Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Adding Virtue

First on Peter’s list for us to pursue is to add to faith, virtue.  What exactly is virtue?  The apple dictionary defines virtue as :

1 behavior showing high moral standards: paragons of virtue.
• a quality considered morally good or desirable in a person: patience is a virtue.
• a good or useful quality of a thing: Mike was extolling the virtues of the car | there's no virtue in suffering in silence.
archaic virginity or chastity, especially of a woman.

The message?  Faith is known or show by actions.  The old proverb rings true, “Your actions speak louder than your words.”


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Project List

We also have responsibilities that accompany these great and precious promises.  Peter immediately tells us to diligently pursue, virtue, knowledge, self control, patience, brotherly kindness and charity. 

We will begin to examine tomorrow why the Holy Spirit gave Peter this list in a particular order. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

His Divine Nature Shared

One of the greatest promises is in this very letter fromPeter; that we might partake of Jesus’ divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) AND to escape the that is in this world through lust.

Amazing!  How can we participate, share, or in any way partake of his divine nature?  I have absolutely no idea how God imparts that, I just know scripture  tells us he does.  He gives to us the ability yo overcome every temptation (Romans 6, Philippians 4:13).  

We no longer have to suffer at the whims of our bodies.  We can control our unhealthy appetites through scripture, prayer, obedience, and self discipline.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Day After Christmas

Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house
were broken toys and a dead rubber mouse.
The stockings were empty by my cracked leather chair
It looked like a tornado and just passed through here
I did not receive a single present
but gave all I had to the make others content
I had in my spirit a feeling not so nice
thinking I had out given other more than twice
When suddenly I was struck by a far reaching thought
Jesus gave all, my salvation he bought
The mess in the house seemed much smaller then
I smiled as I refocused on him

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone.  We have a lot to celebrate; eternal life, grace, hope, strength, peace; all because he came as a baby, grew to be a man and died that we might live both now and with him in eternity.

Merry Christmas indeed!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

All That Pertains

“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).

We can live a righteous life.  We can make right decisions.  We can choose to follow Jesus’ character in all things.  We have that ability because God gives it to us.  

Call out to him when you are tempted to act out in an ungodly manner.  He will answer quickly, giving you the strength to choose to be faithful to godly principles.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Large Gifts

Grace is a word that carries compounded meanings; forgiveness, righteousness, strength, wisdom; that is simply naming a few gifts included in God's grace.

Peace indicates an inner assurance, an untroubled soul regardless of circumstances.  Peace does not come from ignorance nor ignoring reality.  One can experience sorrow and peace at the same time.  Peace could be described as fully knowing what could happen or what is happening, yet feeling a calm assurance that Our Father is with us and will give us power to come out victorious in our days on earth or take us home in a victorious death.

The more I know God and his Son, the greater experience of grace and peace I obtain.  That makes me want to know him all the more.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Know You, the Only True God

"Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord," (2 Peter 1:2).

Notice the source of grace and peace.  These gifts come through knowing God and Jesus Christ.  Jesus prayed, "And this is life that they should know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

Part of knowing God necessarily includes learning more about his character, his past actions, his promised future actions and experiencing living with him in our daily focus or awareness.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Our Brother

“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1).

Peter address his second letter to “those who have obtained a faith of equal standing”.  All who have faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are brothers and sisters of Christ and therefore of one another (Hebrews 2:11-13) though our circumstances, age and cultures differ from one another.  We have all obtained faith “by the righteousness of Christ.”  

We did not save ourselves.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Peter Ends His Letter

Peter ends his letter by saying, “I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God.  Stand firm in it.” ( 1 Peter 5:12).

What is “the true grace”?  The “this” is all he has been saying; that we suffer for Christ, That Satan is out to destroy us (5:8), but God will sustain us (5:6-7); That Jesus is our Shepherd (5:1) and that he suffered for us (5:1); and in all Christ will be glorified (5:11).

May you find comfort and strength when you review all of Peter’s letter.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In All Things and Situations

"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen" (1 Peter 5:10"

"If you can live through a moment, you can live through a day, and how you live a day is eventually how you live your life" (Philip Yancy, Rumours of Another World , Zondervan Publishing2003 pg 56).

He quotes Joan Chittister, a modern Benedictine, "Everything we are, everything that is said to us, everything that happens to us is some kind of call from God.  In fact, everything that happens is God's call to us either to accept what we should not change or to change what we should not accept so that the Presence of God can flourish where we are..."  Then Yancy writes, "The goal of contemplation is to see life as God sees it, unity of two worlds {physical and spiritual} and not a division.  That encompasses both a lifetime of practice and rare, single flashes of revelation" (pg 57).

We will go back to Peter's letter for the final point.  "To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen"

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Enemy Behind the Rock

Today, I had someone attempt to shame me in public.  He overtly attacked my character.  When I asked the reason for his behavior he said, "I have my reasons and that is all I am going to say."

There are people who do not have legitimate reasons for treating us with disrespect, and there is little to nothing that will stop the behavior.  Because we do not know of any direct relationship with their negative attitude toward us, we tend not to think of it as suffering for Christ's sake.

We forget that often attacks from Saran come from behind a rock, the real culprit hidden from view.  As scripture says, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God..." (Ephesians 6:12).

Monday, December 15, 2014

Stronger Still

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).

Suffering has a way of calling us toward God because we are so aware of our need. We are more ready to trust in him, because we know he alone holds the answer.  We may feel depleted of faith and weak.  We may feel like our lives are chaotic with no direction. 

But when at last the particular suffering comes to an end we will find we are restored in our faith, firm in our conviction of Gd’s mercy and love, stronger to face the next hurdle, and established in our relationship with God.

Or….we can refuse to wait for God’s hand and make matters far worse in the long run….

Friday, December 12, 2014

The First Time called Christian

When Peter writes about believers suffering as Christians, it is interesting to know the history of the word Christian.  Jamieson, Faust, and Brown Commentary gives us some insight.

“a Christian-- the name given in contempt first at Antioch. Ac 11:26; 26:28; the only three places where the term occurs. At first believers had no distinctive name, but were called among themselves "brethren," Ac 6:3; "disciples," Ac 6:1; "those of the way," Ac 9:2; "saints," Ro 1:7; by the Jews (who denied that Jesus was the CHRIST, and so would never originate the name Christian), in contempt, "Nazarenes." At Antioch, where first idolatrous Gentiles (Cornelius, Ac 10:1, 2, was not an idolater, but aproselyte) were converted, and wide missionary work began, they could be no longer looked on as a Jewish sect, and so the Gentiles designated them by the new name "Christians." The rise of the new name marked a new epoch in the Church's life, a new stage of its development, namely, its missions to the Gentiles. The idle and witty people of Antioch, we know from heathen writers, were famous for inventing nicknames. The date of this Epistle must have been when this had become the generally recognized designation among Gentiles (it is never applied by Christians to each other, as it was in after ages-- an undesigned proof that the New Testament was composed when it professes), and when the name exposed one to reproach and suffering, though not seemingly as yet to systematic persecution” (Jamieson, Faust, and Brown Commentary; Olive Tree Programs for computers).

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Negative Driving Force

Unbelievers who are driven to convince other not to believe often inflect shame on those who do believe.  Peter understands this tactic and writes, "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf" (1 Peter 5:15).

Jesus saud, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad:for great is your reward in heaven:for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you" ( Mt 5:11-12).

Christmas family gatherings can be a yearly even where believers and unbelievers run into conflict and persecution for your beliefs may arise.  Paul says, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all (Romans 12:18).

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Christian Murderer?

But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters” ( 1 Peter 5:15).

When we read, “let none of you suffer as a murderer or as a thief,” we give a hearty Amen1  But then the Holy Spirit through Peter takes us by surprise when he adds “or as a busybody in other people’s business.“  

Paul wrote to Timothy “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).  He wrote to the Thessalonians, “ And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;” (1 Thess 4:9).

Human beings like to give advise and judge, but we hate receiving unsolicited advice and being judged.  The Holy Spirit says we should not do either one.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

How God is Glorified

Peter refers to something that usually happens to Christians when they are being attacked.  The person or persons attacking will refer to Jesus or Christianity in a derogatory manner.  There may be sarcastic references that you are behaving contrary to what the other person expects believers to do.  There is often mean references to your lack of intelligence in believing in a book written thousands of years ago (1 Peter 4:14).

But all their words and anger are directed to demean Christ.  But in the middle of this pain we are experiencing, God is being glorified in us.  Either we will learn where we can better reflect Christ, or we will ultimately grow stronger in our faith.  Lastly, in every case of persecution, no matter the form, we will see how Jesus was glorified through us when we stand before him.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Spirit of Glory

Peter says when we suffer because of the name of Christ,“…the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you (1 Peter 4:14”).  

Just looking at one phrase and allowing yourself to contemplate as many possible meanings as come to your mind, often opens up more of God’s Word to you.  Take this phrase and do just that.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Why rejoice?

Peter writes that we will rejoice  when Jesus is finally glorified (1 Peter 4:13)..  What reason do we have to rejoice when Christ is glorified.

Everyone enjoys winning and no one cherishes defeat.  We want to be on the winning side. Oft times it neither feels like it nor looks like it, nonetheless  we are victorious.   Not too much longer and you will govern

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Toothache Gospel

O.K., I am going through a dark time.  I see no hope of things turning around.  I am not sure how I got here or if I will ever get out.  So…how does this bring good into my life and how in the world will God ever receive glory from this?

Sound or feel familiar?

Peter says we suffer now, so that we will rejoice later (1 Peter 4:13).  True believers are not necessarily happy all the time.  The writer of Hebrews says God’s discipline is painful.  Peter described the Christian’s response to trials as suffering.  I don’t know about you, but a tooth ache does not make me happy, and some trials are nagging situations that remind me of toothaches.

Still…Peter says When Christ is revealed, we who remained faithful will be exuberant (1 Peter 4:14). He may be revealed to you and others near you through your trial now, in real life…or Christ will be revealed in heaven after our physical death.  When Christ is revealed all the missing puzzle pieces suddenly fit together and we will be filled with joy. It’s just a matter of waiting.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

But I Did It To Myself

What about the trials that I bring on myself?  How can I say it will bring glory to God, or do I simply suffer through them with no reward, no thought of God being glorified?

We make mistakes, huge mistakes; even when we are praying people.  I like the scripture “He remembers that we are dust.  “ As far as the east is from the west,so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.  Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.  For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.  As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.  For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone;
and the place thereof shall know it no more.  But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him” (Psalm 103:12-17).

Even the trials that come as a result of our foolish choices, God can be glorified as we repent, change our ways and wait on him through the storm created through our owm mistakes.

Monday, December 1, 2014

This is Strange

Peter tells us not to think it strange when we experience fiery trials as though some strange thing has happened to us ( 1 Peter 4:12).  I may have read this verse hundreds if times, and yet… I have been knocked off my feet when severe trials blow through my life knocking down my spiritual power lines and literally tearing my home apart.  

Peter says we are not to puzzle over this, but to rejoice.  I can hear those of you in the middle of a spiritual tornado saying, “Easy for you to say, Peter.   You have no idea what or who I am dealing with.” 

Did you know that Peter died as a martyr by being crucified upside down?  Peter did not specify the trial on purpose.  Everyones trial is different because we are individual people living in diverse circumstances.  But the principle remains the same. God will eventually be glorified if we continue to trust him in whatever we are facing (1 Peter 4:12-14).