Friday, June 29, 2012

Nursing Baby

552.  "Nursing Baby"                           June 29, 2012
1 Peter 2-Part 1
If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is graciious.  1 Peter 2:3
This week there was a baby calf born on the farm. It was only a day old when I saw it, black with a white spot on its face, wabbly legs, long eyelashes. So sweet. It even let me pet it. It seemed to have a problem keeping up with its mamma moving around the field in the 100 degree heat though. Yesterday, the newborn couldn't find her, followed part of the herd and lay under the shade tree by the house. It lay seperated from mamma all day, in the corner, hungry I'm sure. The calf's mamma finally nursed it. Then it was like a miracle, That little fella was running around the field so spry and full of energy as it followed mamma. What a change occurred! Isn't it that the way when we experience God's graciousness? We carry around a heavy load of sin, confused, defeated, then we get some grace and we are full of energy, ready to go meet the world.

I do not think there is any question about it-God is gracious! I am so glad He doesn't give me what I deserve-hell.
God is gracious and merciful (2Ch.30:9, Neh. 9:17, Ps. 103:8, Joel 2:13)
God is gracious and full of compassion ((Ps.111:4; 145:8).
Gracious, used in our key verse, means manageable, mild, pleasant- of persons, kind, benevolent- of God. (Thayer's Lexicon)
At salvation, all believers experience how gracious the Lord is to those who trust Him. That should compel believers to seek more of that grace in pursuing His Word.  (MacArthur)
How often do I pursue His Word? Am I gracious towards others like my heavenly Father is toward me?
Wherefore, laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby...
! Peter 2:1-2

Peter tells me to lay aside a few things, sins, in my life and desire the Word of God.
Lay aside means to change clothes. As Paul put in in Ephesians 4:22, put off the old man and put on the new man like a suit of clothes. As Christians, we must take off the ragged and filthy clothes of sin: malice, hypocrisy, deceit, envy, and slander.  (Falwell)
The Christian's new life can't grow unless sins are renounce. When that purging takes place, then the Word does its work. (MacArthur)
What sins am I told to lay aside? Peter tells what evil behavior am I supposed to get rid of:
  • Malice means ill-will, desire to injure; wickedness that comes from within a person;
  • Guile means deceit; craft, cunning;
  • Hypocricises means false pretention to personal qualities or principles not usually possessed;
  • Envies  means ill-will combined with jealousy, spite;
  • All evil speakings refers to all unkind speech.
It sounds like Peter is dealing with attitudes toward others. If I love them, I won't be jealous of others, nor want to be unkind toward them, returning evil but love.

Peter says I should crave pure spiritual milk like newborn babies do. that is so I will grow into a full experience of salvation. I should cry out for this nourishment, now that I have had a taste of the Lord's kindness. He is kind and gracious to me every day.

[Resources: Thayer's Lexicon, Webster's Dictionary, New Living Translation]

Am I hungering for the milk of the Word or the meat? 


Replace jealousy with love for others.

Turn the other cheek when I am wronged or hurt.

Hunger for the meat of the Word of God.

Be gracious today.

    Thursday, June 28, 2012

    Green Grass Withers

    551.  "Green Grass Withers"                June 28, 2012
    1 Peter-Part 12
    For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the Word which by the gospel is preached unto you. 1 Peter 1:24-25


    It is comforting to know that something endures forever. Do you know what Peter says will endure forever? Let's see what he says.

    The Word of God is living and enduring. (verse 23)
    The Word of God gives us new life. (verse 23)
    The Word of God stands forever. (verse 25)

    Not only does God's Word give us new life, it also tells us to love one another. It endures forever, then we are both obligate by it, empowered by it, to live out the kind of love and holiness Peter speaks of. (Guzik)

    The Word is unchanging, settled forever, the same in Old Testament, New Testament, and present times. Society may change, but God's Word will not. What a promise!
    As I learn it, am I living it? Am I showing people what the Word says, not just telling them?


    Living on a cattle farm, grass is very important. Especially is the clover which is sweet for cows to eat. After the bare fields of winter disappear and green grass appears, it is such a welcome sight.  I like looking out over valleys of green grass. It is refreshing. The clover has white blooms which appear for a short while, but soon fall away. (Our lack of rain has resulted in dying grass and clover with blooms in the fields. This is such an revelent lesson for me.)

    Peter is quoting Isaiah 40:6-8 in the last two verses of chapter 1.
    People are born of corruptible seed, frail, mortal, and perishing. We spring up like grass, look beautiful for a while, but are very weak and tender. In a little time, we are cut down by death and wither away. (John Gill)

    In contrast, Jesus was born of incorruptible seed, strong, immortal, to never perish. Death could not hold Him down. He sprang up back to life, stronger than ever.

    Now Christians, they will wither away, here today, gone tomorrow like grass. However, our death is physical and not spiritual, so we will also live forever, as Jesus is.
    Yes, indeed, what a blessing!


    Trust in the everlasting, eternal Savior and Word of God.

    Remember life is withering away, so make the most of it serving Jesus.

    Be a flower that is beautiful with the love of God showing and sweet smelling.

    Wednesday, June 27, 2012

    I'm Leaving

    550.  "I'm Leaving"                     June 27, 2012
    1 Peter 1-Part 10
    And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.  1 Peter 1:17


    The first time I left the country, I felt uneasy. Here I was a stranger, who could not speak their language, and was not able to communicate without an interpreter. I was a foreigner because I didn't belong in that country. It was not my home. After a week, I was going to be leaving.  So it is with Christians-this world is not our home; heaven is. We are considered sojourners, as Peter puts it in our key verse.

    Sojourning means dwelling in a strange land; life of man here on earth is likened to a sojourning.(Thayer's Lexicon)
    A Christian is a stranger in a distant country.(M. Henry)
    I tend to loose sight of that. I get too comfortable here, settling down, putting down roots, spend too much time focused on things to accummulate, not on serving Jesus my Lord. Since this home is only temporary, I should not get too settled in because I am going to be leaving one day.

    Verses 17-23 are written in our Bible as one continuous sentence, which tells us:
    • Our heavenly Father God judges each person's work impartially.
    • Believers  are strangers in this world.
    • The precious blood of Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, Who was without blemish or defect (sin), redeemed us from the empty way of life.
    • Christ was chosen to provide our salvation by way of the cross before the creation of the world.
    • He is revealed in these last times for our sake.
    • God raised Jesus from the dead and glorified Him.
    • Since our hearts are purified, we can love our brethren.
    • We have been born again with imperishible seed through the living and enduring Word of God. 
    Now those are some promises! Am I standing on them?


    Peter says that I:
    • call on the Father, so I am to live here on earth in fear; my conduct should be with godly reverence, holiness;
    • believe in God through Jesus Christ, so my faith and hope are in Him;
    • have been redeemed, (a required price to release one from an obligation) not with corruptible things as gold and silver, nor  by traditions, but by the blood of Christ on the cross;
    • have purified myself by obeying the Truth, thus loving other belivers;
    • have been born again through the living and enduring Word of God (believing Jesus shed His blood for me, which is written in the Word).
    Do I call and believe? Am I redeemed? Will I purify myself by obeying? Have I been born again?
    Is my faith and hope in Him?


     Stand on the promises of God.

    Be ready to leave this world.

    Stay focused on heaven as my home.

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

    What Should I Be?

    549 "What Should I Be?"        June 26, 2012
    1 Peter 1-Part 9
    Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.  1 Peter 1:16


    In our key verse, Peter is quoting Levitcus 11:44, 19:2, and 20:7. His readers were chiefly Jews, which were scattered abroad among Gentiles, and valued Scriptures of truth. (John Gill)

    Holiness isn't moral purity but it is the idea of "apartness." God is seperate,  different from His creation, both in His essential nature and in the perfection of His attributes. Inastead of building a wall around His apartness, God calls us to come to Him and share His apartness. (Guzik)

    What are some characteristics or attributes of God?
    A.W.Pink describes God as:
    • solitary
    • supreme
    • sovereign
    • immutable
    • holy
    • faithful
    • good
    • patient
    • graceful
    • merciful
    • loving
    • wrathful.
    Other characteristics may include:
    • omnipresent
    • omnipotent
    • omniscient
    • just
    • righteous
    • infinite
    • truthful
    • eternal
    • triune
    • love
    • unfathomable.
    God is so many things that the list could go on and on. Do I revere and respect Him?


    When I was a child, I wanted to be like my sister. She was ten years older than I, so she took care of me since our mother worked outside the home. She was a good role model for me. She was very smart, valedictorian of her graduation class, very pretty and stylish, as well as popular, football homecoming queen.  But most important of all, she loved me, cared for me, protected me, even took me to church and movies with her. Yes, I looked up to my  sister. In thinking what should I be like, I wanted to be like her. (Actually, I was the opposite.) Peter told us what we should be like-holy, because God is holy.

    Shepherd's Notes entitled I, II Peter/Jude, tells us how Peter challenges us to holiness:
    • Prepare your minds(verse 13);
    • be self-controlled (verse 13);
    • set your hope (verse 13);
    • do not conform (verse 14);
    • be holy (verse 14).
    It also says that believers who are separated to God, are to behave in a manner that shows them to be "like" God.

    Holiness is better translated "all your conduct". On the positive side it is patterning oneself after God; on the negative side, nonconformity to one's former, sinful life. Pagan standards are to be abandoned; the new model is God Hmself. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

    The reason for practicing a holy manner of living is that Christians are associated with the holy God and must treat Him and His Word with respect and reverence. We glorify Him best by being like Him.  (MacArthur)

    Complete holiness is the desire and duty of every Christian. We must imitate God, though we can never equal Him. (Matthew Henry)

    Who do I want to be like? Who do you want to be like? Maybe the correct question is  "Who are we like?"


    Be more like God.

    Monday, June 25, 2012

    We Have Only Just Begun

    548.  "We Have Only Just Begun"            June 25, 2012
    1 Peter 1-Part 8
    Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 1:13


    One of the songs we had at our wedding, almost 40 years ago, was called We've Only Just Begun. The words say that at that time in our life together, we began, with white lace and promises, a kiss for luck and we were on our way. We had so much of life ahead. We shared things new to us, watched the signs along the way, talked things over, just the two of us, working together day to day. We started out walking and learned to run. There were so many roads to choose. Yes, we had only just begun our life together. With Jesus walking with us, it's been quite a journey.
    God's grace has only just begun to show us the riches of His grace when we get to heaven. In heaven, it will seem as if my life has only just begun.

    Grace isn't only in my past, when I gave my life to Jesus, nor only for the present, where I stand living each moment standing in His grace (Rom. 5:2), but it is also for the future. This grace is unmerited favor, which I don't deserve. I've been walking in His grace 42 years, for which I am so very grateful.
    How about you?

    Living the way God wants me to live means I must:

    Grace is God stooping to save and bless, the source of all those bright and holy gifts which come from His infinite heart. (Meyer)

    Marvelous grace!


    Living the way God wants me to live, I must:
    • gird up the loins of my mind; Biblical customs had men wearing long garments, so when they prepared to go on a journey, to run a race, to serve another, to get ready for a battle, they gathered the robe up, perhaps with a belt, so it would not hinder them. they tied up their loose flowing robe in the process of getting ready for hard work. This was referred to as girding up their loins. We say roll up your sleeves. I'm a traveler on a spiritual journey heading toward my home in heaven. Peter tells me to get prepared by pulling in all the loose ends of my thinking. Stay focused on Jesus and not hindered by sinful thoughts. Bible study and prayer are ways I can do this, also. Reject the hinderances of this world and focus on the future grace of God.
    •  be sober; not only in eating and drinking, but I am to be spiritually sober-minded, which includes the ideas of steadfastness, self-control, clarity of mind, and moral deciveness. I am in charge of my priorities and not intoxicated with the allurements of this world when I am sober-minded.
    • hope to the end; it means a confident attitude of expectation toward grace; watchful. I am to be perfectly awake, trusting with a perfect confidence in Jesus, with lively hope, without hypocricy, and full of assurance (Heb. 6:11). Especially when I am suffering, I should live for the future, anticipating the Second Coming of Christ.
    • live as an obedient child; if I am saved, I am to act like it, making sure there is a difference in my present actions and former actions. Be a new person in Christ. Obey God's Word.
    • be holy; in my conduct, walk, and life, I am to conduct myself in a manner that glorifies God. I am called to be holy (verse 15), into His light (2:9), to suffer and follow Christ's example of meekness (2:21), to inherit a blessing (3:9), to His eternal glory (5:10). To be holy, I need to realize that I am called to be set apart from the world. God called us before we called on Him for salvation. It is all wholly of grace.

     Keep my mind in tuned to the Holy Spirit.

    Control my thoughts.

    Hope in Christ.

    Obey God's Word.

    Walk and live in a holy manner.

    Be set apart, different from the unsaved.

    Friday, June 22, 2012

    Working Together

    547.  "Working Together"             June 22, 2012
    1 Peter 1-Part 7
    Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searching intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.  1 Peter 1:10 NIV


    In my high school, we always had a junior and senior plays to help as fund raisers for the prom. Several of us were the actors while others worked on the props and advertising. It took all of us working together for the plays to be a success.
    It also takes all the saints in a church, the children, young adults, middle aged, seniors, to share the gospel and God's love in a community. As we work together for the cause of Christ, so did the prophets of the Old Testament and the apostles of the New Testaments work together, along with us saints today. Shall we find out more?

    Who were the divine agents that made it possible to look at the great promised salvation of God?
    • Old Testament prophets
    • the Holy Spirit
    • the New Testament apostles
    • the angels.
    Looking at the Old Testament prophets, we know they:
    * believed and were personally saved from their sin by that faith (blood sacrifice of Christ),
    * they could not fully understand what was involved in the life and death of Jesus Christ, but testified
       of His sufferings to come,
    *foretold of a greater grace to come,
    *searched to know who would be the person and when He would appear,
    *knew it was a future Savior coming,
    *understood they were ministering to people in the future (us believing Christians and the church).
    The Holy Spirit:
    *resided in the prophets,
    *enabled them to write about the glorious salvation to be consumated in the future.
    The angels desired to look into all of this. Look into means stooping down close to get a peek at. They had always wanted to comprehend, but have never been able to accomplish it. They can't understand what salvation is all aabout. We have the privilege not only of full exposion, but of real possession. (Falwell)
    I say that is a quite a privilege! Several times angels, messengers of God, were sent to tell people of both the OT and NT a message-Sarah, Hagar, Hannah, Mary, Joseph, John to name a few.
    The New Testament apostles and preachers of the gospel proclaimed that the prophecies written by the OT prophets had come to pass. What the prophets predicted, the apostles reported as facts.
    [Resource: The MacArthur Bible Commentary]

    I can see how the Old and New Testaments work together with one predicting and the other fulfilling prophecies proclaimed. How blessed we are to be able to read about both. And then there were scriptures that told of the Second Coming of Christ. John was faithful to record his revelation of the future events.
    It takes all of us believing to make God's plan complete. Isn't He a wonderful God?


    Here are a few predictions about Jesus, the Savior:
    • bruises the head of the serpent (Satan)-Genesis 3:15 (Rev. 20)
    • son of a virgin born to be called Immanuel-Isaiah 7:14 (Luke 1,2)
    • the government shall be upon His shoulder,-Isaiah 9:6(Rev. 19:16, Luke 23:38))
    • bore all of our sins, wounded, bruised, beaten-Isaiah 53:5-6 
    • of the family of Jesse-Isaiah 11:1(Matt. 1:5)
    • born in Bethlehem-Micah 5:2. (Luke 2:4)
    Jesus said that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6)
    The Bible is true, inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, for doctrine, reproof correction and instruction in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)


    Be faithful to teach God's Word, the Truth.

    Apply it to my life.

    Keep my faith in Jesus, no matter what.

    Be grateful for my salvation that Jesus provided.

    Avoid other religions.

    Thursday, June 21, 2012

    Long Distance Love

    546. "Long Distance Love"                June 21, 2012
    1 Peter 1-Part 6
    Whom (Jesus Christ) having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.   1 Peter 1:8-9

    Most commentaries put verses 8 and 9 together with verses 6 and 7. I can greatly rejoice for a season while I go through a trial, testing, trouble because it is for my good and His glory. I have something to learn from this problem. Does it turn me toward Jesus or away from Him? Does it strengthen my faith as I trust Jesus to get me through it or deliver me from it?
    Matthew Henry's Commentary says, "The faith of good people is tried, that they themselves may have the comfort of it, God the glory of it, and others the benefit of it. Tried faith is much more precious than tried gold."
    Are my afflictions and sorrows benefiting others, showing them that God is faithful through it all and can be trusted in everything? Am I glorifying Him inspite of a trying time? Do I find comfort and peace in my Savior or do I turn to something else for it?
    The trial of my faith is more precious than gold, and we know that is valuable in our society.
    A trial is an experiment or search made upon a man, by some afflliction, to prove the value and strength of his faith. (Matthew Henry)
    One day, when it's all said and done, and Jesus reigns, we will see our faith end in sight.
    Am I seeing my faith strengthened or weakened? Jesus prayed for Peter's faith not to fail (Luke 22:32) because Satan was sifting him. Although Peter denied Christ three times, after it was all done, Peter still loved Him and served his Savior. Weren't three thousand saved at Pentecost after his preaching, even though he failed earlier? If the Lord can forgive Peter and use him again, He can do the same for me.

    "Little faith will take your soul to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your soul," Charles Spurgeon used to say.
    Does my faith produce a strong love for Jesus and joy inexpressible, a joy that can't be described in words? Habakkuk 3:18 says Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

    Our God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think. (Eph. 3:14-21)
    Nothing can seperate from the love of God. (Rom. 8:39)
    His love is unending and unfailing.


    Peter has reassured me that I have eternal live, a living hope, a home in heaven all because of the salvation Jesus Christ has provided for me.
    Because this hope exists, I:
    • love Jesus, whom I have not seen (but feel His Holy Spirit living in me); Peter had seen Jesus, but these believers and receipents of this letter, as well as you and me, had/have not seen Him;
    • believe in Jesus, although I have never seen Him in bodily form (I believe His Word is true and He lived on earth); faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God;  
    • rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory (to think the God of all creation would love me enough to die for me a sinner). 
    Believers have a relation with their Lord Jesus even though He is not visibly present. Love can exist even under such conditions. I love my daughter and her family even though they live in another state and are not visibly seen by me right now. I love Mom and Dad even though they are currently in heaven. I don't have to see people and Jesus in order to love them, and neither do you. I call it long distance love.

    Love and faith go together. when you love someone, you trust them. Faith and love together help to strengthen hope. We find confidence for the future. Faith means surrendering all to God and obeying His Word in spite of circumstances and consequences. (Wiersbe)

    The New Living Translation says it this way: You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls.
    Am I loving, believing and trusting, and rejoicing in Jesus with my whole heart? With everything I am? Is my joy so deep and wonderful that I can't express it?


    Have faith that is more precious than gold.

    Let Jesus give me joy indescribable.

    Keep trusting Jesus today.

    Wednesday, June 20, 2012

    A Genuine Gold Ring

    544.  "A Genuine Gold Ring"                      June 20, 2012
    1 Peter 1-Part 4
    That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
    1 Peter 1:7


    When we see Jesus Christ, we will bring "praise and honor and glory" to Him if we have been faithful in the sufferings of this life (Rom. 8:17-18). This explains why Peter associated rejoicing with suffering. While we may not be able to rejoice as we look around, in our trials, we can rejoice as we look ahead. (Wiersbe)

    The revelation or unveiling (appearing) of Christ refers to His Second Coming, particularlly focusing on the time when He comes to call and reward His redeemed people, the rapture (1Thess. 4:13-18).

    Won't it be worth it after all when we see Jesus?

    The purpose toward which this command of praise is directed is that the approved character of our faith might result in praise, glory, and honor for us in that day in which Christ is revealed. (Falwell)

    If it is so, I'm sure we will lay our crowns at our Wonderful Savior's feet.


    I remember the day we drove for an hour to my uncle's small jewelry shop. We were looking for my engagement/wedding rings. We spent time looking at a variety of rings. I wanted a simple, small setting (diamond) since my fingers were small and our budget was too. Then we had to decide if it was to be made of silver or gold. I chose a genuine gold ring, which lasts a long time. I still have that ring, 40 years later, stored in my jewelry box. ( I wear a fancier one with more and larger diamonds.) Gold is a precious metal in our world, very costly. Peter mentions about it's process to get to be precious.

    Warren Wiersbe, in his book  on 1 Peter called Be Hopeful explained the process:
    In our key verse, Peter mentions the goldsmith. No goldsmith would deliberately waste the precious ore. He would put it into the smelting furnace long enough to remove the cheap impurities; then he would pour it out and make from it a beautiful article of value. It has been said that the Eastern goldsmith kept the metal in the furnace until he could see his face reflected in it. so our Lord keeps us in the furnace of suffering until we reflect the glory and beauty of Jesus Christ.
    Just as the gold is tested to see if it is pure or counterfeit, so the trials of life test our faith to prove its sincerity.
    God's purpose in allowing trouble is to test the reality of one's faith. But the benefit of such a testing, or "fire," is immediately for the Christian, not God. When a believer comes through a trial still trusting the Lord, he is assured that his faith is genuine. (MacArthur)

    If gold, which is one of the most valuable and durable maaterials, is fit to be tested by fire, so must our faith be.

    Now, I think the important thing isn't to focus on  the fire, trial or troubles, but to stay focused on Jesus, keeping our faith strong in Him as our faith is purified. A person with genuine faith will come out of the fire shining like Jesus, the precious object of our life.

    this reminds me of the threee Hebrew boys put into the firey furnace because they would not bow down to the king's idol. Jesus was with them in the fire, so the didn't burn up. Their hair wasn't even singed nor did they smell like smoke. What a miracle! Can't He do the same for us? Can't our faith survive the fire of testing?


    Let go of the impurities in my life.

    Allow the fire of testing to purify my mind and heart.

    Stay faithful to Jesus.

    Let Jesus shine in me. 

    Give praise, honor, and glory to King Jesus for seeing me through or delivering me from the fire.


    Tuesday, June 19, 2012

    Variegated Yarn and Trials

    544.  "Variegated Yarn and Trials"             June 19, 2012
    1Peter 1-Part 4
    Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:   1 Peter 1:6


    Rejoice. Greatly rejoice. "Be exceedingly glad, exuberantly jubiliant," John MacArthur said. But he doesn't know my circumstances, what I'm going through right now. True, but God does. MacArthur goes on to say, "This kind of joy is not based on changing, temporal circumstances, but is used of joy that come from the unchanging, eternal relationship with God."

    Rejoice refers to the emotion of joy, which has to do with pleasure, delight, satisfaction. (Webster's Dictionary) I like to say that word exuberantly; I like the way it rolls off my tongue.

    Am I rejoicing in the day which the Lord has made for me to live? I think it's more than thanking Him for normal things surrounding me. I am to be glad, exceedingly glad, jubiliant, exuberantly jubiliant. rejoice, greatly rejoice.
    What do I have that will make me that way?
    • the assurance of my protected eternal inheritance (verses 4-5),
    • the assurance of my proven faith (verse 7),
    • a lively hope (verse 3),
    • His abundant mercy (verse 3),
    • a kept salvation by the All-powerful God (verse 5)
    • new birth,
    • a wonderful home in heaven.
    Now those are reason to be exuberantly jubiliant!


     Temptations means trials, a proving; manifold means various, of divers colors, variegated; of divers sorts. (Thayer's Lexicon)

    Years ago I decided to crochet me an afghan to use as a coverlet while watching television. I chose a varieged yarn which matched our sofa, a burgundy. So I would sit there working with yarn and a needle, just crocheting away for weeks at a time. When it finally reached a desirable length, I ended the work. (That's when I saw that I should have counted my stiches on every row because the width was varied.) That's all right, I'm the only one who uses it. I learned my lesson, though. I have since crocheted baby afghans and watched the number of stitches. I used variegated pastel colors. Mistakes are less visible. Our trials are like the variegated yarn, in that they are different. Peter talks about trials.

    These Christian believers, to whom Peter is writing, were suffering all kinds of persecutions under Nero. However, in our age, we, too suffer trials.

    All  God plans and performs here is preparation for what He has in store for us in heaven. He is preparing us for the life ans service yet to come. Nobody yet knows all that is in store for us in heaven, but this we do know: Life today is a school in which God trains us for our future ministry in eternity. this explains the presence of trials in our lives: They are some of God's tools and textbooks in the school of Christian experience. (Be Hopeful by Warren Wiersbe)

    Various trials, according to these verses:
    • do not last (little while, a season), [God's eyes are on the clock and His hand is on the thermostat.]
    • serve a purpose (if need be), [Trust God to know and do what is best.]
    • bring distress (grieved), heaviness means "to experience grief or pain." [Expect difficulties in life.]
    • come in various forms, [variegated trials]
    • should not diminish the Christian's joy. [Don't let trials spoil your day; smile]
    How am I going to react when a trial comes? Get ready friends, they are down the road. I see the dust coming.


    Greatly rejoice in my salvation!

    Be exceedingly glad during a trial, for it can't take away my hope in Jesus.

    React with exuberantly jubilant joy.

    (As soon as I get rid of this gnat I'll rejoice.) Oops, I'm to rejoice during it's agrivation, and not wait until I kill it. At least it didn't fly up in my nose! [Trials come in all sizes.]

    Have a terrific Tuesday ya'll!

    Monday, June 18, 2012

    How Much Longer?

    543.  "How Much Longer?"              June 18, 2012
    1 Peter-Part 3
    Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  1 Peter 1:5


    We used to live in various parts of our home state. It was usually a six hour drive to get back home to visit our folks. We didn't seem to mind how long it took, just so we we reached our destination safely and got to see our families. Oh, we'd make a few pit stops along the way, eating, refreshing, and fill up on gas. It seemed to make the trip a bit easier. One car didn't have a radio, though, so we sang, and played games with the kids along the way. We only made the journey once or twice a year. Of course, we heard the famous "Are we there yet?" or "How much longer?" questions. Sometimes I think the same things when trials become so long to end. Peter gives me hope, although.

    Believers have a salvation of hope, power, trial, and revelation. Our hope is in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and our inheritance of heaven. Because of our new birth, we should praise God for our coming resurrection and eternal home.

    What does verse 5 say that is encouraging?
    • I am kept (phroureo in Greek) by the power of God. It's a military term, where the angels surround me to protect me from bombardment of various trials and temptations so I'm not crushed by depression and despair. God's power guards and guides me. I'm not kept by my own power, but by God's.
    • Supreme power, omniscience, omnipotence, and sovereignty not only keep the inheritance, but also keep the believer secure. No one can steal my treasure, and no one can disqualify me from receiving it.
    • My response to God's election and the Spirit's conviction to  God's election and the Spirit's conviction is faith, but even faith is empowered by God. My continued faith in God is evidence of God's keeping power. Saving faith never dies, for it is permanent.
    • I am kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, which is the result of God's grace in giving me new life. This is referring to the final, inclusive result of salvation-eternal life. No one has seen nor heard what God has in store for us that love Him (1 Cor. 2:9).
    Am I resting in God's power to give me faith and to continue this faith in Jesus forever and ever?

    • This final manifestiation of my salvation is ready to be revealed. It is all ready, fully prepared and accomplished, but remains to be unveiled. It is revealed in the last time (kairos in Greek), not an extension of time, but a designated time when it will happen.
    • Who can mind the journey when the road leads home? (words of a song by J.M. Gray) Another song says, "Even though the journey's long and I know the road is hard, the One who's gone before me will help me carry on."(Mountain of God by Third Day)
    [Resources: Liberty Bible Commentary, The MacArthur Bible Commentary]

    How's your journey going?


    Rely on God's power to keep me going on my journey of life.

    Trust Him when the road is hard and long.

    Ask God to walk with me.

    Remember this life isn't forever, that one is around the next curve.

    Friday, June 15, 2012

    Blueberry Cheesecake Tops the Cake

    542.  "Blueberry Cheesecake Tops the Cake"       June 15, 2012
    1 Peter 1-Part 2
    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.
    1 Peter 1:3-4


    I recall having several special birthdays growing up-sharing with friends, family, extended family. I even remember the desserts I had on that day-strawberry shortcake, a doll cake, homemade banana ice cream, but Sunday morning's topped the cake. My sister inlaw had made cherry and blueberry cheesecakes the day before, so she offered me my pick for breakfast. Yes, the blueberrry was scrumpuous-it topped the cake (one of my favorite desserts). My brother inlaw even cooked breakfast in my place at our reunion weekend. No dishes to do, since we were all packing up to leave for home and other places. It couldn't have been nicer, you guys are the best! (My secret sis had me a beautiful cake waiting for me at church, too.) Peter gives us some things that top the cake, so to speak. Let's look...

    • a wonderful salvation provided for us through God  and Father of our Lord Jesus;
    • in His great mercy God has given us new birth, which gives a reason to praise Him;
    • we have a living hope (confident expectation) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; a gift of grace which gives joy;
    • this new birth, which merits our praising God, is called our inheritance; when persecuted, we can look past our troubles and toward an eternal inheritance; a heavenly inheritance with Christ, rewards, life, reighteousness, joy, peace, perfection; where it can't get any better-tops the cake;
    • it's an incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade; where no spot of dirt or pollution is; where jewels, diamonds, and gold never wear away;
    • reserved in heaven for you; the ticket has been bought, a seat reserved at the table, a place where we will praise God our Father and our glorious Savior forever.
    What can top the cake? Has Jesus been working to prepare a mansion for you and me!


    I think this priceless inheritance, plus seeing the grandeur of heaven, and our awesome Savior who died in my place will be reason enough for me to praise God and His Son.

    Blessed (eulogeious in Greek) is the word we get "eulogy" which means to be well spoken of or to be praised.

    Shouldn't God be praised by all believers everywhere, including church? Do I bless His holy name during the day? Do I thank Him for salvation, blessings, gifts He gives to me daily?
    Heaven will be better than blueberry cheesecake!


    Sing His praises!

    Bless that wonderful name of Jesus!

    Worship and adore the Holy One, the Living One!

    Thursday, June 14, 2012


    541.  "Same-O-Same-O"           June 14, 2012
    Introduction to 1 Peter-Part 1
    Peter, an apostle of Jesus christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.     1 Peter 1:1-2


    Who was Peter?
    Peter was originally known by Simon, his Greek name (Mark 1:16) or Simeon, his Hebrew name (Acts 15:14). In Aramaic, Cephass was Peter's name. Both words meant "stone" or "rock" (John 1:42).
    He was the son of Jonas (known as John) (Matt. 16:17) and the brother of Andrew, who was an apostle of Jesus, that told Peter he found the Messiah and took Peter to Him. Peter and Andrew were both fishermen by trade. They lived in Bethsaida, then later Capernaum.
    Peter was married (Mark 1:29), and his wife accompanied him in his ministry, apparently (1Cor. 9:5).
    He was singled out by the Lord Jesus for special lesson througghout the Gosels. He was the spokesman for the Twelve. His triumphs and weaknesses are chronicled in the Gospels and Acts 1-12.

    When did Peter write his first letter?
    Most likely, First Peter was written just before or shortly after July of A.D.64 when the city of Rome burned.

    To whom was Peter's written and who delivered it?
    It was written to the "Pilgrims" or Gentile Christians, possibly led to Christ by Paul and his associates, and established on Paul's teachings, needing spiritual strengtheing because of their sufferings. Being inspired by the Holy Spirit, Peter dictated while Silas, known as Silvanus, wrote it down as a secretary did in those days. Silas also delivered this letter. Peter died as a martyr two years after he wrote this letter. He had witnessed his wife's crucificion earlier.

    What was happening during this time in Peter's world?
    The Emperor Nero, most likely sset fire to the city of Rome, on which he blamed the Christians. The Romans lost everything, even their gods, household idols, temples, and shrines. Turmoil resulted in the city. As a result of pursecution, the Christians fled to other places mentioned in verse 1.
    [The MacArthur Bible Commentary]


    What is the purpose of this letter?
    It was to teach believers how to live victoriusllly in the midst of hostility: without losing hope, becoming bitter, while trusting the Lord Jesus, and while looking for His Second Coming.

    James was written to two groups, the strangers and the elect.
    Strangers a word that means "landed immigrants," indicating that Christians were/are foreigners to the native residents, for their permanent homeland and citizenship is in heaven.
    Elect means "chosen." The implication is that God has purposely placed these Christians in their respective communitites to serve Him; selected temporary residents representatives of God.
    [Liberty Bible Commentary]


    Before I go into a restaurant, I usually select ahead of time what I will eat. I can do that since we go to the same places to eat and I usually order the same foods from a familiar menu. I guess you could say it's the same-o-same-o. Mostly that is due to a special diet I am on, caused by Crohn's disease. Friends, that is what the Lord did for us believers in Jesus. he chose us ahead of time, before we were even born, before He created everything. I am so glad!

    The elect:
    • according to the foreknowledge of God the Father means know about ahead of time. God chose, selected us to be His child, Christians, before He created anything and made us.
    • through sanctification of the Spirit, which means to set apart, make holy. This is God's purpose for us believers. The Holy Spirit makes God's chosen holy, by setting them apart from sin and unbelief to faith and righteousness (1Thess. 1:4).
    • unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ-the Father and the Spirit 's activity is to direct us toward salvation. Jesus' blood makes us a pure sinner, justified, just as if we never sinned. We obey Christ because we are so grateful for His love and salvation.
    [Liberty Bible Commentary]

    Do I put limitations on how far I will go in obeying the Lord? Or am I willing do give up all to fully obey? Do I act like a stranger in this world and a part of the elect?


    Be a stranger in this world.

    Act like a part of the elect headed to heaven.

    Fully obey God.

    Wednesday, June 13, 2012

    Ready for the Test?

    540. "Ready for the Test?"  June 13, 2012 
    Summary of James-Part 2   


    How are your test taking skills? How are mine? I remember studying late at night before tests in high school and college. The I was tired and not fresh in my thinking.  Evaluation time is here. Am I ready for the test on what I have learned from James? Oh, my! Maybe I had better study some more first. Probably there is no choice, no time to cram for the test ahead. Either the test is coming soon, or I'm taking a test now, or I've finished a test. That's life, friends. God is good all the time, and faithful, too.

    Here are the rest of the commands, ideas that James gives by chapters:

    James 4
    • Do not think the Scripture speaks to no purpose.
    • Submit therefore to God.
    • Resist the devil.
    • Draw near to God.
    • Cleanse your hands.
    • Purify your hearts.
    • Be miserable [in looking at your sins].
    • Let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to gloom.
    • Humble yourselves in the presence of God.
    • Do not speak against one another.
    • Come now and do not say, "Today or tomorrow" we shall do such and such.
    • You ought to say, "If the Lord wills."
    James 5
    • You rich, howl for your miseries that are coming upon you.
    • Behold, the pay you withheld from the laborers...
    • Be patient until the coming of the Lord.
    • Be patient, strengthen your hearts.
    • Do not complain against each other.
    • Count those blessed who endure.
    • Do not swear, either by heaven or by earth.
    • Let your yes be yes, and your no, no.
    • Let him pray who is suffering.
    • Let him who is cheerful sing praises.
    • Let the sick call for the elders.
    • Let the elders pray over the sick, anointing him with oil.
    • Confess your sins to one another.
    • Let him know that he who turns back a sinner will save his soul from death.
    (Chapters 1-3 are seen on previous lesson.)
    [Resources: James & First and Second Peter by William Baker]

    In Psalm 24:3-4, David asked,Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.


    James gives a series of tests by which the genuineness of a person's faith  may be measured.
    We see the test of:
    • perseverance in suffering (1:2-12)
    • blame in temptation (1:13-18)
    • response to the Word (1:19-27)
    • impartial love (2:1-13)
    • righteous works (2:14-26)
    • the tongue (3:1-12)
    • humble wisdom (3:13-18)
    • worldly indulgence (4:1-12)
    • dependence (4:13-17)
    • patient endurance (5:1-11)
    • truthfulness (5:12)
    • prayerfulness (5:13-18)
    • true faith (5:19-20).
    [Resource: The MacArthur Bible Commentary]

    How do I endure suffering, trials, troubles, tests? Do I overcome temptations, or do they overcome me ? Am I a doer of the Word or just a hearer only? Am I impartial? Do others see my faith by my works? Am I known for being swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger? Humility/pride, worldly/spiritual, dependent/independent, patient/impatient, prayerful/not pray- which are the qualities I have?

    By faith, Linda...


    Keep on keepin' on.

    Never give up.

    Stand up for Jesus.

    Smile though my heart is breaking.

    Love in spite of it all.

    Forgive so I can be forgiven.

    Grow faith in Jesus.

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    Go With the Flow

    539.  "Go With the Flow"     June 12, 2012
    Summary of James-Part 1


    Do you recall that there were five men named "James" mentioned in the Bible which could have been the author of our book. However, most scholors agree that this particular one is Jesus' half brother and the oldest one. Also, he was the brother of Jude.

    James  was written to believers, "brethren" which were scattered. It was probably written about
    45 A.D.while Claudius was emperor in rome. Under his rule the Jews had been persecuted and driven out of Rome and their homeland, Palestine. It was the earliest book/letters of the New Testament cannon. James wrote it prior to his death by stoning, which was A.D.62.

    Tradition nicknamed James "the Just." It was described as a man of great piety and constant prayer. His relationship to Jesus was by God's grace alone.

    Christ's name is only found twice in this book (1:1 and 2:1). James gives over 50 imparitives, warnings, and reproofs. He didn't write about doctrine, but instructed how to live the Christian life.
    The main theme os this book is "Real faith produces genuine works. If you say you've come to know the Lord Jesus, then that should be reflected by your life." (Swindoll)

    In this book, James talks about our tests in life, which God uses to make us more like Jesus, to check out how strong our faith is. Trials reveal to ourself and others what faith we do have. The temptations we have are brought on because of our own lusts. God has a way out for us ready when we ask for His help.


    Sometimes when we floated on the river in a canoe, last weekend, my husband didn't paddle, but went with the flow of the current. He let it carry us on down the river. I think that is how I should be when trial, troubles, problems, testings come into my life. I should just go with the flow. Let Jesus carry me through the rough spots. Now, I know that is easier said than done, but I'll consider my own advice.

    This summary of James is different from the others in that I am  not going to use Scriptures, but the idea, commands that he used in each chapter. Since there are so many, I thought it better to divide it into two parts.

    James 1
    • Consider it all joy.
    • Let endurance have its perfect result.
    • Ask God if you lack wisdom.
    • Ask in faith.
    • Let the double-minded not expect anything from the Lord.
    • Let the humble have glory; let the rich have humiliation.
    • Let the tempted not say he is tempted of God.
    • Do not be deceived about your temptation.
    • Be quick to hear; slow to speak; slow to anger.
    • Receive the Word implanted.
    • Prove yourselves doers of the Word, and not mere hearers.
    James 2

    • Do not show favoritism.
    • Listen, God chose the poor of this world to be rich in faith.
    • So speak and so act [what you believe].
    James 3

    • Let not many become teachers...
    • Behold, the ships...
    • Behold, how great a forest is sset aflame by such a small fire!
    • Do not be arrogant.
    (Chapters 4 & 5 are in the next lesson.)
    [Reference: James and First and Second Peter by William Baker]

    Charles Swindoll, in his book, James, Practical and Authentic Living, wrote this overview of the chapters:
    1. When stretched, faith doesn't brea; it produces genuine stability.
    2. When pressed, faith doesn't fail; it produces genuine love.
    3. When expressed, faith doesn't explode; it produces henuine control and humility.
    4. When distressed, faith doesn't panic; it produces genuine patience.


    Go with the flow when trials come.

    Let Jesus carry me through.

    Stay in God's Word.

    Surrender to the Holy Spirit's leading.

    Your will,
    Your way,
    I pray.

    Monday, June 11, 2012

    Taking the Wrong Path

    538.  "Taking the Wrong Path"     June 11, 2012
    James-Part 8
    My brethren, if any maong you strays from the truth, and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.  James 5:19-20  NAS


    I spent the last weekend it with my husband's siblings. We had a blast! It's a yearly reunion now, since their mother passed away. We want to keep our closeness as a family continuing  and not drift apart. The first morning together, most of us went on a hike through the cool, peaceful, beautiful, rugged woods, which was suppossed to only be a mile and a half. While taking a break at a gazebo in the middle of the woods, we discussed which path at the fork to take. We concluded that the right path was to turn right, instead of left, after all, there were blue post-its on trees along that path. So we did. It was the short version of the hike and came out at the picnic pavilion we had passed coming in along the highway. That's when the division happened. Some of us wanted to take the highway, a paved, well-traveled road, which looked easier,the four of us thought, but turned out to be the wrong way, up hill all the way back to the cabin. We had been on it before, familiar with it, and knew it was smooth. Others of our group returned to the rough, rocky, poison ivy infested, hiking trail and turned left at the fork.
    Boy, was I , and the other three companions sorry that we chose the so-called easy path. However, inspite of our stopping several times in the shade for a water break and rest, we did beat the others back to the cabin by 20 minutes.I tell you, no one, not one good Samaritan even stopped or offered to give us a lift up the hill in the bed of their pickup. They just waved and smiled as they went up the smooth road. Needless to say, we were exhausted by the time we got to our cabin. The cold bottle of water was refreshing as we recovered in air conditioning.
    The other group, well they were tired, too, even though it was a more scenic, shaded path. Reading our scxriptures made me wonder how often  I give others a lift spiritually when as they travel along life's path? Do I take the path of least resistance spiritually speaking, letting others take the wrong way in life, the way that leads them down a path of deep sin, which they regret later?

    The world says don't get involved, mind your own business, tolerate them, they were born that way, let live, who are you to point out my sin since you do______? Can my life make a difference in someone else's life? Do I have any loved ones walking down the path in life the wrong way? What am I doing to help them find the right way?

    What is James teachiing in the key verse? If I bring back a believer who has wandered off into sin, off the Christian path, then I have saved that person from death and cover a multitude of sins or bring about the forgiveness of many sins, as the New Living Translation says it.

    In the devotional book, Experiencing God Day-By-Day, Blackaby says:
    As Christians, we are aware that sin brings death (Rom. 6:23). Sin kills relationships, dismantles marriages, stifles joy, and destroys peace. If you are truly aware of the grave consequences for those who continue in sin, you will be moved to weep even as Jesus wept. Pray fervently for your friend. That will safeguard your motives and prepare you to minister to him. Be alert, in the event that God asks you to confront your friend. If you do so, be loving and gentle lest you, too, be tempted (Gal. 6:12).

    When I see someone wander from the truth into error, how should I respond?
    • weep-Jesus wept over entire cities (Matt. 23:37-39).
    • pray fervently-Jesus prayed His disciples would be strong when tempted (John 17).
    • warn those headed for spiritual failure (Matt. 26:20-25, 34)
    • be willing to die to save people from their sins, as Jesus did.
    • take an active role in turning back those who have been led astray by their sin. (Blackaby)

    In Matthew 7:5, Jesus said for us to take the log out of our own ey so we can clearly see to take the speck out of our brother's eye. Removing something from the eye requires extreme sensitivity, as does attempting to remove the spiritual speck from our brother's or sister's eye. Jesus is welcoming the help of those who are willing to have their own spiritual eyes cleared before rescuing others.
    There are four questions that arise from these verses:
    1. To whom is the counsel addresse? James is addressing believers, saying "my brethren" and "among
    2. What has occurred tyhat would cause James to write these words? Probably, someone strayed from
         the truth. Unbelievers can't stray from truth they never knew.
    3. From what has the person strayed? The truth. Jesus Christ is the Truth according to John 14:6. It
        also mean all that Christ taught and instruted. It's His whole doctrinal and practical teaching.
    4. What should be done? Remove the speck from our brother's eye, turn back the Christian who
        strayed. Don't ignore them or hurl criticisms from a distance. Swim out after them and don't let
        them go! (Hendricks)

    What's the proper attitude I need before rescuing the straying one?
    • Be filled with the spirit, not controlled by the flesh. Remove our log first.
    • Use gentleness. (Gal. 6:1-3)
    • Be equipped with an attitude of humility. The motive or attitude is as important as the action. Don't put them down, try to get even, or exalt yourself as holier than thou. Serve them and seek their best.
    • Pray for God's timing and agenda.
    • Don't let go or give up.
    [Resource: James, Practical and Authentic Living by Charles Swindoll]


    Pray for others and myself that we not stray from the faith and the Word.

    Stay on God's path, doing His will, His way.

    Seek God when burdened for another believer who has strayed.

    Remove my logs.

    Don't let go and don't give up on them.

    When God says to confront them, be humble in doing so.


    Friday, June 8, 2012

    Do My Prayers Change Things?

    537.  "Do My Prayers Change Things?"     June 8, 2012
    James 5-Part 7
    Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.          James 5:17-18 NIV


    Last year, 2011, was a record year of extremes in my area-snowfall (30"), low temperatures (-25), rainfall (floods in spring), drought in summer (6wks.), high temperatures (115 several days). Now that was just in our county. Extreme cold and enabling snow drifts made it challenging to get the tractor out to feed the livestock. Crops were difficult to plant because of the heavy spring floods. Then green fields and gardens dried up. What a year. It was almost like someone was praying, like someone was controlling the weather. Oh, Someone was-our heavenly Father. (I recall others praying for the spring rains to stop and summer rains to come, like others.)

    Elijah was a righteous man whose prayers availed much (verse 16). How much was much? Elijah's powerful prayers changed the weather. they altered the forces of nature and for 3 1/2 years, mind you!

    Can our prayers alter things? You and I are just ordinary, average believers.

    Liberty Bible Commentary showed that Elijah was ordinary:
    He was a man subject to like passions as we are. He fled Jezebel's fury immediately after God sent fire on Mount Carmel (IKings 1-19). He prayed earnestly. His greatness did not lie in special gifts or a superhuman character, but he is distinguished by the way he prayed. He prayed with all superficial distractions removed. And he prayed again. Prayer is communicating with God, and genuine communication results in visible response.
    If Elijah was like you and me, then why does our prayer life not shake up things?


    Swindoll says that Elijah practice effective praying-he prayed in accordance with God's will, he was specific, and he prayed in faith. (1 Kings 17-18)

    How does James' teachings apply to me? In his book, James, Practical and Authentic Living, Charles Swindoll says:
    1. Prayer is to be continuous. It isn't just for mealtimes or moments of panic, or our last resource. Paul
        told us to pray without ceasing in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. In the Greek, ceasing is like a hacking
        cough-something that you are constantly reminded of throughtout the day.
    2. Prayer is designed for every part of life. Affliction, sickness, sin specific needs-nothing is too big or
        too small for prayer. If it's a concern-ask!
    3. Prayer is not a substitute for responsible and intelligent action. If we aren't willing to see a doctor
        and take the right kind of medicine, don't ask people to pray for us.
    4. Prayer is not for the perfect, but for the imperfect. Be persistant about prayer.

    Am I a tempered soul, a gentle spirit, a seasoned will that's prepared to be the kind of Christian God wants to use for His kingdom work?That's how E.M.Bounds described Hannah, Samuel's mother.

    Do I pray earnestly? Are my motives right? Lord Jesus, change my heart and prayer life into what You want it to be.


    What do I need to change in order to have my prayers change things?

    Spend more time in prayer.

    Earnestly pray for others and myself that our faith will not fail.

    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    Costly Prayers of Faith

    536.  "Costly Prayers of Faith"                   June 7, 2012
    James 5-Part 6
    Confess your faults one to another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.   James 5:16


    For the last three weeks, I have been blackberry picking along my country road. I freeze these wild berries so I can make scrumptous cobblers and lucious jelly from them, which my family dearly loves. With every good thing comes a price to pay, though it seems. So far I have had tick and chiggers bites, which made big red whelps and itched like crazy. Not only that, I got into poison ivy, which bubbles up and itches me. One morning the wind was blowing causing my eyes to water, so I kept rubbing them. What a mistake. Two days later, my left eye lids swelled up and I had to go get a shot. (Now those free and precious berries became costly.) Although I enjoy being outside in the quiet, cool morning, I did pray along the way. I asked the Lord to keep those critters and varments (spiders, wasps, snakes, skunks, and coyotes) away. He so graciously has. (It's in my mind that the devil puts the fear of such things.) Sometimes my other prayers are costly, also. They can cost me time, emotional strain, energy, as well as heart ache. However, there is a reward that James talks about in today's verse. Walk along with me and we'll find out what it is.

    First, in the previous two verses, James is talking about the healing of the sick. They should call for the elders to pray and annoint them with oil. This prayer of faith, in verse 15, will deliver results-the sick one will be healed.

    Liberty Bible Commentary has this to say:
    Nothing about the passage requires instantaneous healing, nor is there any restriction of medical treatment. The presence of sins may be the cause for sickness, but not necessarily. We must reserve judgment for God alone. They shall be forgiven assumes that the one who seeks help from the church also recognizes his personal shortcomings.

    So when I am afflicted, sick, corrupted by sin, or have a specific need, I am to pray. (Swindoll)

    The second area of the prayer of faith is mentioned in verse 16: The effective prayer of a righteous  man can accomplish much. NAS
    The effectual vervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. KJV

    Here are some Greek words and meansings that James used: effectual means it is ussed only of things, to dissplaly ones activity (works) inwardly, is solemn and earnest; fervent means zeal, jealousy; prayer (deesis) means specifice prayer based on specific needs. effective (energeo) is where we get our word energy. It has to do with adding an ingredient that turns something average into something fantastic. Confess means to say the same thing; I agree with God against myself.
    So what does it mean to pray "effectively?" It involves knowing and praying in accordance with Scripture, as well as being specific. I am to deal dirctly with issues I pray about by asking for specific results. I don't require God to meet my deadlines. Faith involves waiting on God's timing without doubting. This energeo prayer embraces an absolute and unshakable faith that God hears and answers prayer. (from Charles Swindoll's book on James)

    God does heal and God does answer prayers. Are mine prayers of faith?


    Lest anyone regard the prayer of faith to be an impulsive expression of desire, James describes its involvment as the effectual fervent prayer, which only has one adjective in Greek, not two.
    Falwell describes it in English as energy, which stress hard labor. If one becomes desperate abaout a critical situation, he will not be satisfied uttering a few pious sentences.

    Henry Blackaby, in his devotional book, Experiencing God Day by Day, tells me that if I am a  righteous believer that prays fervently, then my prayers will be effective  and will produce significant results. How can I have a prayer life that accomplishes much?

    1. God looks at my righteousness, into my heart, seeing Jesus' blood covering me. (It is His
        righteousness that clothes me because I have none, since I am a sinner.)
    2. I am to pray fervently, not giving up easily, but spending time interceeding, crying out to my
        heavenly Father with my whole heart and soul, sometimes with tears.Trust the Holy Spirit to assist
        me with groanings too deep for words (Rom. 8:26).
    3. Seek God's leading as I pray for things that align with His purposes and watch Him answer in a
        mighty way. Give God the glory, praise, and thanks.
    4. Make sure no obstacles seperate me, God, and others. Confess my sins relevant to others. (Stay
        fessed up with God.) Confession is God's provision to clear obstacles that hinder our relationships
        with God and others. It is a command, given to every Christian. Whenever possible, our confession
        ought to be made directly to those whom our sin has hurt. If we wish to have a powerful prayer life,
        we must regularly confess our sin.

    John Gill tells us this prayer is not cold, lukewarm, lifeless, formal, nor done in a customary way, but is daily-constant and continual, without ceasing, prevails and succeeds (1Thess.5:17). God impresses minds of His people with a sense of their wants, puts strength in them to plead with Him and makes intercession for them according to the will of God.


    Confess, confess, confess.

    Seek the forgiveness of God and others for my sins.

    Pray fervently.

    Strive to live a godly life pleasing Him.

    Wednesday, June 6, 2012

    Will He Heal or Not?

    535.  "Will He Heal or Not?"                June 6, 2012
    James-Part 5
    Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him; anointing him; with  oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.  James 5:13-15


    It's been 14 years since the deacons of our church took oil and annointed my mother inlaw and prayed for the healing of her cancer. She came to the realization that God was going to heal her, whether it was physically in this world or ultimately in the next, heaven. He chose the latter.
    I have heard of other cases where God did heal. Doctors could not find the tumor, cancer, or problem that showed up in a test. James tells us that it came as a result of the prayer of faith.

    How strong is my faith? Is it strong enough that God would heal a person for which I prayed?
    If the sickness is a result of a person's sins, as the verse mentions, then they shall be forgiven them. Is that encouraging, or what?

    Did you notice that the sick person called for the elders? They went to the sick person, not the sick person going to the elders. Does that mean the elders, mature spiritual leaders of the church, went to the sick person? Yes. The annointing did not take place in a worship service.


    Shall we look closer at these verses. Here's the instructions that  I found:

    1. If I am afflicted, I am to pray. Afflicted means to suffer (endure) evils (hardships, troubles); pray refers to pray to God. The antidoe to the suffering caused aby evil treatment or persecution is seeking God's comfort through prayer.
    2. If I am merry, I am to sing psalms. Merry means to be joyful, be of good cheer, of good courage; psalms refers to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song. The natural respoonse of a joyful heart is to sing praise to God.
    3. If I am sick, I am to call for the elders of the church to pray over me and annoint me with oil in the name of the Lord. Sick means to toil, to tire, faint, be wearied. Call refers to call to one's self, to bid to come to one's self. The service takes place in the privacy of the home, since the needy person sumoned the elders to him. When oil is used in scriptures, it is in reference to the Holy Spirit. He and the elders strengthen, comfort, and encourage the weak one.
    It is the prayers of faith that are offered up in behalf of the suffering one that calls on God to deliver them from the infirmity, not from their sin, which was confessed. Only God can forgive sins. It is with a repentant heart that their sins are confessed before this happens.

    The "prayer offered in faith" is faith that God is able to heal. those who take faith healing to the unbiblical extreme, intimidate people with accusations of lack of faith. they calim that God will heal all who make requests "offered in faith."  (Blake)

    In Matthew 18:19-20, Jesus says, Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. 

    After it is all said and done, healing is in the hands and discression of the Lord Jesus. How strong is my faith?

    [Resources: Liberty Bible Commentary; James, Practical and Authentic Living by Charles Swindoll; James and First and Second Peter by William Blake; The MacArthur Bible Commentary]

    I don't know where you stand on this subject, dear friend, but I believe that God is all powerful and He sometimes chooses to use doctors, medicines, or miracles to heal a person. Then again, sometimes He chooses not to heal a person in this life, and their body dies, but a believer's soul lives forever with Him.


    Pray. Sing. Call.

    Develop a strong prayer life.

    Turn it over to Jesus.

    "Your will, Your way, today, I pray."


    Tuesday, June 5, 2012

    Yes or No

    534.  "Yes or No"                                  June 5, 2012
    James-Part 4
    But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: about let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
    James 5:12

    A simple yes or no will do. For some reason, I don't like a question that is supposed to be answered "yes" or "no." Maybe it's because I know it is so definite, no changing my mind. How about you? James tells us in our key verse to let our answers be yes or no. That's all that's needed.
    James emphasized that a person's speech provides the most revealing glimpse of his spiritual condition.  James, echoing Jesus, in Matthew 5:37, is calling for straightforward, honest, plain speech. to speak otherwise is to invite God's judgment. (MacArthur)

    According to MacArthur, this verse can be labeled "the test of truthfulness."
    I didn't realize yes or no answers were that much of a big deal.


    James says there are two things our speech should not do:
    1. Do not swear.
        Matthew 5:34-35 says, But I (Jesus) say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is
        God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool; neither by Jerusalem; for it it the city of
        the great King.
        Heaven and earth are what He created, so if we swear by them, we are insulting God's creation,
        Swear means to grasp something sacred firmly, for the purpose of supporting what your're
        saying or doing. Christians shouldn't have to rely on this, because our words should be so riveted to
        truth that swearing or using oaths is unnecessary. (Swindoll)

       A song came to my mind, though the title escapes me, but the words say that God is above all powers, above all throne, above all nature and wonders, above all wisdom, and all the ways of man. God was here before the world began. Crucified, laid behind a stone, You lived to die, rejected, and alone. Like a rose, trampled on the ground, You took the fall, and thought of me, above all. Maybe that's the title-Above All (forgive my memory)

    Yes, God is above all; He is Sovereign and in control.

    An oath, according to Webster's Dictionary,  means a solemn statement with God as witness; according to Thayer's Lexicon, means that which has been pledged or promised with an oath; vows.
    In a courtroom, an oath is taken by a witness to tell the truth, by the jury to judge fairly. At a wedding, an oath is pledging to stay married until death departs the man and woman.

    It is often easy, in the midst of suffering, to make oaths we can't keep. We get caught up in the heat of the moment, our eyes are focused only on the present. We should wait.

    James is advocaating plainness of speech for Christians. We should avoid appearing superspiritual and endure trials with humility and simplicity. (Swindoll)

    MacArthur informs us that James condemned the Jewish practice of swearing false, evasive, deceptive oaths by everything other than the name of the Lord (which alone was considered binding).

    Speech should be the first notaable change when the Spirit receives control. (Falwell)

    Am I swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, as 1:19 tells me to do and be? Do I keep my oaths?
    Swearing isn't a problem in my life, but it is in other's. do they take it seriously, what they say?


    Watch my words today.

    Honor the Lord with my words.

    Ansere yes or no more often and more willingly.


    Monday, June 4, 2012

    Sparks of Anger

    533.  "Sparks of Anger"                    June 4, 2012
    James 5-Part 3
    Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord: that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy.   James 5:11

    As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.  NIV


    As a child, I liked to have a lit sparkler in the dark, running and twirling it around. It never seemed to last very long, however. Maybe my anger should be that short. Someone does or says something that makes us go off, like a sparkler, in anger. I get defensive and mouth words I regret later. We've all been there. I grumble and complain, either under my breath, or behind their back, or to their face. How should I handle the situation? Take it directly to Jesus. Let the sparks of anger go out.
    Do I need encouragment? Do you? Verse 10 tells me to look to the prophets who spoke in the Lord's name as an example of suffering and patience. We count them as blessed those who have endured.  (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

    Stop and think about all that some have endured-Abraham, left family and country to follow God, passed the test of faith when he offered Issac on the altar (in his heart). Jacob and all that he went through with his 12 sons; thought his favorite son Joseph was dead. Joseph endured a lot in the foreign land in order to preserve and provide for his family during a time of famine. Elijah and encountered the prophets of Baal, Elisha, Jeremiah endured to stay faithful to God. Samuel and Nathan had to preach what they didn't like. (David endured about 14 years of running away from King Saul remained faithful to God and became king. I could go on, even into the New Testament, where saints, such as Stephen and John, suffered and endured for the cause of Christ.
    Hebrews 11 gives us some of those who suffered and endured torture, mockings, scourgings, chains and imprisonment. Verses 1-11 seem to be talking about the test of patient endurance.
    Verse 11 reminds us of Job. He patiently endured suffering and was blessed by God for his perserving faith. God had a purpose for the sufferings of all those people, just as He did for Job's.
    Job never lost his faith in God (19:25), though he lost property, family, and health, stands out as one of enduring faith. His case not only asserts his patience but demonstrates the purpose and character of his Lord. (Falwell)

    Is there anything that cause me to loose my faith in Jesus? If I lost my possessions, my family, or my health, would it cause me to turn from loving, believing in, and serving my Savior?
    Why does Jesus permit sufferings? It is because suffering leads to His excellent purposes (Rom. 8:28), Phil. 1:6). Though God is pityful and tender mercy, suffering must be attributed either to the means for God's ulitmate purposes or man's own doing through corrupt leaders or personal sin. (Falwell)

    Another encouraging thing mentioned in our key verse is God is very pitiful, which means full of pity, very kind; extremely compassionate; and God has tender mercy, which means merciful, compassionate. (Thayer's Lexicon and Strong's Concordance)

    According to Webster's Dictionary, pity means a feeling of compassion for another's grief or suffering; mercy means compassionate leniency toward an enemy or wrongdoer; discretionary power to punish or spare.

    How grateful we are for God's pity and mercy toward us sinners! Others Scriptures talking about it are: Ex. 34:6, Numb. 14:18, Ps. 25:6, Ps. 78:38)
    In Luke 6:36, Jesus says, Be ye therefore merciful , as your Father also is merciful.

    What more can I say, but as a sinner, that can't get it right, I beg for my Father's mercy,which I don't deserve, then am told to show mercy toward others in return. That's how we pay for the mercy we receive, if there is such a thing. Show mercy and forgiveness, compassion toward those who don't deserve it, just like me. Wow!


    In verse 8, we were told to be patient, stablish our hearts, calling us to a firm courage and commitment to Jesus. Now in verses 8-11, we are told challenged to:
    • Grudge not one against another. Grudge, used here, means to murmur, to groan, to sigh. NAS says, Do not complain, brethren, against one another, that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. How often do I complain about someone's actions or words. I need to stop it, or it will turn into bitterness or hatred, as Swindoll warns. Besides, how can I love and complain at the same time?
    • Look at the prophets for examples of enduring suffering afflictions with patience. We have already covered this, but remember, they did not loose their faith in God, no matter what happened on their journey of life. they continued to praise their God.
    • Count those happy which endured. As we observe others suffering for Christ, and remain happy in their faith, we should urge them to endure, because victory will eventually arrive. (Falwell)
    • As we have heard of the patience of Job and have seen the end of the Lord. What? Telos, in the Greek, may be better rendered "the Lord's goal." Our Lord permits suffering, because it leads to His excellent purposes (Rom. 8:28, Phil. 1:6). (Falwell)
    All right, friends, I have some things to work on in my life. How about you?


    Release those angry feelings to God. Let Him change my heart and mind at the cross.

    Don't hold grudges; open my hand and heart and release them. Let them go.

    Endure everything like Job.

    In everything give thanks.

    Friday, June 1, 2012

    In Need of a Longer Fuse

    532.  "In Need of a Longer Fuse"                 June 1, 2012
    James 5-Part 2
    Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.  James 5:8


    James tells us twice to be patient, in verses 7 and 8 and patience twice in verses 7 and 10. Why are we to be patient? The Lord Jesus is coming again.

    Patient means to persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles.
    Stablish means to strengthen, make firm, to render constant, confirm, one's mind. (Thayer's Lexicon)

    What does James mean by "be patient" and wait for the coming of the Lord?

    William Bake, in his book James and First and Second Peter explains:

    Be patient in Greek, makrathumeo, means enduring a trial or experience for a very long time, as long as it takes to do so without panicking. Some have used the illlustration of a very long fuse. Another similar word, hupomeno, occurs twice in verse 11, which means endured and endurance. It connotes remaining under a threat without moving or confidence in God's care. Believers are to allow the hope of Christ's intervening return to condition their attitude toward all of life's unexpected and unpleasant events.
    An illustration that James uses is the farmer who plows, plants, waits for rains, and patiently waits for the harvest of his crops. In a semi-desert land, they greatly depend upon the rains.
    The farmer labors because he believes a day of reaping will be enjoyed. Christians likewise should view current trials and hardships as a preparation process that helps conform them to the image of Christ. (Falwell)
    Believers are to be patient in the work they have been assigned. The waiting time comes when no work can be done, and greater faith and patience is required. Although the church has been waiting 2,000 years for Christ's return, we believe it could happen at any moment and is near.
    Am I patiently waiting for Christ's return?
    One summer, when our son was in junior high, we visited my parents around the fourth of July. He and his cousin liked to shoot off fireworks, so they bought some. I recall a particular night when they were setting off bottle rockets and firecrackers in the dirt road as we watched the display. Our son lite one, which did not go off. He waited patiently, for a couple of minutes, but it didn't do anything. Of course, he had to go check it out. As he bent over it, the thing's long fuse finally reached the explosive and it went off. Thank the Lord he didn't get seriously injured, only a small burn on the eyebrow. I thought of that event as I realize I need a long fuse when it comes to patience. Mine is too short. 
    In this chapter, James gives us four commands, two positive and two negative:
    1. Be patient. Patient people are not short-tempered but have a long fuse. It is love's response. In 1 Corinthians 13:4, love is patient, suffereth long. Love can motivate a person to overlook an offense, delay an anger, and suffer long. Patience is essential to learning. The back-breaking work for Mr. Jewish Farmer, whose rock-tossing chores seemed never to end. You just can't hurry God's plan. In verse 7a, James is speaking not only of the Second Coming, but also of the Lord's coming to our rescue in times when we've been wronged. We are to be patient, just as the farmer paatiently waits for God to bring rain.
    2. Strengthen your heart. The idea is to prop up or support something that's heavy. When you've been done wrong, your heart is heavy. So James says to let the Lord support your heart and help you in this situation. The "50:20 principle," helps us strengthen our heart by changing our focus. (Genesis 50:20) Joseph told his brothers, after all he endured, and as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.... God is our teacher and others can be a tool for making us into what He intended us to be.
    3. Do not complain. It means to groan or sigh. Job wasn't patient, but he never lost his faith in God (19:25). Can I come out with stronger faith on the other side of a trial?
    4. Do not swear. Verse 12 uses the Greek word which means to grasp something sacred frimly, for the purpose of supporting what you're saying or doing. Christians should not use swearing or oaths, but truth. Are my words pleasing to the Lord Jesus?
    [Resource: James, Practical and Authentic Living by Charles Swindoll]

    Which of these do I need to practice?


    Stand firm in my beliefs.

    Patiently wait for Christ's return.

    Don't complain or swear.

    Let patience have a long fuse.

    Love, love, love.