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Friday, July 25, 2008

Butterfly on thistle
Photo by Greg Schneider
Greg is a friend of ours who works as a photographer in the publishing industry.
He took this photo in central Pennsylvania

(Click here to enlarge)

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"A Peculiar People"

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9).

I was raised in Belton Missouri, a small town about 20 miles south of Kansas City. The very next town south of Belton is Peculiar which, to this day, remains a quaint little town on the outer edges of KC's sprawling suburbs. 

Peculiar road signPeculiar got its name in an interesting way.   This is from the town's website: "The pioneer settlers decided their drowsy, maple-shaded hamlet ought to have a name. After several sessions in the general store they narrowed the choice to three names, but couldn't settle on any one. All three names were sent to the post office for consideration. All three were in use elsewhere. They decided to appeal directly to the postmaster general, agreeing to let him make the final decision. 'We don't care what name you give us,' they said, 'so long as it is sort of peculiar.' Probably with tongue in cheek the postmaster general wrote a long and courteous reply. He said he had given their predicament grave consideration. 'My conclusion' he wrote, 'is that in all the land it would be difficult to imagine a more distinctive, a more peculiar name than Peculiar.' And Peculiar it has remained ever since."

Brooksyne and I have memorized many Scripture verses because of dedicated songwriters who added melodies to the Scripture texts.  Scripture songs establish a great foundation for the faith. Today's Scripture was one of those songs and we sung it to the exact wording of the KJV.  Today we want to consider just a phrase from the text, "a peculiar people."

"Peculiar" is an interesting word not used as much now and perhaps the connotation has even changed. Today if we were to describe someone as "peculiar" it would probably be taken as an insult.

However it's a vitally important description of the Christian as used in the KJV.  Other versions use this phrasing, "a people belonging to God" (NIV), "a people for God's own possession" (NASV), "His own special people" (NKJV).

Christians are a special people because God has purchased and preserved us for Himself. We are His possession now. We are distinct from the world and we are called to live our lives as people in the world but not of it. Jesus said concerning His disciples, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of it" (John 17:16).

We, as God's people, have been called into "His marvelous light" which is a stark contrast to this world full of darkness.  We seek to keep a spiritual, eternal outlook in the midst of daily temporal demands. But when all is said and done we must confess that the scales often tip in favor of the physical, temporal priorities vs. the spiritual and eternal priorities. It's a continual caution to the believer.

So much of the physical and temporal obscures the marvelous light of Christ and resuts in the darkness of the world. Injustice, despair, and destruction abound in this present darkness.

God's dealings with humankind require an internal searchlight since we must first eradicate the darkness from within.  The interesting thing about God's creation is that the answers mankind seeks for inner peace are not found in the physical realm.  We must deal with the internal spiritual nature and by doing so our lives will "show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness."  Yes, indeed, God's people are "peculiar" in contrast to the world!

Today let us rejoice that we are God's peculiar people and victoriously walk in His wonderful light.  May our words as well as our actions truly declare His praises!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, as we deal with the temporal demands of this day, may the principles that guide us be of eternal origin.  We seek not to blend in with the world but to be the salt of the earth.  You have made us a peculiar people who are called to be the light of the world.  May our light shine for all the world to see so that our good deeds bring praise to Your holy name.  Amen.

Today Brooksyne sang the Scripture song referenced in today's message.  

Here's an online Biblical resource I find very helpful as a I prepare these messages each day.  This will link directly to resources concerning today's text.

Peculiar road signHere's information about Peculiar Missouri.  As a child we periodically got a chuckle about the town name, although, like unusual town names here in Lancaster County, we sort of got used to it.

Yesterday Brooksyne shared a note regarding expressing thanks to the custodians at our church. Here's a neat tip from a reader in Connecticut: Your story reminds of my ministerial internship.  When closing up the church after the Sunday night service, my wife would write thank you notes on index cards to the ladies who cleaned the church, and place them in the bottom of the trash cans, so they would be found when the plastic liners were pulled.  10 years later we returned to that church as Children's Pastors (we are still there in that role).  Every so often these two sisters will approach one of us and say "I remember when you put the thank you notes in the trash cans.  That meant so much to us!"  It's amazing how much a little gesture can mean!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

(Click on the link to play in your audio player)

"I Don't Belong - Sojourner's Song"  Video  A powerful song by Buddy Green.

"Home Where I Belong"  

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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