Set Apart

Hey, I’m one short. After a quick look around, I realize it’s “Goldie.” When I let out the chickens each morning, I do a headcount as they make their way out of the pen surrounding their coop. The guinea hens (the “Goonie birds” as I call them) are usually the last out. This morning, “Goldie”, as Mr. John named her, one of the large Buff Orpington chickens we have, is a no show. Fearing the worse, I peer inside the coop. With her tail feathers bouncing up and down gently, I realize she’s fine, she’s brooding.

It happens now and then. A hen will go broody. It’s a natural thing, I guess. They’ll collect eggs and then brood on her nest until they hatch (around 21 days) or go bad (ew). Rather than attempting to persuade her otherwise, I’ve given her an opportunity to become a mama, aunt, whatever. Since they’re not all her eggs, it’ll be interesting to see what the results are in another week or two.

“Goldie” would only come out to drink once a day, and she fiercely guarded her nest. Once I got her to move, none too happy, I noticed her cache of eggs was growing. That’s when I marked them, as I suspected she would continue adding to her collection. Using a permanent marker, I placed a ring around each existing egg. This enabled me to identify which ones were hers and which ones I could collect and consume. This led me to think about how God has set us apart for His kingdom.

Upon our true salvation, God applies the words of Ephesians 1:13-14 to our lives.

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the
gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you
were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the
guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the
purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
(Ephesians 1:13-14, NKJV)

It is in this promise that we are sealed, we are set apart, for Christ by the Holy Spirit. Many new Christians, and some of us more mature ones now and again, will question if our salvation is real, complete, or enough to ensure my eternal life with God. Doubt about our salvation is something from Satan that every Christian who has ever lived has wondered at one time or another. I remember a dear sister-in-Christ, one I had looked up to for her faith, asked me at the gas pumps at Delta Supermarket how I knew my salvation was real. I remembered the words of this Scripture verse and responded as best I could.

“Miss K, I know I’m saved and am hidden in Christ until that Day because the Holy Spirit lives in me. His presence assures me I am a child of God. I know He’s there because before my salvation, when I sinned, I felt no remorse. Only the pleasure that came from it. Now, when I sin, I’m convicted of that sin from within. That’s the Holy Spirit telling me I need to apply the words of 1 John 1:9 to my life and get right with God.”

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit only occurs when we are sealed by Him and set apart for God. #HolySpiritInMe #SetApart #GodsFamily Share on X

With my reply, she smiled, and we said our goodbyes. To this day, when I see this sweet sister, I am reminded of that moment. In the same way I marked “Goldie’s” eggs to make sure I didn’t take what belongs to her, the Holy Spirit has placed God’s seal, His promise, upon us. Satan will tempt us, God will test us, but no one can pluck us from God’s hand (John 10:28).

Some have asked through the years what it means to be “sealed” with the Holy Spirit. I respond by using the example of branding my cattle. The Cross-Dubya brand means that all that’s branded (livestock, land, etc.) belongs to me. As Mr. Red Steagall said, “A man’s brand is his own special mark. It says this is mine. Leave it alone.” (from his poem, Ride for the Brand).

Recognizing the Holy Spirit in our lives reassures us of our inheritance as adopted children of God (Romans 8:15). The Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives should not only be proof to us, but to those whom we interact with. Our demonstration of His presence shows others the genuineness of our faith. It is His presence in our lives that seals us, or sets us apart, for God. His work continues in our lives as He works through the sanctification process to make us more like Christ with each passing day. I pray you feel His presence in your life today. If you don’t, please reach out to me or someone in a nearby church who can help you be sure of your salvation.

God’s blessings,

22 thoughts on “Set Apart”

  1. How right you are, brother JD. We are indeed branded in the spirit by God as His own. “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.”
    ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1‬:‭21‬-‭22‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬
    Have a blessed Passion Week and Easter!

  2. I also remember those days, my friend, when I felt no remorse for the sin of mistreating a loved one. Your message touched me deeply. But like you, J.D., I recognized my sinful nature when God brought me to my knees. He had mercy on me and when I cried out to Him for forgiveness and He led me to turn my life around. I couldn’t have done it without His mercy, grace, and guidance. Such a wonderful message for Easter, as we recognize, remember, and praise the One who took our sins upon himself, that we might live. May God bless you all during this season of love. Happy Easter, Cross-Dubya family.

  3. Love this analogy, J.D. Yes, we are sealed for eternity and given a promissory note, His Spirit who is within us. Safe and secure from all alarms. We know who wins. We know whose side we are on. And we know who covers us with His hand.

  4. Set apart, sealed, guaranteed. What comforting words for my spirit. I love your point about how God’s Spirit enables us to feel remorse and repentance so we desire to be cleansed by God. Satan wants us to feel shame so we flee from God. This is a great message from Goldie, J.D. Thanks!

  5. How special to know when the enemy brings doubt he has no power over us. I thank the Lord Jesus for 1 John 1:9, His bar of soap. Blessings!

  6. That’s a great analogy. I struggled with assurance of salvation for a long while. I didn’t believe I could lose my salvation, but I wrestled with whether I had enough repentance or the right kind of faith. An illustration of Spurgeon’s helped me realize my salvation is dependent on the One I put my faith in, not the “amount” of my faith. Then my pastor counseled me not to go back and try to dissect my salvation experience, but to ask myself what I am trusting in right now.

    “No merit of my own His anger to suppress,
    My only hope is found in Jesus’ righteousness!”

  7. I love how you share your life with us. I have learned many new things about farm and ranch life and that is because of your blog messages. What wonderful joy fills my body when I remember I am a daughter of the King and that sets me apart. I love the way you shared with “Miss K”. Hope you and Ms. Diane have a blessed Easter!

  8. Amen, J.D.! By the time I was at the last word of your post, I was already humming, Blessed Assurance. And now the hymn will take me through the day with joy. I am not perfect or sinless but I am sealed until the day of His return. I am so glad you continue to write as your farming analogies bring the best lessons!

  9. Thank you JD for sharing this lovely message of hope and encouragement. I am marked as Christ’s own and your imagery made a wonderful point.

  10. So good to see your characteristically insightful and warmly descriptive words again, Brother. Hallelujah! Where else would I go to get another piece of divine insight from a chicken coop :). Once again, I relate so well to the difference in that internal response when those sinful failures to live out the faith I proclaim. The Spirit of God does, indeed, make Himself known at times like that in ways that are both convicting and incredibly encouraging. I don’t think I’ll ever realize the full extent of what it means to be chosen, set apart, and as you pointed out, “branded,” as one of God’s own. Some things are beyond our finite capacity to grasp, but the infinite One who lives in us is continually giving us little glimpses of what it’s like to be part of God’s own family. While I deeply regret the years I spent seeing God as an obstacle to things I wanted, I am eternally grateful for the guy who helped me discover that instead of being an obstacle standing in the way of all the things I thought would make me feel complete, God was actually the only access to them. Thinking about the difference that one person’s effort to reach out to me made makes me so grateful to see the ways you continually reach out to others. God bless you for your commitment to do for them what another friend did for me so many years ago. Our prayers and our love for the Cross-Dubya family continue unabated, of course.

  11. I spent some time working out whether my salvation was real. I finally had to trust. We need to be there for others who may be suffering from doubts over whether God has truly accepted them.

  12. Beautiful and powerful post, J.D. The analogy to marking Goldie’s eggs to being branded-marked by the Holy Spirit as belonging to the Lord is excellent. Love how you said, “Recognizing the Holy Spirit in our lives reassures us of our inheritance as adopted children of God (Romans 8:15). The Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives should not only be proof to us, but to those whom we interact with.”

    1 John also reminds us that we will “know that we have eternal life” we don’t have to wonder or listen to the enemy (1 John 5:13)

  13. A man’s brand is his own special mark. It says this is mine. Leave it alone.

    Love that you pointed out that Jesus says this about us!

  14. Thank you, J.D. I remember how special the words “set apart” made me feel as a youngster — long before I understood their true meaning. Your response to Mrs. K. could serve as a model for those who aren’t quite sure how to answer when others ask about our faith. It’s so concrete and relatable.

    Happy Easter, sir.

  15. He’s marked me as his own. Thanks for the visual, JD. I’ll think of this when hunting Easter eggs with the grandchildren tomorrow.

  16. The Cross Dubya branding you place on your own holds greater significance. I appreciate the reminder that we are marked forever as God’s chosen children and sealed by the Spirit for the day of redemption. Great, inspiring word, JD!

  17. Once again, good stuff. I must admit as a non-ranching dudette, how does Goldie have eggs that aren’t hers? Hmmm. Relatable comparison. And I love the branding analogy. I hope you are managing ok without John. Is there another ranch hand in your future?

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