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.