27 February 2011

2 Peter 2:10-22

  Condemnation for sinners.  That about sums up these verses …

  Recently one of my friends on facebook posted of a Pastor of some prominence who is questioning (to be kind) the existence of Hell period.  How can someone who knows and states he understands the Gospel deny the existence of Hell?  It does not work.  Look at the language that is used in v.10-16 …

- Blasphemer
- Irrational animals
- Creatures of instinct
- Born to be caught and destroyed
- Ignorant
- Wrongdoers
- Blots
- Blemishes
- Deceivers
- Adulterers
- Enticers
- Greedy
- Accursed children
- Followers of Balaam, the son of Beor
- Speechless donkey
- Waterless springs
- Mists driven by the storm
- Speaking folly
- Slaves of corruption
- A dog returning to its vomit

  This is what the false teachers and prophets are called.  How is it that someone can honestly say that God does not HATE sin?  How can anyone say that there is not a Hell?  People are deceiving themselves, and others, into a false sense that everything will be okay.  We will all one day sit around and be with God.  No one will be in Hell; this is absolutely false. 

  Peter states in v.17 very clearly lest anyone be mistaken “For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.”  If this is not true then why is it in scripture?  And if you do not believe this then you do not believe the Gospel.

  There are many people who have the outward appearance of knowing and understanding the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, has come to save the world from their sins; yet, these people do not have it in their heart.  It is not an outward change that the Lord seeks first; it is a heart change.  He will change you from the inside out. 

  If Christ came to save sinners, yet there is no Hell, His life was wasted and He is a liar and a deceiver of men.  And, we are to be most pitied of all.

24 February 2011

2 Peter 2:4-10

  Wow, what a set of verses here.  There are so many times that I feel like Lot; stuck in this sinful world with no hope of change.  That is especially true being away from my church family.  How grateful I am to have found a church family that seems to desire to preach and teach the Gospel.  I pray that I can be a part of them and minister to them as they minister to me.

  I am confident in my relationship with Christ.  I am confident with who I am in Christ.  So to look at those who have perished in the past from the unbelief is difficult.  It is difficult to see those who so apparently do not believe, but instead live for their own desires.  Such was the case with Sodom and Gomorrah.  This was also the case with the ancient world from which Noah and the seven others were saved.  It is so hard to watch. 

  It comforts me a little to know that Lot too was “tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard.”  I feel the same way being here away from everything and hearing what other people desire to do on their time off.  It is interesting how the Lord desires us to be with other believers; to be with the church.  Lot was not and that seems to have affected him negatively. 

  What is even more comforting is the Lord’s faithfulness.  If the Lord saved Lot and Noah; and, if the Lord judged those in the past who have sinned against Him; and, if not even the angels will escape judgment; then, the Lord will deliver me and judge those I see who desire nothing but to live in their sin.  They do not desire to Praise the Lord.  They do not desire to Honor Him as Lord and Savior.  This is their condemnation. 

  It is my desire that these people would know who the Lord is.  The only way that I can do this is if the Lord wills me to speak words for Him and He works in their hearts.  Heavenly Father, please grant me the wisdom to speak.  Work on these peoples hearts Lord.  Minister to them showing them that you are God and we are not. 

23 February 2011

2 Peter 2:1-3

  How often do we see teachers!  It is insane to me that people are so deceived.  Although, I guess I should not be surprised since Peter warned us of such things.  This is why it is so important to understand what the scriptures teach us.  It is vital for us, as true believers, to know what the Lord has written.  We cannot know if we do not read.  We cannot know unless we study.  And, we cannot know unless we scrutinize the people who are teaching the Word to make sure they are teaching with the Holy Spirit.

  Here in Wichita Falls there is a church on every street corner.  I would bet that most would say they preach the Gospel of Christ.  Most would think that they have it all figured out as well.  So how can we tell the difference between them?  How can we determine what the true Gospel is?  The best way is to let the Spirit lead us through the scriptures.  Does what they are saying line up with scripture?  Ask.  Do not be afraid to challenge a pastor on why certain things are done or why they believe a certain thing.  Do NOT be afraid to challenge that point if there is scripture that refutes what that church is practicing.

  It is very difficult for me to just turn a shoulder to those people and not worry about the false teachings that are being presented.  v.2 shows that many will follow them.  2 Timothy 4:1-5 states “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.  For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,  and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.   As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 

  It is so vital for us to understand the Gospel.  If we do not and cannot explain what the Gospel is, then maybe we need to question if we are saved or not.  Challenging is vital.  But not just any challenging, but challenging with scripture, and in love.  Do not let those who sound nice and talk about things you want to hear entice you away from the Gospel.  v.3 shows their fate is already set. 

22 February 2011

2 Peter 1:16-21

  Peter is one of a few people who have written scripture who were physically with Christ during His life.  Given this unique account he has some credibility to what he says.  Well, at least he, in v.16-18, puts his reputation in life on the line by claiming to be an eye witness to these things.  One thing that always gets me is people who think that the eye witness accounts are false.  If they are false then why did the people who heard of these false accounts not come forward?  In Matthew 28:11-15 states the chief priests knew of the resurrection and yet tried to cover it up.  If what Matthew stated was false then why was this not spoken against in those days when there were still men and women alive to refute the account?  The point is, we can trust what Matthew and Peter say.  We can trust their writings.

  The other thing that is mentioned here is wonderful to read.  There are a few ways that you can verify scripture is accurate.  Number one: If the Bible is absolute truth then there should be no contradictions.  Number two: If the Bible is absolute truth then historical accounts should agree with what has been written in scripture.  Number three: If the Bible is absolute truth then all archaeological evidence found should agree with what has been stated. 

  In the world there are many scholars and theologians who study scripture and desire to glorify God.  They disagree on things like how to baptize, what does this prophesy speak of for the future, and should we have church membership.  For the most part these things are trivial.  What they cannot do is refute what they have read.  No one who has studied the scriptures extensively can truly say they have found contradictions.  If they think they have it is soon shown to be a misunderstanding of the context in which the scripture was written.

  Why is this so?  What makes The Holy Bible so unique?  Look at v.19-21.  No prophesy is from someone’s own interpretation.  It comes from God.  God has given His Holy Spirit to work in those who desire to Glorify Him.  That is how we get our scripture.  There is no doubt in my mind that everything that the Lord wanted us to know is in the Bible as we have it today just as Peter has stated here. 

  Think about this.  Do you believe that God is all powerful?  Do you believe He is all knowing?  Do you believe God is present everywhere?  How can this be if He has not even retained the authenticity of His Word?  That does not make sense.  And if God has made us in Their own image as it states in Genesis then how can we accept evolution as fact?  Science has not proven anything; otherwise it wouldn’t be the theory of evolution. 

  God’s Word completely agrees within itself.  Many historical accounts speak of events that the Bible describes.  God has His hand in everything, remember He is everywhere.  So that means He affected other cultures as well.  Archaeology has done nothing but helped to prove the authenticity of Scripture.  We know so little of the past of the Word other than what is written.  At last check the Bible has over 25,000 ancient manuscripts.  The next closest is Homer’s Iliad with 643.  That is about 2.5% of what we have for Biblical validity.  There is no question.

21 February 2011

2 Peter 1:10-15

  Salvation is a wonderful gift that the Lord has provided to us.  It is a free gift.  What the Lord has done is taken a vessel that He has made and is now using it for His glorification.  That is the purpose of being saved, to glorify God.  So the items that were mentioned in v.5-7 are vital to a believer.  Not only are we called to be saved but we are called to live a more Godly life.  Peter has laid out how this is to be done.  Further, Peter mentions in v.11 that if you practice these things then you have a place in the Lord’s Kingdom. 

  Now, do NOT mistake this for a works based system.  This is not.  The first item mentioned in v.5 is Faith.  That is the first of the listing.  Our faith in the salvation that has been given to us is first and foremost of these items.  We have to have faith that Christ came and died for our sins.  We have to have faith that when we ask, He is just to forgive our sins.  If we do not have faith, everything we do, action wise, is in vain.  It means nothing.  So have faith, grow to become more like Christ, and the Kingdom will surely have a place for you, because of what Christ has done in you.

  Peter tells these believers to always be reminded of the things he has told them.  Also remind each other to have faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love.  These things are the basics of how a Christian should act.  The word Christian simply means a Follower of Christ.  Well if we are followers then we should act like followers.  We should follow His lead.  He did all of this and so much more for us.  Let us strive to be like Christ and serve one another while growing in the virtues that Peter has laid out.  All of this has come from the faith that the Lord has bestowed upon us.  Remind each other of these things always.  Never stop challenging our brothers and sisters to grow.  Please brothers and sisters, remind me … I know I need it.

19 February 2011

2 Peter 1:5-9

- Faith
- Virtue
- Knowledge
- Self-Control
- Steadfastness
- Godliness
- Brotherly Affection
- Love

  Often I wonder how it is that I can grow to be more like Christ.  What does that mean exactly?  How does that manifest itself in my life here on Earth and in this life?  We saw in v.3 that God’s divine power has “granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.”  v.5-9 tell us know this is to play out in our lives.  

  “For this very reason” v.5 starts.  Because Christ has called us to be partakers of His divine nature, “make every effort to supplement your faith” with the above listing of things.  Peter is simply saying here that we need to learn these things.  It does not have to be in this order.  Although, in our Faith we learn these things; in our faith we can learn brotherly affection more quickly than we can knowledge.  That is okay.  The point Peter is trying to make here is to grow.  Grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  These are the things Christ showed us.  Learn them from Him. 

  If we do these things.  If we learn to be steadfast in our lives towards God, then v.8 states we will not be “ineffective or unfruitful.”  Not only that, but if we do not wish to grow in these and learn these things in our lives, which is basically stating that you do not want to be more like Christ than yourself, which is basically to deny Him with your life, then Peter states we are blinded to the salvation that Jesus Christ has bought us. 

  So here it is laid out.  Christ showed us how to live.  In v.3 Peter states that He has given us everything we need to live like Christ.  In v.5 Peter gives us a listing of things to improve upon and grow in so that we will not be unfruitful or ineffective in our Christian walk.  And v.9 tells us that if we do not have these qualities we have forgotten that Christ came to save us.  What a challenge!

17 February 2011

2 Peter 1:1-4

  It is great to see the encouragement that Peter gives to the believers he is writing to, of whom we are not sure by name.  He mentions to them that their faith is in equal standing as his.  This is so true.  We are all on an equal playing field.  I mentioned a few days ago that Elders should be treated as members of the congregation just like everyone else.  They are sinners too are they not?  They have been covered by the blood as we have right?  Because of their acceptance of Jesus Christ as their savior they are able to be called Children of God, and when they die and stand before God, He will see Jesus Christ, as He will with all of those that are called.  WHY then do we raise some up above others?  Your gift is as good as mine!  Just because I can lead does not mean I should be dominating of people.  That is not how it works.  I respect people who are quiet and go about their work for the kingdom just about more than anyone else.  They are few and far between.  Find them, thank them, serve them, worship with them, and above all, Praise God for them.  They are in the same place we or anyone else who has been called to Christ.

  Something that really stuck out to me is the fact that Peter is telling these believers (v.3) that God has given us everything that we need in this life to be more like Him.  I often think to myself … “self, how has He given this knowledge to us?”  well keep reading v.3 dummy (that is what I say to myself); “through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence.”  Wow!  So Christ has called us to be His own AND He has given us the understanding of how to be more like Him by simply looking to Him.  That sounds so simple and yet it such a struggle. 

  I am in the middle of reading a book by C.J. Mahaney called Humility: True Greatness.  In it C.J. quotes a Martyn Lloyd-Jones from his book Spiritual Depression “have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?”  Boy how true is that?!  When I sin, all I can think is “you are such an idiot!” “why would Christ want you?”  I continually beat myself up.  But what am I doing but taking my eyes off of the Cross and the example that Christ set.  But if simply preach the Gospel to myself and let the Lord in, He is right and just to forgive and also to grow me into a more humble and Christlike man.  What powerful words they have spoken to me. 

  So, God has given us everything we need … so what happens by following Him?  It is clear throughout all scripture that the Lord’s purpose in saving people is to bring Himself Glory.  v.4 continues this thought by stating that “so that through them (His promises) you may become partakers of the divine nature.”  This means that His purpose to make us more like Him!!  That is what we should desire throughout our lives in order to bring Christ Glory. 

  Lord I know you came to the earth to die for my sins.  Thank you.  Please help me to be more like You by focusing on You. 

16 February 2011

1 Peter 5:6-14

  Computer was down yesterday … no entry :(

  In the last few verses of the letter to the exiles, Peter encourages them to be firm and hold fast to the faith.  In v.6 Peter encourages the exiles to focus on the future ahead of them in Christ and not on the persecution they are currently facing; reassuring them in v.7 of God’s love for them.  This can be such a struggle for me at times.  How can God love me when I am such a complete sinner?  All I know is that He desires to be glorified and I am a tool of that.  I need to live in HIS strength to do that.  Whatever that means. 

  I thought that v.9 was interesting since Peter is simply encouraging the exiles that things like the persecution they were experiencing was taking place in other parts of the world.  They were not alone.  Things like this happen to this very day in parts of the world.  We have it so easy here in the States that we cannot fathom being driven from our homes and murdered for being a Christian.  How surreal that seems.

  If ever I were to experience true persecution v.10 and 11 would be an encouragement to me.  “and after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.  To Him be the dominion forever and ever.  Amen.”  How awesome is it to know we have been hand chosen by God, made even, to serve on the winning team in the battle?!  God is so good and I am so not.  Praise be to God.

14 February 2011

1 Peter 5:1-5

  If you are a part of a local congregation or attending a local congregation there is undoubtedly a leader.  That leader is generally known as an elder as laid out in Titus 1.  Elders are meant to be respected leaders of the Church.  Peter, in v.1-4 lays out specific things that an elder should and should not do when shepherding his flock. 

  Elders are meant to oversee their flock.  They are to be willing servants of Christ over their flock.  They are to do so eagerly.  Elders are to not act as a dominant person, but as a loving person.  It is amazing how many elders I see who think they are God’s gift to everyone under their care.  That may be true, but when you act like that you are certainly not setting the example you have been called to set. 

  It is so absolutely necessary that we hold our elders accountable.  This is not only for our sake as the flock, but also for their sake.  When it comes down to it the Elders are members of our congregation.  They are called to a leadership role, but that does not mean they are above sinning.  They are not to be put up on a pedestal.  We need to be okay with approaching them about their sin and wrongdoings.  When we are not willing to then we are harming them and the rest of the flock. 

  Christ desires for those in the leadership position to be honored when He returns; v.4 shows this!  We must help them in their walk as well by following what v.5 states.  Honor those that have come before us and who are called over us.  Love them and be humble in our following.  God honors this attitude. 

13 February 2011

1 Peter 4:12-19

  Suffering for Christ is pretty much the Christian calling.  So many people think that life is just hunky dory after you become a Christian, and in a sense it is.  But, in this life, it is not always easy.  We need to rejoice in this as v.14 states.  Remember that Christ first was insulted and turned away and even murdered from the very people He came to save.  We, in turn, are trying to serve Him, yet through that service we too can be insulted, turned away, and sometimes even murdered by those people that we are trying to witness to.  But always remember, that Christ first suffered.

  This suffering that Peter is referring to in these verses is stipulated on how we are living our lives.  He says; do not suffer as those living in the world and living as sinners.  Suffer as righteous men and women of Christ.  Suffer as one serving the Lord and living for the Lord.   

  v.18 shows us a quote from Proverbs that judgment will be brought down.  It makes me ponder for a moment and think in awe of how merciful God is to save me.  Why save a horrible sinner like me?  He is so good even though I am so wicked.  So we know judgment will come.  We need to place our trust in Christ as our Creator and do well in this life; so that Christ will be glorified, and in turn we will be spared judgment.  Praise be to God for His mercy. 

12 February 2011

1 Peter 4:1-11

  There are two points that Peter makes here about living.  We can either live in the flesh, or we can suffer in the flesh, that is, to die to our sins.  Christ suffered in the flesh and was sinless.  We are called to suffer in the flesh and sin no more.  Do not be like the world.  Everything that the world thinks is great has been done before.  Look at the listing in v.3.  This is the same today as it was then.  We are a sinful people who desire to do sinful things.  I am called to Christ; I am called to a sinless life, not of this world. 

  What Peter speaks of next was awesome to me.  People wonder, if we believe in the doctrine of election should we witness?  Yes we should.  First off, we are commanded to; see Matthew 28:19-20.  Second, as Peter points out here, the Gospel is preached to save sinners, but also to condemn the lost.  It will be brought to every tribe tongue and nation.  God is coming to judge those nations.  Praise God that He will look to Jesus Christ when He goes to judge me.

  Here Peter goes again, talking about putting our Hope in Christ.  v.8 Peter explains to love one another earnestly.  v.9 show hospitality.  v.10 use the gifts the Holy Spirit has provided us to serve one another.  v.11 speak the Word, and serve by the strength God supplies.  We need to learn to love each other the way that God has loved us.  That is such a tough thing for me to grasp.  Even though my actions and my sin go directly against God’s desires, He still loves me perfectly.  How can I ever live that way?  Only in His power, that is for sure.  When we do these things though we do them so that God may be glorified.  That is our purpose here on Earth.  Lord help me to Glorify You.

1 Peter 3:18-22

  Yesterday in my study I saw how if we suffer for righteousness sake then we do well.  v.18 shows us that Christ suffered.  He was righteous and we are not.  He suffered for us!  He did this to bring us to God.  We cannot be in fellowship with God if we do not have atonement for our sins.  This was the atonement.

  Baptism is an important aspect of being a Christian.  There are two types of baptism, the physical and the spiritual.  The spiritual baptism comes first after salvation.  This is when the Holy Spirit comes upon a person.  In Acts 8 and 9 when the Gospel is shared with people after repentance, through prayer, the Holy Spirit came upon these new believers.  Although spiritual Baptism is necessary for salvation, physical baptism is not.  We know that salvation is the only way to have fellowship with God.  Salvation is turning from our sins and accepting the free gift Christ has offered us.  That is what Peter is talking about here.  Baptism saves us.  Physical baptism is done as a representation to the salvation that we have just received.  The physical act we go through does not save us. 

  Anyways, why would a physical act save our spiritual souls?  Didn’t Christ already perform the physical act?  Didn’t Christ already send the “Helper” as he states in Acts 1?  We see this fulfilled in Acts 2.  In Acts 1:5 Jesus explains that John the Baptist baptized with water but Christ came to baptize with the Holy Spirit.  This is the salvation that is offered.  Be filled with the Spirit, seek to glorify God with our lives, and be saved from eternal separation from God!!  How awesome is our God for sending His Son to die for us?!

11 February 2011

1 Peter 3:8-17

  How we treat others is a choice.  We are called to love one another.  We are called to have one mind.  We are called to have sympathy.  We are called to have a tender heart.  And we are called to have a humble mind.  How can we do this as sinful human beings?  Is it even possible?  Well it is certainly possible to pursue these things, even if we cannot achieve them.

  Our lives are so overwhelmed sin that it can be hard to see the sunshine through the clouds.  That can be the case when we are not pursuing holiness as these verses are calling us to.  The thing about this is, when we pursue holiness, the Lord seeks us.  v.12 shows us that the Lord’s eyes are on those who are righteous, and His ears open to their prayers.  How great is it to know that the Lord is watching over us?!

  Which is the next point that Peter explains, if we are pursuing righteousness and desiring to be more like Him, who can be against us?  Have no fear of those who do evil things to us.  Those that speak evil things, beat us down, or even physically abuse us.  Honor Christ the Lord as Holy (v.15).  As I mentioned in previous posts our Hope needs to be in Christ.  Look at v.15.  “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who ask you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”  In order to answer for hope, we must show that we have hope.  Hope in Christ. 

  Exhibiting our Hope in Christ will put those who do evil to shame.  There is nothing that anyone can do to us when we put our trust in Christ.  He is the one we live for, not these people.  We live to die to our sins.  We do not make our home here on this Earth.  We make our home with our Savior and God.

  The last thing that strikes me about these verses is v.17.  “For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”  Why would God will us to suffer?  What would be the reasoning?  We are sinful creatures; therefore, we will do sinful things.  It is important for us to recognize that we live in a terrible world.  We cannot do good without Christ’s will in us.  Romans 8:28 states, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”  We need to put our hope in Christ.  That does not mean everything will be great for us.  That is ignorant.  God killed His only Son, and it pleased Him to do so.  We may die for the sake of Christ being glorified.  Can you put your life in His hands?  Can I?  That is tough.

09 February 2011

1 Peter 3:1-7

  “Likewise.”  This is a word that has powerful meaning.  It is instructing us to take the example from before and apply that concept to what is being presented now.  The example that was given previously (2:13-25) was for us as Christians to be subject to the Authority that has been placed over us, to Honor everyone, to love our brothers in Christ, and to Fear God.  Now, knowing that, Peter is going to share with us the next few verses.

  In light of knowing that we should Honor others, love our brothers in Christ, Fear God, and Honor the authority over us, “wives, submit to your husbands.”  What a strong statement this is in light of the way our particular society is in the United States.  How is it that a wife is supposed to submit to their husband?  Especially if he is a jerk!  What if he is not leading in the way that he should?  What if he falls short of his end of the bargain?  Surly a woman should be entitled to live her own life!  That is NOT what scripture teaches.

  Marriage is not something that one should take lightly.  It is something that needs to be taken with the utmost seriousness.  I feel it is necessary to review and talk about this.  Genesis 2:21 states that God brought the woman to man.  v.24 states “Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  Matthew 19:9-9 (in talking about marriage) states “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”  But it seems that many people allow for it.  Society is okay with it.  Even the Bible has shown examples of divorce.  But, Matthew 19:8 states that divorce was allowed simply “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And, I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”  The only time it happens is because of the hardness of our hearts. 

  Having that said, “Wives submit to your husbands.”  Wives have been joined to their husband as the church has been joined to Christ.  When two sinners are joined together it can be a difficult thing.  Marriage is not something that just works; it is an active living thing.  It is absolutely vital to work on marriage everyday.  Because two sinners are joined together it is possible that the husband can not lead the couple towards Christ.  Peter addresses this in v.1-2.  “wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives.”  How awesome would it be for a wife to win her husband to Christ?  I know as an extremely sinful husband I stink at leading my family.  I often am discouraged and down on myself.  Have a wife that follows my lead when she is pursuing a relationship with Christ is more encouraging that anything else.  There is nothing even close.  She is my other half.  For her to point me to Christ through her actions, her submission, her “gentle and quiet spirit,” would mean more to me as her partner than anything else ever could.  It is so vital.

  v.7 There is that word again “Likewise” … “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way.”  What a charge this is.  There are things that are just for men.  It is clear simply by our physical appearances that women are much different than men.  They are clearly weaker in all areas, physically.  That is what this passage is referring to.  My wife has explained how comforted she feels when I hold her.  She feels safe.  This is not uncommon I am sure.  As husbands, men have to be understanding of that.  We need to protect our wives.  Hard to swallow considering where I am right now. 

  There are so many times that I have failed to lead my family in one way or another.  I can feel that strain in my prayer life.  Confession of sin is a huge thing.  Not just to God, but also to my wife and children.  We all sin, that is very apparent.  We need to make sure to lay those sins at the feet of those we sin against.  In this case we are talking about our wives.  I need to show more honor to my wife.  In the past my prayers have been hindered because of this.  It is so disconcerting.  Why not honor her?  She is my wife!!  We will be raised to life because of what Christ has done.  We are His bride.  Lord help me to honor mine.

08 February 2011

1 Peter 2:13-25

  “Honor everyone.  Love the brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honor the emperor.”  These four statements pretty much sum up our life and what it should be as a Christian.  We need to respect everyone around us, whether we like them or not.  Love our Christian brothers and sisters.  Living with a fear of God is the only way to live as a Christian.  Honor the authority that the Lord has put over you.  This is how we are to live.  This is how we are to love.

  v. 20 is an interesting example to me of how to work.  In the business world people get disrespected all the time.  There was a time in my career where our teams were all switched around.  We had new supervision, new team members, and no one really knew what the other brought to the table.  Because I was in a position where I worked mainly on my own with little to no support from others, it was difficult to show what I could bring to the team.  There were people from other teams that would try and put me down behind my back to my boss.  I had a friend that I trusted hear about this and mention it to me.  I was told “you have to say something; you cannot let them talk about you like that.”  But I simply looked at this person and said, “My work will speak for itself.  The right people will know in the right time.”  This person did not know what to say since they had never thought about it that way before.  v.20 makes me realize now that even if no credit is ever given to me for any work that I do, Christ is glorified, if I am living my life for Him. 

  Christ is the perfect example to us.  We cannot look to others or copy others actions, unless those actions reflect who Jesus Christ is.  He has given shown us the way to live.  Lecrae (my favorite rapper) had a song about growing up without “an example of a Godly man” … “well hold on, just keep your eyes on Christ!”  How true are those words?!  This is our calling.  This is my calling.  “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.” (v.21)

07 February 2011

1 Peter 2:1-12

  “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession …”  This is us.  This is who we are.  We can find our identity in Christ.  In this we have become “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession.” 

  There are extremist groups that have stolen these titles.  Many white supremacists would say they are the chosen race.  I will not allow them to hijack this title when this is what Christ has called His people.  He is the supreme ruler.  All Glory be to God. 

  What a comforting face that we “will not be put to shame” (v.6).  Christ is ruler of all and He will be glorified.  I am such a sports and competition minded person.  We are on the winning team.  We have joined the winning team while the game is in session.  Not only that we have been called to the winning team, by name.  We have received that mercy (v.10).  God is so gracious.

  The thing about all of this is that we need to have our Hope in what is to come, the victory Christ has won, and focus on today knowing our victory is secure.  v.11 - 12 shows how we need to live the life of our calling.  This is talked about all throughout the Scriptures.  James, Paul, and Peter all mention to live a life worthy of your calling.  This is not because it will gain you anything; but, as v.12 states “so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they will see your good deeds and glorify God.”  Isn’t that our purpose and goal?! 

06 February 2011

1 Peter 1:13-25

  Focus is a very difficult thing when you are in a situation in which you cannot see the end.  It can be compared to building a house.  You are in the middle of a project that may get you 20% completed and you are a month into the project.  That could be very discouraging.  It is tough to focus on what you are presently doing when the ending is so far away and seemingly never going to come. 

  The biggest issue that it seems we have is staying focused on the overall goal.  We do not get to choose which direction our life goes (as much as we would like to think we can).  We can, however, choose how we live the life where we are.  Peter instructs to the exiles to “set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (v.13)

  It is absolutely vital to have the hope for Christ’s return in our lives.  If we only focus on the present troubles or trials that are in front of us, we have NO hope.  We must set our sight on what is to come in the future then tackle the life in front of us in light of that hope.  How can we possibly live a Christian life and not have a hope of what the future will bring; whether that means death or Christ’s return?  We cannot.  It is simply not possible. 

  In v.17 Peter instructions the exiles to “conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed … with the precious blood of Christ” We must keep our focus and put our hope in what we know.  Where we are presently may not make sense to us.  So let us put our hope in what we know and not in what we can do about our present situation.  We know Jesus Christ died for our sins.  We know Christ was buried.  We know He rose again.  We know that He has atoned for our sins.  We know He will come back soon.  What a tremendous hope that is!!  Let us hope in that!!  Now how does that trouble or trial look? 

05 February 2011

1 Peter 1:8-12

  There are a few times where I sit and wonder about what I am doing.  “How does this have an impact for the Kingdom of God?”  It is comforting to know that the prophets thought the same thing.  How can someone speaking in the Spirit of God not know the impact of what he or she is saying?  It is simple; the Spirit does not reveal the meaning to them.  It is the same thing in our lives.  We may not understand how our life and situation is impacting the kingdom, but that should not matter.  We should know if we are doing the Lords work and the rest is a bonus.

  v. 11 says the prophets were “inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating …” That is powerful.  If the prophets were not sure of what they prophesied then how can we fret over what our lives mean?  V. 12 says that “[prophesies] … things into which angels long to look.”  Not even the angels are aware of what God’s plan is! 

  Basically is boils down to, we do not need to know.  We are taught that our lives are meant to Glorify Christ.  If that is our purpose let us work towards that.  Let’s be in the Word, be in Prayer, and be in Fellowship with one another to keep accountable with our lives.  If we are striving to Glorify Christ with everything we have, then He will be Glorified!  We do not have to know when or how. 

04 February 2011

1 Peter 1:1-7

“… you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith … may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

  Often times I think about the things that I am going through and wonder if this is the hardest it will get.  My life really is not all that bad.  I have a good wife, two wonderful kids, a great church family, and a nice house with some land.  What can really be that wrong? 

  The exiles that Peter was writing to were not given these blessings I have; yet, it seems they were given so much more.  Their faith was tested and shown to be genuine.  Not only that, it brought Praise and Glory and Honor at the revelation of Christ!!  What more can anyone ask for.  SO what does this mean to me?  A person who is living in a relatively free country to worship, raise a family, and prosper.  How can I apply this to my life?    

  Well one thing is for sure, if hardship does befall me and my family we know where to turn.  Today this can take many shapes: serious health issues; loss of my job; house fire; car crash; or even death.  None of these things are to be taken lightly.  Most of them would change my families’ life drastically.  In verse 1 we see Peter mention these people were “exiles” from their home lands.  How changed would my life be if I was plucked from my home, it was taken from me, and I was never allowed to return? 

  Can we compare the things I have mentioned to what the exiles experienced?  A serious health issue or a death in my family would cause a catastrophic change that could never be returned from.  You cannot go back to “normal” from that point on.  Normal would change.  It would totally change our lives.  BUT … we know that God has allowed these things so that our faith may be tested and shown to be genuine. 

  Not only that, but when we go through trials, no matter how big or small, and we are in the midst of them praising God for all He has done for us, it brings Him glory and Him Honor, and Him praise.  Haven’t we been called to bring Him praise with our lives?  That is the purpose of Him calling us out of the darkness to be saved; to Glorify God through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

  In the midst of trials we must praise Him with everything we have.  In order to make sure that takes place, we need to praise Him now and everyday.  It is important for us to make sure to be in the Word, to Pray, and to Worship Jesus Christ everyday.  The trials we then face we will be able to handle, because of His strength, not ours. 

03 February 2011

Leading by Being Led

  As I was traveling last night through a not so populated portion of northern Texas, scanning through the stations as I always do when I drive, I stumbled across the Casting Crows song Praise You in the Storm.  What a powerful picture of what it is to be a Christian.  Praise God for what He has done for us.  Jesus Christ has died for my sins.  He has taken them away and they are no longer counted against me.  That hope has been given to those of us who trust in Him. 

  Being separated from my family for a while is tough.  As I said goodbye to my son and my daughter I couldn’t help but think of what it would be like to say goodbye and never be able to say anything to them again.  That is a thought that has haunted me for a while; but not to the point where I have no hope.  It does not scare me for the reasons you may think.  Most people want to see their kids grow, do well in school, play football, and be successful at work.  No doubt I want to see those things; however, I mostly want to disciple my kids for Christ.  More than anyone else I feel a sense of responsibility to them.  I want to raise them in the fear of the Lord, and I cannot do that if I am not around.  I have never understood what it means to hurt for something you want so badly.  I hurt for wanting my kids to know Christ.

  In leading a family there are many things that should be done and many things that are overrated.  Routines are good at times, but not always feasible.  Time is a big thing.  Think of the person who you respect the most.  Think of someone who you revere.  As we often do in our society, think of the person you put on a pedestal.  Now imagine that person singles you out and says, “I want to spend some time with you.”  What an impact that can have on a persons life.  Now imagine that person pointing to another.  Telling you that they themselves are nothing, but this other person is everything.  How powerful would that be in your life? 

  Leading my family does not start with a five step program or a set routing that you just have to complete and there you go!  It starts with prayer.  It continues in the Word.  It is facilitated through Jesus Christ and your relationship with Him.  Do you want to spend time with Him?  He pointed to the Father.  Do we Worship God as we should?  Who is on the pedestal?  What a struggle!!  I’ve got things that like to tickle my ears and things that like to please my eyes, yet none point to the One that I should focused on.  Lord help me to focus on You so that I can point others to You.