2Peter

12:00 AM


Patience

Welcome to Scripture Saturday!

Today we are memorizing 2 Peter 3:9…

The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Here is the amplified version…

The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

This verse had me looking back in Ezekiel…

Say to them, AS I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? (33:11)

God has no pleasure when the lost die.  He desires that all repent and come to know Him. We need to be thankful that our Father was patient with us and sent the Holy Spirit to intervene and save us from a death in which we would be separated from God for all eternity.  And because we know of His patience, His mercy and His grace, our desire to see all repent should be as great as His. 

How should we live our life here on earth serving our Father and fulfilling His desire? By being willing to risk rejection, ridicule, and scorn by those who don’t believe in Him. We should love the lost like Jesus did, with compassionate and true love, willing to be hated in order to be used by God as a means to saving someone.  We, like our Father, should always desire that..” all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1Tim 2:4).

Here is a sermon by John Piper speaking about this verse and those leading up to it. I pray that it blesses you.

https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/where-is-the-promise-of-his-appearing

Have a blessed and precious day everyone!

2 Peter

Walking in Diligent Perseverance {2 Peter 3 }

11:00 PM



Today Peter reminds his beloved people that the Day of the Lord is near. That they should be resting on His promise with faith! I still remember the first day I heard of Jesus’ return, I was probably 7 or 8 years old. I was thrilled and so eagerly waited in the next few days for Him to come!! So many years have gone by and I sadly have to confess there have been times in my life I’ve lost that zeal, by getting so caught up in the cares of this world! I praise our Father for not giving up on us!! And this is Peter’s concern, so he warns us that we should be careful, we need to be reminded of and remember the old truths that we already possess, but tend to forget.  We must continue to stand firm on our faith!  We must warn those who might take these Truths for granted and might even answer: “Yes, I know that…”, but will continue to live as this would not happen in the near future. Then there are those who won’t even believe that He will come at all, because they see no changes and they’d just rather live according to this world’s standards -Psalm 55:19- (3:3-7).

As I look back to my childhood, and all the years that our Father has granted me to this day I am forever grateful, He has delayed His return for my sake and the sake of my loved ones (3:9-10): giving us the opportunity to get to know Him more through His Word and also to witness to those who are astray, and some others have received His Salvation! But there is still much work to do!


Jesus warned:  “So be alert [give strict attention, be cautious and active in faith], for you do not know which day [whether near or far] your Lord is coming. But understand this: If the head of the house had known what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore, you [who follow Me] must also be ready; because the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him”.(Matt. 24:42-44)
Peter points out that the God who created the universe by His word and destroyed the wicked in the flood, has also warned that He will judge the ungodly in the future by fire.  (3:10-11) –Mal. 4:1, 2Thess 1:7-
Peter encourages us: “So, beloved, since you are looking forward to these things, be diligent and make every effort to be found by Him [at His return] spotless and blameless, in peace [that is, inwardly calm with a sense of spiritual well-being and confidence, having lived a life of obedience to Him]. 15 And consider the patience of our Lord [His delay in judging and avenging wrongs] as salvation [that is, allowing time for more to be saved]” (14-15)

To be diligent (2 Tim. 2:15) means giving our attention to something. It implies making every effort or exerting ourselves toward a goal. It doesn’t happen accidentally. It requires deliberate focus. The forces of the world and our flesh are so great that if we do not apply diligence, we will be carried along in the wrong direction

That fact that God’s Day of Judgment is coming, should motivate us to live in diligent perseverance, which rests on four things: (Bible.org)

- the hope of His coming;
- holiness  (1Pe. 1:15) necessary for a clear conscience  (living in peace) –Ro.12:18, 14:19-;
- developing a heart for the lost (3:15a),
- and laying hold of the Truths from the Scriptures (1Thess.2:13, Gal. 1:11-12)

As Peter finishes his final epistle, concerned about the influence of false teachings, he wants us to persevere and he  exhorts us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. He gives us three essentials for perseverance in the faith: guard ourselves from spiritual error, grow in the grace and knowledge of Him, and live to glorify His name. (3:18)

 “You will never feel yourself such a worm as when, by faith, you see your Savior dying for you; you will never know your own nothingness so well as when you see your Savior’s greatness. When you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, you will be sure to grow in humility.” C.H. Spurgeon

Christ didn’t give His life for us just to start the Christian life. He gave His life so that we would finish it and finish it well! So remember: walk in diligent perseverance!!

 “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing” (Rev. 5:12)! Let us  Glorify Him both now and unto the day of eternity!

Blessings!
Mari


2 Peter 2

Entangled or Free ( 2 Peter 2 )

12:30 AM



In an article I read by Albert Mohler, these comments were made about heresy: Among Christians, the word  heresy must be used with care and precision. Not every doctrinal error is a heresy, though all doctrinal error is to be avoided. A heresy is the denial or corruption of a Christian doctrine that is central to the faith and essential to the gospel. In 2Peter2 we are informed that we will find the influence of such heresy at work within the church. “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves destruction". (v1)

We need to be on alert to keep ourselves from being fooled and deceived These are some of the destructive characteristics that we need to be on alert for:
- They exploit with false words.(v3)
- They are bold and willful. (v10)
- They are blots and blemishes. (v13)
- They revel in their deception. (v13)
- They have eyes full of adultery.  (v14)
- They have eyes insatiable( never satisfied) for sin. (v14)
- They entice unsteady souls. (V14)
- They have hearts trained in greed. (v14)
- They have forsaken the right way. (v15)
- They love gain from wrongdoing. (v15)
- They are waterless springs. ( v17)
- They are mists driven by a storm. (v17)
- They speak loud boasts of folly. (v18)
- They entice by sensual passions of the flesh. ( v18)
- They are slaves of corruption with empty promises of freedom. ( v19)

These false teachers are entangled in their own prison of wrong choices and they will try to entangle you as well.  " For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” ( v19)
‭The good news is that we have God's help to not be led away from our faith or deceived. 
“the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,” (v9)

God ultimately has control and His righteousness and judgement will prevail. Each time we turn on the radio, watch TV, have a conversation with someone or read a book, magazine, etc. we must discern if the information is representative of truth.  We must stay in God's Word to recognize heresy that is counter to the Gospel and counter to God's will and character. 

2 Peter

Climbing Faith's Ladder {2 Peter 1}

12:00 AM

Just as with Paul in writing his 2 second letter to Timothy, we find Peter writing to all of us, knowing he hasn’t much time left on this earth (2 Peter 1:14). for that reason, I tend to view his words here as weightier, since he knows these are most likely his last. After all, if you knew you had only days left to live what would your conversations key on? What would be of greatest importance to you?


For Peter, it seems he’s most concerned about false teachers with their bogus doctrines and sinful lifestyles leading believers astray, and Peter has determined the best way to combat all of that is to make sure we are growing up in our faith! Notice:

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness.Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
“For this very reason, be diligent to add to your faith goodness;
and to goodness, knowledge;
and to knowledge, self-control;
and to self-control, perseverance;
and to perseverance, godliness;
and to godliness, brotherly kindness;
and to brotherly kindness, love.
“For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
“Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall,and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” -2Peter 1:4-11

I borrowed this from my HCSB study Bible: Because of God's generous provision in Christ, Peter encouraged his readers to build upon their foundation of faith—their initial acceptance of God's love—with the Christian virtues of goodness... knowledge... self-control... endurance... godliness... brotherly affection, and love. These graces, sometimes called the "ladder of faith," are the fruit of sharing in the divine nature. Each successive quality seems to spring from the previous one.

Did you also notice that his exhortation to us also includes a great promise? “...be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall,and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”- 2Pt 1:10-11

With all this in view, I thought it would be wise to break down our “building blocks” of faith to make sure we’re applying each to our lives today, for we must always be growing, and not merely talking about it. After all, according to James- faith without works is a dead faith.
I thought it would be best to begin by defining the word diligence- which basically means, “come up with all the determination you can muster...be persistent, earnest, painstakingly pressing on”. (Hmm… can you see why Peter may have felt the need to add a promise? No slacking allowed in the Christian faith!)
Be diligent to add to your faith...
Goodness or Moral excellence- a quality by which one stood out as excellent, fulfillment of purpose. Found in the Proverbs 31 women and can’t be produced without faith, for it is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit -(Gal 5:22-23)  
“His death saved us but His life transforms us; Everyone has a standard of virtue- humanists say-“you can do it; Jesus says “I’ll do it thru you, with your cooperation” Mjr. W. Ian Thomas in The Saving Life of Christ:

Knowledge- understanding, a recognition, or an acknowledgment. To “know” something is to perceive it or to be aware of it. Many times in Scripture, knowledge carries the idea of a deeper appreciation of something or a relationship with someone. It can only develop with moral excellence and comes as we obey the Word of God.

Self-control- physical and emotional self-mastery, particularly in situations of intense provocation or temptation (1 Cor 9:25) and arises from our knowledge which comes from obedience to the Word of God, out of the faith God has given us.

Perseverance- The ability to bear up under and deal with circumstances and with others; long-suffering in dealing with people. (Rom 5:3)

Godliness - is the reverent awareness of God's sovereignty over every aspect of life, and the determination to honor him in all one's conduct. "Godliness" and "holiness" denote one reality (the terms are joined in 1 Tim 2:2) In Rom 12:1 and 2 Tim 3:5, godliness is evident in deny ourselves (desires, rights, opinions, etc.) and laying down our life to Christ's supremacy.

Brotherly Kindness- The Greek word for brotherly kindness is transliterated "philadelphia," a compound word involving two words: "phileo" (love) and "adelphos" (brother). Therefore it is a love for the faithful and a by-product of true godliness.

Love is agape love (God’s love) and is an action, not a feeling. It’s defined in 1 Cor 13:4-8.

Peter wants us to understand that growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ is a process- sort of a spiritual construction project. We were all saved by faith, but that’s just the beginning to this new life in Christ! God plans for all of us to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom 8:29). Therefore, He begins by adding to our faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, and godliness, which will become evident through our brotherly kindness and love towards others.

A deeper knowledge of the Person of Jesus is the surest safeguard against false doctrine.” - Michael Green. Therefore we should make sure that we are “diligently” following Peter’s advice and building on our faith daily! So let me ask you,
__Do you possess the faith in Jesus that Peter has written about? Have you trusted in Him as your only means of salvation?
__ Are you submitting/surrendering to Him as the Lord over your life?
__Are you growing in your knowledge of God through knowing Jesus as Lord?

These are the foundations of our faith! As you look back over each try to determine just where you would place yourself in your walk with Him? Which one are the two of you working on just now?


1 Peter 5

Shepherding God's Flock {1 Peter 5}

12:30 AM

November 14, 2017

I have always felt I resembled Peter.  I love listening to the Lord.  I love following the Lord.  I love when I am so focused I can walk on water.  But I sometimes fail, and sink when I lose my focus.  I’ve also been known to deny the One who gives me life.

Today, we come to the conclusion of Peter’s first epistle.  And I’d like to focus on our Great Shepard and being the Church.

Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who are enthroned above the cherubim, shine forth!  Psalm 80:1

Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.  Psalm 100:3

"Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; Acts 20:28-29

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:11-15

 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:25

Peter was one of the 12 disciples, and one of three who witnessed Christ’s glory at the transfiguration and he witnessed the death and resurrection of Christ.  It’s no wonder he became a pillar of the church.  In this final chapter, Peter is writing to the elders of the church, but he’s identifying as a fellow elder, not a superior, when he asks them to “Be shepherds of God’s flock.”   This was exactly what Jesus had told him to do in John 21:15-17.

As the Church, we are the greatest hope for the world.  We have the ability, resources and gifting from God to bring hope to the world.  But what’s happening to the Church around us?  Are you noticing the impact we are losing?  How many churches are closing and becoming museums or concert halls?  We are so focused on outside influences and so distracted that we are amusing ourselves to death.  It seems we tend to focus on the electronics, gadgets and social media, that we are losing our commitment to Jesus.  Just look at the self-ism and consumerism in and around our churches.

Go back and read Acts 20:28, Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

These last couple of weeks, I have focused on becoming, or being Christ.  No, we can never take His place.  But as we study and pray and meditate on His word, we become more like Him. 

We are a Building – when Solomon’s workers were building the church, these stones were quarried and polished away from the site of the temple and no hammer could be heard when they were placed together - they fit perfectly (1 Kings 6:7).  God is bringing all of us together as living stones (1 Peter 2:5).

We are the Body – Paul explained that we are the hands, feet, eyes and ears of the Church body.  We are all working together.  We are unified in Christ.  I have always heard that believers attract one another which is why we are a transnational community.

We are a Family – The Church is a household of God.  It is a caring place for people to bring their brokenness and needs.  We should be looking for opportunities to help others.  Shepherds are committed to one another.

We are the Temple – we are being built together for the habitation of God.

We are the Members – we are not the head of the Church.  We were sought out.  We are a worshipping community giving God all the glory and praise.  And we need to remember that we were chosen, just as the women at the well who had 5 husbands, and was not married at the time Jesus met her.  Jesus told her that the Father was seeking her. (John 4:16-26).

We are a Lamp – we are a witnessing community, open and available to God to introduce others to Christ.

Be the Church – we represent the invisible God to a skeptical world.

As shepherds, we have a lot to look after.  We are always at work.  We have to “Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kinds of sufferings.” (v. 8-9).

 Image result for 1 peter 5:10


1 Peter

Keep Fervent in Your Love {1 Peter 4}

12:00 AM


Monday Nov. 13, Keep Fervent in Your Love {1 Peter 4}



Some people mistakenly believe that being a Christian gives you a “get out of jail free card” when it comes to the trials of life. Adversity is a result of living in a fallen world, and believers aren’t immune from the pain of suffering. In this chapter Peter tells us that as Christians not only are we not to be surprised when facing persecution, we are to rejoice when we suffer for our faith.

Therefore since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.” (vs. 1-2) No one knows more about suffering than Jesus. Not only did He suffer physically with beatings, torture and crucifixion, He also suffered the pain of betrayal, sorrow, and anguish. Yet He endured all of that willingly, obediently, and out of His love for us. And out of our love for Him and His gift to us of salvation, we also are to be willing and obedient in living to fulfill the will of God. No longer continuing in our former lustful ways of the world but instead pursuing lives of holiness, following the example set by our Lord.

But leading such lives isn’t easy. There is tremendous pressure from the world around us to be the same as we were before we received Jesus as our Savior. “They are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you.” (v. 4) Those who aren’t  followers of Jesus find it hard to understand why we would want to lead our life for anyone other than ourselves. They want us to do as they do. And when we don’t, we become targets of their ridicule and scorn. But Peter tells us that those same unbelievers, “will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” (v. 5) One day they will stand before the throne of God and give an account of their lives to the Almighty, who will judge both those who are living and who have been long dead. No one will escape. But until that time we are to, “be of sound judgement and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer” (v. 7) And we are called respond to those who persecute us the same way we respond to fellow believers....in love.

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” (v. 8) Here Peter isn’t telling us that loving others earns God’s forgiveness. We know that our sins are paid for by Jesus’ death on the cross, and forgiveness for sin 
comes only through trusting in Him. Instead it means that even Christians are sinners who fail and need forgiveness daily. And in remembering that we can love each when hurt, we can forgive each other when wronged, and we can build each other up when we fall. Love makes it possible for us to be, “hospitable to one another without complaint”, using our God given gifts and talents to serve one another and lead others to the Lord, so “in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (v. 11)




Peter goes on to warn that trouble will indeed come into our lives, so we shouldn’t be taken by surprise when it does. “Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.” (v. 12) Some people are thrown off guard when they suffer thinking that since God is in complete control of all things, He should stop adversity from entering our lives. But God uses trials to test His people, to deepen our relationship with Him, and to display His glory to the world. Not all suffering is testing, but regardless for the reason God wants us to be steadfast and holy throughout it all. 

Not only are we to expect trouble, we are to rejoice when we are persecuted for Christ’s sake, and find joy in the opportunity to share in His sufferings. “to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” ( v. 13) When we face persecution because of our faith in Jesus, we can find great joy knowing that one day Jesus will be revealed in all of His glory, and we too will be revealed as His very own. For Peter reminds us that, “if you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” (v. 14) Suffering hurts. There are no two ways about it. And when we are knee deep in pain it can be hard to find the blessing. But when we are hated for following Jesus, we can comfort and joy knowing that God has chosen to glorify Himself through us, bless us, and love us. All because we belong to His Son!

Fudge

Spiced Pumpkin Fudge

11:00 AM

Since it's that time of the year for all things pumpkin, I decided to give this fudge a try.  It got two thumbs up from my husband who said it tasted like a perfect bite of pumpkin pie.  For a delicious change, substitute the white chocolate chips for butterscotch chips.  



Spiced Pumpkin Fudge

2 cups  granulated sugar
1 cup  packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks)  butter or margarine
2/3 cup (5 fl.-oz. can) evaporated milk
1/2 cup  pumpkin
2 teaspoons  pumpkin pie spice
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.)  white chocolate chips
1 jar (7 oz.)  marshmallow creme
1 cup  chopped pecans
1 1/2 teaspoons  vanilla extract

Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with foil.  Combine sugar, brown sugar, evaporated milk, pumpkin, butter and spice in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 10 to 12 minutes or until candy thermometer reaches 234° to 240ยบ F (soft-ball stage). Quickly stir in chips, marshmallow creme, nuts and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until morsels are melted. Immediately pour into prepared pan. Let stand on wire rack for 2 hours or until completely cooled. Refrigerate tightly covered. To cut, lift from pan; remove foil. Cut into 1-inch squares.




1 Peter

12:00 AM


Welcome to Scripture Saturday!



Today we are memorizing 1 Peter 3:15:

…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense so anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…

Here is the amplified version…

But in your hearts set Christ apart [as holy—acknowledging Him, giving Him first place in your lives] as Lord. Always be ready to give a [logical] defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope and confident assurance [elicited by faith] that is within you, yet [do it] with gentleness and respect.

What is our hope in Christ? Hope is a heartfelt, joyful conviction that our short term future is governed by an all-caring God, and our long-term future, beyond death, will be happy beyond imagination in the presence of the all-satisfying glory of God.

Hope is not an add-on to Christian experience. It is part of the first things. The essential things. It is a vital component of saving faith, because part of what we believe relates to our future. It is impossible to be a Christian and keep on believing that your eternity will be bleak. Saving faith is the “assurance of things hoped for,” and such faith believes that “God is the rewarder of those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:1, 6).

When people ask you about your faith, what do you tell them? Are you prepared to give an answer that might give them hope and show them the hope that you have in Christ? We should always be ready for that but to do so with “gentleness and respect.” No one was ever argued into heaven and no one can be debated out of hell. We just need to give them the reason for our hope and leave the results up to God and trust Him for He is the Lord of the Harvest.




Have a blessed and precious day everyone!

1 Peter

On Submission and Peacemaking {1 Peter 3}

4:48 AM



In 1 Peter 2:13-17, Peter advised readers to have such good behaviour that unbelievers will have nothing bad to say about the gospel. Peter admonishes us all to be subject, for the Lord’s sake, to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as set by him. In other words, keep the speed limits, pay your taxes, and be respectful toward policemen and senators.

Then in 2:18–25, Peter addresses the household servants (oiketai) in the church and admonishes them to be submissive to their masters with all respect, both to the kind and to the overbearing.

To set a good example, Christians should submit to civil authorities, and slaves should submit to their masters. He now continues this theme by addressing wives and husbands.

“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives” (1 Peter 3:1-2).

When Peter says “in the same way,” he means that women are to submit just as men should, each to the appropriate authorities. 

Women by setting a God example can cause husbands to see that God’s grace makes wives to be cooperative rather than rebellious, that way they may be more willing to listen to the gospel, and eventually follow their wives into the faith.

A changed life speaks loudly and clearly, and it is often the most effective way to influence husbands who are not born again (or any other family member for that matter).



Peter’s next advice: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (verses 3-4).

This does not mean that Christian women should be sloppy; it is great to look after one self and look one’s best but is far more important to develop an inner spirit of godliness. True beauty begins inside.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.- (Prov 31:30)

The Wider Virtue Of Submission

In Peter 3:1–6, Peter instructs the wives to be submissive to their husbands, including the husbands who are unbelieving. Then, in verse 7, he instructs husbands to live considerately with their wives as fellow heirs of the grace of life. Finally, in 3:8–12, Peter tells the whole church to have unity and sympathy and love and tender-heartedness and humility toward one another, and not to return evil for evil. In other words, submit to each other and serve each other. So, as we saw in Ephesians 5, submission is a wider Christian virtue for all of us to pursue, and it has its unique and fitting expressions in various relationships.
What submission is:
Submission is voluntarily cooperating with someone, first out of love and respect for God and then out of the love and respect for that person. Submitting to unbelievers can prove difficult, but once again it is a vital part of leading them to Jesus Christ. We are not called to submit to nonbelievers to the point that we compromise our relationship with God, but we must look for every opportunity to humbly service in the power of God’s spirit.

1 Peter 3 (VS 8-22)

Responding to evil …Called to be peacemakers




In verse 8, Peter gives a general appeal to all the believers: “All of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (verses 8-9).
If someone treats us wrong, we are to respond by doing good, not by getting revenge. God set the example for us by doing good to us even though we had done evil to him. Peter supports this advice by quoting Psalm 34:12-16: “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:10-11).

Too often we see peace as merely the absence of conflict, and we think of peacemaking as a passive role. But an effective peacemaker actively pursues peace. He or she builds good relationships, knowing that peace is a by-product of commitment.
The peacemaker anticipates problems and deals with them before they occur. When conflicts arise, he or she brings them into the open and deals with them before they grow unmanageable.

Making peace is hard work, but it results in God’s blessings.

Peter has already pointed out that Jesus did not retaliate with threats against his persecutors (2:22-23); here he repeats the need for us to keep our words and our actions in control. Peter asks, “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?” (3:13). Unfortunately, some people persecute those who do good, so Peter adds, “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed” (verse 14). Persecution itself is not a blessing, but God rewards those who suffer unjustly.
Have a blessed weekend!


Angie

1 Peter 2

Mindful of Who We Are {1 Peter 2}

12:30 AM



“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” (v1)
This one verse is convicting and powerful!   Have you heard the idiom: " bad taste in my mouth"? This idiom is used to express feelings of regret and remorse, stemming from a realization that one has willingly participated in behavior that has led to an unforeseen and morally reprehensible outcome. 

Think about how you feel and react to hearing gossip, criticism, or slander.  Do you want to join in on the feeding frenzy of negativity?  Or does it leave " a bad taste in your mouth" because you know it dishonors God?  In contrast, the Bible says "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him." (Psalm 34:8) As we grow spiritually, we should long for the sweetness of God's Words and seeing those principles lived out in the world around us.  We may be the odd ones because we don't fit into the norm of the world but we are chosen by God to impact this world for good even in the midst of many things that are destructive and evil. 

Jesus became God's chosen cornerstone for the building of a new and better covenant that would extend God's incredible grace and love to all mankind.  We became the living stones that would continue to represent Christ to a fallen world.   “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (3-4)

Jesus did not fit into the norm of this world but he made a tremendous impact that could not be ignored.  As the cornerstone, all must encounter him.  There's no way around it.  Either you embrace his purpose and choose to surrender your life to him or you stumble as you choose to reject him and continue in the destructive pursuits of sin and selfish living. “So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.” ( V7-8)

The world may reject us just as they rejected Jesus but who we are " in Jesus" is all the acceptance that we should need.  We are honored and blessed to be chosen by God and to be loved by Him. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (v9)

How do we proclaim his excellencies?  Through our words that proclaim how wonderful He is and by our actions, which can sometimes speak louder than words. In all that we do and say, we represent Him.  In this chapter we are given some examples of behavior God says will honor Him. 
1. Abstain from passions of the flesh.  These are passions that try to entice you away from God.
John Piper: “We abstain from passions of the flesh by replacing them with new passions for God.”
2.Keep your conduct honorable.  Why would someone believe our words if they don't see us live out our beliefs?
3. Be subject to governing authorities established over us. 
4. Live as people who are free ( saved from the punishment for sin by grace) but in (willful,chosen) service to God.  If we truly value God's grace and the sacrifice of Jesus we would not carelessly dishonor God by thinking grace is a license to sin. 
5. Honor everyone. Love others.
6.Fear (respect) God.
7. Be subject to your masters.  ( Masters could be employers, bosses, leaders).
And now for the big eye opener: God says whether they are just or unjust. 

Is that hard ? You bet!  Does God know that's hard?  You bet.  And he gives us explanation for asking such a hard thing of us.  “For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.” (v19)
Jesus was our example.  He chose to be submissive to the Father's will even though he suffered unjustly for it.  He stayed mindful, not of man or what man might think, but mindful of God.  "You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3

You are chosen by God.  He is mindful of you!  Are you mindful of Him and how you represent Him?