December 9

1 Peter 1-2, Psalm 33

Being a physician for 30 years it takes a lot to shock me now concerning my patients, since through the years I have seen and heard so many different things. A few years ago, after reviewing the anatomy ultrasound (done at 20 weeks detailing the anatomy of the baby) I gave the news to the couple that everything looked great. The father who was lovingly bouncing his daughter on his knee then asked me if it was too late to have an abortion. Although I do not do abortions, the request didn't make any sense until the father stated his disappointment that although the child seemed healthy, it was another girl, and he wanted a boy. I desperately tried to settle my thoughts and speak on behalf of the child to no avail. Everything, all of my best formed arguments that I was saying was obviously falling on deaf ears. I excused myself, and walked outside the exam room and with her chart open and ultrasound pictures out, I prayed to God for the words to spare this baby's life since my own words were failing. I remember King Hezekiah and what he did in Isaiah 37:14, "And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord." Though Hezekiah was acting for the nation of Judah, this child's life was hanging in the balance on the whims of their parents. When I re-entered the room, the words flowed and the patient elected to keep the baby. I remember approaching it from the mother's standpoint, but in reality the success of the outcome was not based on my carefully crafted argument, but instead on being a vessel that God allowed to be used on His behalf.

Pride clamors for center stage as we seek our own self importance and our own role in events. But it is and always has been God through His people that deserve center stage. We read in 1 Peter 1:10-12, "Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven-things which angels desire to look into." We read this amazing passage illustrating that even the prophets and angels as they spoke forth the Word of God didn't fully comprehend necessarily what they were saying since it had not yet been fulfilled, but faithfully served as vehicles to communicate God's Words and prophecies. Many question the Word of God, claiming that it is just a book like any other book written by men. But we know that in 2 Timothy 3:16, the Holy Spirit through Paul, said, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." Later in 2 Peter 1:20-21, we read, "knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." Not only is God's Word, of God, but so is our salvation. Pride likes to elevate our role, our works. But in reality it is all based on what He did, and not what we do. We read in 1 Peter 1:18-19, "knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things,like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." When it comes to our salvation God's part is first and predominant. Man's part is secondary. So often we think and hear preached and emphasized what man should do for God, but the Scriptures emphasize what God has done for man.

So how should we approach God in our daily lives, Peter said in 1 Peter 2:2, "as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow...". Jesus said in John 10:27-29, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand." With words like this our confidence should rest fully on Him and what He has done and still does in the lives of believers. We can't, nor should we desire, to add to this beautiful plan of salvation. Our role, being recipients of such a marvelous gift, is to step out in faith and serve Him in every capacity available to us, trusting in His strength rather than our own. Whether at work, with friends, at the workplace, everywhere, we are called to reach out to others and plant seeds of this amazing promise by God to anyone and everyone with ears to hear. We need not fear the words, for God will provide all that we need if we will bury our pride and allow ourselves to be filled, and yield to the Holy Spirit (Luke 21:14-15)

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster