Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Chosen Ones

God's Chosen
I was watching a show the other night that sparked this title and entry. One thing in particular stood out and really struck a chord with my spirit. The basis for the show was a love interest whom she secretly was hoping would eventually end up being in her favor. One of her patients was in a medical crisis and she came to his bedside to give him some insight to help him understand why his mother did what she did and to help this patient mend the small rift that he just put between his mother and himself. But when it came out of her mouth, as she was speaking it, she also realized it was for her benefit as well. She said, “Your mother CHOSE you. She CHOSE to keep you, raise you in a different environment, to give you a new life and hope for a better future. She loves you very, very much. And to a 15 year old, it may not mean much to you now, but to know that you were CHOSEN, will one day be all you need to know.” She later used the same term about being chosen to her co-worker about her love interest when she finally “let go” of her desire, realizing he wasn't interested in her, deciding she wasn't going to wait on him, and she said, very convincingly, “I want to be someone's chosen one! I want to be their number one that they sought out. That they chose ME. I deserve that.” Well, this resonated in my spirit in ways I couldn't imagine!

In Ephesians 1:4-6 it says, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: (v5) Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, (v6) To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” How beautiful! God chose US! We are all chosen, made in His likeness, and born at a specific and designated time and place. In Jeremiah 1:5, it's said probably the best, “Before I formed you in the belly I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained you a prophet unto the nations.” This tells us that each and every one of us, He knew long before we were conceived and more importantly, that He CHOSE us!! All for His glory, for His purpose and for His Will. Although this verse says we have been chosen, it does not say, nor does it infer, that we are SAVED. That is part of our CHOICE on whether or not we will hear His calling upon our hearts and accept Jesus as our personal Savior.

Each of us have been chosen by our Father in Heaven and no matter how lonely one feels, how empty, disconnected or out of sorts, we need to always seek His face because the ONE thing is for certain, friends, family and acquaintances will come and go but God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit will NEVER leave you or forsake you as promised, first in the Old Testament, in Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” and again, consistently in the New Testament, in Hebrews 13:5-6, "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. (v6) So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” 

Think about that for just a moment....God chose you. He knew you long before you were conceived. He knew your parents. He knew His plans for you. He knew why you were going to be born when you were born. He knew every hair on your head and numbered them. That's pretty profound! When I have felt alone, feeling like I'm wading through the mud of life, feeling rejected, and feeling like I'm having to claw my way through this life at times, I HAVE to stop and remind myself of those verses above. No matter how much MAN has rejected me, left me, or hurt me, God has NEVER done any of those things! Quite the opposite actually and holds to His promises to be with me, to go with me and before me, and to never forsake me.  Just knowing He has chosen ME, little old sinful natured me, is really humbling because He didn't have to put me on this earth. He didn't have to create me, but He DID! Why? Because He CHOSE to! NOT because He NEEDED me, but because I NEED Him and because He LOVES ME! In Acts 17:24-25, it says, "God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things." Then in Jeremiah 31:3, it makes it clear on His love for us, "I have loved you with an everlasting love" He has loved US with an EVERLASTING LOVE! A love that never dies. Never ends. Goes on FOREVER. He CHOSE us!

God created us to fulfill his eternal plan. I could write pages and pages about this, but suffice it to say that God, in his infinite wisdom, chose to make us a part of his eternal plan. What part do we play in this plan? Well, the Bible is full of instructions for how we should live our lives. But here are a few key verses to remember: 1) Deuteronomy 6:5, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength" 2) Matthew 22:39, "Love your neighbor as yourself" and 3) Ephesians 2:10, "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" We're also part of the war between God and Satan, and God's ultimate plan to defeat Satan. By putting our faith in God, we can defeat Satan and his lies (see Ephesians 6:10-18). Perhaps the most important part we play in God's eternal plan is to point people to eternal life with God solely through his Son Jesus Christ. The Bible calls this our "ministry of reconciliation" as found in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, "Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation." That's why we're here. God had, and HAS, a purpose for each of us....but we have a CHOICE whether we return His love, or we reject Him and all that He has done for us!

When God created us, He didn't make us pawns in a universal chess game. We're not his toy soldiers that He made just to play with. He gave us a purpose. He gave us a reason. God gives us freedom of choice. How could we turn our backs and hearts on Him? I can't understand that but I know many who do! God may not need us, but we certainly need him. Let's look at John 15:16, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you." In verse 19, Jesus tells us where He chose us from. He did not choose us out of the "vast majority of those who are seeking God." He did not choose people who were first inclined to Him. He did not choose people who had already chosen Him. No, He says that "I chose you out of the world." The world is described in this passage as being against God and hating Him. "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (v. 18-19).  Simply put, all people are by nature haters of God and at war with Him. No one in the world would therefore ever seek God on their own. But God, in His mercy, chooses people out of this world to be saved. Those who are "seeking" God are perhaps better described as people who are being drawn by God to Himself. God must cause a person to seek Him. And He must choose a person before they will ever believe.

So since He chooses a person before they believe, then turning a heart cold and black against Him and His Mercy and Grace is a great heartache to Him. God did not decide who would believe and who would disobey. He did, however, determine that those who would believe would be saved. Remember our free will and choice? It is clear that the Lord’s predestination of a thing does not negate a person’s freewill. God chose Christ (1 Peter 1:20; 2:4). But Christ exercised his own freewill in the redemptive plan (John 10:17-18; Galatians 1:4). If we want to share in the glory God chose for the saved, then we have to submit to His conditions. It's incredulous to think God would plead with men who allegedly could not believe. Since people can, and must, respond to the preaching of the gospel, the Lord commanded us to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15-16). The ones who submit to it will be saved. Before sin entered into the world by one man's disobedience, God wanted to be a Father to what he had created. God desires, and it's His divine will today, to be a Father to those He has chosen out of this world (Ephesians 1:4). We are not suppose to live for ourselves but in ALL things seek His will in our lives. Man was not created to be the center. God is the center of all things and all things are for Him! Period. The "us" that we know, must be crucified with Christ, buried with Christ, raised with Christ and ascend with Christ into the heavenly. This happens to us IN Him. Our focus has to change to make Christ the center because if Christ is the center, then He will deliver us to a life centered in God where all things are related to Him. If God is our center where we stand in liberty then we are no longer living our victory but rather living in His victory. It is no longer our purpose, but His purpose. It is no longer our dedication, but living in His dedication.

Before redemption became necessary, our Father had an original purpose, an original plan, which did not necessitate redemption for its realization. He didn't plan man's sin so that He could use redemption as the glorious means of demonstrating His Grace. However, long before Adam was created and before sin entered into the world, God perfected the glorious means of redemption into His plan and demonstrated the "riches of his grace." Revelation 13:8,  "Jesus Christ was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world." 1 Peter 1:20 "Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you." Though God did not predestine and cause man's fall, God already had a remedy in His Son Jesus Christ. That's how much He loves us and that's how DEEP His love runs! God didn't tempt man with the fruit from the tree of knowledge. First, we are called into the "fellowship in the gospel" (Philippians 1:5). Secondly, we are led into the "fellowship of the Spirit" (Philippians 2:1). Then we are called into a deeper relationship "fellowship with His Son" (1 Corinthians 1:9). As we learn the mind of Christ we are called into "the fellowship of his sufferings" (Philippians 3:10).

His Love for Us
By being His Chosen Ones, we are spiritually richly blessed in His Kingdom, for His Purpose and in His Perfect Will for our lives. I think about what the doctor told her 15 year old patient about his mother choosing him and how she wanted to be the chosen one too. And I believe, inherently, that we ALL want to be chosen. But, sadly, not everyone knows they already have been chosen by the Creator Himself! There are many people running around, blindly chasing down trying to CHOOSE someone else or fantasizing about being chosen by another man or woman in a worldly relationship. That, my dear readers, will leave you empty, alone and searching for all the wrong things in all the wrong places. You've already been chosen. It's now up to YOU to choose His Grace, to accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as your personal Savior, to repent of all of your sins, and walk in His Kingdom as you were meant to do.....with HIM! 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, Behold all things are become new." Things become new as we let go of the old. The former things of this life must die and be buried and REMAIN buried. What should be raised up is a person centered in God the Father. Why? In 1 John 4:19, it says "We love him because he first loved us."

The Voice of God
The Bible is more than a book of salvation or about the Kingdom. The bible, which is God's written, INERRANT Word, and His Love Letter to us, His children, His Creation, reveals His ultimate purpose and His ultimate plan. All the answers you are seeking are found in this wonderful book! His love. His Grace. His Mercy. His purpose. His plan. His instructions. It's never changed because it LIVES. Because He LIVES! And He's waiting for you to surrender to His voice, to His gentle knocking, to His invitation.....Don't miss your chance....

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