Friday, August 31, 2012

Baiting the Hook

597. "Baiting the Hook"                     August 31, 2012
2 Peter 2-Part 7
It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life.  2 Peter 2:21 NLT

My parents liked to go fishing when I was growing up. Mom would catch the most fish, but Dad would have the most fun, helping me catch fish when I was a kid. One particular time we took a picnic lunch and fished on the neighbors creek, downstream from Grandpa's farm. It was a clear, shallow stream on a tall bank with trees overhanging. That's where we got down to business after eating our lunch. Dad baited my hook with wiggly worms, threw the hook with a bobbin into the water, and sat beside me, teaching me patience. (I didn't realize that he could see what the fish were doing.) Eventually those fish took the bait and I excitedly reeled in the catch.
Just as I used bait to lure the fish to swallow my hook, Peter talks about how false teachers did the same thing. Let's get a clearer look.

How are these ungodly false teachers able to allure, attract followers?
Allure means to bait, catch by a bait; entice, deceive (Thayer's Lexicon); a verb meaning to attract by some proposed pleasure or advantage; charming, tempting (Webster's Dictionary)

Warren Wiersbe, in his book Be Alert explains:
1. They are elequent promoters of their doctrine.
2. They appeal to the base appetite of the old nature.
3. They appeal to immature people, who have recently escaped from their old ways.

Am I watching out for those who would like to allure me, bait me, away from faith in Jesus?


In reading verses 18-22, I found out what these ungodly false teachers were like:
  • They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. (verse 18)
  • They lure back into sin those who have barely escapted fraom a lifestyle of deception, with an appeal to twisted sexual desires. (verse 18)
  • They promise freedom, but are slaves of sin and corruption themselves. (verse 190
  • They are worse off than before because they had escaped the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then got tangled up and enslaved by sin again.(verse 20)
  • They knew the way of righteousness, but rejected the command to live a holy life. (verse 21)
  • They prove the truth of the proverbs: A dog returns to its vomit and A washed pig returns to the mud.
I don't want to be like one of these teachers, niether do I want to be lured away from Jesus and His teachings. Do I stay alert to the source of teachings, which should be the Bible? Am I warning others of false doctrines? Be sure that I don't take the bait of these deceivers.


Make sure the source of  the teaching I listen to is the Bible, not an added word of man.

Stay close to the Spirit so a teaching is not appealing to my flesh.

Warn immature believers of the false doctrine and teachers that are out there in the world trying to allure them away from the Truth.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Where the Wild Ferns Grew

596.  "Where the Wild Ferns Grew"    August 30, 2012
2 Peter 2-Part 6
These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest: to whom the mists of darkness is sreserved for ever.  2 Peter 2:17


There was a small spring that flowed down the hill emptying into creek on my grandfather's farm. How I know that, I can't say. Perhaps my sister took me on one of her excurisons with her neighborhood girlfriends.. Anyway, I knew it existed, and how to get to it. Forty years ago, my soon-to-be husband and I went looking for it and found it. The spring was secluded, far away from the traveled dirt road. We trecked through our own Eden, where wild ferns grew, along with jack-in-the-pulpits and wild flowers,  making a beautiful bed of greenery. (No encounter with snakes, though.) Natural rocks and dead leaves were on the hill that we climbed to see the spring. What a scenery of God's creation! A place that only a few knew about. (My guy even carved our initials in a heart on one of the trees.) We haven't been back to that serene place, but I can visit it in my mind. I wonder if the spring is still flowing.

You may wonder why I thought about that secluded spring whenever the word spring is not mentioned in our key verse. Peter used the word wells, pege in the Greek, which actually refers to a fountain, a spring. (Thayer's Lexicon)
Now you know where I am coming from.

Either one, wells or springs, are quite worthless without water, aren't they? Why take your bucket to a well or spring for water if it is dried up?

Peter gives us three illustrations of the emptiness of these false teachers' promises:
1. Wells without water (verse 17a)
2. Clouds that are carried with a tempest (verse 17b)
3. The mist of darkness (verses 17c-18)

This word well, meaning spring, is the same one Jesus used when He ministered to the Samaritan woman in John 4:14 and that John used to describe the satisfaction the saints will experience for all of eternity in Revelation 7:17 and 21:6. If a person drank from Jacob's well, they would thirst again, but if they drank from Jesus' well, they will never thirst. This water produces a well that keeps on bubbling into everlsting life. We are invited to take of the water of life freely through the redemption of Christ.

People try to satisfy this thirst in various ways and end up living on substitutes. Only Jesus Christ, our Living Water, can give inner peace and satisfaction. False teachers had nothing to offer so they could not make such a promise.
They may promise spiritual refreshment, but were all show with no substance.  (MacArthur)

Friend, have you drank from the Spring of Living Water? It is free to us.


The second illustration of the emptiness of the false teachers' promises is that of clouds that are carried with a tempest. A tempest is a whirlwind. This windstorm is without rain, cloouds that are unprofitable.

The third illustration is that of a mist of darkness. Mist means blackness, gloom, so "the blackness of the darkness" would be an accurate translation. (Wiersbe) These false prophets lead people into the light, but they themselves end up in the darkest part of the darkness, hell.

Am I on the lookout for false prophets?


Beware of empty promises. Check out the Bible.

Ask God for wisdom and discernment.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stubborn as a Donkey

595.  " Stubborn as a Donkey"              August 29, 2012
2 Peter 2-Part 5
Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of righteousness.  2 Peter 2:15 KJV


Have you heard the saying, "she's as stubborn as a donkey"? I have heard that donkeys will not go where they don't want to go. In fact, they will sit down and not move. Nothing can budge them until they are ready. Yes, Linda has been and can be as stubborn as a donkey.

Well, friend, it is my confession time. I can be that way-so determined to have my way, even if it is the wrong way, not the Lord's way for me. It was getting close to school time, when I was offered two positions at two different schools-one was a new Christian school and the other was a public school.
My faith failed and I took the teaching position at the public school, which paid many thousands more. It was not the way God wanted me to go, but my own way. I stayed there four years encountering many problems.

 I was like Balaam in Numbers 24-25. In case you don't know the story of the talking donkey, I'll tell it briefly.
Balak, king of the Moabites, who were Israels' enemies, sent men to bring the prophet Balaam to curse Israel, their enemy. Balaam refused two times, but then when he was offered gold and silver and honor, Balaam couldn't refuse. His heart was covetous. he sought the Lord's will in the matter. God let Balaam go meet the king, but Balaam was to only say what God put in his mouth to say. (We see God's permissive will.) On his way, Balaam's donkey encountered an angel of the Lord with a drawn sword, three times, and finally fell down. After  Balaam had beat the donkey three times, it spoke to its master. When Balaam's eyes were opened, he saw why the donkey would not go. (Balaam had been just as stuborrn as his donkey.)

As the story goes, God did not permit Balaam to curse Israel. However, Balaam told the king how he could defeat Israel-invite the Jews to a feast, an orgie. Israel participated and thousands ended up dead. 

Balaam was a man who could get messages from God, yet he led people away from God. Peter warns his readers of this. Sometimes animals obey God and their masters do not.

Friends, it took a talking donkey(actually a person acting like one) in my life to get me out of that place where I was not supposed to be. I quit the job, repented, and let God heal my cuts that words made. I don't ever want to repeat that lesson again. I will go where God leads, riding my weak flesh all the way. (I did teach one year at the other school.) That's another story.

Are you stubborn, too? An you pray for God's will, God's way, today?


Petre describes Balaam's weakness and love as the " wages of unrighteousness." His covetous heart was after the money-bottom line. He was rebuked of wrong doing by a donkey. What does it take for me to listen and obey God?

Luke 16:11 asks, If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

Luke 16:13b says, Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Mammon  is riches, wealth.


Let go of money and go with God.

Have a submissive spirit, not a stubborn spirit.

Listen and obey the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Spots and Blots

594.  "Spots and Blots"               August 28, 2012
2 Peter 2-Part 4
And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you.  2 Peter 2:13 KJV


Spots and blots-did you have them as a teenager like I did? I didn't like them messing up my face. I suppose my pimpley face was due to my hormonal imbalance. Now when I get a red spot, it is due to the side effect of a medicine, mostly whenever I get hot.

When Peter used spots and blots (blemishes in KJV), he was talking about a totally different thing.
Thayer's Lexicon says spots, used in this verse, is of base and gluttonous men; a stain or blemish, defect, disgrace; blemishes refers to blots, disgrace, insult of men who are a disgrace to a society.

That is a little stronger than those which appeared on my face. Gluttonous men that are a disgrace to a society. Now remember, these adjectives are describing the false teachers.
"The wages of unrighteousness, immorality and boldness will not pay. It will rob and destroy," says The MacArthur Bible Commentary.

These spots and blots are opposite to the character of Christ. 1 Peter 1:19 says, But the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

It is Christ's blood that washes away my spots and blots in my heart and makes it clean whenever I ask for forgiveness. Either way, I don't want those spots and blots in my heart or on my face. Have you asked Jesus to cleanse your heart of those sins?


Here we are again-Peter continues in chapter 2 to describe the charateristics of the false teachers. We learned the last lesson that they are arrogant, brutes in their understanding and dominated by lust and greed. I verses 13-16, Peter goes into a little more detail.
Peter says these false teachers:
  • will be paid back harm for the harm they have done;
  • have the idea of pleasure that  is to carouse in broad daylight;
  • are blots and blemishes, reveling in their plelasures while they feast with you;
  • have eyes full of adultery;
  • never stop sinning;
  • seduce the unstable;
  • are experts in greed.
Not only are these deceivers unbelieving and immoral, but they are also clearly slaves of their unbelief and victims of their immorality. (Shepherd's Notes)

I want to be the opposite of these people-kind, humble, sharing and caring.


Thank You, Jesus, that Your blood has washed away my sins.

Keep my eyes focused on Jesus.

Make sure my thoughts are where they should be and honor the Savior.

Don't be greedy, but sharing.

Monday, August 27, 2012


593.  "Accusations"             August 27, 2012
2Peter 2-Part 3
Yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. 2 Peter 2:11 NIV 


When I was young, one of my chores was to feed the dog. After supper, I would take the bowl or pan of table scraps out to Buster, my collie dog. sometimes I would let him lick it. When I was accused of the act, I could not deny it because of the evidence-a clean bowl. Do you now that angels do not accuse us before the Lord Jesus? Our key verse says so.

Accusations are a charge of wrong doing, according to Webster's Dictionary.

The MacArthur Bible Commentary says this about verse 11:
It is in reference to the holy angels, who are greater in power than human beings. Unlike false teachers who are defiant toward higher powers, the holy angels so revere their Lord that they will not speak insults againsts any authority. Even the archangel, Michael, recognizing the great presence and power of Satan,l refused to speak evil of him, but called on the Lord to do so. (See Jude 8-9. Zech. 3:2) No believer should be so boldly foolish as to mock or command the power of supernatural demons, especially Satan. 
How much do I revere my Lord Jesus? Do I speak against authorities He has set up? How's my character? Are accusations made against me true or false?


(Definitions are in parenthesis from Thayer's Lexicon)
Characteristics of a false teacher/prophet are:
  • walk after the flesh in lust of uncleanness (act of defiling lust);
  • despise (think little or nothing of) government, authority; not live under Christ's Lordship; 
  • are presumptuous (a daring man), defiant;
  • self willed (self-pleasing, arrogant)
  • are not afraid to speak evil (redicule and blaspheme) of dignities (the majesty, glory, of angels), probably wicked angels-demons and satan;
  • are natural brute (destitute of reason)beasts in their understanding, creatures of instinct as wild animals;
  • will perish in their own corruption, killed like beasts
  • are dominated by lust and greed-live constantly for luxury and sensuality;
[from verses 10-12]


Be humble, kind, sharing and caring.

Make sure I teach the Truth so I am not a false teacher.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Wrong Way

592.  " The Wrong Way"                    August 24, 2012
2 Peter 2-Part 2
He deliverd just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked.  2 Peter 2:8  KJV


We were headed to the big city of Little Rock for the annual state convention of  FHA (Future Homemakers of America). The car was driven by our sponsor and filled with us teenage girls. We sang, talked, giggled along the way, until the solomn moment came. The car was driving down a one way ramp, only we were going the wrong way. I prayed no car would come and hit us, and we were safe. That event was forgotten and we continued with the day full of excitement.
Have I ever gone the wrong way, forsaking the right way? I'm sorry to say yes I have.

The false teachers that Peter was warning his readers about had forsaken the right way, God's Way, according to verse 15.  It meant they were going the wrong way. Their judgment was surely coming, though it had not at that time, but in due time it would.
Peter illustrated the destiny of the disobedient in previous Scriptures:
1. the fallen angels
2. the Flood
3. Sodom and Gomorrah.

We see God's condemnation of the fallen angels who sinned and were cast out of heaven. Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:11-19 deal with Lucifer and one third of the angels. The angels now await for their release found in Revelation 9 and 12. They were sent to hell until the time of judgment. It is partly reserved until the end time.

Because of the ungodliness of the people in the ancient world, God brought a flood that destroyed them. He waited 120 years before He sent the flood. The wickedness, violence, and lawlessness abounded.  Peter's powerful illustration was of a certainty of God's wrath against evil. His mercy and grace was bestowed upon 8 people that were in the Ark that Noah and his sons built.

God burned the two cities because of their rebellion and immoral behavior. Lot's family and friends experienced it, as well as the people of two cities. Their sins of sodomy, homossexuality, and unnatural sex were rampid. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of a righteous, angry God.

What good can be found from all of this?
  •  As children of God, we have in inheritance reserved for us (1Peter 1:4).
  • Jesus is preparing a home for us believer in heaven (John 14:1-6).
  • We aren't looking for judgment, but for the coming of the Lord to take His people home to glory! He has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ          (1 Thess. 5:9).
  • God is able to rescue us from judgment. In Noah's case, it was a judgment of water, but in Lot's case it was a judgment of fire. God's people will be delivered from judgment by the grace and mercy of God. Are we ready?
[Resources: Shepherd's Notes and Be Alert by Warren Wiersbe]

    Verse 9, again, says that God know how to deliver the godly out of temptations. Does it take a fire or a flood to wake us up? Do I warn the unjust that judgment and punishment is coming for them? False teachers fall into this category.


    Make sure I am a teacher of the Truth and not a false teacher.

    Go with  Jesus, then I won't be going the wrong way, but the right way.

    Thursday, August 23, 2012

    Our Way or His Way

    591.  "Our Way or His Way"               August 23, 2012
    2 Peter 2-Part 1
    The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.  2 Peter 2:9  KJV


    But God has the power to stop murder, rape, incess, diseases, divorce. Why doesn't He stop it?  Why do bad things happen? I have asked those questions. Sweet ones, we live in a fallen world. This world does not love God nor His Ways. He gives us the power to choose-our way or His Way. The lost choose their own way, which is the way of sin. I find encouragement in our key verse. (This world isn't our home, anyway. We are just passing through on life's journey. Soon we will go on another journey in another place.)

    God is able to deliver His people when tempted, and understands the best way in which it should be done. He sees a way to do it when we cannot, though it is often a way which we should not have thought of.   (Barnes' Notes on the Bible)

    1 Corinthians 10:13 says, There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation alsdo make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

    In past lesson, we have learned that it is because we are drawn away of our own lusts that we are tempted. Then if we yield to that termptation, it becomes sin, which leads to death. Death may be out witness or good reputation is killed. But if we deny ourself, take up our cross, and follow Jesus, we will experience Him working miraculously in our life.

    God knows how to deliver me, when to deliver me from more than I can bear, when to deliver me before I get in too deep, and where He needs to deliver me, sending me out another way. Do I trust God to be my Deliverer? So I trust His wisdom and judgment?

    Will I ever stop trying to figure things out and simply trust Jesus? Look at the word trust-it begins and ends with t; our trust begins and ends with the cross, as the letter t is formed. What's in the middle of the word trust?  Us is in the middle of trusting Jesus; we're in between the two crosses.


    In chapter 2, Peter is warning his people about the false prophets. Christianity has always been plagued by false prophets and their false teachings.

    Shepherd's Notes on 2 Peter says:
    The agenda of false teachers include:
    • They deny Christ (verse 1). These heresies are clever arguments against the true deity of Jesus Christ or persuasive contention against the true humanity of Christ. It is an opinion or doctrine that is not in line with the accepted teaching of a church.(It varies from the true expostion of the Christian faith. Thayer's Lexicon)
    • They falsely lead others (verse 2). The denial of Christ leads to immorality, greed. A denial of Jesus leads to a denial of His way of truth and His moral urightness. False teachers are in it for the money.
    • They exploit the weak (verse 3). False teachers are deceivers and seducers, not disciples. When their deception works, they lure unwary believers away from Christ and into lust.
    Are my ears and eyes open to false teachers? Do I know enough of the Word to detect them and refute them? There are several demonations in my area which teach the Bible plus another doctrine, which have their own so called bible with changes form The Bible. If they come knocking on my door, I just point them to Jesus and His Word, which is the only Turth. Don't take their literature.


    Don't keep false teachings around my house. Only read the Bible, the Truth.

    Turn to God when I am tempted to sin.

    Trust Jesus.

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012

    Bright Morning Star

    590.  "Bright Morning Star"                              August 22, 2012
    2 Peter 1-Part 8
    We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arises in your hearts.
    2 Peter 1:19


    I went outside this orning before dawn and saw the sky was filled with stars. I found familiar outlines, looking in amazement. I never get tired of seeing them. There I was, a tiny speck on this planet earth, gazing up at the wonder of God's creation. What a beautiful, peaceful sight on a quiet, cool morning.Venus is considered the bright morning star, though it is a planet. I saw it shining in the eastern sky. It was easy to pick out among the hundreds twinkling. What a splendid sight! If you live in the country, it is worth rising before dawn to see it. Jesus is considered our Bright and Morning Star.

    And then, there was the night on the island in Asia. Our missionary guide took us outside and pointed out the cross made with bright shining stars. He told us that it is only visible around the Equator. God's awesomeness is everywhere. Just look up.

    Guess I had my head in the stars ans it's time to come down to earth. Shall we look into the the Scriptures today?
    Are Christians not the light of Christ in the world dark in sin? (Matt. 5:14) The world needs a lamp until the dawn, to find their way out of darkness. (God's Word) Ps. 119:105

    Christ is:

    • a light that shines in the darkness (Ps. 119:105);
    • the morning star that rises in our hearts (Rev. 22:16); 
    • the dayspring (Luke 1:78);
    • Sun of righteousness (Mal.4:1-3).
    Did you know there are at least 332 distinct Old Testament predictions regarding the Messiah that Jesus fulfilled perfectly? David Guzik told me in his commentary, or else I wouldn't have.

    The probability of one man fulfilling 8 of these prophecies is 1 in 10 to the 17th power; 48 of these prophecies is 1 in 10 to the 157th power; the first number could cover the state of Texas two feet deep.
    [Guzik said Peter Stoner calculated it.]

    Jesus did the extraordinary!!!!!!!! It boggles our minds. he! he!

    I stand in amazement every time I see a star on a dark, clear night. Have you had any special observations?


    The world is in darkness without Jesus, but God's Word shines.

    His Word is:
    • sure-Peter and the apostles experienced it in Jesus;
    • shining-a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (Ps. 119:105);
    • the Spirit-given Word-divinely inspired (2Tim.3:14-17);
    • not for private intepretation (verse 20), all Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit;
    • written by holy men of God, directed by His Holy Spirit (verse 21).
    The Word of God was written to common people, not to theological professors. The writers assumed that common people could read it, understand it, and apply it, led by the same Holy Spirit who inspired it. (Wiersbe)

    Do I consider it the God-breathed Word to me whenever I read it? Do I ask Him to speak to me through it? Do I apply it?


    Jesus is my bright and morning star, my dayspring, the light of my life.

    Make His Word the most important thing I read today.

    Give it to others.

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012


    589.  "Eyewitness"            August 21, 2012
    2 Peter 1-Part 7
    We do not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  2 Peter 1:16  NIV


    Eyewitness-they testify of what they saw and heard. The testimony of an eyewitness is important in a courtroom during a trial. What they saw or heard happen in a particular incidence is recorded as evidence. The television and newspaper reporters interview eyewitnesses to accidents or incidents. We expect the eyewitness to tell the truth, from his or her perspective as something happened. I have never filled the role as an eyewitness, though my husband has.

    Peter, as well as other disciples, were eyewitnesses  to Jesus' ministry, miracles, baptism, and teachings. At Jesus' baptism, they heard God say that He was well pleased with His Son Jesus.
    Peter, James, and John, Jesus' inner circle, were eyewitnesses of many events-the raising of Jairus' daughter, Jesus agony at Gethesemane, and the special, specific event of the Transfiguration of Jesus. What did they witness? (Read Luke 9, Matthew 17)
    • Christ's appearance changed into His glorified body;
    • Moses (represented the Law) and Elijah (represented the prophets) and Jesus having a conversation;
    • heard the voice of God the Father;
    • fell on their faces when the Holy God of the universe spoke;
    • Peter mistakenly suggested they build three tabernacles of worship, like booths in celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, in which the Israelites lived for 7 days;
    • faith of a promised kingdom at Jesus' Second Coming;
    • an experience that would prepare them for their own suffering and death.
    What a glorious time with a glorious Savior! Are my times spent with Jesus glorious?
    Do I share what I have witnessed with Jesus?


    What practical lesson did Peter, James, and John learn at the Mount of Transfiguration?
    They would also suffer as Jesus. First was James (Acts 12:1-2), John's long life, which led to exile and suffering (Rev. 1:9), and Peter's sufferings and death.
    This inner circle learned that suffering and glory go together.
    The Father's special love and approval are given to those who are willing to suffer for the sake of the Lord.
    Jesus gave Peter a talking to after His resurrection, though it might not have been one of scolding for denying Jesus, but of love-feed My sheep.
    Remember, Peter wrote this letter while in prison in Rome, facing his imminent death. Peter was martyred, according to reliable tradition, by being crucified upside down. (MacArthur)

    What does all this have to say to me? Am I an eyewitness of the power of Jesus working in my life?
    Do I share it or keep it to myself? Will I one day hear me called a good and faithful servant? Do I look forward to entering into His rest for me?


    Proclaim the wonderful gift that God has given me-Salvation in Jesus.

    Share His wonderful workings in my life.

    Tell others of His Second Coming.

    Give Jesus the praise, honor, and worship due Him.



    Monday, August 20, 2012

    Childrens' Stories

    588.  "Childdren's Stories"               August 20, 2012
    2 Peter 1-Part 6
    So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.  2 Peter 1:12  NIV


    Before I started writing this Bible study, I wrote some little children's stories. The main characters were my grandchildren; the setting was the farm on which I live. My purpose was to teach them some life lessons, honesty, helping and caring for others, doing the right thing. I don't expect the stories to be a classic as the Little House Series, but hopefully they will be reminded of me when the stories are read. Actually, they are not my stories, but their stories. Peter had  purposes in writing his two letters, also.

    Warren Wiersbe says Peter had at least three motives for writing this letter:
    First, Peter was obeying God's command. Jesus told Peter to "strengthen thy brethren" in Luke 22:32.
    Second, Peter knew it was the right thing to do. Encouraging the saints and reminding them of the Word of God is always right.
    Last, Peter wants them to have endeavor, diligence, which means to hasten to do somethilng, to be zealous in doing it. (verse 15)

    And so, like Peter, I feel this is what God has me doing-strengthening my sisters and brothers in the faith using the internet to teach His Word. I pray that He will use my words for His glory and purposes; that they will be His Words going out around the world to those who need encouragement, instructions, understanding, and love of Jesus Christ.
    1 Peter 4:11 says, Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God Himself were speaking through you.

    Is God calling any of you to write or speak for Him in this generation and ones to come? Will you say yes to that call?


    Peter wasn't concocting fables and myths in order to get people to follow him to increase his wealth, power, and prestige, as false teachers did. He wrote the truth of God as a genuine inspired writer. (MacArthur)

    Peter was living in a tent, a temporary place, an earthly body, which decays and eventually gives out. His eternal home was in sight for his heavenly body, his destiny. So it is for us, dear ones.

    Peter's readers already knew the Truth and were standing firm in the Truth. Before Peter died, he wanted to leave his friends in the faith more:
    • They have a new nature as saved believers in Jesus.
    • They have a new quality of life in Christ.
    • They have a foundation of their faith-Jesus Christ and His Word

    The other day I heard a messaage by Charles Stanley. It was entitled The Promises of God. I thought you might like to have them:
    1. We are reconciled to God through Christ. (Rom. 5:6-11)
    2. We can have daily forgiveness of our sins. (1John 1:9)
    3. We have His continual presence in our life. (Heb. 13:5)
    4. We have the Holy Spirit. (John 14:6)
    5. We have His strength. (Is. 41:9-10)
    6. He will meet our daily needs. (Matt. 6:31-32)
    7. We can have answered prayer. (1John 5:14-15)
    8. The Lord daily bears our burdens. (Ps. 68:19)
    9. He comforts us when we are troubled. (2Cor. 1:3-4)
    10. He puts limitation on our trials. (1Cor.10:13)
    Are we cashing in on our promises?


    Refresh my memory often of God's promises to me.

    Trust His Word to be the Truth. Jesus is the Way, the Turth, and the Life.

    Renew my mind daily in God's Word.

      Friday, August 17, 2012

      Meeting on the Porch

      587.  "Meeting on the Porch"                    August 17, 2012
      2 Peter 1-Part 5
       So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. NLT 2 Peter 1:10-11


      One time a former president of the United States came to speak at the college I was attending. After we all got seated in the gym, his entrance was announced. Everyone stood and clapped, giving him the respect and honor due to one that had held such a high office in our nation.

      I recall the last time Dad welcomed me home for a visit. It was a grand one. He rarely come out on the front porch to welcome anyone. That day he did. I got a big hug from him, too. I expect he will be waiting at the Pearly Gates to welcome me into heaven. (He better!) It's been almost 26 years since that day and I remember it like it was yesterday. (Excuse me while I wipe my tears.) I had such a wonderful visit that time. (I forgot to mention that Mom was beside him, too, on the porch.)

      I wonder what it will be like when I enter heaven. I don't want a grand enterance, for I will just be happy to be there. Seeing all my loved ones and my Savior is enough.
      NIV calls it a rich welcome. I'm sure I will receive some kind of welcome.
      Every believer will arrive in heaven, but some will have a more glorious welcome than other. Some believers "shall be saved, ye so as by fire" (1Cor. 3:15). (Wiersbe)

      An abundant enterance into eternal heaven is the hhope and reality for a Christian who lives a faithful, fruitful life here on earth. A Chrisstian who pursues the listed virtues (verses 5-7) will not only enjoy assurance in the present, but a full, rich reward in the future life (1Cor. 4:5).  (MacArthur)

      Whenever He's ready for me, I'm ready. How about you friends?


      According to Warren Wiersbe, in his book Be Alert, Peter gave three evidences of true spiritual growth in verses 8-11.
      1. Fruitfulness
      2. Vision
      3. Security

      If I were to walk around with my eyes closed, I would stumble. However, as a growing Christian, I can walk with confidence because I know I am secure in Christ. The evidence isn't  my profession in faith, but my progression in faith.My character and conduct should be enough evidence that I am a child of God. Is it?

      How can I be sure that God called me, and that I am one of His elect?
      By my character qualities mention previously-faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, love.
      god has provided everything needed on our road to heaven-salvation in Jesus, needs met to live for Him in this life, to accomplish His purpose.

      Calling is used of one whom God declares worthy of the calling  which He has commanded to be given him, and therefore, fit to obtain the blessings promised in the call.
      Election is the act of picking out, choosing; the act of God's free will by which before the foundation of the world He decreed His blessings to certain persons (through Christ, due to grace). Thayer's Lexicon

      If a person is born again, they will show it in the way they live. (Guzik)

      Am I willing for God to work in and through me, cooperating with Him? Divine election must not be an excuse for human laziness.

      The Christian life begins with faith, leads to growth, which leads to practical results in life and service.
      Does my life and service convict me of being a Christian?

      Today's character quality to work on is patience. Maybe I'll stay home today. Nope, got plans to go to the fair with women in my Bible study class. Since I am driving, I better get prayed up for patience.

      LET IT GO

      Daily thank God for calling me to salvation in Jesus and choosing me to be His child.

      Expect a fantastic welcome into heaven one day.

      Thursday, August 16, 2012


      586.  "Housecleaning"              August 16, 2012
      2 Peter 1-Part 4
      The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.   2 Peter 1:8-9  NLT


      I remember those days when I had energy enough to clean the whole house, move the furniture, clean out the frig, do the laundry, and shop for groceries, all on a Saturday morning. Now they are but memories. Ahh, yes, I really did it. Some days I don't even get one room cleaned. When I do, it does me in, gals. Am I getting old or what? ( Not a question needing an answer-daughter)
      Oh yeah, I was talking about being productive and useful, wasn't I?

      Peter says that the more I grow like this, the more productive and useful I will be in my knowledge of my Lord Jesus.  I want that, but how? The more I grow like what? Those things mentioned in verses
      5-7. (Faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, love)

      NIV says, 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. 

      I get it. In other words, when I show patience waiting in line at the store, share a sincere compliment, do a good deed for another, then I'm being being producive and useful for Jesus. Oh dear, the quality I am working on today is SELF-CONTROL. (Guess I will have to stay out of the kitchen, away from others, read the Bible all day, that way I will exhibit it. Unfortunately it isn't happening.) I will have to ask Jesus for a double portion of His help today.


      The believer who is not growing spiritually, not actively possessing these qualities will be:
      • barren, which means lazy, shunning the labor which one ought to perform; inactive, ineffective, useless;
      • unfruitful, which refers to not yielding what it ought to yield; destitute of good deeds; unproductive; indistinguishable from an evildoer or superficial believer;
      • blind mentally; unable to discern his true spiritual condition, so unsure of his salvation;
      • nearsighted; he never got close enough to Christianity to focus on the fact that he needed to be cleansed from his sins;
      • forgetful refers to spiritual amnesia; lives in doubt and fear.
      I really don't want to be like that, do you? I want to display Christian growth and character in my daily life.
      How's my fruitfulness/unfruitfulness? How's my vision?

      LET IT GO

      Do some spiritual housecleaning.

      Use self-control today. Ask for it when I need help in showing it.

      Apply what I learn in God's Word, not just read it.

      Control my thoughts, slamming the door on the ugly ones.

      Control my words, biting my tongue when needed.

      Control my actions, serving others.

      Yield to the Holy Spirit.

      Wednesday, August 15, 2012

      Dead Dogs

      585.  "Dead Dogs"           August 15, 2012
      2 Peter 1-Part 3
      And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 2 Peter 1:5-7 KJV


      You know what I was working on yesterday-having virtuous thoughts, feelings, and actions, well sisters, I didn't even get out the door when I was bombarded with ugly, judgmental thoughts, and words about a person. The phone rang  and the caller hinted for me to tell her what I knew about a certain person. I played dumb and didn't spill the beans. If I had laid it all out, she would have been stabbed in the heart. I mean, what does it matter, what a person did in their past, as long as they asked Jesus to forgive them? If our sins are under the blood, then they are remembered no more. Of course, that is Jesus who forgets them. We people don't forget so quickly. Sometimes I have dwelt on a situation all day, making me exhausted without a solution. Let dead dogs lie-don't dig up the skeletons. (Figuritively speaking)

      Today I am working on knowledge-moral wisdom, such as is seen in right living. Ok, yes, today I am going to try to live right. You heard me, I mean you read it. How far will I get? I hope I at least make it through the front door.

      So how are you doing? Are you joining me with this challenge of adding these virtues to faith?
      (Sorry this wasn't an encouragment. On the other hand, maybe it is. I didn't hurt my dear friend's heart by telling her the truth. Secrets, who needs them?) 


      Ready to add another block on top of faith? (See yesterday's post if you missed it.)

      4. Patience means steadfast; a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to
          faith and piety by even the greatest trial and sufferings. (Thayer's Lexicon)
          Patience, (hypomone in Greek) should be translated endurance or strength of character. (Falwell)
          Endurance in doing what is right, never giving in to temptation or trial. spiritual staying power that
          will die before it gives in. It is the virtue which can endure, not simply with resignation, but with a
          vibrant hope. (MacArthur)
      Warren Wiersbe, in his book, Be Alert, says:
      Patience is the ability to endure when circumstances are diffficult. It relates primarily to the pressures and problems of life. It is not developed automatically; we must work at it. (James 1:2-8) We must expect trials to come, because without trials we could never learn patience. Enjoy the confidence that God is at work, causing everything to work together for our good and His glory.

      5. Godliness means reverance, respect, piety toward God. (Thayer's Lexicon)
          It means "God-likeness;" to worship well. It describes the man who was right in his relationship
          with God and with his fellow man. He lives above the petty thinlgs of life, the passions and
          pressures that control the lives of others. He seeks to do the will of God, and as he does, he seeks
          the welfare of others. (Wiersbe)

      6. Brotherly kindness refers to the love which Christians cherish for each other as brethren.
          In the Greek, the word philadelphia is used here. If we love Jesus, we should practice a sincere love
          of the brethren (1Peter 2:22).
          Hebrewss 13:1 says, Let brotherly love continue.
          Romans 12:10 says, Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love.
          What is evidence that we are born again? 1 John 5:1-2 tells us it is the fact that we love our brothers
           and sisters in Christ.

      7. Charity is the king of love spoken of in verse 7-agape love, the kind of love that God shows toward
          lost sinners. It is described in 1 Corinthians 13. The love that the Holy Spirit produces in our hearts
          as we walk in the Spirit. (Romans 5:5, Galatians 5:22)
          There is more to Christian growth than brotherly love; we must also have the sacrifical love that our
           Lord displayed when He went to the cross. Wiersbe)

      Am I allowing and inviting God to work alongside me to produce these qualities?
      Will God bring unlovely people my way so I can exhibit His love to them, the way he exhibited it to me? He sends me forth with His inexhaustible love.

      So how is your faith stacking up?

      LET IT GO

                            Brotherly kindness

      Nooooo! Maybe it should look like this:

      Brotherly Kindness

      Let my faith stack up high with Jesus.

      Tuesday, August 14, 2012

      Adding to the List

      584.  "Adding to the List"     August 14, 2012
      2 Peter 1-Part 2
      And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  2 Peter 1:5-7

      Have you found any exceedingly great and precious promises of God this past week? Why not share them with us?
      In verse 4, Peter tells us that we are given these. I sure want some, don't you?

      Not just great, but exceedingly great promises are given to us. Not just promises, but precious promises are given to us. Did you catch that?
      Great refers to large and imposing; precious refers to valuable.
      God gives exceedingly large and precious promises. Now that's what I'm talking about. Yes, indeed, I want those.
      Through these promises, we are partakers of the divine nature, within us, since we are adopted sons and daughters of God (Gal. 4:5-7).
      As a believer, my nourishment comes from the Word of God instead of the garbage of the world. However, spiritual growth is not automatic. This old flesh does not want to die just because Jesus is living inside me. There are many times that my old self peeks around the corner and jumps in the middle of things. Oh, but there is good news, friends, Jesus in the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6)
      Am I giving diligence to my walk with the Lord? (verse 5)
      Am I adding (to supply generously) to my faith?
      It isn't enough for the Christian to "let go and let God," as though spiritual growth were God's work alone. (Wiersbe)
      Add to (epichorego in Greek) originally meant to finance, support, or back a chorus; provide. Here Peter callls uponn believers to put everything they have into supporting their faith with virtue, etc. (Falwell)

      Add means to get into the habit of doing things, and in the initial stages it is difficult. Take the initiative, stop hesitating, and take the first step. Be resolute when God speaks, act in faith immediately on what He says, and never revise your decisions. (Oswald Chambers)
      Shall we see what else we are to be adding to faith?


      Most of the time I have a list made out before I go to the grocery store. Sometimes I even add other errands to it. With my memory deminishing as it is because of age, I often lay the list on the seat next to me so I remember to go here and there. I will admit  there have been times that I held it in my hand while driving just so I'd remember not to forget where I am going. Anyone else done that? Well, there are times that I don't get everything on my list, for some reason or other, so when I get home, I start a new list.
      Peter has given us a list of characteristics of a godly life, seven to be exact. Shall we see what these are? Think I could work on one a day this week, since there are 7. (We'll discuss 3 today and 4 tomorrow, to save time.) Keep in mind that this list is what we add to faith.

      What is faith?
      Faith, by my definition of Hebrews 11:1, is hope unseen.
      Faith is assurance, substance, evidence, or conviction. Faith is required for future hopes and present spiritual blessings. It has been given to believers or rather they have been chosen to it. Each item is to be supported or supplemented with another.  (Falwell)
       (Like a toddler stacks blocks, one on top of another, so are these to be added onto our faith.)

      1. Virtue means moral goodness; a virtuous course of thought, feeling, and action. (Thayer's Lexicon)It is the moral energy, the power that performs deeds of excellence. (MacArthur) A Christian shows "excellence" because he is fulfilling his purpose in life. (Wiersbe)
      2. Knowledge, used here, means moral wisdom, such as is seen in right living. (Thayer's Lexicon)It suggests practical knowledge or discernment; the ability to handle life successfully. It is the opposite of being "so heavenly minded as to be of no earthly good!"This knowldege is not automatica, but it come from obedience to the will of God (John 7:17) (Wiersbe)
      3. Temperance is the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites. (Thayer's Lexicon) It means self-control. It literally means "holding oneself in."A Christian is to control the flesh, the passions, and bodily desires, rather than allowing himself to be controlled by them. It is a servant, not the master of one's life. (MacArthur)
      [Resources: The MacArthur Bible Commentary, Liberty Bible Commentary, Be Alert by Warren Wiersbe, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers]

      Am I growing stronger in faith in Christ? I don't know about you, dear friend, but I know what I am working on today-moral excellence in my thoughts and feelings. I want to stay pure in what I think on throughout today. Singing praises to my Jesus, quoting Scripture. Any more suggestions?
      Philippians 4:8 says to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, and praise worthy. I have my assignment today.

      LET IT GO

      Walk by faith, keeping it strong and firm in Jesus my Savior, trusting Him with everything.

      Have virtuous thoughts, feelings, and actions today.

      Shut out the world's influence and listen to the Holy Spirit.

      Practice what I teach.

      Give Jesus control of my desires, appetities, and passions. Say no to the wrong food, drink, and things.

      Monday, August 13, 2012

      Red Sugar Water

      583.  "Red Sugar Water"           August 13, 2012
      Introduction to 2 Peter
      By His divine power, god has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.   2 Peter 1:3  NLT

      We recognize Peter as the author of his second letter. He was the man, old Simon and new Peter, the rock; Cephas in the Syriac language. He was the outspoken apostle, who did speak on the Day of Pentecost, where 3,000 were saved. He was the only disiple who got out of the boat and experienced walking on water toward Jesus. But he was also the one who denied Christ 3 times during His trial. Then, Peter was the one to whom Christ asked if he loved Him; the one to whom the Risen Savior told to feed His sheep (followers).
      MacArthur says that probably this epistle was written just before Peter's death, A.D.67-68. According to tradition, Peter requested that he be hung upside down when hung on a cross, signifying his unworthiness to die as his Lord.
      It seems that Peter wrote this letter from prison in Rome, where he was facng imminent death. (MacArthur)
      The purpose of First Peter was to help suffering Christians; Second Peter was to expose false teachers.
      We will see him dealing with scoffers, emphasizing the reasons why the imminent return of Christ had not yet occured.


      John MacArthur says that in this letter, we will be challenged to know our:
      • salvation
      • Scriptures
      • adversaries
      • prophecy.
      David Guzik says,"Knowing God is the key to all things that pertain to life and godliness."

      To know or knowledge are words mentioned 13 times in this letter. It isn't merely an intellectual understanding of sosme truth, although it can be. It is the living participation in the truth in the sense that our Lord used it in John 17:3, This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (italics added)

      Am I knowing and growing in Christ? Am I knowing more about Christ, as well as personally knowing and experiencing Him? Is my faith in Christ growing, staying on level ground, or going down hill?


      All summer, I have had two hummingbirds come faithfully to the feeder hanging from my porch. During this summer's drought in my area, those cute tiny birds came daily, depending on me to give them nurishment. Everything in the fields and yard was dried up-no flowers, no nectar. Very few flowered weeds were around. Since there was only an inch of the liquid left, this morning I refilled the hummingbird feeder with precious red sugar water. So far, one has returned.
      Isn't God like that for us. If I will come daily to read His Word, then He will faithfully provide the spiritual nurishment I need to live that day. His Word is a precious gift to us! (His red sugar water is the sweet blood of Jesus shed for me and you, friends-a gift.)

      What are our precious gifts given from Christ, which no one else can give? Peter says they are faith, righteousness, grace, and peace.
      It is the precious blood, precious righteousness, and precious sacrifice of Christ Who gives us these precious gifts.

      Warren Wiersbe, in his book Be Alert,  writes about the three important affirmations about the true Christian life, the characteristics of the Truth:

      1.The Christian life begins with faith. (verses 1-4)
      • This faith is in a person. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, our Savior, God in diety and form of man. (verses 1-2) Savior is the one who brings salvation, which means deliverance from trouble. (In our case, it is from sin, death, Satan, and hell from what I am delivered.) Grace is god's favor that is undeserving. Peace is experience with God (Rom. 5:1).
      • This faith involves God's power. (verse 3) When I was born again into the family of God by faith in Christ, I became complete. God gaves me everything I would ever need for life and godliness. Nothing needs to be added, for I'm complete.
      • This faith involves God's promises. (verse 4) His Word is what I need for life and godliness to develop in me. They are great pormises from a great God, leading to a great life.
      2. Faith results in spiritual growth. (verses 5-7)
      3. Spiritual growth brings practical results. (verses 8-11)
      (I will discuss that last two later.)

      LET IT GO

      Learn more about Jesus so I can know Him better.

      Study His Word so I can experience the life His has for me.

      Submit to Jesus.

      Reach out to Him to grow my faith.

      Stand on His promises.

      Friday, August 10, 2012


      582.  "Wives"            August 10, 2012
      Summary of 1 Peter
      Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the Christian messaage, they  may be won over without a message by the way their wives live, when they observe your pure reverent lives.   1 Peter 3:1-2 Holman CSB


      Peter was as apostle of Jesus Christ. we can read about his Christian life in the book Acts. He wrote this first letter to Gentile Christians, or Pilgrims, who were possibly led to Christ by Paul and his associates. Peter dictated while Silas wrote it down as a secretary did in those days. Silas delivered the letter. Peter died as a martyr two years after he wrote this letter. Also, he had witnessed his wife's crucificion because of her faith, earlier. Peter's wife traveled with hilm in his ministries (1Cor. 9:5).

      Nero was the emperor during this time. He set Rome on fire and blamed the Christians for it. Since the Romans lost everything, including their idols, temples, and shrines, pursecution of the Christians caused them to flee to other places.

      Peter wrote this letter trying to encourage his fellow believers so they would not loose hope. It was a living hope in the Second Coming of Jesus, Who will make all things right. It was an encouragment to stand firm in their faith and the grace of God. Hang on through your trials.
      Peter helps us see God's prescription for those who suffer. It calls for holiness, for submission, and for acceptance of the amazing truth that suffering can be a gift from God. (Illustrated Bible Handbook by Lawrence O. Richards)

      Hopefully, we have answered some questions in this book. Questions, such as:
      • What is the goal of my faith?
      • What does holiness really mean?
      • How can I be holy?
      • When is submission compromised?
      • When should I stand up for my rights? What happens when I do what I think is the right thing, and something terrible happens?
      • Was I in the wrong?
      What are some themes found in 1 Peter?
      • God is no respector of persons. (1:17)
      • Christ is identified as a stone rejected by the builders. (2:7-8)
      • The name of Christ has a prominent place. (4:14,16)
      • Jesus' conversation with Peter. (5:2-4)
      • Jesus as the Chief Shepherd. (5:4)
      • Being clothed with humility. (5:5)
      Instead of picking out several scriptures of significance to me, I decided to only mention a few within each chapter and the main points in each.

      Chapter 1
      salvation, hope assurance, faith, joy in spite of trials, holiness, power of God, praise, honor, and glory to God, fulfillment in believers' lives

      But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.  (1:15-16)

      Chapter 2
      description of the people of God, submission to government, and masters

      But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. (2:9)

      Chapter 3
      appeals and promises to the persecuted, susbmission in the family, honorable living before believers,
      suffering for righteousness

      Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. (3:3-4) NIV

      Chapter 4
      responsibilities of Christian living, rewards of sufferings

      Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

      Chapter 5
      requirements of Christian leadership, victory

      Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. 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 your borthers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (5:6-9 NIV)

      LET IT GO

      Willingly and cheerfully submit to God, my husband, and those in authority over me.

      Lay down pride and tie on the apron of humility.

      Cast my cares on Jesus.

      Resist the devil.

      Stand firm in the faith.

      Thursday, August 9, 2012

      Wrapping it Up

      581.  "Wrapping it Up"    August 9, 2012
      1 Peter 5-Part 4
      With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. 
      1 Peter 5:12 NIV


      When our children were elementary age, it was a difficult task to wrap and hide their Christmas presents, so they would remain a secret. We had a snoopy children, so I had to become creative in the process. After they discovered the closets were a hiding place, I would move the presents under the bed, and even out to the storage building. Once I even hid presents in the trunk of the car.

      Here we have Peter wrapping up his first letter. His letter of great encouragment was sent to suffering saints to bring them promises that God  will make them perfect, established, strengthened, and settled in the faith (verses 10-11).
      He restates his purpose in verse 12, which is to exhort (encourage) and testify (solemnly affirm) that this is the true grace of God. Christianity involves God's grace, which is His gift to us.


      Silvanus (a variation of the same Sila) was probably a secretary who wrote down Peter's letter. He was Paul's companion on his second missionary journey (Acts 15: 40). He delivered Peter's letter to its receipients.
      Peter sends greetings from the chuch (implied by the feminine form of elected together) at Rome (symbolic of Babylon), which was famous for its wickedness and spiritual rebellion, just like ancient Babylon.
      Mark, called John Mark, was the spiritual son of Peter. Tradition says that Peter helped Mark write the Gospel of Mark. (Acts 12:12)

      Now, in the last verse of chapter 5, Peter sends peace to his readers. Paul always ended his letters with a benediction of grace (2 Thess. 3:17-18). Peter also opened his letter with a greeting of peace in verse 2 of chapter 1.So the entire epistle points to "God's peace" from the beginning to the end. Isn't it a wonderful way to end a letter that announced the coming of a fiery trial? God's grace-embrace it and profess it, then firmly stand by it.

      A kiss of love was a standard form of greeting or farewell in that part of the world at that time. How could slaves and masters greet each other in that manner? It was because they were in Jesus.

      Peter gave us a letter that encourages us to hope in the Lord no matter how trying the times may be. The church has experienced various fiery trials, yet Satan hasn't been able to destroy it.  Are we prepared, church?

      Peter emphasized here the sovereignty and power of God, and hesnce he used the term kratos (for glory). The God who permits suffering in the lives of his children, and even allows the devil to rage at them , is the sovereign God and the God who cares. The dominion belongs  to him-forever. He wields a "mighty hand" on behalf of his people. Hence, believers should be full of comfort, knowing that they are on the side of visctory and celebration. (Schreiner)

      Whatever may come, let's be hopeful. Jesus will soon be coming in all of His glory!

      [References: The MacArthur Bible Commentary, Be Hopeful by Warren Wiersbe, The Books of James and First and Second Peter by William Baker, John Gill, David Guzik]

      LET IT GO

      Be encouraged by God's Word every day.

      Testify of the true grace of God.

      Stand firm in my faith in Jesus.

      Be His missionary wherever I am.

      Wednesday, August 8, 2012

      Washing Dishes Builds Character

      580.  "Washing Dishes Builds Character"            August 8, 2012
      1 Peter 5-Part 3
      But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfet, stablish, strengthen, settle you. to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.  1 Peter 5:10-11


      When our two children were teenagers, they had chores to do in the kitchen. I was teaching and needed help. They took turns washing dishes, even cooking a meal every so often. I kept telling my son that washing dishes built character. (I don't think I ever persuaded him.) Also, I told him that his future wife would appreciate that he could do those things. Sure enough, Mom was right. After 15 years of marriage, he still helps his wife in the kitchen-cooks on the grill, in the microwave, and rinses dishes and puts them in the dishwasher. I am quite proud of his character. He is a good guy, even if I am a little prejudice.
      Sweet ones, are we letting our trials build our character or break us. Is our faith getting stronger or weaker?

      I may help to know that we are not in this alone. We have brothers and sisters in Christ who are going through trials and temptations at the same time we are. Some may have completed it and are getting ready for the next time, while some are still there experiencing it. Be encouraged, suffering saints. Also, Jesus is walking right beside us on this journey of life. am I talking to Him as much as I should be? Here's what the Scripture has to say, not about dish washing, but about our character.

      Our God of all grace, in His kindness, who has called us and chosen us to be His child, will:
      • allow us to experience His eternity through Jesus Christ, His Son,
      • make you perfect (to equip, to adjust, to fit together; mend nets) 
      • make you stablish (to fix firmly, to set fast)
      • strengthen you; God's strength gives us power to act.
      • and settle you (to lay a foundation0 He. 1:10, Matt. 7:24-27
      So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation. NLT, verse 10

      Be hopeful, friends.
      We have God's grace.
      We know we are going to glory
      Our present suffering is only for a while.
      We know that our trials are building Christian character.
      God builds character and brightens hope when a believer turst Him and depends on His grace. The result is that God receives the glory forever and ever. (Wiersbe)


      In verses 8-9, Peter tells me to:
      • be sober,
      • be vigilant,
      • be steadfast in faith.
      Satan means adversary; devil means the accuser, the slanderer.

      Although Peter's readers had already experienced some persecution, he gives them instructions to help them again victory over their adversary:
      1. Respect him, for he is dangerous. Like a lion, Satan roars lies and accusations, walks about looking for weak prey, seeking believers in Jesus that he can devour in his den of sin.
      2. Recognize him as the great pretender. (Only Jesus is Truth.)
      3. Resist him. Use the Word of God, the way Jesus did (Matt. 4:1-11).
      James 4:7 says: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

      Am I clear-headed and watchful? Satan isn't bound and restrained yet for 1,000 years as Revelation 20:1-2 fortells. His time is coming. Remember, he has been de-fanged at the cross (Col. 2:15). Don't let his roar of deceptive lies rob you of your Christian effectiveness. Your secret weapon is resistance. Run if you have to, like Joseph. Pray for spiritual strength.

      One more thing, dear ones. Let's recognize our pattern of temptation and be prepared for it.
      When am I most tempted?
      Where am I most tempted?
      What tempts me most?
      Who am I usually with?
      (Rick Warren)

      Plan carefully what you do...Avoid evil and walk straight ahead. Don't go one step off the right way. (Prov.4.:26-27TEV)

      God's people avoid evil ways, and they protect themselves by watching where they go. ((Prov. 16:17 CEV)

      LET IT GO

      Stay focused on Jesus.

      Learn from my previous temptations and avoid them.

      Lean on Jesus when weakened and tempted.

      Pray for help.

      Resist the devil in Jesus' name. Tell that lie'n lion to flee.

      Praise Jesus for the victory.

      Tuesday, August 7, 2012

      Tie on an Apron

      579.  "Tie on an Apron"             August 7, 2012
      1 Peter 5-Part 2
      Likewise ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:5-7


      As you may have figured out from previous posts, my mother was a wonderful cook. Before she began the task, she would tie on an apron. Of course, an apron prevented any spills from soiling her clean clothes. When the meal was prepared, she would take it off and be ready for her guests. It seems that this tradition has gone by the wayside as the years have passed. Perhaps it's because an apron is a symbol of a servant and we have strayed away from serving. We would rather be served than serve. Ouch! My toes got stepped on. Shall we see what Peter has to say about it?

      Looking at verse 5, to whom does Peter say God gives grace? He gives grace to the humble.
      Who does God resist? He resists the proud.
      Do I want God's grace or His resistance?
      How do I get His grace?

      The word be clothed in the Greek, engkomboomai, literally means to "tie on" an apron; here the thing to be tied on is humility, which is the same word used by Peter in 3:8 in the same close connection with the word "submit." Humility is simply assuming the proper role in relationship to others. Peter draws upon the Old Testament to prove his ploint by quoting Proverbs 3:34. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

      To "be clothed" lliterally means to tie something on oneself with a knot or a  bow. This term was often used of a slave putting on an apron over his clothes in order to keep his clothes clean. Humility is literally "lowly mindedness," an attitude that one is not too good to serve. Humility was not considered a virtue in the ancient world, any more than it is today.  (The MacArthur Bible Commentary)

      Keep in mind that God will exalt us in due time, according to verse 6b. Due time (kairos) sounds like "by and by" or "after sufficient time has passed." It refers to God's time, namely the second coming of Christ, and at the Revelation. (Falwell)

      Remember, God cares for you and me. He loves us so much that He came and died for us sinners. It is astounding to me.

      If I want God's grace upon me, which I do, then I am to tie humility around me like an apron. I am to stay low minded, not proud, and be a servant of Jesus'. Now where's my apron?


      To whom is Peter writing this principle? First, it is written to the younger men. Also, it is written to Christians in general, the congregation of the church. What is Peter telling us to do?
      1. Submit to the elders. Younger me and Christians, submit to your pastor/leaders in the church.
      2. Be subject one to another.
      3. Be clothed with humility
      4. Humble yourselves under the might hand of God.
      5. Caste all your care upon Him, for He careth for you. We don't have to bear our anxieties. We are told to "toss them over to Him." Care means anxieties. God has such a meticulous, personal concern about us. He is interested in us and willing to carry all our anxieties if we are willing to do what He wants us to do. (Liberty Bible Commentary)
      Am I willing to do what God wants me to do?
      How often do I tie on humility and submit to others in authority, leaders of the church?
      Do I dress with humility all the time?
      Am I humbled to God?
      Self-evaluation time, friends.

      LET IT GO

      As I put on the whole armor of God each day, I am going to tie on my apron of humility, too.

      Daily submit and humble myself on my knees before God.

      Give Him my anxieties.

      Monday, August 6, 2012

      Flowers in a Dry Land

      578.  "Flowers in a Dry Land"                  August 6, 2012
      1 Peter 5-Part 1
      And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
      1 Peter 5:4


      Yesterday, when my granddaughter and I went into the backyard so she could dig in the dirt (it had been a month because of the drought), we saw two wild flowers. There they stood in a foot of dry dirt as pretty as you please, amidst the yellow wilted grass, weeds, and dirt. Actually, I think those flowers were really weeds themselves. One was yellow, which farmers call a Bitter Weed, and the other is a blue Buttercup, to which I am allergic.( I picked a pretty bouquet once and broke out with bumps.) How in the world did those two get there, much less grow in such dry land? God did it. That's all I could say.
      Well friends, today when I went outside to pick them, the flowers were gone. Grasshoppers must have eatten them. Only stems remained. The crown of their glory had faded away, but I will receive one that won't fade away. Want to check it out?

      The MacArthur Bible Commentary has this to say about our key verse:

      The Chief shepherd is our Lord Jesus Christ. When He appears at the Second coming, He will evaluate the ministry of pastors at the judgment seat of Christ.  (1 Cor. 3: 9-15; 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:9-10). The Greek word for "not fade away" is the name of a flower, the amaranth.
      In the New Testament world, crowns were given as marks of victorious achievements. (as Olympians get medals) Believers are pormised crowns of glory, life (James 1:12), righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8), and rejoicing (1 Thess. 2:19), and all are imperishable (1 Cor. 9:25). All the crowns describe certain characteristics of eternal life.

      God gives sherpherd leaders the responsibility to guard, protect, defend, and care for the spiritual welfare of His flock. A related benefit of a local church is that it also porvides the spiritual protection of godly leaders. We are told, Their work is to watch over your souls, and they know they are accountable to God. (Heb. 13:17 NLT) [Rick Warren]

      Will my love for Jesus fade away? Will my faith in Jesus wilt?


      Although Peter is writing to the elders of the church (pastors and deacons), couldn't these words apply to the rest of us, who hold postions of leadership, as director and teacher in the church? Peter includes himself as an elder of the church in verse 1; as an eyewittness of Christ's sufferings; as a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed (Transfiguration of Christ found in Matt. 17).
      As a pastor/deacon/leader, he is to:
      • feed the flock by teaching the Word of God; as green pastures are sought by the shepherd for his sheep to have nurishment to grow, so must there be in the Word for the Christian to grow spiritually and in faith;
      • take the oversight, which means to look upon, inspect, look after, care for; as a shepherd tends his flock, so the effective pastor gets to know his people, their needs, and their problems so he can lead and help them.
      •  do it willingly, not by constraint, which means by force; though he is called to this profession, he wants to do it and enjoys his work; it isn't by compulsion or with laziness that he serves;
      • not do it for filthy lucre, (shameful gain)  but of a ready mind (eagerly); he must not be a lover of money nor devoted to pursuing money (Titus 1:7, 1 Tim. 3:3); he doesn't use his power and position to rob the people of their wealth; nor does he serve for what he can get out of it;
      • be a good  example to the flock, not lord it over the people he serves; he is a submissive servant to the will of God.  (Wiersbe)
      Is my serving pleasing Jesus or my flesh?
      What a joy it will be when we place our crown at Jesus' feet (Rev. 4:10). We will acknowledge that all was done because of His grace and power (1 Cor. 15:10).

      LET IT GO

      Be a flower in a dry land-beauty that points others to Jesus.

      Feed others the Word of God.

      Care for those around me.

      Show kindness because of love, not for money.

      Friday, August 3, 2012

      Happy with the Diagnosis

      577.  "Happy with the Diagnosis"          August 3, 2012
      1 Peter 4-Part 7
      So be happy when you are insulted for being a Chjristian, for then the glorious spirit of God rests upon you. 1 Peter 4:14 NLT 


      You will always have to take this medicine. Your disease will never go away.
      Those were real comments the doctor said to me. Inspite of all that, I was so happy whenever I was finally diagnosed with Crohn's disease. You see, I have had it for 40 years. Now I finally know what I am up against. Live with Crohns is definitely a challenge. There were other diagnoses through the years, but none that were correct. Now I can adjust my diet and take medicine so I can live comfortably. The thing is, I must do what I know is right and not stray off the trail of the limited diet. That is when I enjoy life to its fullest.

      So my philosophy is: Life is a challenge. It's how you handle it that counts.

      We all have our challenges, whether it's just the result of living in a body that's getting older or a drastic, painful disease. How are we going to meet that challenge? Will it knock us for a loop, defeat us, or make us stronger? Will it turn us to or away from God?

      Be glad with exceeding joy!
      Happy are ye!

      Why? How? Really? Does Peter know what he is talking about? When I go through painful, fiery trials, I am supposed to be very glad, have wonderful joy, be happy, overjoyed? (NIV and NLT)


      Peter also tells me to
      • not be surprised when I am suffering, as thoughit is a strange happening (v. 12)
      • rejoice that I am participating in the sufferings of Christ (v. 13)
      • be overjoyed when His glory is revealed (v. 13)
      • think of myself as blessed when I'm insulted because of Christ (v. 14)
      • consider myself blessed because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on me (v. 14)
      • not be ashamed, but praise God when I suffer as a Christian for doing good, not sin (v. 16)
      • praise god that I bear His name of Christian (v. 16)
      • suffer according to God's will and be committed to my faithful Creator (v.19)
      • continue to do good (v. 19).
      Am I listening? Rejoice and be happy. (Think I need to work on this.)


      According to Thayer's Lexicon, fiery, in the Greek, means a burning; the burning by which metals are roasted or reduced; the refiner's fire, calamities or trials that test character.  Trial refers to the proving; that by which something is tried or proved, a test; of a crucible or furnace for smelting; your proved faith.

      This fiery trial that Peter refers to is a special kind of persecution, not like what he previously described, but that which would overtake the entire church. It was not an occassional personal persecution, even though the early Christians were allowed to worship freely. These fires were ignited by Nero and then other emperors.

      Peter writes these Christians so they could:
      *expect suffering (verse 12),
      *rejoice in suffering (verses 13-14),
      *examine their life (verses 15-18),
      *commit themselves to God (verse 19).

      Whatever glorifies God will anger the enemy, and he will attack. Persecution is not a strang thing for believers. It's absence would be strange.

      In the Old Testament, fire was a symbol of the holiness of God and the presence of God. The fire on the altar consumed the sacrifice (Heb. 12:28-29). but Peter saw in the image of fire a refining process rather than a devine judgment (1:7).

      Not all difficulties of life are necessarily fiery trials. Some are a part of life; some are a result of disobedience and sin; some happen because we are faithful to God and stand up for what is right; some because we bear the name of Christ that the lost world attacks.

      [Resource: Be Hopeful by Warren Wiersbe]

      NLT says in verse 19: So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for He will never fail you.

      LET IT GO

      Work on rejoicing when trials come.

      Glorify God when I am going through them.

      Praise God for the privilege of being called by His name!

      Remember, God will never fail me.

      Thursday, August 2, 2012

      A Fork

      576.  "A Fork"                 August 2, 2012
      1 Peter -Part 6
      If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 
       1 Peter 4:11


      I have a picture taken of me on my sixth birthday. One of the gifts I received was a Hop Along Cassidy one serving silverware set. I wanted to eat with it at every meal. I don't recall why I was given it, other than it must have been on my want list. I wish I had it now, but something happened to it throughout the years. The handles had the character on a horse, that I recall. There was a fork in the set. I was reminded of this special gift when I read today's verse. We have been talking about all the ways we can bring glory to God in our living, ministering our gifts.

      Jesus stood at a fork in the road. He had to decide if He would life for comfort a self-centered life or id He would fulfill His purpose and glorify God with it. I face the same fork every day.

      Rick Warren, in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, said:
      There are many ways to bring glory to God, but they can be summarized in God's five purposes for your life.
      1. We bring God glory by worshiping Him. He wants our worship to be motivated by love, thanksgiving, and delight, not duty. See Rom. 6:13.
      2. We bring God glory by loving other believers. We belong to the family of God when we become a believer, so we are to love others. See Rom. 15:7, 1 John 3:14, and John 13:34-35.
      3. We bring God glory by becoming like Christ. Spiritual maturity is becoming like Jesus in the way we think, feel, and act. For the rest of our life, God wants to continue the process of changing your character. See 2 Cor. 3:18, Phil. 1:11.
      4. We bring God glory by serving others with our gifts. Each of us was uniquely designed by God with talents, gifts, skills, and abilities. (Spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit to use in the church to help others.) See 2 Cor. 8:19.
      5. We bring God glory by telling others about Him. God doesn't want His love and purposes kept a secret. It is a great privilege to introduce others to Jesus and help them prepare for their eternal destiny. See 2 Cor. 4:15.
      Living the rest of your life for the glory of God will require a change in your priorities, your schedule, your relationships, and everything else. It will sometimes mean choosing a difficult path instead of an easy one.
      Which path did Jesus choose? He chose to follow the path God had planned for Him-the cross.

      Am I living for my own goals, comfort, and pleasure, or for the glory of God?


      Our key verse, found in New Living Translation says, Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

      Some of the spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthianss 12 and Romans 12 include being used by way of speaking-prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues, words of wisdom, teaching, and exhortion.
      Some of these gifts are no longer needed becuse we have the completed Word of God.

      When I hit the half century mark, I began slowing down. (Probably it was the 40th.) I have limited my committments because my energy is limited. A nap is certainly scheduled into my day. Some days I get one and some days I don't. In all I do, I want to honor the Lord. I am realizing that He is walking beside me wherever this country road takes me. I am enjoying talking and listening to Him as we go along the way.

      Above all else, my purpose in writing this blog is to bring glory to God. This is my prayer.

      LET IT GO

      Limit my services so I can do my best serving.

      Pray for God's leading.

      Above all, glorify God.