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A Blessed Nation

A Blessed Nation

The blessings of being God’s people is something that Christians sometimes forget in the hustle and bustle of daily life. We get caught up in the day to day grind of school or work (and sometimes both) and then come home to give our time over to various forms of digital entertainment before collapsing for the night and beginning the cycle again in the morning. This only amplifies the importance of setting aside time to gather with the saints to study the Bible and worship God. Unfortunately, we can make the sad mistake of bringing the attitude developed throughout the week into the assembly when we really ought to bring the attitude we develop in the assembly into the rest of our week.

Meditating on the thirty-third psalm provides us an opportunity to refresh our perspective and renew ourselves spiritually. It reminds us of why we became God’s people in the first place. It begins emphasizing how the joy we have available in life by living for God should lead us to worship and praise the LORD even more (Psa. 33:1-3). This connection often goes unnoticed as life runs by us at the speed of the world. However, one only need consider the misery and despair that the ungodly suffer and feel—often without reason—because they lack the perspective of righteousness. Instead, we can trust God’s word to provide a valuable perspective to guide us through life that offers peace even in the midst of trial (Psa. 33:4-5). Viewing the simple beauties of creation reminds us not only of God’s glory and greatness but also of how much can be accomplished by His word (Psa. 33:6-9). Thus we can appreciate, as others cannot, the value of God’s guidance through all the storms of life (Psa. 33:10-11). Truly then does the psalm speak, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance” (Psa. 33:12). Being God’s people—in any generation—offers blessings beyond compare. He knows us all (Psa. 33:13-15), but He will deliver those who reverence Him (Psa. 33:16-19). This powerful promise, though, has meaning only so far as our faith extends and accepts all that He has said and done.

How then should God’s people respond to such majestic promises? God’s faithfulness should help us be patient, because we are confident He will do exactly as He has promised (Psa. 33:20). God’s blessings should bring joy to our lives that others cannot even comprehend because of their transcendent nature (Psa. 33:21). All that God has said and done should make us the most hopeful people on earth, for we have more to look forward to in one day in Christ than the world can expect in a lifetime (Psa. 33:22). Truly it is a blessing to be part of God’s people. Truly it is a blessing to be a Christian, God’s child, and a member of the Lord’s church! “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Pet. 2:9-10).

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Sermon – The Brevity of Life

Sermon – The Brevity of Life

The last two days have been difficult for my family. First we learned of the hit-and-run death of the oldest daughter of some friends of our in Georgia. Then, we were very nearly in a life-altering accident on the way home from my brother’s house that night. Last night, we learned that my cousin died yesterday morning of a massive heart attack. He was 49. My sermon on Sunday morning changed at about midnight Saturday night after the first two events. The audio below is of yesterday’s sermon on “The Brevity of Life.” Please take the time to listen to it.

If you are not right in your relationship with God (whether it be because you have never obeyed the Gospel or you have not been living the life a Christian should) and there is anything I can do to help, or you are unsure what God wants you to do to be right with him… please let me know.

Thanks and God Bless.

Adam

http://cozort.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/2016-10-09AM-The-Brevity-of-Life.mp3

Source: Cozort’s Contemplations

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1 Timothy 2:7 – What does God want a preacher or teacher to be?

1 Timothy 2:7 – What does God want a preacher or teacher to be?

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Source: Cozort’s Contemplations

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Feeling Forgiven

Feeling Forgiven

David truly was a man after God’s own heart. This distinction he received—not because of his perfect life but because of his willingness to correct his imperfections and seek forgiveness. We see this on three different major occasions in David’s life: when he brought the ark up to Jerusalem on a cart (2 Sam. 6:1-11; 1 Chr. 13:1-14), when he sinned with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11:1-12:25), and when he numbered the people (2 Sam. 24:1-25). Each time the Bible records not only David’s sin but also his repentance. On one of these occasions, and I believe it is the first, following the granting of forgiveness by God, David penned Psalm 32. It is a stirring reflection on the meaning of forgiveness, and why it should never be taken for granted.

Forgiveness makes an amazing difference in our lives. It provides the difference between just understanding the reality of our sin and taking responsibility for that sin. It makes the difference between recognizing the consequence of that sin and God eliminating the consequence of that sin (Psa. 32:1-2). Forgiveness makes the difference between wallowing in guilt, anger, and despair and seeking the LORD’s compassion, acknowledging our transgressions, and moving past them in feeling and in life (Psa. 32:3-5). Forgiveness is the beginning of hope and the promise of grace that makes God the first one we turn to when we have failed, precisely because we know He wants us back—if we take the opportunity afforded us (Psa. 32:6). Forgiveness makes the difference between hiding in God’s care and hiding from God’s wrath (Psa. 32:7)—a difference that should not be lost on anyone who has reflected seriously on his own sin. Forgiveness paves the way for us to keep learning and growing. It shows that God has not given up on us but desires to show us a better way (Psa. 32:8). However, with deep sincerity, appreciation, and love, we should approach our LORD ever desiring to learn and do better instead of constantly defying him. This indeed is the penitent heart he requires for forgiveness (Psa. 32:9). Forgiveness is the difference between experiencing constant consequences and multitudes of mercy. It is the why trusting the LORD is always better than trusting yourself (Psa. 32:10). God’s offer of forgiveness is what makes joy possible in the moment, in life, and in eternity because it is built on the foundation of righteousness—both the LORD’s and ours (Psa. 32:11). Forgiveness is not some emotion we enjoy; it is not a right we reach out and grab. Indeed, some people “feel” like they are forgiven when they have not sought God’s forgiveness as God requires (Acts 22:16; 1 Jn. 1:8-10). However, once we, like David, have sought God’s forgiveness and received it in faith, we should allow ourselves to bask in the glow of joy and hope that forgiveness makes possible. Feeling forgiven, when we are truly forgiven, is the best feeling in the world—because it is the only thing that can prepare us for heaven.

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1 Timothy 2:5-6 – Our Mediator

1 Timothy 2:5-6 – Our Mediator

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Source: Cozort’s Contemplations

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1 Timothy 2:3-4 – What God Desires

1 Timothy 2:3-4 – What God Desires

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Source: Cozort’s Contemplations

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A Son, Reading, and Encouragement

A Son, Reading, and Encouragement

This morning I had one of those moments that makes me love being a dad. Our middle son is smart, intelligent, goofy, and loud; but he has trouble getting things to stick in his mind. It is not that he refuses to pay attention, he tries very hard. It simply takes more time for his brain to accept new information than it takes some people.

As this school year starts, he has been working very hard on learning to read, but keeping everything straight in his head has been an effort. So this morning, when he came running into my office with his book in his hand, a smile from ear to ear, and his mother struggling to keep up, I immediately stopped what I was doing to listen.

When he read those 5 words to me, he could hardly get them out for all of his excitement. Shea told me afterward that when he read them out loud in the schoolroom this morning, the rest of the boys jumped up and down with excitement, congratulating their brother for his hard work and accomplishment.

As I think about those moments in their aftermath, I am reminded of an important spiritual point. When we have a brother or sister who has struggled with confidence in their Christian life, or dealt with great difficulty in trying to remove a sin from their life, or has faced great hardship and made it through to the other side, how do we respond? Do we think to ourselves: “it’s about time,” or, “I wonder what took them so long?” Do we half-heartedly acknowledge their efforts, but think to ourselves how much easier it should have been? It should not be this way.

Each of us have our mountains to climb that for another is but a small hill. When it comes to the Christian life, the important matter is not how quickly you reach the top, but that you continue to strive to reach it. As Christians, we should always be joyful and excited when that struggling Christian finds the confidence to re-dedicate their life. When the soul that has struggled with addiction has finally made progress in kicking the habit. Or when the one who has struggled to understand God’s Word finally has the light bulb moment.

Everyone does not reach the same plateaus at the same time, and we should always be grateful that God does not expect us to. Let us always encourage our friends, loved ones, and brethren. Let us be those that others can look to knowing that we will build them up, not tear them down. Because the goal of Christianity is to reach the finish line, not to get there first.



Source: Cozort’s Contemplations

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1 Timothy 2:1-2 – 4 Kinds of Prayer

1 Timothy 2:1-2 – 4 Kinds of Prayer

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Source: Cozort’s Contemplations

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1 Timothy 1:18-20 – A Shipwrecked Faith

1 Timothy 1:18-20 – A Shipwrecked Faith

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Source: Cozort’s Contemplations

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Just As Saved (But Not Like) The Thief On The Cross

Just As Saved (But Not Like) The Thief On The Cross

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just as saved as the thief“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” The precious blood of Jesus is so powerful that even a sinner like me can be saved. Sweet, incredible grace!

The greatest news in the world is this: Jesus came to save sinners (Luke 19:10). Even a sinner like you – with all that baggage and feelings of regret – can be saved. In the words the Hebrew writer, “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25). I would give anything for that.

We don’t exactly know what crime the thief hanging next to Jesus had committed. The Bible just calls him a “robber” or “criminal” (Luke 23:39-43). Whatever it was, he knew he was guilty (Luke 23:41). But he confessed his sins to Jesus, after which Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).

Sweet, incredible grace! Imagine how that thief must have felt when he heard those words. Think about the assurance he must have felt. Hanging there on that cross, abused and in utter physical agony, he felt a sense of peace and security he had never felt before.

Don’t you want to feel that confidence in your salvation, as if Jesus had personally told you, “Today you will be with me in Paradise”?

Totally Secure In Your Salvation

The apostle John says that it is possible to “know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). We can be absolutely sure that “God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). You can have just as much confidence in your salvation as you would if Jesus personally looked at you and said, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” You can be just as saved (to the same degree) as the thief on the cross.

How can you get that security?  

You must be obey the words of Christ. Jesus says,

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand (John 10:27-28).

He’s talking about you, Christian! When we follow Christ, we receive eternal life. And how can we feel secure in His grace? By knowing we are keeping His commands. “By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked” (1 John 2:5-6). Sweet, incredible grace!

God’s grace saves us, and we come to know His saving grace through our faithful obedience (Eph. 2:8; cf. John 3:36). By His grace he has offered salvation to “all people” (Titus 2:11), and we in turn “renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:12).

God doesn’t ask for perfection; He just asks for your best.

You cannot purposefully sin and have any hope of salvation. “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Rom. 6:1-2). Nonetheless, God doesn’t ask us to be perfect; He simply wants us to give Him our best by serving Him from the heart (Mark 12:30).

John says it this way:

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

We must “walk in the light.” In other words, we must continually try to obey Jesus faithfully. When I follow Him (however imperfectly), I have the absolute confidence that “Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Sweet, incredible grace!

Saved, But Not Like The Thief On The Cross

It is common to hear some well meaning soul say, “I just want to be saved like the thief on the cross.” The only problem is: you can’t.

No one today can be saved like (in the same manner as) the thief on the cross.

You can’t be saved like the thief on the cross, just as you can’t be saved like Elijah and Moses.

There is no doubt that that the thief on the cross was saved, just as there is no doubt that Elijah and Moses were saved (cf. Matt. 17:3-5). But the thief, Elijah, and Moses lived under a different law than anyone today.

Let me explain: As long as you are living and breathing, you can do whatever you want with your money and possessions. Likewise, Jesus, while on earth, had the authority to forgive sins whenever he wanted (Mark 2:10). However, when you die, your last will and testament will determine what happens to your money and possessions. In the same manner, after Jesus died and ascended into heaven, His last will and testament became the way in which He offers people forgiveness of sins (Heb. 9:13-17). And the way in which Jesus today has decided to forgive sin is through obedience, starting with repentance and baptism (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21; etc.).

You can’t be saved like the thief on the cross because the thief lived under a different law. Jesus’ last will and testament was not yet in effect. The law the thief was under when Jesus pronounced him saved was the very law Jesus was nailing to the cross (Col. 2:14).

Here’s the irony: If you try to be saved like the thief on the cross, you will be rebelling against the last will and testament of Jesus, and you’ll end up eternally damned like the other thief!

We are saved by following Jesus. And you can’t follow Jesus without first repenting of your sins and being baptized for the forgiveness of your sins (Mark 28:18-20). Today, you must be saved like the crowd on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38), the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:35-39), Saul (Acts 9:17-18; 22:6-14; 26:12-18), Cornelius (Acts 10:34-38), the jailer (Acts 16:25-34), Lydia (Acts 16:15), and John’s disciples (Acts 19:1-7).

You can be just as saved as the thief on the cross, but you can’t be saved like the thief on the cross. Belief in Christ must translate into obedience to Christ (John 3:36). Have you been baptized for the forgiveness of your sins?

Your comments are welcome and encouraged, even if they are in disagreement. However, please keep your comments relevant to the article. For my full comment policy, click here.



Source: Plain Simple Faith