Devotionals

We have escaped sin’s corruption!

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2 Peter 1:4b

4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Satan is called the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience. He is called the god of this world who blinds the eyes of those who do not believe. He is called a roaring lion walking about seeking whom he may devour. Everything evil and painful comes from Satan. Everything destructive and deadly comes from Satan. Every sin that brings pain to families, to children, to women and to men comes from Satan. Every broken home finds its roots in Satan’s sins. Every failed parenting decision finds its roots in Satan’s sins. Every church problem began in Satan’s mind. He is the father of all sin, all separation, all failure, all disobedience, all immorality, and all pain of all types. Thus, every thought and action of Satan is sinful and corrupt and leads to greater and greater corruption.

When we place our faith in the Lord Jesus and accept His gift of grace, eternal life, we leave the control of Satan as our father and the chains that bind us to him in exchange for the adoption by God into His eternal family where He becomes our eternal Father of righteousness and peace. In this new family where we have escaped the inevitable bad decisions caused by self-will and self-indulgence we also escape the corruption that always follows those sinful decisions.

You see, sin is corrupting. It always has been and always will be corrupting. Sin cannot be anything but corrupting. It begins and ends in lust and though it might begin in perceived beauty it always ends in the reality of its pain and corruption. When the Lord saves us and makes us His own He removes the end of sin by removing the beginning of sin. We no longer have to live chained to the father of this world and all of His painful ways. Now we are set free from Satan and attached to the Father of lights whose peace guides and keeps us. Free from corruption we no longer are chained to our lusts either. This is the power of the gospel, it takes hardhearted and sinful men and women and makes them new creatures whose hearts are tender and able to know the flow of the Holy Spirit through them.

Finally, in resurrection, though we die in sin-corrupted bodies, we will be raised in Christ and like Christ with an incorruptible body. Hallelujah!

Remember today to pray for Pastor Bill as he ministers at Spring Meadow and at Sunrise Assisted Living. Yesterday he ministered a nursing home named Eldorado. These are wonderful opportunities to minister Christ to people who still need to be ministered to.

 

We have been asking God to bring people into RU on Friday nights. God can bring people who just from the sign out front. But if you know someone struggling with addictions would you ask God for strength then call them and invite them to come with you tonight to RU. You could be the one that God has in place to bring them out of their corrupting addiction. An invitation may be received with the love and grace it is offered with and they might just come with you. It begins at 7:00 and goes until 9:00. If you have someone coming let me know and the RU team will join you in prayer for them.

 

Tomorrow is a church work day. Come at 9:00 and stay as long as you can. We have many different types of projects that you can participate in. You don’t need to be skilled labor to help. If you are skilled you may find something within your skill to do.

 

Pray for Sunday. I will be preaching from Isaiah 28 and 2 Peter 1. There are some wonderful correlations between the two passages and I am looking forward to showing you the importance of not just knowing the word of God nor of knowing God but of living in obedience to every word of God. Israel never really got this down for long and never knew the blessing and power of God for very long. But when they did, wow, did God ever show Himself might on their behalf. See you Sunday.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

God’s exceedingly precious promises and their effects

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2 Peter 1:3–4

as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

As we learned on Tuesday, God has given us in His word all that we need for eternal life and for godly living.  He does this through our knowledge of Him who has called us by both glory and by virtue.  We are called to live lives that glorify God by living His virtue through us.

With that glory and virtue comes His exceedingly great and precious promises to us.  (People don’t talk like this anymore, too bad.)  “Every promise in the Book is mine, every chapter every verse every line; all are blessings of His love divine.  Every promise in the Book is mine.”  God’s promises are precious to us for they are what we place our faith in and find them carrying us through all kinds of life’s issues.

As we study and learn and love and meditate on God’s precious promises we become partakers of God’s divine nature.  This is impossible except for the indwelling Spirit of God applying the written Word of God to us.  But as HE does just that our natures change.  We learn to love what God loves and to hate what He hates.  Then we find that we are escaping the corruption that is in the world caused by all of the lusts of our hearts.  Those lusts no longer have to destroy us but we can escape both them and their dire consequences.

Yes, God’s promises are precious because of what they say and the power that is in them to change the lives of those who love them and strive to live by them.  Thank God for His grace and His power enabling us to love His word and His way.   Thank God for the opportunity to escape the corruption of our lusts and to live for His glory and virtue.

I have always heard that April showers bring May flowers.  The showers sure did start this morning!  Whew, that was quite a thunderstorm that camped over my house.  I look forward to the green grass and the buds on the trees.  God is faithful, even with the seasons. 

This Saturday there is a work day at the church.  The Trustees have several projects to do and could use the help of ANYONE who could come and stay for the day or stay for a few hours.  We will get started by 9:00 and some will work till 3:00 but anyone who comes for any amount of time can be a blessing and a help.  Teenagers are invited. 

Happy Birthday to my dad and to Bob Johanson today!   Thanks Dad for being a man of consistent faith in God, a consistent man of prayer, and a man ever faithful to the Word of God, to your wife, your family, and the church of Christ. 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

What other books do we need beside the Bible?

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2 Peter 1:2–3

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,

as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,

Here in verse 3 we learn a vital point of the Christian life and instruction for it.  The writers of the Bible knew that when they were putting down the words that became our Bible that they were under His divine power.  We call that divine power, “inspiration.”  So, Peter, under the inspiration of divine power, wants us to know that within the writings of His (God’s) divine power we have all that we need for life, eternal life, and godly living.

This is a key statement for followers of Christ of all ages.  God, in His divine wisdom, has given us all the instruction that we need both for salvation and for righteous living.  The Bible is, in a sense, our owner’s manual for life.  As such, it has within its pages all of the wisdom that we need for every situation in life.  You cannot come across a situation that the Bible does not speak to.  Now, before you find one and say, “The Bible does not address smoking cigarettes or watching TV,” let me add, that the Bible in principle form covers all of what we do.  For instance, the Bible says that our bodies are the temple, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit of God.  (1 Corinthians 6:19) So, whatever we put into our bodies should be consistent with the indwelling Holy Spirit and not grieve Him.  Then, David wrote in Psalm 126 that he would put no wicked thing before his eyes. Principally, the Bible addresses both smoking and TV watching.

Since the Bible has been written, thousands upon thousands of Bible help books have been written.  While some might be helpful, none are needful.  No other writings help the Bible.  No other religious writings fill in the blanks for the Bible.  The Bible is God’s complete word to us giving us all that we need for life and godliness.  Therefore, David could say, “Oh how I love thy law, it is my meditation night and day.”  “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path, I will hide its words in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.”

Read the Bible.  Study the Bible.  Memorize the Bible. Meditate on the Bible.  When you need answers for life, go to the Bible or to someone who can help you understand it.  Go to it first and last.  Make sure any helps that you use come from its teachings.  You will learn that it is sufficient for every situation of life and your faith in its teachings will bring you both guidance and comfort all the way through life here and eternal life hereafter.

It is a sad day in our country when the “religion” of sexuality and perverted sexual “freedoms” can turn the tide of an entire State’s legislature.  Pray for Governor Pence in Indiana and Governor Jindal in Louisiana and every other governor who tries to stand for righteousness.  I hear these “celebrities” who have neither wisdom nor conscience attack the Governor of Indiana, athletes who have no say as to what our country believes is right or wrong threaten to pull themselves from playing in Indianapolis, and I ask, “Who cares what you think?”  But apparently, legislators do care and do listen and are swayed.  The issue of the American acceptance of homosexuality is at a fever pitch.  The people of Sodom and Gomorrah are at the gate of Lot’s house demanding that his guests give in to their demands. Pray for our leaders, then write them challenging them to stand up under this insidious pressure to accept all homosexual activity in the same way that we accept people of all races and all handicaps.  Homosexuality is not, is not, a civil right. No, it is a perversion that brings decay and pain to people and to cultures. 

I did not mean to rant but the headline stories of the past few days giving godless and immoral celebrities the top spots has rankled me a bit. 

Pray for my Easter Service at Sunrise this morning.  For those who can’t get to church, this is their Easter Sunday church. 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

Grace and peace should multiply in our lives

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2 Peter 1:2

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,

Many of the Epistles begin with this salutation, “Grace and peace.”  Let’s first note that without grace you cannot have peace.  In our sinful state when we were living against God we did not have any peace.  We may have had fun and excitement but there wasn’t much peace.  No one, living for themselves, can know lasting peace.  However, when we come to the Lord Jesus and accept the gift of His grace, His favor, His payment for our sins, we immediately find peace with God and ultimately, greater peace with the people around us.

But Peter adds something to this greeting; he does not just invoke grace and peace but he desires that his readers have grace and peace “multiplied” to them.  I think Peter knows that the grace we receive at salvation can grow throughout our lives.  While you should be glad in your salvation, you should increase in your joy as God’s grace is multiplied to you throughout your life.

Then Peter adds one more thought: he wants us to multiply in grace and peace in the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.  (Peter equates Jesus with God.)  The more we know of God from His word, the greater our measure of grace and peace.  We study the Bible because it is from its pages that we multiply in grace and the resulting peace.  Never be far away from the Bible.  Never stay away from it for very long.  Don’t miss church too often.  Get into discipleship or small group studies.  The greater your knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ the greater will be your grace and the greater will grow your peace.

I probably sound like a repeating drum but I have to say that I do love our church.  Every Monday, as I reflect on Sunday, I thank God for our church.  Since the church is the people, I am thanking God for you.  What a joy and thrill yesterday was as we celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  There were so many of you involved in the day and it was a glorious day of exalting the work of Christ on the cross and His unprecedented and undeniable rise from the dead.  Thanks to all who put the day together and to all of you who came and rejoiced with us.

The message will be posted on Facebook later this morning. 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

 

Your gift of faith was and is a precious gift

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2 Peter 1:1

Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

Let’s take a look at our faith today.  Notice how the aged Apostle brings those, many of whom he participated in their coming to faith in Christ, to look at their faith.  He speaks to his faith and their faith bring the same faith!  Peter does not see his faith as greater and theirs as lesser.  He says that they obtained like faith with him.  This is a great point to dwell upon. Have you ever wished you had faith like someone else?  Have you ever wished your faith could rise to the level of a person of greater faith?  Of course you have, we all have.  But Peter tells us that we have obtained, from God, (Ephesians 2:8) the same faith that he had gained.  We have from the point of salvation the foundation of faith that we need for the rest of our lives.

Then notice that he calls it “precious” faith.  We will see that Peter uses this word several more times but here it is in reference to the faith that God gave us at salvation.  When we think of something precious we think of something of great value to us.  The thing of greatest value to Peter, and should be to us, is our saving faith.  There is nothing more valuable because it is the only thing we can never lose nor have taken away from us.  Our saving faith is precious.

Finally, this precious faith is a gift to us by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Peter equates Jesus with God and knows that the precious gift of faith was made available by the sacrifice of Christ, the sinless, righteous Lamb.  I hope you understand that there is no religion in the world with this claim.  We are saved because of the sacrifice of the righteous Savior.  As we come together tonight for our Good Friday service we will be focusing on the death and sacrifice of Jesus Christ from Isaiah 53.  What a glorious Savior we have.  He could be our Savior because He was righteous.  Yes, our faith is precious.  Thank God for this precious gift throughout today.

As we begin the weekend when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we begin our rejoicing at 7:00 tonight and continue with breakfast at 9:00 on Sunday and a glorious service of exaltation of Christ’s work at 10:30.  Take time to read the Gospel records of the death and resurrection.  Prepare your heart to gather together with a focus on all that Jesus did to obtain our redemption.  Prepare your family as well as yourself.  As you come to church tonight and Sunday may you come with a great anticipation of growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Are you a slave?

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2 Peter 1:1

1 Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ,

In the New Testament there are two identifying definitions of true Christians.  “In Christ,” “in Him,” “Christ in you,” is the first defining term.  When we are in Christ and He is in us we are new creatures, a new creation. He removes the heart of stone that rejected everything about Him and replaces it with a heart of flesh that loves and follows Him.

The second identifying definition is the word “slave.”  The Greek word, “doulos” means a slave.  For some reasons, probably a cultural aversion to slavery as a practice, translators down through the centuries have translated this word “servant.”  A servant is different than a slave.  A servant has a job while a slave is always owned.  A servant might work in a castle serving his boss while a slave is ordered around with no will of his own.  A slave is not something that any of us desire to be.  A servant might give his opinion once in a while but a slave would never even raise his eyes to his master.

Peter, as did all New Testament writers, saw himself as a slave of Jesus Christ.  While slavery is bad, being a slave to Jesus Christ is good.  We have a loving Creator who desires His best for our lives.  The way we find His best is by submitting to Him in every area of our lives.  Because Christ is such a loving Master, when we are not sure what He wants us to do we should seek for ways to please Him.  Living as a slave to the Master is not a negative way of living; oh no, it is the best way a man or a woman can live.  Who knows life better than God?  Who knows us better than God?  Who sent His Son to die for our sin so we could be reconciled to God?  He gave us His Son; He is not going to withhold anything less.  But, God leads those who live submitted to Him.

Are you wondering what God wants for you today?  Submit to Him. Place yourself under Him as a slave under a Master.  Give Him all of your rights and expectations.  Trust Him to care for you as a Master should take care of His slaves.  For the beauty of this surrender is that we progress from slaves, to children to the bride.

A few men have contacted me about prayer breakfast Saturday morning so we will meet at 7:30 at Denny’s. 

I know we started late, for which I take the blame and apologize, but we still need some breakfast items for Sunday morning.  Please contact Bobbi to tell her what you can bring.

Tomorrow night’s Good Friday service is going to be unique.  We are going to look carefully at Isaiah 53 interspersing many hymns of the Cross.  It should be a glorious exaltation of the Father and the Son. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

Peace to all in Christ

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1 Peter 5:10

Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

I think that, for me, the greatest benefit of Christ in me is the peace that He, the Prince of peace, brings with Him and keeps in me at all times. When people come to me for counseling I will introduce them to the Prince of peace. If they have no peace in their lives their greatest need is Jesus Christ in them.

Jesus said, “Be of good cheer, in the world you will have tribulation, I have overcome the world.” Jesus conquered all of His enemies and all of our enemies. He won His peace by a great battle that began at His birth and ended at His resurrection. The king of confusion and destruction tried to kill the baby Jesus, tried to have a crowd walk Him off a cliff, sent brilliant men to confound Him, came at Him at the time of His greatest weakness with three powerful temptations, (which temptations had worked on every one else Satan had used them on) then attacked Jesus with false accusations, humility, beatings and scourging, nails and wood, thirst and pain and even a locked tomb, but our Jesus, our Prince of peace defeated His enemy soundly and completely at His resurrection from the dead!

The enemies of Jesus are our enemies also. The confusion and destruction they brought against Him they bring against us to bring us to frustration, pain and doubt. But our Lord is not the author of confusion, no; He is the author of peace. He never brings confusion upon us and never will. He always brings peace to those who are in Him.

Are you at peace today? Are you in Christ Jesus today? If you are in Christ Jesus then you will be at peace, at least with Him. When you are at peace with God you can be at peace with all others for He is greater than all of them. Note here, that those without Christ cannot live in peace. They will pursue it but won’t find it. We who know and live in Christ will enjoy and benefit from His peace in all arenas of our lives.

Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus, Amen.