Monday, December 21, 2009

Single at Christmas

For the single Christian man or woman, Christmas can be an extremely difficult time. Memories of Christmas past with family and friends can become its own curse, like a ghost haunting the days of December. Christmas music in the stores, holiday decorations, people’s chatter about shopping and dinner plans only serve as daily reminders of how alone we are.

The secret of a Merry Christmas is to remember that we have the ability within us to make Christmas meaningful. If circumstances have forced us to be alone at Christmas, we can make special plans for that holy day. For instance, we can decide to make Christmas Eve a time set apart for us and our Lord. We can place lighted candles on the dining room table, place Christmas cookies on a decorative tray next to the center piece, then prepare an elegant meal to eat in the presence of God.

After dinner we can sit in front of the Christmas tree and read the Christmas story (Luke 1; Mathew 2:1-23). Keep your spirit sensitive to the Holy Spirit and see what he says to you. Write it down in a special journal. Then if you are adventurous, lay down under the tree and look up between the branches at all the secret nooks and crannies of Christmas decorations. Ponder the gifts God has given especially to you.

I promise you, God will visit you on Christmas if you make room for him (James 4:8). Make it a special Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Oily Skin

“And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 1:8-11).

Many of us think of sheep as nice furry animals that are cute and cuddly. But a sheep’s coat is filled with natural oils that serve as a magnet to dirt and grime. Sheep are not pleasant to touch in the outdoors. During Biblical times shepherds lived in the fields with their flocks for months at a time. The shepherds’ skin absorbed the smell of the sheep. Let’s just say it would not be used as a base for perfume. Yet it was to these men that the angels appeared with the news of a Savior.

We are like shepherds soaked in the aroma of the world. We follow one another into dangerous territory, will jump off a cliff if we think everyone else is doing it and generally do not make wise decisions. If that sounds like a cruel description, pick up a newspaper or watch a news program. It is no accident that God refers to his people as sheep.

God created us as beautiful beings to worship him, but we have covered ourselves in sin. The good news is that our Father sent us a Savior to remove the oily residue of the field so that we can become the soft wool of a cleansed sheep (Isaiah 1:18).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


“And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:8-11).

Don’t miss those important words, “there has been born for you a Savior”.

Don’t let anyone tell you Christmas is not about you. Christmas is about you. It is about God coming to rescue you. It is about his precious gift given to bring you into a wonderful relationship with him.

If you find yourself tense, depressed, anxious or harassed during the Christmas season. Stop what you are doing. Sit in front of a Christmas tree ablaze with lights, or stare at the flames in a fireplace, or just sit somewhere quiet and meditate on his promise to direct your life.

You may be in an extremely difficult place. God has not abandoned you there. He has placed you there so that you might know what is in your heart and turn intentionally toward him for help (2 Chronicles 32:31).

For unto you a child was born, he died, rose again and is calling you to walk with him today.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Red Velvet

His over six foot frame carried the deep velvet red coat lined in white far with elegance. His silver bread and hair glistened in the lamp light. The breathtaking Saint Nicolas costume far excelled any I have seen. I stood amazed watching him and the men and women in the small group that were dressed in 18th century clothing.

If human beings dressed as magical characters can inspire great pleasure and admiration, what must it have been like for Isaiah to see God on his throne in heaven (Isaiah chapter 6)? Is it any wonder that whoever God gives a vision of himself falls down in worship? He who has created all that is beautiful, who is himself beauty, inspires in the hearts of his children, admiration and loyalty.

"Come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, come ye oh come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold him, born the King of Israel, oh come let us adore him; Oh come let us adore him, Oh come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

"For he alone is worthy! For he alone is worthy! For he alone is worthy, Christ the Lord!"

Friday, December 11, 2009

Blessed is she who believed

When Elizabeth greeted her cousin Mary one of the things she said was, "Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord” (Luke 1:45).

When we believe that God means what he says in his word, when we make our choices based on his love, promise to guide us and the eternal significance of our daily lives, we are blessed beyond measure. Peace is ours. Confidence is ours. Hope is ours.

No matter what happens in our earthly lives, we rest in the assurance of God’s love and power and intimate involvement in who we are and what happens to us.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Plan

"And behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end" (Luke 1:31-33).

Gabriel revealed in two sentences the plan God had set into motion before he laid the foundations of the earth (Ephesians 1:4-5; Hebrews 4:3; 1 Peter 1:20-21).

Scripture teaches us that God has laid out a plan for our lives also (Psalm 139:16). We are instructed to remember this. Whenever we plan we are to plan with the caveat "If the Lord wills".

Imagine what God saying, "And (fill in your name) will live in (fill in your city) and will work at (fill in your company) for X number of years. Then I will move him/her to the city of ________ and she/he will be my servant there.

That is what God has said about each of us. We can be at peace. We do not need to strain and worry. God has already given us wisdom through our reasoning, his word and circumstances. He is perfectly able to change our direction in a matter of seconds if he has other plans for us.

We can respond like Mary, "Behold the servant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Greatest Miracle

“For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37).

For many Christians this phrase has become a familiar chant. It comes up easily in conversations about troubled times, but how many of us recall that it was Mary who first heard those words?

God would create in the Virgin Mary’s womb the Christ Child. Elizabeth had become pregnant after menopause. But the greatest impossibility was about to come to pass, the rescue of God’s people from the bondage of sin (1 John 1:9, 2:1, 3:4).

This is the greatest miracle

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ruined Reputations

Gabriel's words to Mary, "You have found favor with God" tell us that she was a godly woman. Joseph had recognized the beauty of Mary's spirit and had asked her to be his wife. Their engagement was the first phase of their wedding. The consummation of the wedding vows would occur after everything was prepared for their new home and the final step of the vows were taken.

So when the angel Gabriel told Mary, “You will conceive in your womb and bring forth a son and shall call his name Jesus" she was stunned. She did not doubt the angel's words were from God, but she certainly was puzzled at how this could come to pass. She asks, "How can this be since I do not know a man?"

Gabriel responded, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:31-35).

The reputation of Mary was about to be destroyed (John 8:41). There may come a time in our lives when we are doing God's will, yet our reputations are ruined. People do not know or understand what has happened behind the scenes. God does not always work out in the open. Often his work is held in secret until the moment he chooses to reveal it.

Then we, with the rest of his Saints, will celebrate the wonder and majesty of all he has accomplished through our individual lives (Revelation 15:3-4).

Monday, December 7, 2009

Do Not Fear

“The the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33).

It is important not to miss the irony in the angel’s words, “Do not be afraid.” Mary was going to suffer terribly before this was all over. When we see our children in physical or emotional pain, we are filled with the desire to rescue them. But parents cannot control either the decisions adult children make or the decisions others make that affect our children’s lives. When they suffer, we suffer.

Mary’s future suffering was all the more reason Gabriel’s words were important. Knowing that God‘s purpose for our lives cannot be stopped by anyone or anything brings us hope (Job 42:2). We, like Mary, need to place all our trust in God so that we overcome our natural fear.

The suffering will not last forever. Mary saw her son resurrected. We too will one day see the glory God brought through our suffering. Do not give up hope as you long for that day. It will come.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Lightning

“But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was” (Luke 1:29).

When we see the holiness of God, even through the filter of one of his created beings, we are moved with fear. All of our imperfections come bursting across our minds; like a bolt of lightning across a dark sky the clouds of our faults come into full view. How can we be favored when we are covered with humanity?

It is our faith in the efficiency of Jesus’ sacrifice that brings us peace with God and washes away our fear of his presence (Romans 5:1). The message of Gabriel comes to us believers, “Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God.” He calls us to himself and asks us to welcome him into our home (the place where we are completely exposed to him) (Revelation 3:20).

There is no hiding in the presence of God because there is no need to hide. He offers forgiveness and creates change where needed. His Christmas gift is given, we only need to unwrap it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Highly Favored

"The virgin's name was Mary. And having come in the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" (Luke 1:27-28).

"Highly favored one"; what a privilege to carry the Christ Child. The child within her was the one that would set her people free.

The Jewish people were under control of the Roman Empire. They expected the Anointed One would come and set their nation free from foreign rule and set up a kingdom on earth. They had passed over the scriptures that foretold the suffering and crucifixion of Christ. The glad news that she would carry the savior was colored with expectations of freedom and honor.

We are also favored because we also carry the Spirit of God in us (John 14:17; 2 Peter 1:4). But we also, like the Hebrew people, want and expect freedom from pain and suffering. We miss the fact that God offers us inner freedom and peace in the midst of suffering (John 17:15-16, 20-21).

But our suffering is not endless or pointless. God has a definite good purpose in all that he allows us to experience.

When we don't understand, we can trust.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gabriel Sent

“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph…” (Luke 1:26-27).

If we have been a Christian for a long time, our eyes tend to glaze over as we read the Christmas story. But try to imagine God instructing an angel to give you a message. “Now God sent an angel called Gabriel to _______(fill in your name) who lived in _______ (fill in your town) who worked at _______ (fill in your company name).”

It is not foolish to personalize what happened because God did call us by name and give us a message. Many times scripture says God knew someone by name before they were born. It tells us that by nature we do not seek God or have any understanding of spiritual things. The only reason we think about God is because he is pointedly calling us by name.

(Romans 3:10-18; Ex 31:2, 33:12; Nu 1:17; Is 43:1; Mt 10:29-31)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Christmas Invitation

Twenty five days till Christmas.

For some of us it means snow drifts against the house. For others it means Jackfrost swirls on the windows. For many it means rain beating on the roof and for others it means sunshine days and cool crisp nights.

But for all of us, it means the celebration of our savior. His birth announces his willingness to share in our experience of being human. He laid aside all his visible glory to show us a greater glory, his love for us.

Chirstmas is his inviation to be intimate with him.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"After You"

One of the most amazing scriptures is found in 2 Peter. "by which have been given us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:4).

The amazing truth is that we are given part of his divine nature.

His nature changes who we are. It changes our lives. It causes us to love God and love others (1 John 4:13,17,19).

We demonstrate this love by treating others as though they are more important than we are (Philippians 2:3; 1 John 4:7-11).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Choose This Day

Peter writes a second letter to the Christian population. Like many of the letters in the New Testament, he begins with the topic of grace and peace. “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (2 Peter 1:2).

The more we know God and Jesus as our Lord, the greater our peace and the greater our ability to apply his grace to living.

Through knowing God we have been given all that we need to live life and to make godly choices(2 Peter 1:3). There is nothing that can have power over us unless we relinquish the power God gives us.

No where in the Bible does it say life choices are easy. However, it does say God provides all we need to make wise ones.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Two Gifts

Words are empty
Actions are full

Friday, November 20, 2009

Five Keys to Inner Peace

Peter ends his first letter with this blessing. “Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus.”

Peace comes by:
1) humbling ourselves before God (1 Peter 5:6)
2) rejoicing that we are counted worthy to partake of Christ’s suffering (1 Peter 4:12-13)
3) Being sober, vigilant and resisting Satan’s traps (1 Peter 5:8-9)
4) Casting our cares upon God (1 Peter 5:7)
5) Remembering God takes care of us (1 Peter 5:7)

We will close this first letter of Peter’s with a quote from a song based on Isaiah 30:15.

“In repentance and rest
You shall be saved
In quietness and trust is your strength
The Holy One of Israel is your God”

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Am I trusting?

When we feel overwhelmed with the injustices of life or when it seems like nothing is going right and hasn’t for a very long time, our tendency is to want to give up. Why should we continue to do good when everyone around appears to be indifferent to our pain?

The Holy Spirit reminds us, “Let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19). He also directs us to cast all the things that worry us or cause us stress onto him because he cares for us as individuals (1 Peter 5:6).

Trusting God will not come easily or naturally. It is a decision to trust God even when we cannot understand.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Roaring Lions

We are asking for trouble in our lives if we ignore Peter’s warning. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

The weak animal separated from its herd and the young offspring wondering away from the adults are the most susceptible to the attack. Scripture says “He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom” (Proverbs 18:1).

Satan, like the roaring lion, is seeking to attach the one who is in a weakened state. It may be a weakened state of rebellion, a weakened state of addiction or the weakened state of pride. (1 Peter 5:6-8).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cycle of Submission

As the elder has responsibility to lead in loving example, the younger people have the responsibility to be submissive. Peter points out that all of us must submit to authority; the children to the parents, the parents to their bosses, the bosses to the administration, the administration to the government, the government to the people in a cycle of authority and submission.

The healthiest relationships are those when all members submit to one another in love and respect. None of the members lord it over the other, but each sees themselves as servants of God first, and servants to one anther second.

He who demands service puts himself above others and becomes their judge. He who serves those under his authority becomes an affective leader. People want to be near someone they respect and whom they are convinced loves and respects them (1 Peter 5:5).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sheepherders or Shepherds?

Are we sheepherders, or shepherds? Sheepherders push the sheep out in front. They do not lead by example of service but drive the sheep. The shepherd leads the sheep. They follow because they know from experience that the shepherd loves them.

What is our attitude to those under our influence? Each one of us influences those around us, either for harm or for spiritual growth. That makes us all shepherds.

As overseers, we guide by our words and our interactions with others (1 Peter 5:2). We do this not because we are forced to, but we do it willingly (1 Peter 5:2). We do not do it to gain money or wealth, but eagerly as those who love God (1 Peter 5:2).

We do not act as lords over others, but interact as servants; always remembering people do not belong to us, but to God (1 Peter 5:3).

When the Chief shepherd appears he will judge or reward us according to our interaction with those who must submit to our authority (1 Peter 5:4).

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Difficult Reminder

We have been talking about persecution and difficult circumstances in a Christian’s life. There is one more phrase that is important for us to bring attention to. It is the phrase, “Those who suffer according to the will of God.”

It is God’s will for us to experience suffering. It refines us (1 Peter 1:7) and causes us to remember, we do not belong here (1 Peter 2:11). We are children of God, not children of this world (James 1:27, 4:4; 1 John 2:15; 1 John 3:1-2).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Old Traps

It is difficult to imagine the Peter we saw when Jesus was on the earth with the one we see in his letters. He was completely changed by the resurrection of Jesus and the filling of the Holy Spirit. The one who once denied knowing Christ out of fear now writes that we must all accept the fact that persecution is part of a believer’s life.

Peter quotes from the Book of Proverbs, “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear” (1 Peter 4:18, Proverbs 11:31)? This comment emphasizes how narrow an escape Christians have been given.

He concludes, “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”

Persecution and difficult circumstances force God’s children to rely on him. We will only make it through the tension in our lives by committing ourselves to God, believing him to be faithful to bring us through all circumstances.

Otherwise we will fall back into our old traps.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Peter is writing to persecuted Christians in his first letter to Christians scattered abroad. He talks about the terrible threats they face encouraging them that God is glorified through their faithfulness. He then writes what appears at first to be a very strange sentence, “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17).

The word “for” makes the connection between previous verses 12-16, that addresses persecution of Christians. Peter makes it clear that God is at work, using the persecutions to purify his people.

Persecution forces us to make choices to rely on God and lay down our lives for his glory, or to seek our own will. Our choices in the United State are camouflaged by our abundance. We aren't as apt to recognize that we are making spiritual choices. Nonetheless, our decisions will be judged.

Monday, November 9, 2009

They Blaspheme God

We truly do not comprehend what our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ suffer in other parts of the world. Nor can we grasp the threat of losing our lives as those to whom Peter addressed his letters. Our daily lives generally involve resisting temptations to satisfy ourselves; from our perspective, only risking "inconsequential" harm to others.

But for those whose life is at risk for obedience to Christ Peter writes, "If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed; but on your part He is glorified" (1 Peter 4:4).

Though we do not suffer to the extent of the persecuted church, we are faced with difficult choices. God is glorified as we refuse to choose the easy way out and follow godly counsel.

Friday, November 6, 2009

God's Hospitality

Peter ends his warning that the end is coming by admonishing us to love one another. It is not an expressionless love of sweet sounding words with no actions, but a practical love for the members of our physical and spiritual family.

He tells us to be fervent about our love because we will need it to forgive one another (1 Peter 4:8). He tells us to be hospitable with one another, to invite others into our homes and not complain about having to do so. He tells us we have been given gifts, not to horde or keep to ourselves, but to share them with those who know us (1 Peter 4:9-10).

When we speak to others our words and actions are to be as though God were speaking and interacting with them (1 Peter 4:11). God is glorified if we always live with this standard in mind. He alone gets the glory because it is only by his grace that we are able to have a godly response to everyone around us.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Is the End Near?

After Peter warns us to live holy lives, he tells his readers, "but the end of all thinigs is at hand: therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers" (1 Peter 4:7). How can he be correct? It has been over 2,000 years since this text was written.

It is true that every generation of Christians have thought that Christ was coming before they die and yet every generation thus far has gone the way of all men.

Remember what Peter wrote earlier in this letter? "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers aand its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever" (1 Peter 1:24-25).

The older we get the more we recognize how quickly our lives are over. Our end is indeed near, and we do not have time to waste.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dingy Clothes

As changed men and women we are no longer to live for our own pleasure, but focus on what God asks of us (1Peter 4:2). We have used up enough of our lives with pleasing ourselves and ignoring the call to live as Christ lived. Looking back over our lives we can see how the fruit of self-focus rots quickly (1 Peter 4:3).

Our reputation for living separate lives should be apparent, but not appalling, though most will choose not to follow in our steps (Mt 7;13-14). The world attempts to convince itself that there is no eternal judgment, but they will still stand before God and give an account of their lives (1 Peter 4:5). That is why it is extremely important that our lives reflect the glory of God and not the dingy appearance of the world (1 Peter 4:6).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Ignorance of the H1N1 virus, commonly known as the swine flu, has caused panic. Egyptian officials ordered the slaughter of over 300,000 pigs in an effort to curtial the virus though you do not get swine flu from pigs. So many people are swarming to hospitals with any cold or flu like symptoms that hospitals are short staffed to deal with more serious cases.

People are paying attention because of the deaths of young children and asthmatic patients. Yet a far greater danger exists for the human soul yet the cure is ignored.

Hell is a real place and Jesus offers a way of escape (John 3:16; John 1:12; 1 John 1:9, John 14:1-4).

Monday, November 2, 2009

What's Up with That?

No one likes to be treated unfaily. Unfortunately that is part of living among people. As Christians, we may be subjected to this kind of treatment more often because of who we represent. Peter points out an unusual way of looking at suffering unjustly at the hands of unbelievers. He reminds us that Jesus died, "the just for the unjust" (1 Peter 3:17-18).

Could this mean when we suffer at the hands of an unjust person, we are in some way participating in God's plan for that particular person's life? Is it possible that our suffering at his or her hands is part of what will lead them to Christ? "The just for the unjust, in order that he might bring us to Chirst."

Regardless of what God is doing in the unjust person by his or her mistreatment of God's child, God is using that specific trial to purify us (1 Peter 4:1).

Friday, October 30, 2009

Human Nature Invokes Revenge

It is human nature to lash out at anyone who hurts us. If we perceive that someone is intentionally being unjust toward us, we feel entitled to revenge. That principle is why Peter points out the reasonableness of treating others well, "And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?" (1 Peter 3:13).

However, he also acknowledges the hardness of some people's hearts so that they do harm regardless of how they ae being treated. In such cases Peter advises us, "Even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you are blessed" (1 Peter 3:14). he says that it may actually be the will of God for us to suffer unjustly so that God may be gloriefied through us (1 Peter 3:13-17).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

An Invisible Enemy

How can a wife submit to her husband and a husband understand his wife without resenting one another? Peter answers that question in 1 Peter 3:8-12.

The first principle to successful marriage is for both husband and wife to be of one mind, having compassion for one another? (1 peter 3:8). Secondly we are to be tenderhearted toward our mate and always treat them with courtesy (1 Peter 3:8). Thirdly we are never to "return evil for evil or reviling for reviling" (1 Peter 3:9). Fourthly we are to always bless our mate, knowing that we are called to inherit a blessing from God (1 Peter 3:9).

The result of holding our tongues, refusing to be deceptive, seeking peace is to have our Lord hear our prayers. If we refuse to follow these principles, the face of the Lord will be set against us (1 Peter 3:9-12).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Sour Smell

A man lives in our community who does not wash his clothes, nor does he bathe. His face always sports a patch of stubble.

He is an intelligent man, able to discuss important topics. However, he wets his pants in public leaving large stains on his light beige slacks and puddles on his chair. His stench lasts long after he has left the room. If he has mirrors, he ignores them.

He has been approached several times about his poor hygiene, but chooses to ignore his responsibility to the general public.

James says, If we do not live what we know to be right we are spiritually like the man in my community (James 1:23-24).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Empty Computer Case

My husband borrowed my laptop computer last week when his PC crashed. I lugged my computer case back and forth to the office just so I had access to my papers. I worked out of a disk drive on my office PC but missed using my files on the laptop. Thursday night I asked my husband if he had gotten his PC back from the repairshop. I about killed over when he told me he had put my computer back in its case Sunday night. We both had a great laugh over the fact that I had the computer with me the entire time, but didn't know it.

That is exactly what we do with the grace of God. It is available but live like we don't have access.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dark Days

It is a strange world we live in. Babies die, when they should live. Murderers live when they should die. Victims suffer at the hands of uncaring individuals and injustices continue to dominate our society.

So why don't we give up? We don't give up because we know whom we serve. We know this is not our home but that we are agents of the Most High God. Our mission is to be his light in a dark place so that others may notice the difference and bedrawn toward him.

This darkness will not last forever. God will one day say, "It is enough." Then we will reap a harvest of joy.

Until then...

We depend on him

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dried Out Bread

Proverbs 17:1 "Better is a drymorsel with quietness, than a house full of feasting with strife."

We benefit when we provide a safe place for others to be themselves and we love them just as they are.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Worth The Risk?

Adam and Eve had the best of all worlds. There were lush gardenss, clear waterfalls, tame panthers and friendly bears. It is hard to imagine their world without pain, sorrow and fear.

When the first couple made the decision to eat what God had forbidden, they had no idea of the anguish they were bringing on themselves. Satan told them everything would work out fine, but when they learned thier oldest son had murdered his younger brother, they were faced with the reality of how their choice had affected their sons.

We are faced with similar choices. We may choose to ignore God's warning, but we don't get to choose the outcome.

Is it really worth the risk?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hindered Answers

Let's look at Peter's instructions to husbands one more time. "Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

Consider the warning Peter is giving husbands, "that your prayers may not be hindered." God takes seriously any mistreatment of another person. The Psalmist wrote "If I regard wickedness in my meart, the Lord will not hear me." Scripture says, "He who covers his sin will not propser but whosoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy" (Pr 28;13).

When husbands mistreat their wives, or women mistreat their husbands, God notices. It in some ways reflects back to what we talked about last time. God may be providing the answer to a spouse's prayer through their mate. Our behavior is hindering the very answer we seek from God.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Cost of Ignoring

Peter also reminds husbands that they are fellow heirs with their wives of "the grace of life." Our understanding of any given situation or decision is not based solely on the fact that men think differently than women. It has to do with the fact that God has promised to direct and guide each of his children, both men and women.

Isaiah wrote "Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it..." (Isaiah 30:21). The prophet Joel wrote "...I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions and even on the male and female servants I will pour out my Spirit" (Joel 2:28).

Galatians 3:28 tells us "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Chirst, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise." Men and women were in the upper room when the Holy Spirit came down in tongues of fire filling everyone present wih the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).

How will you know if God is speaking through your wife unless you take the time to consider seriously her opinion? You may be doing more than ignoring her, you may be ignoring wisdom from God.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Do you Want to Understand?

Peter tells men to dwell with their wives with understanding (1 Peter 3:7). Some men plow over their wives. They only see emotions and dismiss the logic behind what is being expressed.

It takes time and energy to understand another person's viewpoint. We need to ask open ended questions to discover the logic behind the opinion. For example ask, "What makes you uncomfortable about the way I want to handle this?" or "What do you think we should do and what are your reasons?"

Your wife may not express herself like you do, but more than likely you have the same goals of living a successful life. Hopefully you both want to please the Lord.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Husband's Strength

Much attention has been given to Peter's comments to wives (1 Peter 3:1-6) and very little to his instructions to husbands. "Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayer may not be hindered" (1 Peter 3:7).

There is an old saying that bears repeating. "Actions speak louder than words."

The actions of many men tell the world they interpret Peter's words, "the weaker vessel" to mean the woman's intelligence is less than a man's. But weaker does not refer to intellect. It refers to physical strength.

A man of the same height and weight as a woman will be significantly stronger than her. Men have a tendency to interact more on a physical level than women do. Peter is telling men to be aware of how their physical strength can hurt a woman. Using physicl strength will give an unfair advantage to a man. In other words it is sinful to use physical strength to get your way or intimidate your spouse.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Wife's Trust

Peter's reference to Abraham and Sarah's relationship is not to teach us to call our husbands "lord" or "master." He is teaching that Abraham mistreated his wife when he lied about their relationship, yet Sarah put her trust in God (1 Peter 3:1-6).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dangling Braclets

Women, we are wise to remember that our outer beauty is temporary at best (Proverbs 31:30-31). Its influence will not last. Therefore to build our relationship on our beauty is one of the most foolish things we could do. But if we build it on the quiet attitude of the heart the chances of a healthy relationship greatly increases (1 Peter 3:3-4).

Scripture does not tell us not to look as beautiful as we are able. Esther spent a full year tryiing out different perfumes and learning beauty secrets before she met the king (Esther 2:12-13). In Ezekiel's word picture of what God did for Israel, he says God gave Israel fine linen clothes, gold and silver to wear as well as rings and bracelets.

But those things are not what will win the heart of our husbands or please our Lord. If we have any chance of influencing them toward God, it is with our quiet confidence in God and the respect we show our husbands (1 Peter 3:1-4). That kind of beauty can last forever.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Snake Handlers

Jesus said we could trample on snakes and scorpians and not be hurt. But before we go out and join the snake handlers' worship services, lets finish reading the text in its entirety.

"Behold I have given you authority to tread upon snakes and scorpians and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall injur you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven" (Luke 10:19".

The text is not speaking about physical snakes and scorpians, though what happened to Paul may occur in our lives (Acts 28:3). It is talking about overcoming demonic activity.

What would happen if we asked God to help us overcome temptation immediately upon being faced with it, rather than begging God to prevent the temptation? Imagine depending on God to help us say no and purposely avoiding the place where we tend to fail

Friday, October 2, 2009

Intellectually Inferior?

Peter is careful to tell women to submit to their own husbands. Some men interpret this to mean they are intellectually superior to women. They do not show them respect and talk down to them or ignore them.

Other men appear to be kind to women. They smile and give complements related to women's appearance, but they rarely take advice from the opposite sex. They tolerate women giving their opinions, but they do not take them seriously. If the man happens to agree with a woman's opinion, he chalks it up to a fluke.

But this is not the kind of submission God designed (Galations 3:28-29; 1 Corinthians 11:3). The relationship between God and his Son is the pattern set for the relationship between husbands and wives. There is a line of authority coexistent with a line of equality (Phil 2:6). Jesus is no less intelligent than the Father and the Father never demeans the Son.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Peter gives a lengthy admonishment on submitting ourselves to those in authority. He covers governments (2:13-14), forced labor (2:18), and chosen companions (3:11,7).

Sometimes God provides a way out of these relationships (Mt 19:9; 1 Cor 7:11, 15-16, 21). But as long as we remain in them, we are to submit ourselves to the one in authority as an example of what Christ suffered on our behalf (1 Peter 2:21-25).

This does not close the door to leaving an unhealthy situation. But if we leave, we are to do it with as much grace and dignity as is becoming a servant of God.

Remember Jesus did not submit himself to those who would abuse him until the appointed time of the crucifixion. Many times the religious people wanted to put him to death. But because his time had not come, he did not submit himself to them (John 8:59).

There are an appointed set of martyrs (Rev 6:9-11) and it is doubtful that an abusive relationship fits into that category.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why This Job?

Did you notice when Peter talked about showing honor to harsh bosses he said that we need to do it patiently? (1 Peter 1:19). When we do, God considers it commendable. God is our real boss and has placed us under the one who hired us.

We are used to thinking of ourselves as free agents to make decisions as we see fit. But we tend to forget our choices never interfere with God's specific design for our lives (Psalm 138:8; 139:17; Proverbs 16:9; 19:21)

God may or may not reveal to us what his purpose is in giving us the job he has arranged on our behalf. It may simply be a lesson in patients and faithfulness. It is always a lesson in faith.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Why Tolerate an Unwise Boss?

Why should we tolerate unwise bosses? Why should the ignorant man or woman get by with mistreating subordinates? Don’t we have an obligation to resist that kind of behavior?

Peter says we must be submissive, even when a boss is harsh because that is what Christ did for us. We were ignorant toward God, showed him great disrespect.” (1 Peter 2:19-21).

But Jesus was not always silent during confrontation. Sometimes he confronted individuals calling attention to their hypocrisy (Mathew 23:27). Yet he submitted himself to the commands of those in authority (John 10:17-18).

It is important to maintain a balance when dealing with the unjust. A good rule of thumb is not to allow the other person’s behavior to control ours.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Wise Boss

“Employees, be submissive to your bosses with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh” (1 Peter 2:18).

Not always an easy thing to do.

A wise boss will recognize the ability of employees and encourage them to succeed. They give them room for creativity and provide opportunity to relieve stress when pressure becomes too severe. A wise boss recognizes that some employees have more knowledge than he or she does and will allow the employee to make decisions. A wise boss also allows for errors because he or she recognizes that mistakes are the nature of being human and the blood of creativity.

Unfortunately, not all bosses are wise.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Conduct Becoming a Servant

Peter sums up his exhortation on how to live among ungodly men by saying, “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17).

It takes a great deal of effort to honor the unjust. We need the Holy Spirit to give us the ability to show honor to the rude and ignorant. It helps to remember God created that individual. He or she may be far from what God designed them to be, but they were nevertheless created in the image of God.

Loving the brotherhood can also be difficult when someone does or says something that causes us pain. The only way to sustain such high standards is by continually living in the conscious presence of God.

That may be why Peter added the admonishing to fear God. Recognizing our own unworthiness when compared to the righteousness of God stimulates our ability to forgive and accept others in their unworthiness.

Finally to honor the king or president is to recognize that God set up the lines of authority. He is the One who sets up kings and presidents. He is also the one who destroys them. Therefore to show honor to the king or president is to honor God (Romans 13:17).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tricky Business

We certainly have great liberty in the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:12; Romans 14:14). Peter gives us guidelines to use in our liberty. He admonishes us to use our liberty “as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God” (1 Peter 2:16).

It is tricky business to use the liberty Christ purchased on the cross to attempt to hide our addictions. We may convince others we are exercising our liberty. We may even convince ourselves. But we will never be able to convince God (Hebrews 4:13).

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ignorance is Noisy

Have you ever noticed how much a foolish man loves to talk? He can babble for hours without saying anything.

Proverbs 10:19 says, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable…” The foolish man abounds in his ignorance because he does not remain silent long enough to listen and ponder wisdom. Therefore his accusations are quick and shallow, but their arrows are sharp and can cause destruction. That is because there are plenty of unwise individuals who love to listen.

Peter advised, the way to handle foolish men is by maintaining a life that is submitted to authority. He says this puts to silence the ignorance of foolish men (1 Peter 2:15). They have nothing that can substantiate their empty accusations.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Silence Everyone

Peter describes what it means for our conduct to be honorable. He writes in verse 13, “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.”

This is the way to put to silence the accusations of evil men (1 Peter 2:13-15).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day of Visitation

Peter wrote, “having our conduct honorable among the Gentiles that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).

What is the day of visitation? Is it the day people see what we have been doing? Is it the day we all stand before God in judgment? Is it the day Holy Spirit visits them with conviction and our behavior bears testimony to God’s grace? Is it the day we are in a situation that could destroy us but our good reputation with outsiders protects us?

Whatever the Day of Visitation means, we know our conduct must always be honorable among unbelievers. Because it is the nature of people to speak evil against God’s children, it is important that our behavior is always guided by God’s divine principles.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I hate ants in my house. I notice a tiny one crawling around in my kitchen. It doesn’t take long until a line of ants are marching across my counter to the tiny drop of sugar left after breakfast. Getting rid of the ants is no easy task. In California the laws requires pesticides to be so watered down that it may take months before the poison is built up enough in their system to kill the ant's nest.

Poor choices are like the drop of sugar. We enjoy pleasing our sweet tooth, but it doesn’t take much time until a long line of consequences encroach in our relationships.

We think we have not change since eating the forbidden fruit. But everyone around us is painfully aware of our behavior. Outsiders notice and begin to relate to us differently. Without intentionally setting our minds to destroy it, our reputation is deteriorating over time.

Peter said, “having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).

We won't be able to sit on the fence forever. We will eventually lose our balance.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Soul War

Our soul is made up of our mind, our will and our emotions. Peter strongly advises us to “Abstain from fleshly lusts” because they ‘war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11).

When we continue to give into desires or cravings that do not bring glory to God, we weaken our will power with each failure. We bring confusion into our minds and our emotions get out of control.

At first we believe we can handle it “this once”. Suddenly we are trapped and wonder how we let it get this far.

The moment we find ourselves in an old trap, instead of lying down and letting the quicksand flow over us, let’s call out for help.

Monday, August 31, 2009


“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into this marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10).

We are certainly a chosen generation. We are allowed to have the Holy Spirit living in us (John 14:17). We have been made to understand the mystery of Christ and the Church (Romans 16:25-27). We have become partakers of Jesus’ divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

Can there be any greater gift?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Grey Rock

It is painful when someone you love expresses a disinterest in Jesus and all he has done for us. Our relationship with the Son of God is our most precious possession. He gives our lives meaning.

But to those who do not believe, Jesus is an old religion full of superstition and rituals. He is no more precious to their minds than a grey rock in the gravel or a crack in the sidewalk that causes one to trip.

People who do not obey the Word of God live a life of disobedience to his commands. They stumble because they have no understanding. They are poor and numb to the richness of God’s presence. Our standards appear absurd to their reasoning. Therefore they are more prone to ridicule our choices and are left wondering about our sanity (Mark 3:21).

We should not be surprised when this happens to us, since Jesus told us ahead of time that these things will come to pass (John 15:18-22; 16:1-3).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

An Empty Seat

It is natural to feel shame when we are rejected by anyone. I am most uncomfortable when attending a dinner or gathering without anyone accompanying me. I feel awkward as I scan the room looking for a friendly face to invite me to join them. Most of us have experienced the embarrassment of being rebuked or having our faults pointed out in public. So why does the scripture say, “he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame”? (1 Peter 2:6).

He says that because this life is temporary at best. Our lives here are like the morning due or late morning fog. They disappear before we realize time has past. It is when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ that we will not be put to shame. Jesus will say, “He is mine. She belongs to me.” All judgment will be covered by the precious blood of the Lamb and we will feel no shame.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Braided Crown

Isaiah said Jesus was not handsome so that people were not naturally attracted to him (Isaiah 53:2). Peter describes Jesus as rejected by men. Those who loved God loved Jesus, but most people turned away from this strange man who talked about eating his flesh and drinking his blood (John 6).

The summer of my fourth year in school, my father tried out for a little church in the mountains of California. There was a lady in the congregation that wore her hair in a braid across the crown of her head. I was fascinated by her wrinkles and unattractive appearance. Yet four years later when my father resigned the church, I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. The light of her character changed the light in my eyes.

She was one of God's "living stones" part of the glorious building of God (1 Peter 2:4-5).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Glass of Milk?

Peter recognizes that our souls continually crave to be filled. What a wonderful analogy he uses when he says, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word…” Milk is one of the most fattening foods that can be consumed. Calves use it to grow anywhere from 71 to 79 pounds a month, so that a nine-month old heifer is expected to way 600 pounds.

Our spirits will grow exponentially in relation to how much time we spend meditating on and reading the words of God. Peter puts it this way, “that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:1-2).

Friday, August 21, 2009

Evil Speaking

It may be that one of the most difficult temptations to overcome is speaking evil (Peter 1:1).

Proverbs says, “In the abundance of words, there lacks no sin; but he that refrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).

There are times when we deal with evil men and women. This scripture is not telling us to ignore the fact that someone has given themselves over to ways of the evil one. It does remind us to be careful what we say in acknowledging wicked behavior.

Neither Jesus nor the Apostles pretended certain individuals were not evil (Luke 11:44; 2 Peter 2:1-3; Romans 16: 17-20). But Jude exhorts us to leave the judgment of such men up to God (Jude 1:9). We are too prone to error to make unequivocal statements about someone else’s damnation.

When we recognize we are dealing with evil desires of another, let’s be cautious with our words and ask God to guard our hearts. Then let’s proceed with caution.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Prader Willi Syndrome

There is a genetic disease call Prader Willi Syndrome that affects hundreds of children and adults. The individual’s hunger is never satisfied leading to dangerous obesity. The food compulsion and learning disabilities requires the person be constantly supervised. Though the person has a sweet disposition, the drive for food eventually negatively affects their behavior.

The spiritual comparison is called envy. In the natural, we never have enough but continually crave more possessions; more talent; more money. The list of our wants can be endless pushing us toward dangerous carnal obesity.

The craving or our souls will never cease, so how do we put away envy?

We put it away be giving our souls the only thing that can keep up with our desires…


Seek him with all your energy. Revel in the truth of his love and presence. Medicate your sorrows with the knowledge of his power. Revive yourself in the richness of his promises that he is at work in your particular life and circumstance.

Fill yourself up with God.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Peter tells us to put away deceit. Sometimes those who are called Christians have a since of pride at being able to fool someone without telling a lie.

My work requires I publicly post an agenda 72 hours prior to meetings. To my embarrassment I posted the wrong time for a special meeting and it had to be canceled because we would not have a quorum. As I was informing the president of the company about my error, she commented, “Now you are not going to make that mistake again are you?”

Her question seemed unnecessary. The definition of a mistake is much like an accident. One does not intentionally make an error. How could I guarantee I would not make the same mistake again, however unlikely.

But to my chagrined, I again made an error. This time I put the wrong day of the week, though the date and time were correct. I was not aware of the error until the day of the meeting, so there could be not corrections.

Someone I knew suggested I repost the agenda with the correction and if I was asked I could simply say, “I changed it as soon as I saw my error,” which would be perfectly true. However I knew this was a way of being deceitful.

The temptation was great but the Lord was gracious to me. The error did not cause the cancellation of the meeting because the date and time were correct.

We are not always allowed to escape negative consequences of our errors, but the cost of being honest is worth our integrity.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Malice is an active will and desire to harm someone. During worship on a Sunday morning we may judge ourselves to be free from such wicked desires. But if someone traps us in a corner and begins to tell us what they think of us in no uncertain negative terms, the temptation toward malice is more likely to become evident.

How can we overcome the temptation in that moment? Unless we are already founded in the grace of God toward us, we will lash out in return. But if we have made it our habit of dwelling on the magnificent grace granted toward us, we will more often respond as Jesus did, “Father forgive them because they don’t understand what they are doing.”

Monday, August 17, 2009

Taste Buds

I have been eating a lot of raw vegetables and avoiding animal protein. My body has slimmed down and I feel much better. This weekend I ordered a vegetarian pizza that I used to enjoy, but the restaurant covered it with cheese and fried the ingredients in grease.

My taste buds let me know they were not happy with my choice.

When we taste the goodness of God, the sweetness of his forgiveness, the delight of his presence, our fleshly desires loose their appeal. They taste like grease to our spiritual palette.

Peter said it this way, “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and all evil speaking, as newborn babes desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:1-3).

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pants on Fire

Recently I heard a man tell a boldface lie. He did not care that someone in the room knew the truth; he only wanted to avoid his responsibilities.

This same man once knew how to make people laugh. He sang with a voice that could charm the stars. He taught the word of God with persuasive speech and was admired by those who heard him speak. Now he is an alcoholic and an abuser. His behavior has destroyed all of his relationship until the only people who believe his lies are new acquaintances.

God's word will always prove true. No matter how many years we serve God, if we turn away from him we turn toward death (Ezekiel 33).

Thursday, August 13, 2009


It is the Spirit of God working in us that causes us to desire God. The only hope of obeying him is through the strength of the Holy Spirit. As long as we attempt to please God in our own strength, we will continually please ourselves at the cost of thwarting our own happiness (Romans 6:23).

But if we are practicing obedience through depending on the Holy Spirit and are purifying our souls to obey the truth, let us also love each other fervently with pure hearts. Our motivations are not to please ourselves, but to do what is best for the objects of our love.

God's love that flows through us toward our family and friends is from an incorruptible seed. In other words it is not corrupted with self-centered motives to get what we want or to force others to serve us. It produces genuine affection and kindness toward all who know us, especially to those who sit across the table from us.

It is easier to fake love for others from a distance, than to fake love for members of our own family. If we are able to fool ourselves, we are not able to fool them. Pure love takes a dependence on the genuine love of God (1 Peter 1:22-23).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I Have a Right

I have a right to feel what I want, be what I want, do what I want, say what I want. I am my own person. People around me should not attempt to regulate my choices. I am an individual and God has given me the right to make decisions for myself. Not every thing I do must measure up to someone else's standard. It is simply none of their business.

My family should adjsut to me. I do plenty for them. I may be my brother's keeper, but I have the right to fulfill that obligation as I see fit without having anyone second guess my decisions.

But God says...

All our speech, all our interactions, all our choices are to be based on the fact that we have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. To do less is to dishonor the preciousness of Jesus' sacrifice.

Does that seem over-the-top religious? Is it a hyperbole?

If it is, what do the following scriptures mean? ( 1 Peter 1:17-21; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Galatians 5:24; Ephesians 5:21; 2 Corinthians 16:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


You can admire a cactus from a distance, but if you get too close you are going to get pricked. While most cacti look as dangerous as they are, the teddy bear cholla cacti looks soft, but has sharp spines that stick to skin and are hard to get out.

They represent people who appear reasonable and thoughtful but when you get too close you find that soft exterior hides sharp quills of injustice and cruelty. If you find yourself in battle with one of these creatures you are wise to wait fervently on the Lord for wisdom.

Such men and women are able to deceive those who first meet them, and you may be left holding the bag of thier refuse.

Remember God's promise in Psalm 23, "You prepare a table before me in the prsents of my enemies." No deceiver is greater than God. Though judgment is delayed, it will eventually come (Galatians 6:7).

Monday, August 10, 2009

An Extravagant Bonus

The owner of a company I worked for in Illinois gave me a several thousand dollar bonus one year for Christmas. I was in such shock that tears leaped from my eyes and scurried down my cheeks. My boss laughed with delight at making me so happy. I had a difficult time expressing my gratitude.

But we have been offered something of far greater worth than any size bonus. We have been offered a place in the family of God sponsored by the broken body of Jesus Christ, the creator of the World (1 Peter 1:17-21) and secured by the resurrection of this same Jesus.

We read those words so easily, that it is difficult to comprehend them. It is when we see a broken person, weighed down with addictions of anger or drugs or alcohol or sexual promiscuity changed into a person filled with freedom and laughter that we catch a glimpse of the power of the gift that resides in us.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Never Just Me

We are continually shaping who we are. We are either using the habits and values of the world to shape ourselves, or we are using godly principles to make choices that shape us into the likeness of Christ.

Our choices drive us toward truth or away from it. if we choose the world's standards at any level, we cannot help but distort truth. We will give what we think is sound advice, but it will always be influenced by our hidden sin and therefore is tainted.

Peter put it this way, "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance (1 Peter 1:13-14).

We never just hurt ourselves.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Old Haunts

Have you ever traveled back to a place you remembered as a child? Things just don't look the same. The gigantic rock is a small bolder, the mountain only a hill, and the large house with the big back yard is a small bungalow with a yard the size of a Volkswagen bus.

When the pressure builds in our lives and things do not go as we envisioned, we tend to look backwards. Our old haunts beckon to us. Old habits don't seem all that bad. We tell ourselves, "maybe going backward is not such a bad idea after all."

But old traps are tighter the second time. Chains form much more quickly around our spirits, and we find ourselves drowning in the same cesspool from which we were gladly set free.

Peter tells us "Be sober and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13).

Call out to God, he will again deliver you. It may be more difficult this time, but it is well worth the effort. He will reveal himself faithful to you. "As obedient children not conforminig yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct" (1 Peter 1:14).

Monday, August 3, 2009

The War of The Girdles

Over the centuries men and women have worn girdles. Sweat poured off the forehead while the individual tried to pull that tightly fitting stretch material over thick thighs and bulging belly.

Making our minds obey God's laws is not an easy task. Peter likens it to the war with the girdle (1 Peter 1:113). Paul likens it to taking prisoners of war (2 Corinthians 10:5).

All disobedience begins by thinking about the forbidden object. We don't sin by accident. We contemplate what it will be like. We imagine the problems it could cause and work out how we can still do as we want and avoid any negative consequences. The enemy of our life is more than happy to assist us.

Satan reassures us we can get by with it, but he is a liar. God says "Make sure your sins will find you out" (Number 32:23) and "Be not deceived. God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7). Since he always speaks truth, we can be assured we cannot escape the negative outcome.

The best way to protect yourself from making foolish choices against God's principles is to put a girdle on your mind, forcing your thoughts into obedience to Christ.

Friday, July 31, 2009


Sometimes our lives seem haphazard. People come and go. Situations arise and fall. Some of our prayers seem to be answered and others seem to disappear into thin air. We are sometimes left wondering if God is really involved in our lives all that much?

We need to ask ourselves what is the alternative belief. If God is not involved in our lives what does scripture mean when it says God works all things together (Ephesians 1:11; Romans 8:28)?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ironic Altars

The book of Judges is full of stories of God delivering his people from oppressors. In chapters six and seven we read these words, "Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years, and the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel" (Judges 6:1-2).

The Midianites came with more camels than anyone person could number. The men destroyed all the crops of Israel and killed thier cattle. God's children lived in poverty hiding in caves. When Israel finally had enough, they called out to God for help, and God answered by sending Gideon.

It is ironic that though they were crying out to God for divine interveention, they threatened to kill Gideon because he tore down the altar of the false god Baal. Were they hedging their bets?

Do we hedge our bets by continuing to do unethical things the world sees as acceptable, but are contrary to the principles taught in God's word? Do our mouths kill those who tear down our altar to the false god of convenience?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pick and Choose

Jesus said, "It is written, 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from thee mouth of God': (Maathew 4:4). Paul told Timothy, "All scripture is God breathed and is useful for eaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be throughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

In other words, we do not get to pick and choose which words of God we want to follow and which ones we will ignore. Peter sums up the instructions of God in one simiple sentence, "But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct."

God said it even more simply, "Be holy, for I am holy."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Sometimes we just want to quit. No more trying, thank you very much. No more problems, thank you very much. No more self-discipline, thank you very much. We prefer to drift.

But God has not called us to drift, to please ourselves, to chuck the world and focus only on ourselves. He has called us to “gird up the loins of your mind (buck up guy), be sober, (get real) and reset your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you… (stop depending on yourself). 1 Peter 1:13

With that self-admonishment, I will continue blogging, hopefully for his glory.

Monday, July 27, 2009


For some of us it is difficult to imagine what it would be like to be homeless. Few wish to be in that place of constant cold, hunger and need for shelter. They did not say as a child, “I want to be homeless when I grow up.” Life experiences brought them to that place of overwhelming need.

Can you imagine the kind of joy they would experience if someone gave them a job, a home and money to buy what they need? Can you imagine going from nothing to a place of safety and plenty?

That is exactly what God has done for us. He has taken us out of darkness of hopelessness and brought us into his wonderful kingdom of light. We who did not belong now belong. We who were once of no significance now are related to the ruler of the Universe.

The honor we have received is worth every sacrifice he calls us to experience (1 Peter 2:9-10).

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Priest

A priest is one who receives messages from God and delivers them to the people. A priest listens to the needs of the people and brings them before God. A priest offers sacrifices to God on behalf of himself and others. A priest leads the people in repentance, worship and praise.

God calls us his priests (1 Peter 2:9).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summer Camp

Summer camp was the highlight of the year. A king and queen were crowned on the last night at a banquet. It was a coveted honor among all the children. All candidates had to be recommended by the camp counselors and then the kids voted. My last year, I was selected by the counselors, but was runner up by popular vote. I was both honored and disappointed.

Prom queens and prom kings are not truly royalty. Presidents of companies are temporary at best. Honors never last long.

But, we have an eternal honor. God has made us to be priests and has formed us into a holy nation called by his name (1 Peter 2:9-10). We who were once nothing, who had no true honors, who have experienced rejection, and been lost in the shuffle of life, are now royal representatives of the Most High God (2 Peter 1:16).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ice Door

During the reign of Emperor Licinius a group of Christian soldiers were forced to remove their clothing and stand naked on a lake of ice. As fellow believers began dying of hypothermia one of the victims ran off the ice screaming the denial of his beliefs. One of the men standing guard on the shoreline stripped off his clothes and took his place. His eyes had been opened to see the vision of surrounding angels placing a crown on the head of each martyr.

Our hearts grieve over those who have turned away from the truth having once known him (2 Peter 2:22). Peter says to the disobedient Jesus is something on which to stub their toe. But to God, Jesus and those that belong to him are precious. He will give them joy, peace and liberty on earth, and unfathomable glory in eternity (1 Peter 1:7-8).

Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm Sorry

If you are like me there are things you wish you had not done and choices you wish you had not made. Part of life is making mistakes. Unfortunately our errors in sound judgment affect the lives of everyone we know. The closer the people are to us, the deeper the wounds we inflict in their lives.

Hurting people, hurt people; therefore those we hurt, hurt others in return and the disease of poor choices expands exponentially. Once our eyes are open to see the damage we have caused it is usually too late to stop the process.

There are two kinds of regret that are given birth at this stage. One leads to life and healing of wounds, the other leads to more wounds and eventually death. Godly sorrow turns away from the behavior and moves toward right living. The second moves toward self justification, blaming and more poor choices.

Depression naturally comes at the point of revelation of the truth. It can be healed by acceptance of God’s forgiveness and a joyful receiving of God’s grace. If not, more acts of disobedience will bring death in all relationship involved including the most important one, a relationship with God.

"For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death" (2 Corinthians 7:11).

Friday, July 17, 2009

No Shame

Yesterday we discussed a small girl and boy who suffered humiliation because they were Christians. Yet Peter says, “…he who believes on Him {Jesus} will by no means be put to shame” (1 Peter 2:6).

Jesus himself suffered humiliation, was made fun of by soldiers, was despised by men, hung naked on the cross and was publicly ridiculed. How then can Peter those who believe will not be put to shame?

We are too quick to look for earthly answers. Our salvation is eternal. Though we may suffer persecution, shame and ridicule here on earth, we will never be put to shame eternally. The outcome will be as promised and those who overcome will rule with Christ forever (Rev 5:9-10; 20:6).

Eternity will come and in fact has already started. When Christ returns those who shamed others will bear their own shame and those who suffered shame for Christ will live in glorious joy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Child's Play

A young boy got off the school bus to go home. As he walked by the windows two older boys spit on him. Later two other boys would urinate on his shoes. The boy was a Christian.

A young girl sat at her wooden desk in the fifth grade class room. The teacher had gone to the supply room for a few minutes and the students were left alone. A boy crawled to the side of her desk and began to roll back and forth calling out, “Oh God! Oh God!” All the children laughed. She was a young Christian.

The persecution we suffer as adults may be much more subtle, but we also can struggle with the feelings of rejection. In our need to belong we are tempted to succumb to invitations to join in the rejection of holy living. But remembering who we work for can change the pain of rejection into the glory of being a child of God.

Jesus was also rejected, but was chosen by God and precious. We also are chosen by God to be living stones in a spiritual house. We are holy priests created to offer spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4).

If our behavior is our sacrifice to God, what kind of sacrifice are we offering?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Vinegar Anyone?

It is a hot day. The thermostat reads 117 in the shade. You have just been on a long hike because you ran out of gas and no one stopped to help you. Because you did not expect to be walking in the heat you didn’t have your hat or sunglasses. Now your skin is on fire and your feet are swollen in your shoes.

You enter the service station red faced and frustrated. The attendant looks at you with compassion and says in an even tone, “Would you like a glass of cold milk or a swig of vinegar to cool you off?” Not too hard a decision is it? Yet in our spiritual life many of us choose the vinegar.

Instead of being filled with destructive emotions such as anger, unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness, jealousy and envy, let’s act like newborn babies. Let’s be focused on understanding the spiritual nutrients found in the Word of God.

If you have come to learn by experience that God is gracious and kind toward you, then seek him all that much more. You can grow in your love for God and in your love for other people by soaking in his presence and in his word (1 Peter 2:1-3).

Monday, July 13, 2009

Over too Soon

Today we begin chapter two of 1 Peter. The books in the New Testament were not written in chapter and verses but were letters written to clear up issues. So though we say we are starting with chapter two, Peter is continuing his thoughts. The word “therefore” let’s the reader know the writer is basing his next sentence on what he has already said.

Peter reasons with us, that since life is short and can end without warning, and since God’s word and purposes stand forever, let’s get rid of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and all evil speaking (1 Peter 2:1).

In other words, life is just too short to be angry all the time.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fear of Death

The great sense of loss that follows the death of someone we love can cause us to feel unsure of our surroundings. What seemed permanent and reliable now seems temporary and unsure. Fear can creep into our waking ours and distort our dreams in our sleep.

It is good to remember, though life is temporary and brief at best, God’s word lasts forever (1 Peter 1:24-25). What God has planned for your life cannot be waylaid or distorted by anyone (Job 42:2; Psalm 139:16). He will accomplish what he has set out to do in your spiritual life (Psalm 138:8; Philippians 1:6).

When God makes a stand, no one can push him over.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wilted Grass

When someone we know dies without warning, we are struck with the shortness of life. We remember the last conversation we had with the person. If it was within hours of their death, we experience a kind of shock. If we meant to get in touch with them but had put if off until it is too late, we suffer guilt.

Peter said because life is like grass, it dies quickly we need to express our love now. He warns us not be insincere in our love and not to use affection to manipulate others, but to minister to one another with honest love. (1 Peter 1:22-25).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Take Me Seriously

If we hire someone to do yard work, fix our car or paint our home, we expect them to use their time wisely and pay attention to detail. If we work for someone else, we are expected to do our job well and to use our time wisely so that we can receive our paycheck at the end of the pay period.

Though we know we are not saved by good works, good works follow those who are saved. Peter puts it bluntly, “If you call on the Father who judges without partiality according to each man’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear…” (1 Peter 1:17).

We need to remember that we are not playing a game created by men with great imaginations, but the Son of God suffered excruciating pain to give us life. He willingly gave everything so that we could have life, faith and hope (1 Peter 1:17-20).

Let’s take seriously our commission of righteous living.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sergeant Peter

“Buck Up! I’m not your mommy!” Sergeants scream at troops.

God is not that harsh but he still requires obedience. Peter put it this way, “gird up the loins of our minds” (1 Peter 1:13).

Loins are representative of strength. So Peter’s exhortation is for us to use the strength of our minds to discipline our thoughts until we come to a place of rest on the grace that has been brought to us by Jesus Christ.

We no longer should be conforming to the world’s way of doing things (2 peter 1:14), but living holy lives (2 Peter 1:15-16).

Monday, July 6, 2009

Puzzled Saints

Most of us have faced life circumstances that have broken our hearts, tried our faith and left our minds spinning with questions. We cannot understand why he does not heal us or bring us the answers we so desperately need.

The prophets in the Old Testament also were puzzled over their life circumstances. They knew God had told them that a deliverer was coming, yet they saw no signs of the Anointed One’s arrival. They sought God for answers and he revealed to them that what he had told them was not for their generation but for a generation hundreds or thousands of years later (1 Peter 1:10-12).

Paul mentions that God used a physical illness to cause him to minister to the people who lived in Galatia (Galatians 4:13-14). Unless he had suffered this physical setback he may have missed the opportunity all together.

We are not only God’s children, but we are his messengers. We do well to remember our suffering may not only be for our spiritual growth, but may be the tool God uses to reach others with his love.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Clear Sky

Don’t you just love those days when you feel good? The sun is shining, but not so hot that it seems to be melting your skin. The sky is a rich blue with white clouds floating aimlessly overhead. The birds are chatting back and forth and the flowers are swaying slightly in a warm late spring afternoon.

Don’t you love those days when your faith is strong, you are keenly aware of God’s presence and you know he has all things in his hands? Peter puts it this way, “Though now you do not see him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory…” (1 Peter 1:8).

It is because we are persuaded that God is actively involved in our lives that we are able to enjoy life.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Closely Held Secrets

A friend of mine sent me an email titled “When God dropped the paint.” It contained a magnificent photograph of rolling hills covered in clumps of orange, red, blue, pink, and purple wildflowers.

I have been to the top of a mountain range and gazed across thousands of miles of mountain peaks varying in colors from green to blue and distant purples. The view was breathtaking.

There is a vista point off Highway 5 where one has a full clear view of Mount Shasta covered in snow to the north and the towering castle shaped rocks of Castle Craig to the west.

When we at last stand before the magnificent throne of God we will see views of our own lives that we are unable to see here. All the intricate planning of God will become manifest to us and we will finally understand so much of what he has kept secret until now (1 Peter 1:7)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Consuming Fire

There are times when we are required to make decisions which have the potential of separating us from the ones we love. When we are faced with choices that conflict with the principles laid out in God’s word, we have no real choice but to obey God. We grieve our losses (1 Peter 1:6).

God can use painful breaks in relationships to try our faith. Though scientists now use chemicals to purify gold, the impurities used to be removed by heating the gold until it became liquid.

Trials that press hard against the tenderness of our hearts push out the impurities in our attitudes, leaving behind a purer faith and a deeper trust in God.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Water Spiders

There is a spider that lives underwater all its life. Dubbed the water spider, this arachnid uses silk to form an air bubble. The bell shaped air tank diffuses oxygen from the water and allows carbon dioxide to escape out of the bubble. The spider is safely able to eat, mate and care for its young in a world that is life threatening. .

We also have a protective shield around us in a world that daily threatens our spiritual life ( 1 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 2:4).

Friday, June 26, 2009

What If I Sin in Heaven?

Once we know the Lord and have tasted of the sweet flavor of his presence, we do not want to go back to the empty life of pursuing the impossible. But the difficulties of life, the uncertainties, the temptations of self gratification sometimes feel overwhelming and a nagging fear begins to haunt our thoughts. “What if when we get to heaven we sin?”

Here is the great news. We won’t.

How do we know?

The Holy Spirit said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy has begotten us …to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,”

The word incorruptible means it cannot be corrupted it. Therefore your inheritance waiting in heaven for you cannot be corrupted. Never again do you have to fear sinning after you are welcomed into heaven.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Great Mystery

Life would be so much easier if we knew ahead of time what was going to happen and why it was necessary. At least that is what we tell ourselves. But have you ever said to someone, “If I had known this was going to happen, I don’t think I could have survived?”

God keeps secrets for a reason. There is a perfect time for us to know something and he will not reveal it to us a moment sooner than is healthy for us.

He kept the mystery of the full understanding of Jesus’ suffering and resurrection from the men who prophesied his coming. Their word was not for their benefit but for ours. Even the angels were fascinated and were anxious to see what God was doing on the earth.

Though we often live a mysterious life, we are an intricate part of what God is accomplishing (1 Peter 1:10-12).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Unscrupulous Recruiters

On June 18, 2009 National Public Radio gave an update on a young man, Burhan Hassan, age 17 who a year ago suddenly disappeared after his high school graduation. He was last seen on a flight to Somalia. After nearly a year of searching, family members found him. He had been recruited into a terrorist group. After long discussions with his father, the boy agreed to come home. Days before his flight back to the U.S. he was murdered by one shot to the head. Authorities speculated the terrorist group was responsible. (

The US & World website reported on November 28, 2008 that Minneapolis Minnesota is a recruiting center for Al-Qaeda ( December 4. 2008 Fox News Website headlines read “Jihad Recruiting Effort May Explain Missing Somalis In Minneapolis Area (

These young men and women are often intelligent, kind and family oriented individuals. Yet recruiters are able to convince them to fight in what they present as a holy war. The young people soon are willing to give their very lives to these unscrupulous men’s indoctrination.

Though these stories strike terror in our hearts, there is even a greater enemy, who was in the process of destroying our lives. Satan used lies and bribery to convince us to forsake the truth. But Jesus came to take the blinders off our eyes and to expose the false teaching of this world.

He has given us an “inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away,” which is reserved in heaven for {us}. (1 Peter 1:4).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Word Treadmills

Some of us second guess ourselves habitually. We cannot answer a question without examining our answer at multiple levels. After we walk away from a conversation, we can become obsessed with what we should or shouldn’t have said.

The analytical framework is naturally carried into our relationships with God. We can become exhausted with our attempts to figure out the correct prayer, the right actions or the healthiest attitude.

If you are one who runs in circles trying to please everyone, including God, Peter’s words are for you. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope…” (1 Peter 1:3)

God has abundant mercy. He has all the mercy you need and more, so you can stop worrying about whether you say the right words to him. He knows exactly what you mean.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Spiritual Surgery

A loving mother will stand in a hallway of a hospital or sit in the waiting room while the doctor performs surgery on her child. She cannot bear to watch the incision in the skin or see the blood ooze out of the wound. Every nerve screams with the instinct to stop the procedure, pulling the knife away from the surgeon and running out the door with her child.

But she doesn’t.

Instead, she waits and prays, longing for her child to be safely restored into her arms.

So it is when God is performing spiritual surgery on our child.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Wrong Turns

Yesterday, as I passed a gas station on my way to work, I made an instant decision to pull in and fill my tank. Without thinking, I made a right turn from the left hand lane.

As I turned off the key in the ignition, the realization of what I had done took my breath away. Not only had I broken the law by crossing two lanes of traffic, I could have endangered someone else’s life. Visions of a car hitting head on into the passenger side door left me stunned.

Unfortunately we make those kinds of mistakes in our relationship with people far too often. We violate the rights of others for our own convenience. Words pour out of our mouth without thinking of the emotional wounds we are inflicting.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Living Hope

Life is always changing. Americans move on an average of every 5 years. Even if we continue to live in the same area our surroundings are continually changing. Friendships change. Jobs change. We change.

Because we live in a constant state of change, God has provided us with a living hope. That means each new circumstance brings us a new perspective of the hope that is in us (1 Peter 1:3).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Two Gifts to All Believers

Most of the letters written by the apostles repeat the words, “Grace to you and peace” (1 Peter 1:2). In Peter’s letter his prayer is that grace and peace be multiplied.

Grace is God’s unmerited favor which includes strength, wisdom, insight, righteousness and innumerable spiritual gifts. Peace is the calm in our spirits in the midst of troubles, storms, trials and temptations.

Paul wrote, “Where sin abounds grace does much more abound” (Romans 5:20). We need grace and peace multiplied to us as we daily face new challenges.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Taking Advantage of a Promise

We get to know a person through their words and actions. In the laughter and sorrow, in the promises and fulfillments, in the loyalty and honesty of relationships, we become intimate. The same holds true in our relationship with God.

There is a reason you have a desire burning in your heart to know God. He is calling you (1 Peter 1:2).

Jesus told the Hebrew believers, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” He told his disciples “He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me, and he who loves me will be loved by my father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (John 14:21).

God has promised to reveal himself to you. Take advantage of the promise and seek him today.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Royal Invitation

There is an old song, “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you.” It is about learning the likes and dislikes of anther person. It is loving them from the onset and enjoying finding out their habits and idiosyncrasies. It denotes enjoying who they are.

This is the kind of invitation given to us by God the Father. Peter whispers this truth in his opening lines. Jehovah God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) has called us the elect. We are special to him.

God told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you: before you were born I sanctified you: I ordained you…” (Jeremiah 1:5).

God said “"And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them. And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God” (Ezekiel 11:9).

God knew you before you were born and he invites you to a journey of discovering who he is.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Peter Begins with a Great Truth

Look at Peter’s introductory words when he calls believers, “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:2).

His opening lines tell us that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are all involved in our salvation. God knew us before we were born and knew how we would respond. He therefore elected us to be his children. The Holy Spirit set us apart to be obedient to God and to be sprinkled by the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus paved the way for me and for you as individuals.

We have no merit that he should choose us. We have no righteousness that he should choose us. But we have both because he chose us.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Introducing Peter

Today we begin to look at the two books Peter wrote. They are open letters to believers, the first to “the pilgrims of Dispersion" and the second to “those who have obtained like precious faith.”

Peter was always zealous for God. He was the one who jumped out of the boat into the water to come to Jesus. He was the one who, in aspirations of protecting Jesus, told his master that he would not have to die. He was the one to cut off the servant’s ear in the garden when the officials came with soldiers to arrest Jesus. He was also the one to deny knowing Jesus.

But after the resurrection we see a change in Peter. His weakness disappeared. He followed the savior closely to the point of being a prisoner and finally dying a martyr’s death.

His life and death draw attention to his words.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Glass Houses

Fear God and keep his commandments…for God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

The book of Ecclesiastes ends with this admonition. Solomon chose to experience the outcome of following his flesh to prove whether God’s words were true (Ecclesiastes 1:13) and suffered for it. Many people have made similar choices, believing at some level that the law of reaping and sowing will not apply to them.

God has told us numerous times in his word that our actions will be judged, both here and at the final judgment (Galatians 6:8-9; 2 Corinthians 9:6; Romans 2:4-11; 14:10-11; 1 Corinthians 3:13-15). Jesus said those things done in secret will be shouted from the mountain tops (Mathew 4:22; 10:25; Luke 12:3).

We are wise to base our behaviors as though we are living in a glass house.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Snares for the Young

“Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

A tremendous amount of trouble and heart ache can be avoided by remembering our Creator while we are young. A wise young man or woman will follow the corrective principles found in the word instead of his or her hormones.

Youth has a way of thinking “It won’t happen to me.” They are invincible, all knowledgeable, powerful, and wise, (in their own eyes). Satan knows this about them and will set many snares in an attempt to destroy their potential ministry. But a young people who take every precaution to protect themselves from disobedience to God will avoid many pitfalls (Psalm 119:9).

The great news for those who have fallen into one of Satan’s pits is that God is still able to rescue them (Psalm 91:15). God is able to turn their mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11-12)

Monday, June 8, 2009

God Gives and Takes Away

All of God’s works are mysterious. We love the acts of God which bring us joy, but we find it extremely difficult to understand when we experience deep sorrow. Too often we are quick to attribute painful events to man’s freewill choice, Satan’s attack on our lives or random acts that cannot be explained.

Yet God said “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well being proceed?” (Lamentations 3:38). “See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded, and it is I who heal; and there is no one who can deliver from My hand” (Deuteronomy 32:39). “…and I am God; Even from eternity I am He; and there is none who can deliver out of my hand, I act and who can reverse it?”(Isaiah 43:12-13).

The Holy Spirit reminds us; “As you do not know what is the way of the wind. Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything” (Ecclesiastes 11:5).

Friday, June 5, 2009

New Version of a Hitchcock Movie

“Do not curse the king, even in your thought; do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom; for a bird of the air may carry your voice, and a bird in flight may tell the matter” (Ecclesiastes 10:20).

This verse may be fodder for a new version of the Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Birds. In this film all free speech is squelched for fear of birds relaying people's discontent to those in authority with dire consequences.

The author uses humor to get his point across that what we hide in our hearts comes out our mouth often to our own consternation. Jesus taught it is wise to keep a pure heart (Luke 6:45)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Open Mouth Insert Foot

Open Mouth Insert Foot

We all have a natural instinct to protect ourselves. None of us enjoy being embarrassed, snubbed or ignored. We like to be taken seriously.

Our self protection can lead to gossip, putting others down or boasting to make ourselves look better than the next guy. Our self preservation can lead to babbling off unimportant facts, exaggerations or oaths to raise our esteem in the sight of others.

The author of Ecclesiastes put it this way, “A fool also multiplies words” Ecclesiastes 10:14.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Charmed Serpents

“A serpent may bite when it is not charmed; the babbler is no different”
Ecclesiastes 10:11

When we have a habit of allowing ourselves to fun off at the mouth, we are creating a world of trouble for ourselves. We do not need to express every thought that comes into our heads. Here are some biblical guidelines for picking and choosing our words.

If the words edifies the hearer (Proverbs 15:23)
If the words are timely (Proverbs 15:23)
If the words are pure (Proverbs 15:26)
If the words are pleasant (Proverbs 16:24)
If the words bring peace (Romans 14:19)
If the words bring comfort (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
if the words bring grace to the hearer (Ephesians 4:29)

In the multitude of dreams and words there is much pride (Ecclesiastes 5:7)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Sharp Axe

I can remember the first time it dawned on me to use a dry cloth to wipe away flour before using a damp one to wash the counter. I remember because my mother commented on it as a sign that I was maturing and thinking ahead.

All of life is filled with opportunities to use wisdom. Sharp scissors are much easier to work with than dull ones. When clearing the table it is smart to take several items at once to save steps. When driving a car it is important to check the oil when filling up with gas. When using a lawn mower it is essential to turn off the engine before clearing the blades of any object.

As we practice these small acts of wisdom, we are rehearsing how to respond in the more complicated issues of life (Ecclesiastes 10:9-10)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday Morning Smile

He who digs a pit will fall into it, and whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent Ecclesiastes 10:8

Our creative writing teacher in high school loved to tell stories. He was a man well advanced into his 70s and so had memories of drawing water from streams, hunting in the woods and the absence of modern conveniences.

In his young adult years, the traditional joke for Halloween was for Tricker Treaters to move the outhouses back so when the house owners got up in the night to relieve themselves, they would fall into the hole. However, when the neighborhood goblins came to pay his outhouse a visit in the dark, they received their own surprise.

While it was still daylight, our teacher had situated the outhouse behind the hole.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rifts with Employers

In every job there are times when our ideas are in opposition to administration. For many people, the conflict between those in authority and those in service produces a continual undercurrent of resentment.

The author of Ecclesiastes gives very sound advice. “If the spirit of a ruler rises against you, do not leave your post; for conciliation pacifies great offenses (Ecc 10:4).

In other words, as you continue to remain faithful in your job you have the potential for healing the strained relationship. In cases where your faithfulness does not make a difference, you can begin to seek other employment.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Depressing Book

We may wonder why the book of Ecclesiastes is included in the Cannon of Scriptures since it is so depressing. But the overall purpose of the book is to remind us of the vanity and emptiness of serving things rather than God. When the author laments that being wise, strong, and rich is useless and all of life is a matter of chance, he is speaking from an unbelieving heart. (Ecc 10:11-12). Without God his words are true, but with God there is purpose and an eternal glorious outcome designed and controlled by God

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Working with Confidence

“ For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all; that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God” (Ecc 9:1).

What a wonderful promise this is. God has prepared ahead of time good things for us to accomplish (Ephesians 2:10) and he anoints our labors. He not only calls us to do certain tasks but he promises to accomplish them through us (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

Today, work with confidence. See what a difference it makes both in your work and in how you feel.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sometimes the Righteous Suffer

There was a youth pastor in his early thirties who exhibited a level of genius in his study and his working with youth. He and his young wife took a few days off to relax. Diving into the water he miscalculated and was knocked unconscious when he hit his head on the bottom of the pool. Life guards dove in and rescued him, but there was permanent damage to his brain. He now has the mental capacity of a child.

There was a young man who experimented with drugs and alcohol. His life was filled with carousing, cheating and self worship. One day, driving a motorcycle under the influence of alcohol he hit a tree crushing his leg. The doctors warned him that he would most likely loose the limb during the operation. God intervened and the leg was miraculously restored to normal. The young man turned toward God for nearly six months, but soon fell back into old habits, rejecting God altogether.

The writer of Ecclesiastes puts it this way, “There is vanity which occurs on earth, that there are just men to whom it happens according to the work of the wicked: again, there are wicked men to whom it happen according to the work of the righteous.” Ecc 8:14

These stories disturb our faith. but we are wise to remember God’s words to us found in Isaiah, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

God has his purpose and the eternal outcome possess the greatest importance.