Are You a Stranger?

Taking a closer look at first Peter chapter 1 verses one and two, we see  a greeting to the pilgrims of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and the Bithynia. Who are these people? Why is Peter writing to them? With persecution comes dispersion. Throughout  the Old Testament we see Israel being taken into captivity or fleeing persecution. They would then become strangers in the land; Foreigners, sojourners. To live in the promised land was to be home. It was a place of blessing and fullness. As these new Christians, new believers in Christ begin their new life, born-again into the spiritual life given to them through the blood of Christ they became persecuted. They had to leave their homes in order to save their lives. They were being killed,imprisoned, cut off from the community that they had once been part of. Today we see a great dispersion going on especially in the Middle East where new believers in Christ are having to flee or face horrible torture or loss of life. Hundreds of thousands of Christians are being murdered for their faith in Jesus. 

How does that effect me I ask? I don’t live where I’m afraid of getting myself imprisoned or my head cut off for my faith? Or do I? When we take that step of faith and put our trust in Christ we immediately become foreigners in the land. We have a new citizenship in heaven given to us by the blood of Christ. With this should come boldness knowing that the things of this world no longer hold us captive but we are living in the land of promise. With promise comes blessings with blessings comes fruit with fruit comes growth. Are you living in captivity or have you chosen to live in the promised land of blessings as a new creature in Christ, knowing your citizenship is in heaven for eternity? Do you understand the things here on earth are temporary? 
When the pilgrims that we read about in first Peter were caused to leave their homes or become “the dispersion”, the good news of Christ spread throughout the region. This was huge in the growth of Christianity in the Middle East. Are we seeing that same thing today? What will it take for each of us to boldly share our faith? To love one another enough to let people know they are perishing without salvation in Christ? I myself pray for boldness. Sometimes I’m afraid to step forward and share who I am in Christ. I don’t want to be persecuted. I don’t want confrontation. I don’t want to argue with people about why they believe what they believe and I believe what I believe. I am so thankful that Paul and Peter and John and all the other disciples and apostles of Jesus were bold. Without their boldness would I know Christ?
This morning I am praying for Franklin Graham and the Crusades heading into Spain. How exciting that many souls will be saved and the gospel will be preached in an area much in need of peace and salvation. Would you join me today in praying for boldness to share your faith in Christ? Would you also pray for those who are putting their lives on the line to get the good news of salvation to those in areas of the world where just believing in Christ is a death sentence?
Today I’m thinking on how my daily activities would change if I were to wake up each morning thinking of myself as a stranger in the land and the things of eternity are where I should be investing. Think of yourself as a foreign aid worker. Your job to go to a city or country that needs help. I think our thoughts and actions would be much different.  We are told in the Bible that we are Ambassadors or messengers of Christ. We are also commanded to go into ALL the world and tell every living creature the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes the the Father, except through Him. We live in a dying world and hold the cure to death. Do we really understand the great treasure that has been entrusted to us? Are we hiding our light? Have we buried our  treasure? What is it that holds us back?

Lord, that we would live with the mind of Christ. Our eyes focused on the things of heaven for Your glory. Amen!

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A Place of Rest

There was a time not so long ago that I spoke to a group of women on the subject of prayer. One of the things I stressed to this group was that taking time to rest, to pray, to see God is the only way it will happen. Making time, finding time, looking for time  seems to always fall short. Although some would say this is just a play on words the reality of it is when we “take” time prayer happens.  I am one that has been on the mountaintop and in the valley. I have walked closely to God listening to his voice and acting upon his commands.  I have also been a busy one never seeming to “find” the time to wait upon the Lord, to listen to his voice and to go deeply into his word. I can assure you the greater joy is found in that place of taking time to sit at his feet. Today I would like to encourage you to take time to realize there’s no better time spent than the time you sit at the feet of the Lord in prayer and meditation on his Word the Bible.

Reading:

1Peter 1:1-12

1Greeting to the Elect Pilgrims 

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace be multiplied.

A Heavenly Inheritance

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.

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