Month: May 2015

Scoffers have been around and will be; have faith

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2 Peter 3:3–4

knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”

As Peter begins to make his point about the faithfulness of God to His word, he quotes the scoffers of his day and of all generations backward and forward.  Scoffers to the word of God are nothing new.  2000 years ago men were scoffing the word of God.  As theological history began to be recorded, there were scoffers in the first century who tried to reason away the incarnation of Christ.  (They denied that He came in the flesh.  These were called “Gnostics.”)

Scoffers continued to denounce the word of God and Martin Luther spoke against them proclaiming justification by faith alone.  The Reformers were burned at the stake for speaking against the religious scoffers of their day.  When Christians, who were baptized as infants into the denominational church, realized that they need to be saved as adults and that New Testament baptism happened after salvation, they went to the river to be baptized.  The church they were baptized into came out and drowned many of those re-baptizers scoffing the gospel they believed.

The Scopes trials were a public scoffing of Biblical truth. No, nothing has changed.  The enemies of the word of God, who are enemies of God Himself, continue to scoff the word of God.  They ask, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”   In other words, “if God promised to come and to make a new heaven and a new earth, why hasn’t He come yet?  If God promised to return and make it all new and right, what is taking Him so long?  Maybe He isn’t coming.  So then, if God isn’t coming then what are we worried about, let’s live as we want, it isn’t going to matter anyway.”

My friends, beware of the scoffers of the word of God.  They are in error and in God’s time, not ours, their error will be made manifest.  Until then, do not lose heart nor faith.  God is God and does not share His glory with another.  God is God and all that He has said will come to pass.  He has not forgotten us in our affliction nor will He leave us alone.  He has given us His word, His Son, and His Holy Spirit.  He has built His church of which we are a part and He is coming again for His church, His chosen ones, who will be taken, raised from the dead, into eternal life with Him.  Remain faithful amidst the scoffers.

Kim Lavryk was in church Sunday and asked prayer for a few things.  She really wants to find a new place to live.  The place she is living is not working out for her.  Finding a place for Kim is a true challenge in every sense of the word.  Pray with her about this.  She asks prayer for the activity director at her facility; Natalie has had brain and leg surgery.  Kim has an unspoken request and she thanks the church for the monthly support we give to her.  Do remember our sister Kim in your prayers.  Pray for her family to come to Christ.  She is very burdened for them all.

Pray for Mark D’Agistino as he suffered a concussion Sunday night.  The family went to the Dells and he hit his head while out playing.  The doctor has ordered Mark off of work for a week.  Pray for Mark’s recovery as well as the protection of his job.  He hasn’t been working for Scotts for very long. 

I will be speaking at Sunrise at 10:30 and always need prayer when the word of God is preached.

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

 

 

On whose authority

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2 Peter 3:1–2

1 Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior,

When analyzing the authenticity of an argument, the character of the person speaking is of great importance.  If I were to look up at the sky and tell you that a tornado was coming to day, you would not worry too much.  But if a weatherman were to look into her charts and analyze the data and tell you that a tornado was coming today, you would have a different response.  The character and background of the person speaking has great weight on the argument being weighed.

The person making this statement in 2 Peter 3 is none other than the very Apostle Peter.  Peter spent three and a half years with Jesus.  He was one of the three favorites with James and John.  He walked on water with Jesus. He was at the transfiguration.  Peter was a bona-fide Apostle!  So, what Peter was writing about Jesus, about the church, and about the Bible had the greatest authority behind it.

What did Peter say about the Bible?  Look at verse 2.  He puts the Scriptures, that is the words spoken by the holy prophets, on the same level as the writings of the apostles.  Verse 1 he tells us that he is writing a second letter to remind them of the spiritual lessons they had heard and then he puts the writing of “us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior” on the same level of authority as the writings of Moses, David, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and the rest.  Either Peter was a great liar or he was telling the absolute truth.

You know what I believe about this. I stand with the leaders of the early church who having the original letters of Peter put them on the same level as the writings of Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  They believed that the New Testament writers were just as inspired as the Old Testament writers.  They accepted this as fact because Peter knew that he was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit just as the prophets did.

Therefore, take heed when you read the New Testament to give it the same authority as you would the Old Testament prophets. It is the authoritative word of God to us.

Mother’s Day was a blessing indeed.  Our church service was a joy both in honoring moms and exalting the Savior.  It was good for us to have Pastor Steven bring the message to us.  God did speak through Him to us and we are grateful for Steven’s lessons that he learned from Romans 1 and shared with us.  My parents came over to lunch with us along with Steven and Rachel and family.  Then we drove out to Bobbi’s mom’s house and spent some time with them. 

It was also a joy yesterday to see Sandra baptized.  What a thrill to see an adult woman come to Christ and desire to be baptized and follow Him.  It was a great moment for her life and for the life of our church.  Pray for Sandra and her new life in Jesus.

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

 

A Nasty picture of a Sad action

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2 Peter 2:19–22

19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

Peter uses a word picture to describe a human action.  The picture is that of a dog eating his vomit, a most disgusting thing to see your precious pooch do.  That loving pet who licks your hand and for some of you even your face, takes that same tongue and licks up his own vomit.  YUCK!  You are running and screaming, “Noooo!” to no avail while he licks up the last morsel.  Or the picture of a pig who is washed and cleaned for the fair and as soon as possible runs back to the muck of the pig pen and burrows his once clean nose right back into the stinking mire of the pen.

These two pictures describe someone who comes to church, hears the message, likes the people, enjoys the music, and makes friends.  They participate at the knowledge level but never at the faith level.  They come to your house and they share your food and you share your family with them.  They enjoy your friendship and you think they also love your Lord.  But when the right time for them comes, they go back to the sin that they came from.  They return to the anger, the bitterness, the deceit, and eventually leave the church totally to embrace the old sinful ways.

As victims of Satan’s lies, he promised them liberty, they are once again enchained, wrapped up in sin’s bondage.  I have tried to rescue many from this nasty return to the vomit and muck but they resist the pull and pull back away from the knowledge they once had.  These who return never had faith.  Like seed sown on thorny ground, they grew for awhile but never produced spiritual fruit.  When the cares of this life and the lust for other things came in, they were deceived and drawn away taken back to the life that they never really left.

The answer to this dilemma is discipleship.  We are now encouraging those who come to church, whether they manifest Christ or not, to come to discipleship.  Under careful study of the Word of God they will come to know whether they are in the faith or not.  If not, we pray they will be drawn to the Savor.  If so, we pray they will grow closer to Christ and farther from the world and its deception.

I am leaving today for John Alagaban’s graduation.  Lizzy is graduating with her associates in child care and then is return to finish her bachelor’s degree.  A nephew of mine and two nephew-in-laws (they are married to a niece or going to be married to a niece) are also graduating.   We are very thankful to God for His leading in John and Lizzy’s lives.  What a joy to see the Lord bring them out of their lost condition into His light and for them to follow the Lord as they have. 

This Sunday is Mother’s Day.  I hope to see you all there.  Steven Jr. will be bringing the message as a help to me since I am gone until Saturday.  We are looking forward to a great day together.

If I do not get a devotional out tomorrow, remember to pray for Pastor Bill’s community services and for RU tomorrow night.  Nancy Schmidt’s son, Nathan and his girlfriend, Amber are getting married tomorrow.  Keep them in your prayers and send Nancy a congratulations. 

Today is the “National Day of Prayer.”  I hope you will be able to support some of the local prayer gatherings as they seek the Lord for His guidance and His mercy on our nation.  Pray that our President and Governor will sincerely pray to the God of heaven asking for His wisdom and mercy. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Slaves cannot offer other slaves freedom

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2 Peter 2:19

19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.

As we read the Bible certain verses remain in our thinking, this verse is one of those to me.  Throughout my life I have seen in my own life and in the lives of many others how the promises of sin to greater liberty always lead to greater bondage.  You pick the sin, it will never bring greater liberty but will only bring greater bondage and slavery.

Satan is the master deceiver of all times.  He has trained his unholy hosts in the art of deception.  Not only is Satan a deceiver but he himself has been deceived by his own lies so that he actually believes that he will be as great as God, one day.  Given the right circumstances, he will overcome God’s plans, destroy God’s people and win in the end.  As a deceived leader, Satan seeks to convince all of us that following Him or following the flesh or following the world is a good thing and really won’t hurt us.

Satan brings to mind people we know or read about who “made it” as sinners.  That is, they lived successful and fun lives enjoying their sin as they went.  He then wants us to think that we too can sin without any real consequence and definitely without any chains.  Only in Christ, he says, are there chains that keep us from doing what we really want to do.

Satan is insidious, conscious-less, heartless, and fearless in his attacks upon us.  So, when he tells us, at any level, that the sin we are tempted with, whether a sin of the flesh, spirit or of faith, he, as a slave of corruption, cannot deliver on his promise of liberty.  How can one slave promise another slave freedom by doing what he is doing?  Satan is a slave of his own nature and his own predetermined end.  How can he offer any liberty to anyone?

So, when we listen, at any level, to Satan’s offers of liberty by following him, the world, or the flesh, we are headed only to greater bondage, never to more liberty.  In Romans 6 we are told that we can become slaves to righteousness.  That is the slavery I want.  That is the slavery that ends in true liberty.  “Dear God, make the choices of liberty and bondage very clear to our understanding and very obvious to our vision today.”

As we prepare for our Wednesday night prayer, studies and childrens and teen groups, let’s prepare our hearts by seeking the Lord throughout the day.  Ask God to bring the children and teens who need to be here and that those who come will truly benefit by the lessons they hear.  Ask the Lord to prepare our hearts for prayer that as we come to Him with worship, praise and prayer that He will hear and will open the windows of heaven upon our church.

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

When men want a softer message and the pastors give in – Isaiah 30

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<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/126823636″>Isaiah 30-31 When men want a softer message and the pastors give in</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user3461934″>Pastor Steve Schroeder</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Two types of people in the world

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2 Peter 2:9

then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,

There are two teachings in this verse, the first one causes comfort to the followers of Jesus and the second causes fear to those who are not following Christ.

As we look at the world we see two categories of people.  As God looks at the world He sees the same two categories.  (No, it not those who like the Bears and those who do not.)  The ultimate two categories of people are those who are godly, saved, blood bought followers of Christ, and the unjust, the ungodly, those who have rejected God’s offer.  A simpler way to put it would be that there are the saved and there are the unsaved.

In this verse we are taught that the Lord will deliver the godly out of temptations.  This word ‘temptation’ is used in the New Testament of situations where people were tempted to sin by leaving the faith or by heeding the temptation of Satan as Jesus was tempted by the Devil.  It is also used as trouble: sent by God and serving to test or prove one’s character, faith, holiness (according to Strong’ Concordance of the NT).

So, the Lord will deliver His own from the hour of greatest trial, the hour of temptation and testing that would break their faith.  God will not allow His own to be tempted more than they can bear, 1 Corinthians 10:13 promises this. God will always provide a way of escape for the righteous from that hour.  In this we find hope and peace.

However, the unjust will not escape the hour of judgment.  Since our sins were judged on the Cross with the sins of all who follow Christ, we will not be a part of that judgment.  But everyone who has rejected the gift of Christ paid for by His blood, that day of judgment is coming.  This passage is a hard one to read as it defines all of those who reject Christ being deceived by sin and by false teachers.  But it is unmistakable as to its teaching.  I am thanking God for His mercy and grace today.

Sunday was a wonderful day at our church.  I am very thankful for all who come and share the day together.  The sermon for Sunday will be on the church website today.  If you have not yet become a follower of the church website, please do so.  If you cannot figure how to do this, but want to continue to receive the devotionals, please let me know as I am compiling a list of those who will need a regular email of these devotionals.  I will be stopping to payment to Constant Contact this week.  

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

God does judge those who reject Him and His way

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2 Peter 2:4–10

4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;

5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;

6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;

7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked

8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)—

9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,

10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries,

There is an idea that God is love and in His love will one day just pardon everyone. This is a wonderful idea and takes the teeth out of any threat of lasting judgment upon sinful people. It is widely taught and thoroughly embraced by many both Christian and non-Christian people. And, there are certain passages in the Bible, which if they weren’t there would make this idea believable.

But, Peter, the inspired Apostle, wrote this passage. In these few verses Peter explains the judgment of God in hell upon fallen angels, the wicked people of Noah’s day, which includes the entire world apart from Noah’s family, and the men and women of Sodom who resisted the preaching and righteous example of Lot. He then goes on to include all who reject the Lord throughout all time.

The expressions used in this passage are hard to get around.

  • “cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness”
  • “and did not spare the ancient world”
  • “condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly”
  • “to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,”
  • “and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority”

Thankfully, Peter makes the point that God knows how to take the godly out of the way of His judgment upon the wicked. So when God does bring His ultimate judgment upon the world, I believe that the followers of Christ who possess His righteousness will not be here but will be taken away before that judgment falls.

So, God does punish sin and does so through punishing the sinners who reject His word and His righteousness. And God consistently delivers the righteous, Noah, Lot, and all who live godly, from His judgments upon the wicked.

Are you ready for the Lord’s return? If He came today would you be excited to see Him? Would He consider you one of His righteous servants who would be removed from His judgment? I hope so.

We have been putting much emphasis on prayer of late. We have seen God do some works in people’s lives for which we are grateful. Continue to pray. Pray for RU tonight that God would hold back the darkness that keeps people from coming. Pray that God would bring people out of their darkness into His light. Pray for God to bring to church Sunday those whom He wants to be here. Pray for the message to be clear. Pray for our nursing home services in the community. We do four each week and another one four to five times a year.

Men’s prayer breakfast is tomorrow morning at Denny’s at 7:30.

This Sunday is our dinner Sunday. Be sure to come ready to stay for lunch. We sure do enjoy these Sundays together.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS