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Verse of the Month - Sept 2017

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[9] But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Pet 2:9 ESV)

The Apostle Peter’s first letter is a strong exhortation to a group of believers who have found themselves in the middle of the fiery trial due to their faith (1 Pet. 4:12).  Peter, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, sets out to encourage those who have encountered difficulty by showing them the living hope found in our Lord Jesus Christ (1:3).  This first letter from the Apostle Peter brings ultimate hope into focus like a blazing fire in a dark room and calls us to live a life by following in Jesus’ footsteps.

In the first chapter, Apostle Peter has appealed to his audience by explaining God's choosing of them (1 Pet. 1:1-5) and the promise of their refinement through various trials (1:6-9).  Peter then moves on to identify their calling as a people set apart.  He tells them to prepare their minds for action by setting their hope fully on the future grace at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1:13).  After this exhortation, the Apostle Peter gives these first century believers and us today the reason to live this way.  He does it in chapter 2 verse 9 by pointing out their identity and purpose.

Peter writes that a believer’s identity is one of a chose race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God’s possession.  For the believer in time of difficulty, this gives great hope; not because of the who we are, but rather who we belong to.  You see we are God’s possession.  We are held by the triune-God who cannot be stopped no matter what the circumstance.  We have a Heavenly Father who is not intimidated by any event or enemy but rather stands sovereign over it all.

We have been set apart not only from something but also set apart for something.  We who were once not a people are now a people created for the purpose of proclaiming of the excellencies of our owner.  We are called to be salt and light to a dark and decaying world.  When Jesus experienced the ultimate darkness on the cross, He purchased our identity and purpose.  We are called now to walk in the footsteps of the one who endured the greatest trail of death and rose so that we may have a living hope and proclaim it to the nations.


Written by Pastor Rick Bartek

Posted by Rick Bartek with

Verse of the Month - Aug 2017

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[3] Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. (Psalm 63:3 ESV)

If you live in Nebraska during the summers and spend any amount of time outside, you will surely become thirsty.  If you don’t seek out a drink to quench your thirst, the result can be detrimental to your health.  But it is important to point out that what you drink matters.  For instance, if you tried to drink sand, it wouldn’t satisfy your thirst at all. It would actually accentuate the problem you feel.  If you drank a glass of milk, your thirst might be subsided momentarily, but it would actually dehydrate you further.  The solution to our physical thirst is to drink something that will actually work to hydrate you, such as water or gatorade. The truth is that our physical thirst is a shadow of our deep spiritual thirst that needs to be quenched.  In Ecclesiastes 3:11, Solomon writes that God has placed eternity into the heart of man.  In other words, God has created you with an ingrained thirst for Him.  Sadly, we often at times try to quench that thirst with things that only leave us more thirsty.  So what is the answer?

In Psalm 63 we observe the plea of David for the presence of God.  The psalm comes in three stages which can be labeled as thirst, fulfillment, and deliverance.  In verse 1, David describes his thirst for God.  We get the picture that God is like the rare commodity of water in a desert which David longs and thirsts for.  David has an understanding that in the “wilderness” times of life, his soul needs to drink from the eternal well that never runs dry.  David finds his fulfillment as he looks upon God and sees His power and glory (v 2).  These two characteristics of God reassure David of God’s sovereign control, His matchless beauty, and unfading love which does not shift regardless of life circumstance.  They are like a cold glass of water in the desert place!  David responds in doxology by saying, “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you” (v. 3).  Seeing God and beholding His glory and power builds in David a trust of deliverance knowing that ultimately all things will be made right.

For the Christian today, we can drink of the Jesus who is the living water in times of wilderness because on the cross Jesus thirsted and shed His blood for us.  By the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us, we too can behold God’s power and glory found in the person and work of our Lord Jesus.  From “his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” and in Jesus we have seen the glory of God. (Jn 1:14, 16).  

Written by Pastor Rick Bartek

Posted by Rick Bartek with