Have you even been invited to a party but couldn’t go? Maybe you had something else scheduled only to find out through social media or from friends how much fun the party actually was. How did that make you feel? For me, usually the first emotion is regret. Then I try and justify in my mind why it’s ok that I missed out on all that fun. And finally, I’m just sorry that I didn’t make the right decision by accepting the invite. All those emotions because I simply missed an invitation do something fun.
In Romans 1 verse 6, the apostle Paul is writing his opening remarks to the churches in Rome and he tells them that GOD has called each one of them to belong to Jesus Christ. If you look up the word “called” in the original Greek it’s the word kletos which means “to be called or invited.” What I love about this word kletos that Paul uses is that we are not forced into a relationship with Jesus, but we are invited. Invitations are normally not sent out to unwanted guests, but to people we love, cherish, and want to celebrate with. That is the same motivation that Jesus has when He invited us to have a relationship with Him. Jesus is wanting to spend time with people He loves and cares for. If you are a Christian today, then that’s the love you are sharing in with Jesus. A love that invited you even when you didn’t deserve an invitation. A love that the apostle John describes like this:
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. -1 John 3:16 NLT
Invited to experience real love. And that invitation is still being sent out today. Maybe you find yourself reading this and you want to experience that love. Maybe you’ve seen the invitation, but haven’t RSVP’d to the party. Let me help you with that. Today is your day to come in and celebrate with the King. Let’s pray a simple prayer together:
Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for me. I realize that I have sinned and I need a savior. Thank you for inviting me to come into your love. I accept your invitation today.
We have all been invited. Nobody is left out and since we’ve been invited let’s go out and tell others about this great invitation. The love of Jesus is for everyone. Your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, classmates, everyone is invited. Let’s not keep this invitation to ourselves, but let’s share it with the community around us. It’s time to party!
'At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.' Matthew 27:51-53
The resurrection power of GOD has a ripple effect. Just like when Jesus was raised from the grave and the power had a ripple effect across the rest of the graveyard, when GOD resurrects something in your life, there is a ripple effect.
When GOD restores a relationship, the ripple effect is seen. Other relationships are restored because of the example of your resurrection. When your body is miraculously healed, there is a ripple effect. Your story and your example have a ripple effect on others that are hurting or going through something. When GOD provides financially for you in a way only He can, there is a ripple effect. Others see the way GOD provided in your life and begin to believe He can do the same in theirs. Our entire life is one big ripple effect of the grace of GOD. Just like in water you can’t stop a ripple, our lives should constantly be testifying of the ripples of GOD.
Make an effort today to be a ripple in your home, neighborhood, community, and city. Let your light shine because of the light that He first shined on you. Allow the ripples of GOD to resurrect the lives of those you come into contact with. You never know who GOD might bring into your life who needs a "resurrection."
Oftentimes we miss the gifts that GOD has given because we are too focused on our problems or circumstance. In this podcast, Drew & Valerie look at the little ways GOD has blessed them and how we can be more aware of all the gifts GOD is trying to give us.
Accepted, according to Webster’s dictionary, means regarded favorably: given approval or acceptance.
At some point in your life you may have heard that word - possibly when getting into your dream school, making it on the team, or joining into a loving family by marriage or adoption. Acceptance feels good.
Contradictory to that, rejection does not. Feeling less than, not chosen, or being left out can burn. Have you ever had a great idea? Maybe at work you had something you wanted to bring to the table but no one else felt the same way about it? Or maybe the family you are a part of doesn’t value or approve of you. Sometimes you may feel left out, perhaps purposely or by personal fault, but either way, the idea of not being accepted can derail us if we can’t fully grasp the depth to which we have already been accepted. Our acceptance happened long before we were even born.
If anyone understands what it’s like to not feel accepted it’s Jesus. At one point when he was performing miracles, he went back to his hometown of Nazareth. Jesus was speaking in the synagogues and on one account they didn’t like what he had to to say.
Luke 4:28-30 says, “When they heard this, the people in the synagogue were furious. Jumping up, they mobbed him and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, but he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.” (NLT)
Not many of us have actually been pushed to the edge of a cliff in hopes we would fall to our death. But, as we can see, Jesus certainly understands rejection.
Think about the disciples whom Jesus chose to walk with during his final years on Earth. These men weren’t exactly regarded as favorable. Honestly, some people couldn’t believe they were walking with Jesus- some of which were a tax collector, fishermen, a zealot. If we looked at their given titles, we wouldn’t think much of such men. But Jesus chose them because he saw something others couldn’t see. He accepted them when others didn’t, not because of “what” they did, but because of “whose” they were.
That same acceptance is extended to you. It’s not an exclusive club meant just for those that act a certain way, have a certain look, come from a particular upbringing, work a certain job or drink only strong coffee (whew, cuz I’m definitely a decaf kinda girl 😅). Acceptance is joining the body of Christ, coming as you are, being fully accepted into His family. In time, you may change as you grow in your relationship with Christ, but he doesn’t ask you to wait until you’re at that point to be His. Right now, He chooses you. I love this verse:
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT
Once we can grasp that long before we were born we were already chosen, accepted and designed with a particular purpose in mind, rejection won’t have the final say. It may still sting, but it won’t define us because the one who created the universe calls us His masterpiece. Let that sink in.
“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31 NLT
The voices around you may say rejected, but the Voice within you says “accepted”.
Loneliness is something that we all struggle with. Maybe for you it's not a physical loneliness, but it's a spiritual or emotional loneliness. Our enemy wants nothing more than to make us feel alone, weak, and unwanted, but GOD's truth says so much more. In Him we are never alone, strong in our weakness, and have been chosen for a specific purpose.
2 Timothy 4:16-18:
The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death. Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.