of the saints”, but it should be called the “preservation of the Savior.”  We are kept, not because we persevere, but because He preserves us.
      The Christian suffers in the world. It is true that Christians do suffer. Bad things happen to good people, and sometimes the worst things happen to the best people. It is not all honey and no bees. Christians do not always have health and no disease.  If you are going through suffering, however, it is “for a season” and “for a purpose” It is to make a better person of you. The Scripture tells us that “all they that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”  “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this manner” (I Peter 4:16)
      We are to be saved out of this world. I have experienced justification. I've been saved from the penalty of sin. I am now experiencing sanctification.       I am being saved from the power of sin. Someday, I will be saved from the very presence of sin, when God gives me glorification. I believe God has written in boxcar letters across the horizon that we are living in the end times. All the signs tell us that Jesus is at the door, and that He is coming soon for His Church, to take us out of this world.
      I love the song, “It Will Be Worth It All When We See Jesus”. That is joy unspeakable and full of glory. One day, when we look in His face, knowing that the suffering of this world is behind us -with joy unspeakable and full of glory, we will shout, “At Last”
      The European country of Portugal now has a few less than 10 million people. It is interesting to note that 25 years of religious freedom in the latter part of the last century resulted in the steady and increased growth of evangelicals from 55,000 in 1975 to over 307,000 at the beginning of the new millennium. The Roman church is very traditional, but needs spiritual renewal. Among evangelicals, there are serious divisions, and a great need for united vision. There also seems to be a lack of concern for sending out Portuguese Christians as missionaries. It is a land where many congregations lack full-time workers, and young people are often spiritually neglected. The only hope for this land to become what God desires for it is a genuine spiritual awakening.
''There can be no meal without a mill, no throne without a thorn, no gain without pain, and no crown without a cross."