Tag Archives: calling

Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #1

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 1 each day this week. Here is something that I noticed in reading this chapter:

The Apostle Paul is called by God to be an apostle (“a sent one”). Followers of Jesus are also called to do the same. Not in the technical sense of “apostle” (that office is over), but in the sense of being “on mission” for God.

Like Paul we are called to call others to faith in Christ! And please notice that we are not just calling people to believe or have faith, but to the obedience that comes from faith (v. 5).

But our primary calling is to belong to Jesus Christ (v. 6). Upon conversion we become His. We no longer belong to ourselves, but to Him who bought us with His blood!

And, lastly, we are called to be His holy people. Holiness does not come automatically. Of course, salvation is instantaneous and is not assisted in any way by our efforts. But holiness, growing into the likeness of Christ, is a daily battle against our sin natures and a constant make-every-effort life for the believer.


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Posted by on November 25, 2020 in Romans 1


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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel (3:1-21) When the Lord Calls!

God has just pronounced a profound judgment against Eli and his entire family line! The story now turns to the fulfillment of God’s promise of raising up a faithful priest who will act in tune with God’s heart and mind! And that faithful priest would be Samuel.

In contrast to Eli’s indulgence of his sons and his own gluttonous ways, “the boy Samuel” is described as “ministering before the Lord under Eli” (v. 1). We are then told that there were few visions from the Lord at that time; “the word of the Lord was rare.” But that is about to change!

The Lord calls out to Samuel, but Samuel thinks it is Eli calling out to him. This happens three times. Eli realizes that the Lord “was calling the boy” (v. 8). We are told that “Samuel did not yet know the Lord” (v. 7). Does this refer to salvation? Perhaps not, for the sentence goes on to say “The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him” (v. 7). To “know the Lord” here seems to refer to God’s direct communication with a person. Eli gives Samuel instructions how to respond to the Lord (I wonder if he was thinking back to when he listened to the Lord himself?). Someone has said that Eli’s instructions to Samuel to say “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” have been changed to, “Listen, Lord, for your servant is speaking!”

Samuel responds to the Lord and the Lord tells Samuel His plans. What He is going to do “will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle.” (v. 11). [We’ve lost our tingling ears, haven’t we?] God tells Samuel of the judgment He will inflict upon Eli and his family — and why. His sons blasphemed God; he failed to restrain them (v. 13). And then the awesome words: “The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering” (v. 14).

Samuel feared telling Eli what the Lord had said to him, but, upon Eli’s insistence, tells him everything. Eli’s response is: “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes” (v. 18).

We then read “The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up” (v. 19). To have the Lord “with” him means that God promises that “none of Samuel’s words [would] fall to the ground” (v. 19). This involved all of Israel recognizing that Samuel “was attested as a prophet from the Lord” (v. 20). We then read, “The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.” (v. 21).

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Posted by on November 8, 2018 in I Samuel 3


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“Continuing the Race”: A Message for the Supporters of Dayspring Bible Camp Part 1

As I prepare to teach young people in a “Theology Matters” weekend at Dayspring Bible Camp in Ironton, Mo (here‘s their website), I will also get to share a message with the supporters of the camp.  These who have faithfully served the camp have chosen the theme “Continue the Race.”  So we want to look at the running metaphor as it is used by Scripture as I work on a message for these believers.

In an age when many give up and drop out of the race, the Word of God encourages us to persevere, to endure, to continue in the work God has appointed to us.  One book that has followed the running imagery in the Scriptures is Schreiner and Caneday’s The Race Set Before Us.

These men follow the idea of a RACE and see that imagery used in five places in the Word of God.  Let’s look at the first challenge which is —

I.  God Calls Us into This Race (Phil. 3:14). 

There the Apostle Paul writes, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  The expression “I press on toward the goal” is  κατὰ σκοπὸν διώκω.  This word skopos is used only once in the New Testament (here) and it has the idea of: “a watcher; also, a distant object on which the eye is kept fixed; a mark, goal.*

We sometimes use the expression “eyes on the prize”!  The verb diōkō has the idea of “to pursue, persecute, to systematically oppress and harass a person or group; to press on, to put in rapid motion; to pursue; to follow, pursue the direction of, Lk. 17:23; to follow eagerly, endeavor earnestly to acquire, Rom. 9:30, 31; 12:13; to press forwards, Phil. 3:12, 14; to pursue with malignity, persecute, Mt. 5:10, 11, 12, 44.  The Apostle Paul uses this word diōkō when he says in Acts 26 about his pursuit of Christians:  “And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme; and since I was so vehemently angry at them, I pursued them even to foreign cities.”

We are to pursue (almost to the point of “malignity”) the goal to which God has called us!  We’ve been invited into the family of God and called to engage ourselves fully in this race!  We’ve been called heavenward!  We will live eternally in the New Heavens and Earth, not on this broken, sin-cursed planet.  We are not to despise this world (see the excellent book by Mike Witmer entitled Becoming Worldly Saints), but have been called to that other place — heaven!

Do you feel called this morning?  You have a mission to complete in this world before you head to the next.  Pursue that prize with malignity (intensity)! (to be continued)

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Posted by on July 19, 2018 in calling


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Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 1 Part 1)

I hope you are including me in your prayer list.  I’m preparing to go to Word of Life Korea to teach the book of Galatians in June.  I will be there Jun 7-16.  Please pray that I will get my material ready and that I will be a blessing to those students.

We’ve asked 100 questions about the book of Galatians.  But what are its major themes?  I believe there is no substitute for reading and re-reading a book of the Bible to understand its primary emphases.  So let’s begin to think about chapter one this morning (verses 1-2).

One major theme for Paul — and he comes back to it several times in this epistle — is the fact that his calling and gospel are not derived from man.  He is not being sent from men or by a man (v. 1), but his commission is from Jesus Christ and God the Father, the One who raised His Son from the dead (v. 1).

The group of churches I grew up in did not emphasize ordination, but sought to recognize when a person had God’s call on his or her life.  It is not enough that man commissions.  What is critical is that GOD has called a person into His service!

Have you been called into the service of the Lord?  Then serve Him today — with all you’ve got!


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Posted by on May 4, 2018 in Galatians


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