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)