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LIVE TO MAKE JESUS KNOWN

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”  1 Peter 4:7-11

The book of 1 Peter is packed full of many challenges for us to live a life that honors God and brings Him Glory. Just in these few verses from our yearly Bible reading today we are encouraged to live with the end in mind. Truly we are challenged to “live to make Jesus known” to a watching world. We are to spend our moments and our years living “self controlled and sober minded” lives full of love, putting other’s needs above our own. We are to love each person we meet and Peter points out love is the answer to our relationships and our sin problem. Let us never forget it was God Himself who sent His Son to die on a cross for our sins. Peter challenges  us to be good stewards of “God’s grace, and His gifts He supplies for us.” What an amazing life we get to live sharing His very Word and serving Him each day with the strength He supplies. 

Scripture passages above taken from the English Standard Version, Accordance Bible Software Program. 

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SHAPE UP OR SHIP OUT

Psalm 85 is a remarkable prayer of faith, especially considering the situation in which it was written. The community of God's people has experienced blessings in the past, but now is experiencing hardship. 

8 I will hear what God the LORD will speak, for He will speak peace to His people and to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly. 9 Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land.  12 Yes, the LORD will give what is good; and our land will yield its increase. 13 Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway.   Psa. 85:8-9 and 12-13, NKJV

In the 85th Psalm the Psalmist is recounting God's favor for His people by bringing them back from captivity. But, why were they in captivity? Much of the Old Testament is filled with the Israelites' obedience, disobedience, obedience again, disobedience again, etc. In times of sin and disobedience God sent prophets to warn the people that as judgment for their sin, He would send other nations in to conquer them.  We used to have a phrase in our Old Testament  Walk Thru seminar that said.  ”Shape up or Ship out” - It always got a big laugh in our event but it’s also such a great short word picture of how God warned His people in the OT that judgment was coming for disobedience. 

Finally after years of their continually falling into sin, God sent the Assyrians and Babylonians to conquer Israel and  Judah and to carry off many of the people into captivity. In this Psalm the Lord has returned the Israelites to their own land. The Psalmist here correctly knows that it is God alone who they must turn to for mercy and help. 

God loves His people; but He also uses punishment much as we would for our children. We do not punish them because we are angry, but because we are trying to direct them in the right way to go. He is also not slack in giving us good things. Those good things don't always just mean more money or material things for ourselves, but the whole land increases its yield, and God makes His footsteps our pathway. 

Pray today that you would be aware of God's presence today as He makes His footsteps your pathway; be sure to thank Him for it, too. 

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