Word Wednesday: Eklektos

God Gold of the day

Thankful today to share a special Word Wednesday message from a historically minded theologian and great friend; RC Sloan!

[Eklektos]——->Chosen, Elect

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…”

Colossians 3:12

The Greek word eklektos is often rendered as “elect” for obvious reasons in the New Testament, but its meaning is probably more clear when translated as “chosen”. The concept of God’s people being chosen by God from before the foundation of the world is woven throughout Scripture so firmly and so prevalently that it is clear that the Lord wants us to sit up and take notice.

In fact, “eklektos” is just the Greek rendering of the Hebrew word “bahír”, as used in places such as Psalm 105:43:

“And He brought forth His people with joy, His chosen ones (bahír) with a joyful shout.”

From Old Testament to New, from eternity past to eternity future, the Lord God has chosen His people out from the nations and secured their destiny with Him. The old hymn that says “there’s a new name written down in glory” might have its heart in the right place, but the writer definitely didn’t have a good hold on the concept of “eklektos” and “bahír”—there aren’t any new names written down, because our names were written down as part of the Master Plan of Redemption before God created light!

If that doesn’t excite you, check your heart, bro!

Once saved, always saved? A THOUSAND TIMES YES. It is GOD who brings forth His chosen people with a shout of joy, it is Jesus who tells us in Mark chapter 13 that He will gather His eklektos from the ends of the earth, and back in Romans 8 we are reminded that God calls His eklektos according to His unbreakable foreknowledge and predestination. Eternally secure? CHECK.

So what do we do now as the eternally chosen eklektos/bahír?

Act like it. Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the name. Handle yourself in a way that shows that you have a glimpse of understanding of the ramifications that the Ancient of Days secured your place in His kingdom before He built the solar system. Colossians 3:12-13 is a good start but above all else:

Golden Highlight: Mark Rogers

God Gold of the day

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:23-24‬ ‭

Happy Sunday God Gold family! Today’s God Gold is a special one and the very first of it’s kind! After the first God Gold shirts made it out, we thought it’d be awesome to spend a day to celebrate some of the people who exemplify what “God Gold” is all about in their daily lives. These are people who daily live out the Gold God has given to them in the workplace, in their family life, and in the lives of their neighbor’s. These are people that we can easily overlook in our lives because they live their lives to the standard of Christ so consistently, the way they live is expected and “normal” to those around them. Our goal with these Golden Highlights, is to shed light on these faithful individuals to recognize, appreciate, and learn from their examples.

Today’s Golden Highlight is none other than my dad, Mark Rogers. So much God Gold can be found in this man’s life but today we want to highlight his heart to work to a standard of excellence that is out of this world. If you asked many friends, family members, or co-workers over the years one word to describe Mark, the word “hard-worker” would be the word most often found. Being his son, I’ve gotten the chance to see and experience first hand my whole life the work ethic of my dad and I’m telling you, it’s pretty incredible! Maybe you think I’m just saying this because he’s my dad but to be honest, there’s been a lot of moments in my life, especially growing up and hearing him pour his work ethic into my life, I wished that this quality wasn’t so true. In my younger years, just learning how to work, I had no desire to work in the ways my dad did or listen when he challenged me to meet his standard. I stand here now at 25 years old, working several different manual labor jobs just how crucial the years of lessons he taught me is in every area of my life. I wouldn’t be half the man I am today without having his example to follow all these years. I’m one of many people who can say that their time spent around Mark Rogers challenged them to be better and influenced their life in huge ways!

His work ethic is just the beginning though, it’s the standard at which he works that sets him apart from the rest. As a grocery store manager the majority of his life, he makes a job that most would see as “insignificant” and daily doesn’t skip a beat in working each part of the job to a standard of excellence that is an example that moves each person around him to follow. If it’s stocking shelves, counting change in the register, or even bringing buggies back inside the store from the parking lot, he does even the small things with all that he possibly can. It’s a standard that has been shaped and molded into his life throughout his years of living, it’s a standard that can only be seen in light of Christ. Some would call Mark a “perfectionist,” in the way he works but even he knows only Jesus can be perfect. A better word to describe him or this standard is “excellence.” Although he can never be perfect, he works daily to be excellent, and continues striving for this excellence standard no matter how he feels, what the circumstances around him are or who is around him.

How can someone continue day after day working so consistently to this standard of excellence? The answer is simple, Jesus. His work is done through the power of Jesus, following after the example of Jesus and to the purpose Jesus has given him. Anyone can strive after success in their work daily for many different reasons, money, praise from others, or for personal gain, but all of those avenues can never obtain the fullness of life that Jesus has given us. That’s what sets Mark apart, that’s what keeps him so consistent and reaching the standard of excellence in all he does, it’s Jesus. With Jesus at work in his life and with him giving all he has for the glory of Jesus on a daily basis, his work is noticed and the people who notice are made better than they were before they encountered him. Mark Rogers, a living example of God’s Gold. My prayer is that we can all learn from his faithful example of what it looks like to give your life to Jesus in all that you do for the glory of His name and nothing else.

Who Over Do

God Gold of the Day

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1-3‬ ‭

Ladies and men, welcome to “The Race.” I know you’re probably getting tired of me talking about the race by now but we’re 23 days into January and something I keep realizing is the race doesn’t start or stop on January 1st or any other date! It’s all the time, every day in our lives so if anything I pray these messages about the race can be a huge encouragement to you as you run the race God has set before you!

This past Tuesday, I told you of the problems I’ve encountered so far in this race, the biggest simply being to stop cheering from the sidelines and run! The other problem I mentioned is getting caught in “the fog of life.” The busyness and craziness of our schedules, to-do lists, and lives, if we let it control us we can easily fall prey to that fog that hurts our vision. And if you haven’t learned yet, our vision is VERY important!!! Why?!? Because this race means nothing if we are not running with our eyes completely set on Jesus! If our eyes aren’t on Jesus, for one, we can’t run this race because we are not capable of doing so without Him, and for two, if we aren’t looking at the whole reason we run, why would we run in the first place?

Today, I want to challenge you once again and share with you this second problem I’ve had in running the race that God has set before me. Back to the root of the problem, it’s where our eyes are at, where we look to, what we spend our time focusing on and thinking about. Where our eyes are at is a direct result of what we believe and that will tell us quickly what we can achieve. If our eyes are on anything but Jesus, what we believe will be small and what we achieve even smaller because anything compared to Jesus is extremely small in the BIGNESS of who He is and what He is capable of!

The world gives us many options on places we can set our eyes. For some of us we struggle with placing our eyes on self, trying to run from what we got or not running and chasing what makes us feel good above all else. Others struggle with setting our eyes on things of this world as a means to get the job done, magic pills and super juices that give us “out of this world” results. Both are lies and both will cause us to fail, the only “out of this world” results we’ll ever see or experience comes only through Jesus because His person and His power is literally OUT OF THIS WORLD!!! Another thing we can set our eyes on is things of this world that takes our time and energy but aren’t that important, “the weight” mentioned in the above verses that we carry with us. These weights are used to distract us and keep us occupied to the point that we don’t spend time running this race, the only thing that holds any weight or importance.

All of those are possible areas we can place our eyes and find nothing but failure, emptiness, and promises that can’t fill the void we are seeking. At some point or another we all fall into placing our eyes in those areas but that’s why we’re here, to unroot the wrong so we can live in what’s right!

One area that we tend to place our eyes at times, an area that you probably won’t expect to hear and we often overlook, it’s focusing and setting our eyes on the “do.” What is this “do” I speak of???

It’s what all God has called you to do, whether that’s throwing off certain weights in your life and ridding yourself of those bad habits or if it’s picking up new habits that allow you to serve more and run better in this race. Either way, God has called us to do many different things that fall under the umbrella of running the race in the best possible way. What can happen though, as I’ve mightily struggled with this, is we can spend our time, energy and resources focusing so much on the “do,” the habits, goals, and resolutions God has called us to reach, in the process of that we take our eyes off the “Who” behind it all, which is Jesus.

This can be a dangerous eye problem for us because it doesn’t seem like we are doing the wrong thing, we are focusing on what God has called us to do right? What’s so bad about that? Well, it doesn’t seem bad until we tie up our running shoes, put on our favorite running jam in our heads phones and begin running. This is me and this is what I’ve done. What happens when the do is all we place our eyes on, we realize quickly that the “do,” these goals, tasks, and things God has called us to do, actually attacking them is REALLY HARD!!! Then what happens next? We become so overwhelmed at the weight of how hard this race is going to be, the hours of sweat and pain it’s going to take to get through, we become overwhelmed and scared at the sight of what looks impossible!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely great to be intentional and focusing in on what God has called us to do but at the root of our focus and intention has to be set on Christ and Christ alone. If we place our eyes on these tasks that are not easy, we can easily give up after realizing that we aren’t capable of doing them. We can become discouraged and give up on it all! Heading back to the sideline with fear of ever trying to run again!

This is why we can’t have our eyes consumed with the “do” because it’s impossible and means nothing without the “who,” which is Jesus!!! Focusing on the “do” and it’s impossible, but when we focus on the “Who,” we see that through Christ, anything and everything is possible! That’s why we need to keep our eyes on Jesus!!! That’s why it’s so important!!! Because without Him, we’ll just be another statistic of someone who runs the race in January, gets their gym membership and all that jazz then by February they’ve already given up! We have to start with our eyes and focus on Jesus because when looking upon Him, who He is and all that He is capable of in our lives, the race seems to fall into place! All that “do” that had us so worried, discouraged, and impossible, takes a turn and looks a lot different through eyes set on Jesus! He gives us all we need to not just make it through but to make it through as a champion alongside Him! There are so many verses that speak straight to this truth of focusing on the “who” instead of the “do,” but I’ll place a view here for you that struck me the most! It’s crazy when we move our eyes from the “do,” to the “who,” how the do becomes doable for the first time in our lives!!!

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.”

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:1-2‬ ‭

““Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”

‭‭John‬ ‭15:5

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:5-6‬ ‭

What do I do now?

God Gold of the day

I found myself recently in a situation that I didn’t know the answers to, didn’t see anything but struggle coming from it. I saw no way out but failure, and no idea on what to do to move forward. I was struggling with the thoughts of past failures with situations like this one, dwelling on my past failures just brought me into a world of doubt, fear, and defeat. So what do we do? What do we do when we find ourselves in situations similar to this?

I found during this time, after failing to do so many times before in tough situations such as this one, turning to God is the best and ONLY thing for us to do. It’s there with Him, seeking Him, searching for His guidance, truth and His wisdom to be the answers on what to do next. It’s there I found the truth that I needed to hear, the truth that moved me forward, the truth that set me free from my situation and living defeated in the past situations before this one. So, if you’re going through something that is bigger than you, I can tell you from the experience of not doing this and doing this, going to God with it is the best way to go, ALWAYS!!!

I started digging into a book that I had picked up a few times but never read all the way through called, “Just like Jesus,” by Max Lucado. I also highly recommend this book if you haven’t already read it!

It was in this book, reading about Jesus and the qualities of His heart (who He is), it was there that I realized a big time truth. After reading through how Jesus remained so at peace and peaceful, how He continued to serve with the most pure love and devotion to others, all in the context of difficult circumstances. I found myself thinking, “wow, Jesus is amazing to be that way and still go through tough situations.” But then I went back to my defeated thinking of, “it doesn’t matter because of reason x, y, and z of the ways I’ve done things in the past and failed miserably, that’s who I am and I don’t have a chance.

You see there’s truth in both of those facts of who Jesus is, and who I am. I saw a question and answer in the book that really broke through the way I was thinking. The question was simple, “How could I ever have the heart of Jesus?” Unlike my thoughts just now that made this seem impossible because of the weak and sinful ways of my own self, the answer of truth here is, “we already do have the heart of Jesus!!!

What???! That doesn’t make any sense right? Well Galatians 2:20 mentions clearly from Paul, “Christ lives in me.” I have so often been putting this separation from the ways of Jesus and the ways of me then having a thought life that told me, “I am this broken person who can’t handle this, I’ll never be like Jesus.” My problem and the problem many of us face is we separate the truth of who Jesus is and the truth of who we are. But if we are born again believers, who have a personal relationship with the Son of God, then there is no separation that should be made. Jesus is one with us and we are one with Jesus, He has came into our hearts and made that His home. With Jesus dwelling in our hearts and living as one within us, we don’t have to spend any longer in this broken, defeated mindset of fear, doubt, and disbelief. Jesus is living within us, through us and we no longer have to attack the tough situations of our lives alone, for He is with us and His power flows through us. There is NO separation, unless we make separation happen by the way we believe the lies of the enemy and the wrong thinking we let reign over our lives. The truth is the truth and nobody, nothing or no tough situation no matter how bad can separate us from this truth that Jesus resides in us, works through us, and through Him we can live victorious lives even in the context of difficult circumstances.

You may ask, if this is true, then why do I still think the way I do? Why do I still mess up quite often?

The answer I’ve found to be true is where is your eyes? What are you focusing on? Where are your thoughts dwelling?

“1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

There’s a BIG change that takes place in our lives when our eyes and focus go from ourselves, our weaknesses and failures, “earthly things,” as it mentions here. The change comes when we move from that way of living to fixing our eyes on Jesus, “set your mind on things above.” Why does this change the way we live? Because in keeping our eyes upward we see the truth that we have been raised with Christ to new life, we once were the sum of all our past mistakes and failures but as we become one with Christ, our address changes, we are now Children of God with an eternal address there with Him in Heaven. That old life, that defeated mindset that has caused us so much grief and failure, it’s GONE!! Where did it go? In the past, where it belongs when it was just us at the helm of our lives. Now our past, every failure, sin, and moment of defeat, it’s dead and our lives are now hidden in Christ. There is no separation, we are ONE with Christ as we find ourselves hidden behind His reign in our lives.

So where do we go from here? We believe the truth and put those lies to the side. We may still mess up and go our own way time to time but NOTHING, I mean NOTHING changes the truth of who we are in Christ and the awesome power He brings to our lives as He allows us to be peaceful in times of turmoil. He gives us wisdom in times of confusion. Strength in times of weakness. We no longer have to live in the way it used to be because Jesus has changed the way it is now!!!!


God Gold of the Day

‘And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. ‘

Colossians 2:13-15