For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 NLT
We are bought with the precious blood of Jesus!!! As children of God, our debt is paid!!! “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” Ephesians 1:7 NLT No longer are we captives of Satan. We are free!!! "Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” John 8:34-36 NLT “And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”
Romans 8:2 NLT “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Galatians 5:1 NLT Today, live as free children of God. Run through the meadows of His grace. Breathe in the fresh air of His presence. Bask in the Sonlight of His radiance. Rest in the hammock of His love!
And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.””
1 Peter 1:17 NLT
God is completely righteous in His dealings with us. He never lets anyone get by with something that others don't. He is just in all of His ways. Colossians 3:25 says "But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites.” NLT With this in mind, we must live in such a manner that prepares us for the coming judgment day. “For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 NLT This judgment will not be about whether you are "good enough" to get in to heaven. We get there through our acceptance of the shed blood of Jesus Christ our Lord. What this judgment will do is hold us accountable, as God's children, for the way we lived our lives. We will be held responsible for the deeds we have done and the motives behind them. God sees the act and the heart behind it. He knows whether we have done a good deed because we love Him or because we want to get accolades from men. He also knows the deeds we do in secret. There is nothing hidden from Him. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” Hebrews 4:13 NLT Solomon, in his latter years, made this concluding statement: “That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NLT This is, most certainly, something to keep in mind each and every day. My prayer today: God, please help me to live every day with Your all seeing eye upon every aspect of my life. Help me live as though I wish I would have on judgment day. In Jesus name!!! Amen!
“So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”” 1 Peter 1:14-16 NLT
Peter is referring to Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:1-2: 20:7 Since we identify ourselves as children of God we must live our lives in obedience to Him. We are changed creatures. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
(see also Ephesians 2:1-10). The old man is dead! Through Jesus Christ, we are made new. Since we are no longer slaves to sin, we are called and commanded by God to conduct our affairs in a manner that reflects His likeness. A tree cannot claim to be an apple tree if it bears pears. The evidence of our profession is in our fruit. Fruit is defined as the natural yielding of something. If we are truly Christ's, we, too, should produce fruit that evidences our profession. Jesus said it like this: ““A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad.” Matthew 12:33 NLT Today, let us be conscientious of our words, thoughts, and deeds. May they be submissive to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalms 19:14 NLT
So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.” 1 Peter 1:13 NLT
We live in a world that is in natural regression because of sin. God, originally, had made the world to be a paradise where mankind could live and walk in His presence as well as enjoy the beauty and splendor of His handiwork. A conscious choice of disobedience changed all that. God made Adam and Eve as free moral creatures. They weren't robots or puppets. He gave them His Word (command, instructions) on what to do to live and what not to do if they didn't want to die (see Genesis 2:15-17). Their adherence to the Word of God was essential to life and the continuation of that life. Doing what God said would preserve the life God gave them as well as the world under their command. The very moment that Adam ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, death reigned over man and the world he was to govern (see Genesis 3:1-19). Ever since that time, man's nature has been corrupt. Although the world around us is, in many respects, a beautiful place (naturally speaking), it is spiritually and morally corrupt. The only hope of salvation is through the One who created us, Jesus Christ (see John 1:1-3, 10-11; Colossians 1:13-20; Hebrews 1:1-3). It is in knowing Jesus that we are redeemed from the death that was imposed upon man by sin. When we come to know Christ Jesus as our Savior and Lord we are immediately restored to right standing with God spiritually. However, the world around us is still on a head on collision course with eternal destruction. The gospel of Jesus is the only way out. Once we accept Jesus as our Lord, we are called to live our lives for His glory and the propagation of the gospel. We must keep our minds set on our purpose of carrying that good news to a dying world. In the midst of doing so, we must never forget that we are not going to be liked or accepted by everyone. Persecution will arise but we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and his coming kingdom. We must not lose focus on the world that is yet to come. It is a reality! We must never let the circumstances of this fallen world discourage our mission. Christ and Christ alone. He is what life is all about. One day, we will see Him face to face! One day, the world will know Him for who He is. Many will mourn because of their rejection of Him. Those of us who know Him will be eternally glad. March on, Church of God!
This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.” 1 Peter 1:10-12 NLT
The revelation of Jesus Christ, and the gospel He brought and taught, is the greatest thing that has ever happened to humanity. For centuries, even millennia, men had longed for the coming Messiah. He came! His name is Jesus!!! God revealed Himself to mankind through the incarnation (God becoming a man). All the way back to Genesis 3:15 we see the prophetic utterance of God about the coming Savior. "Messiah" is the English translation of the Hebrew word used to identify the promised "Deliverer" (Savior - see Daniel 9:25-26) of the Jewish people. "Christ" is the English translation for the Greek word that is the same as the Messiah. When we say "Jesus Christ" we are acknowledging that He is The Messiah, The Christ, God's Anointed One! (see Matthew 16:16). If you truly know the Messiah, Jesus, then you should know that you are part of God's royal family (see I Peter 2:9) and you are the recipient of the greatest treasure in all of creation and throughout all of history. There is no greater thing to know or experience. Even the angels stand in absolute awe as they watch the Hope of The Ages unfold in human history. Do you get it?? Wow!! I'm having a shouting spell right now as the Holy Spirit churns my very being within. I am one of God's holy children. Not by anything I have done, but because of the salvation I know and possess through Jesus, The Messiah, The Christ, The Son of The Living God! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!!!
You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:8-9 NLT
As believers in Jesus Christ, we trust in Someone we can't physically see with the naked eye. Faith is believing in something that we can't physically see or physically touch. We exercise trust in God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. This is not to say that He hasn't been seen. In fact, He has been seen. History documents the life of Jesus more than many individuals that are referred to in our history books. Most contemporary scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed and refute the claims that He didn't. The problem with humanity is denial. God is, was, and always will be. “Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; not one of them does good!” Psalms 53:1 NLT ““I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.” Malachi 3:6 NLT “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 NLT ““I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”” Revelation 1:8 NLT Our faith in Him strengthens our lives and prepares us for eternity. Salvation is found in Jesus alone. There is no other way!!! (see John 14:6; Acts 4:12). The blessing of salvation belongs to those who have linked their current (temporal) and future (eternal) lives with the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I'm getting blessed just writing about it. Hallelujah!!!!!!!
Today, don't let the skepticism of the culture influence your faith. Let your faith influence the culture with the power of the One, and only, Lord! His name is Jesus!!! No one else even matters apart from Him!!
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT
The current trials of this life are being being used by God to expose our impurities. When gold is placed under heat it melts. The correct amount of heat liquifes the gold and causes "dross" to come to the surface. "Dross" is the impurities in the gold. A goldsmith will pull off the "dross" and continue the process. In doing so, the gold is refined. Each further step takes the gold to another classification. Just like gold, God is continually purifying our lives with fire. The heat is on, but the "Goldsmith of Eternity" is at work, exposing our "dross". Each trial is perfecting our person. He is preparing us for a specific use. If we will let the process take place, God will purify us for service to Him and His kingdom purpose. "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 NLT Don't despise the fire. Allow God to purify and prepare you for His service. He will make something beautiful of your life if you will let him. He wants to make you a jewel of His adorning. He wants to display His beauty through you. He wants to point to your life as His masterpiece. Surrender your will to His and let him put you in the refiners fire.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.” 1 Peter 1:3-5 NLT
It is the highest honor to be a child of God! We have been shown God's great mercy through His Son, Jesus Christ. Because of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ we have an eternal hope of salvation that assures us of the coming inheritance. We can face any situation in life with absolute confidence. There is nothing that this world can do that can take that away. I am His. He is mine. What can separate us from the love of God? Nothing!! What can stop Him from fulfilling His promise? Nothing!! We can stand in any circumstance of this life, no matter what, with the deep settled satisfaction that it's ok. God's got it. This current life is fading and decaying. The life inside us, through the presence of the Holy Spirit, is steadfast and unchanging."That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 NLT. The life we long for is already inside us. We are simply serving and waiting until the unveiling of the kingdom. Then, and there, our bodies will be transformed from corruptible to incorruptible, mortal to immortal (see I Corinthians 15:53). Our eyes are fixed and our home awaits. Take heart child of God. The day we see His face will repay, and erase, all of our current hardships.
This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace.” 1 Peter 1:1-2 NLT
Peter, one of the original 12 disciples, writes this letter to the "foreigners" in the land of Asia Minor (today called Turkey). He calls them "foreigners" because they were being treated with hostility among their own countrymen because of their faith in Jesus. In the Roman Empire there was growing disdain for the Christian faith. Persecution was setting in and great suffering was about to take place by those who were bold enough to proclaim the gospel in the pagan, polytheistic (many gods) culture. Nero, one of Rome's most infamous emperors is in power. The time is around A.D. 64. Peter begins his remarks by stating his call of God. He was a chosen vessel of the Lord to preach and teach the gospel. In this address he specifically deals with the response of the believer to hostile persecution. He reminds the believers that they are God's chosen vessels. He compliments their obedience to Christ and prays for the grace and peace of God upon them more and more, especially when things are getting more difficult. In our lives today we, too, are beginning to feel the pains of persecution in our own land. We are "foreigners" among our own people. We are being singled out and intentionally attacked by a culture that doesn't ascribe itself to the principles of Holy Scripture. We are being told, by our government, that it is incorrect to pray at high school graduation commencement exercises, football games, city council meetings, or even at the lunch table at work or school. Our military personnel are being told that their faith isn't allowed to be displayed publicly in any fashion. Prayer has, for years (since 1962), been expelled from the classroom. We no longer do the pledge of Allegiance in public school. The depraved hearts and minds of the culture are trying to drive God right out of the nation. The list goes on and on. The source of all this is Satan himself. The only hope we have is for godly men and women of character to stand, in the midst of the storm, unashamed and undeterred! Are you unashamed and undeterred? If so, live it out. Stand firm and don't compromise. Would you do an exercise with me today? Would you tell someone today "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ!!" One last thing. Would you simply text a fellow believer and encourage them to stand unashamed and undeterred? “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.” Romans 1:16 NLT ““Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.” Matthew 10:32-33 NLT I AM UNASHAMED!!
My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.” James 5:19-20 NLT
As followers of Christ, we are called to live out our professed faith in our daily practice. Our conduct should evidence of our relationship with Jesus. When we begin to demonstrate character and conduct that is unbecoming of the Lord Jesus Christ, a fellow believer should care enough to lovingly and truthfully confront us. The idea that people should "mind their own business" does not apply in respect to holding the family of God responsible for their actions. We are brothers and sisters in Jesus. We are supposed to look out for one another. The implications of disobedience and rebellion are disastrous. It is a matter of life and death. The impact and influence on other people should also concern us. The spouse, children, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. of such a person can become casualties because of seeds sown. There is so much at stake that we cannot sit idly by while a fellow believer unravels. It is better to upset someone with loving truth than to let them reproach the name of Jesus and destroy their lives, and others, with their decisions. This is a matter of rescue. After a storm, perhaps a tornado, it is better to do a rescue than a recovery. A rescue operation is when someone is still alive and has a chance at living. A recovery operation is when death has occurred. I believe we would all agree that we would, most definitely, rather rescue than recover. I'm not instructing any of us to be "nosy", meddling, or unnecessarily intrusive. We should all know our place. What I am advocating is concern and compassion for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We are the body of Christ. His Holy Name is borne upon our lives. We should remember this in all we do, think, or say. “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.” Jude 1:20-23 NLT Do you care enough to speak the truth in love? Are you willing to let others speak the truth to you? We need each other. Let's help one another walk this road to glory.
Rev. Curtis Norris