The Privilege 
This writing resulted from the latest occurrence of being without electricity and/or water services that we pay the municipality for. Not only is this inconvenient, but when stored food spoils in a freezer unit because of an extended lack of electrical power, it is costly as well. 
Then the Lord raised the question what is normal? 
To those "fortunate" people in the first world; availablilty of electrical power, water and other services is taken for granted. No one would occupy a living unit without them. 
However, the majority of mankind in our country and in the world in general do not have the privilege of living in the style that we take as normal. 
Here is normal as explained by our Saviour: 
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. 
(Matthew 6:26-34)
You will notice that there is no freezer space in "normal", nor storage space for all those discounted food items that we buy for a rainy day. 
We take our privileges and life of luxury for granted, thinking that "it is our Riight", not realising that this hedonism results in us becoming rottenly, miserably spiritually bankrupt; being prideful; unwilling or unable to handle the reality of the call upon our lives and the responsibility that it brings. 
Yes, this means You! . . . . and me. 
The above is a good parallel as to the difference between the worldly and the resurrection life. 
Jesus said that He was the light of men. (John 8:12) 
Jesus Christ is the Light of men. 
Here is the great gift that our Living Loving God has made available for us to use, if we are each willing to grasp it [see 1 John 3]: 
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 
(1 John 3:16-18)
Everyone has the chance to be with God in the New Jerusalem. 
Everyone has the chance, the privilege, of being the servant of God - not only because of the rewards that are the result thereof and to see the smile on the face of Jesus one day, but to be lovingy obedient to the Word, even suffering if necessary, taking tribulation in our stride, because the Living God knows us. What a privilege! 
Someone once commented the degree of love that we have for our Master is demonstrated by the extent of our obedience to His will. 
Many professing Christians state:
  1. I only need to believe.
  2. When I believed, all my sins, past present and future, were forgiven.
Unfortunately these are those who live in error because they may not wish to go into the matter any deeper in case they are convicted of their selfish misconceptions. They are not familiar with the contents of the Bible. 
In answer to #1:
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 
(1 Peter 1:13-17)
In answer to #2:
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 
(2 Peter 1:5-10)
God the Holy Spirit will only manifest Himself to those persons individually who are lovingly obedient. [John 14:21] 
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 
(2 Peter 1:16-21)
God the Holy Spirit is the Power today that resists and overcomes the prince of the power of the air and his unclean spirits. 
What shall happen to the balance of spiritual power when there are enough Holy Spirit empowered persons to withstand Satan? 
If we read a book such as Fox's Book of Martyrs we can understand that Satan is terrified of this happening and therefore devises the cruellest and most painful methods of killing God's saints to frighten others off. 
We shall be unable to withstand Satan individually in the bad days to come unless we are empowered by God the Holy Spirit. 
We can only do this if we give up our own way of attempting this and becoming a vessel that God can use. We have to give God back our own wills and souls and allow Him to do the work through us. 
Even though we may be working for Christ Jesus in ministry, we cannot be fulfilling His will unless we allow our pride to be broken and our weak power transformed into His Almighty Power that shall transform the world. 
An example is in a book entitled The Heavenly Man, the story of the Christian walk and work of a Chinese man and his family. Tribulation, torture, starvation was a way of life - so were visions, miracles, healings: culminating with the supernatural healing of two broken legs which allowed him to walk to freedom through the open doors and gates of a maximum security prison in communist China while the jailers stood by. 
As the result of the ministry and example of brother Yun and many other obedient Christians, some 38 million Chinese have come to know the Lord Jesus Christ and been converted, worshiping their Lord in secret throughout the country in house churches similar to those described in the Bible. 
This, in a communist country that only allows "recognised" christian churches. 
This repression is still going on in China according to a news item just come to hand in April 2011. 
For those of us who live in luxury in "the West", here's an extract from a relevant writing taken from a book of daily devotions: 
And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. 
(Luke 12:42-48)
We are not surprised when a drunkard comes to poverty. It is the natural result and the inevitable outcome of breaking the immutable laws of God. Sometimes we forget, however, that the same law is operative in all areas of life. God requires an accounting of His stewards. The drunkard's real sin is that he squanders the life God has given him. God's gift of body, mind and soul, the means by which man climbs to the heights, the drunkard throws away on the depths. But have we used well the blessings God has so abundantly bestowed upon us? We scorn the drunkard, but do we carefully use God's gifts to the glory of His name?
The business man is successful to the extent that he uses wisely his resources. Thrift is good business as well as good Christianity. But what shall we think of the man who while thrifty in his business is prodigal with his spiritual resources? The drunkard sells his birthright cheaply. But what have we done with ours? Within each soul burns a hidden fire. Kindled by God Himself, it will burst into a flame that will illuminate the whole life if given a chance. Let us use to the fullest our God-given capacities to climb to the heights of life and become sons of God through Christ our Lord.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand [watching]. Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 
(Philippians 4:4-8)
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 
(2 Peter 3:9-14)
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. 
(1 John 3:1-10)
We look with wonder that there is a God, that God is perfect, that He loves us. We realise with joyfulness that we shall one day be together with a Loving Father, forever. 
What a privilege!
To the Living God who lives in eternity and who created everything; Father, Son and Holy Spirit - glory belongs to You Lord: and we whom You created for Your pleasure, willingly and joyfully give up our independence to be dependent on You and Your Perfectness, and out of love for You try to be obedient in our day to day living in this present world. Amen.

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 
(1 John 2:3)
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. 
(Isaiah 9:6-7)
What a privilege it is to have had the God of creation, Jesus the Son, bleeding and dying as my Covenant Representative, suffering torture and pain for my diseases, rising from the dead to show the Way to everlasting love. 
What a privilege to submit to the Highest Authority in love, knowing that my obedience is a sweet savour to my Saviour. 
Oh to be Joyful in the Lord.
And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 
(1John 1:4-10)
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 
(1 John 3:18)