“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
1 Peter 2:9 – 10
A platypus is a mammal that has the bill of a duck, webbed feet like a duck, this fur like an otter and a tail like a beaver. It also has spurs on its hind legs that injects painful venom. Unlike other mammals that seek their food in water, a platypus uses its bill to dig for its food in the mud. Its characteristics make it peculiar. As Christians, we, too, are peculiar. We have become a peculiar people to the world as we are in this world but we are not of this world. “In time past. . .” we were not the people of God but with the death and resurrection of Jesus, we were made heirs by faith. Reading the words written by Peter again made me realize how blessed we truly are. We are not only set apart but each of us were hand-picked by God. You are someone chosen for a purpose, someone who has fallen and gotten back up, someone who stands strong in the storm, someone whose faith witnesses to others, someone with compassion, love, humility, and grace. You are special to God, not just because He loves you, but because of how much you love Him. I thank you, Father, for these amazing people for they are my brothers and sisters through your Son, Jesus. In 1 Peter 1:4, it tells us that our inheritance is “incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” God’s kingdom is reserved for these peculiar people. Are you peculiar?
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
Transformation Through God
When spring arrives, with it comes regeneration. The leaves begin to bud, flowers bloom and it seems everything becomes new. During the winter months, a caterpillar that has matured into adulthood spins itself inside a silk cocoon that protects it and in spring, emerges as a beautiful butterfly. Just like the caterpillar that emerges as a butterfly, when a person accepts Christ as their Lord and Savior they are transformed. They become a new creature. Gone is the past – gone are all the mistakes, all the failures and all our sins. In Christ we begin to find out who and what God intended us to be. God becomes our cocoon if we allow Him. While we are wrapped in His love, grace and mercy, He begins to transform us from the inside out. When He is finished, we become a beautiful creation He uses to help transform others. Allow God to enfold you and prepare you for His Kingdom purposes so in Heaven, you, too, can see the beautiful creation you are in Him. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
“And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.”
2 Samuel 6:14
Fools for God
The bird above is called a Blue-Footed Booby Bird. It is believed their name derived from the Spanish word ‘bobo’ which means stupid & how the Spaniards viewed the clumsiness of the birds on dry land. Male birds show off their feet to prospective mates with a high-stepping strut. David’s wife Michal also must have viewed David in the same way the Spaniards viewed these birds as David danced before the ark of the covenant. She called him a “vulgar fellow” for dancing in front of the slave girls. Verse 21 says, “And David said unto Michal, it was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel: therefore, will I play before the Lord.” Are we willing to be a blue-footed booby bird dancing before the Lord? Are we willing to make fools of ourselves to bring glory to God?
“And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the Lord is his treasure.”
Today, people put so much emphasis on personal treasures they have – the home, the car, the job, the money, prestige, social status and personal achievement. Many times I have seen individuals who place all their value on these personal treasures and they lose sight of what true treasures really are. The most important is to have a personal relationship with God. No amount of money can purchase this and, anymore, it has become a rarity.
The bible tells us that God seeks us – we are the jewel lost at sea being moved by the world’s tide but God still seeks you. When He finds you, He says, “Come.” All we have to do is go. The treasures of God far outweigh what the world has to offer. In Him there is peace, comfort, joy and fulfillment. In God, our treasures are yet to be seen and our mind cannot imagine the depth, the width and the love waiting for us in heaven. So, where are your treasures?
“As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even forever.”
Finding Rest at the Top of the Mountain
Mt. McKinley (now Mt. Denali) in Alaska, is the largest mountain in North America & is 133 miles from Anchorage as the crow flies. If you drive there from Anchorage, it is 241 miles. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Denali from Anchorage. Did you realize that every time the bible says Jesus prayed, He went to the top of the mountain? Moses met God at the top of a mountain. God was with Abraham when he took Isaac to the top of the mountain to sacrifice him. Noah’s ark came to rest on the top of mountain. We are never so close to God than when we are on the top of the mountain. Rest assured though, when we are in the valley, you will find Him there, too. When it seems we are at our lowest, all we desire to see is the top. When we are at the top, that is where we find rest. Even Jesus had to travel through valleys in His walk here on earth and yet, He knew where to find rest. Jesus went to the mountaintop. God is “round about his people henceforth even forever.” As large as Mt. Denali is, it will never be as large or as great as our God.
“In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”
John 4:31 – 34
Feasting on God’s Word
As Baptists, we are known for our hearty appetites. We love to eat & fellowship. As Jesus travelled to Galilee, he had to go through Samaria. The disciples left Jesus at a well while they went to get him food. It was here that Jesus had His encounter with the Samaritan woman. Jesus told the woman what he already knew about her & that whoever drank of the water He offered would never thirst again. Ater the woman excitedly left to share with others about Jesus, the disciples returned with food for Jesus. Jesus tells them He has food to eat which they don’t know about. They asked if someone else had brought Him food. Jesus told them, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work.” Jesus had one goal – to finish the work of His Father. While we depend on literal food to sustain, energize & enable us to live, Jesus depended on His Father to sustain & energize Him to face what lay before Him. Jesus knew the task set before Him & knew that He would need more than meat & potatoes. We, too, need more than just meat & potatoes to sustain us. We need Jesus in every aspect of our lives to lead, guide & protect us from the influences of the world we live in. One day soon when Jesus returns to take us home, let Him find us feasting on God’s word.
“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
John 21:12 – 13
Paid in Full
Can you imagine how angry Jesus must have been to overturn tables & chase out all the people who used God’s temple for profit? There are preacher’s today who stand up on Sunday mornings, not to preach God’s word, but to sell God. One preacher has made it rich off selling God & himself. His house alone is worth $10.5 million. It’s not just in the mega-churches; it is just as prevalent in the large, medium & small churches. Jesus, the King of Kings & Lord of Lords, left the glories of heaven, not to live in a mansion but to humble Himself. There are doctrines in some churches today that tell people they can buy their way into heaven. They come into the church with their tithes in hand thinking they have paid their way & there are those that teach a works salvation. As people continue to work & pay, one day they will find they are no closer to heaven than when they started. The true church today is not getting rich & it’s not working itself to death to earn their way into heaven. They are like Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus, soaking up Jesus’ words. They are not drinking wine; they are drinking in His word. We come to church to worship & praise the God who offered salvation, forgiveness & the promise of heaven to those who believe – free of charge – because Jesus has already paid the price. Thank you, Jesus, for paying a debt we could not pay.