2 Peter

Be on guard and keep growing

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2 Peter 3

17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

 

There is a contrast here between verses 17 and 18.  In 17 Peter teaches that we can fall from our own steadfastness being led away with the error of the wicked.  Satan is and always will be the master deceiver.  He will try to deceive the elect of God and draw them away from God’s fullness for their lives.  Since we know this, we must ever be on guard, a military term, against Satan’s deceptive ways.

How do we remain on guard against these deceptions?  That is the contrast in verse 18.  As we are ever growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we will ever be aware of His truth verses Satan’s lies. There is no place in the Christian life for plateaus.  We must never level off and just coast in what we already know.  We must never revel long in past victories without remaining steadfast in our guard.

Never forget this, Satan hates you and only desires your destruction. Nothing of this world, your flesh, or the devil will bring you lasting good.  Everything about sin is a hook to get you to be drawn away from God’s peace and joy in His presence.  So, keep growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Why? Because to Him alone is the glory both now and forever.  Everything done in and for Jesus Christ is eternal, everything!  We will never regret growth in Him and deeds done for Him.  Stay in His truth and ever be on guard against the lies and deceptive ways of the enemies of your soul.

 

Sandra requested prayer for finding an apartment.  It is not going as she thought it would and this has brought her a level of distress.  Give her a call and let her know that she is exactly where God wants here and speak some peace into her soul.

Nancy is home but the healing from the surgery is painful.  She too could use some loving help. 

Men, we have our monthly prayer breakfast at Denny’s this Saturday morning at 7:30.  Join us. 

Josh and Barb Hedges will be with us this Sunday.  Come ready to be a blessing.  We asked for gift cards in $5 – $10 increments to fun places to give to the girls. If you bring these Sunday give them to Michelle.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

Be diligent in this life preparing to see your Lord

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2 Peter

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;

As we anticipate the day when we will be with the Lord, and what an amazing day that will be, we should be looking forward to seeing Him.  Jesus addressed a crowd and said that there would be those who would call Him Lord but they would be people that He did not know.  I have been very careful not to give anyone a false hope that they will be with Jesus because of something they said or did.  We should be anticipating the return of Christ because we have been saved from sin by Him.  And those of us who know Christ, walk with Him, enjoy Him, grow in our relationship with Him, truly are looking forward to being with Him.

But Peter makes what sounds like a strange directive to us.  He tells us to be diligent so we will be found by Christ in peace, without spot and blameless.  When we see Christ there will be a judgment of our lives lived for Him.  (I will be speaking on that very judgment this Sunday from 2 Corinthians 5.)  We need to diligently live for Him now.  God has given each of us unique abilities that He wants us to use for Him in this life.  Be diligent to use those things for Him.  Last Sunday, as we gave testimony to what Sandra meant to us, it was made clear that she had the ability to show love to us and she did just that.  What are you diligently using for Christ?

“found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.”  I want to see my Lord.  I want Him to be glad to see me because I have kept myself in His peace.  As I live in peace with my Lord I am living faithful to Him.  I long to see the One who gave His life for me.  I want Him to know that I have lived without spot and blameless in this world.  No, this is not perfection but it is a daily striving, daily battling against this world and my own flesh to end each day at peace with my Jesus.  Thus when He comes may He see each of us diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.

Many many thanks to all who helped us load up the truck for Sandra on Sunday.  We pulled out Monday morning and got into Murfreesboro around 6:30.  It is always a great day when God’s people gather together to help each other. 

This Sunday we are looking forward to having the Josh Hedges family with us.  Be in prayer for Sunday that God will use this family to be a blessing to us all and for us to be a blessing to them.

Caleb and Lindsey are driving all day.  Join us in prayer for their safety.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

In light of heaven, how do we live today?

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2 Peter 3

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Peter, led by the Holy Spirit of God, tells us of a coming day when God will destroy this earth and will create a new one in righteousness where sin will never enter.  We who know the Lord and love His word look forward to this great and coming day.  (As an aside, I am not an environmentalist because all that they are trying to save God is going to destroy in a moment since it is all tainted by sin.)

But Peter’s emphasis is not on God’s coming destruction and renewal but on how this revelation affects our lives today.  So he asks, “what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?”  Since we now have a right perspective of this earth and of its stuff, how should we live?  Well, first he tells us that we should live holy and godly lives, which lives are above this tainted world.  A friend of mine worked for Mercedes.  They have him a brand new SUV that was going to be crushed at 50,000 miles.  The knowledge that this beautiful and expensive car was going to be crushed kept my friend from getting attached to it.  In fact he named it “crusher.”  Peter wants us to know that this world is going to be crushed and wants us to have a right perspective of it.  We are to live above its lusts, its pleasures, its enticements, its ways, and its calls.  It is slated for destruction.

In fact, he goes on to tell us that we are going to (absolute fact of the future) live with God in His new place for us and calls us to look for that place instead of looking for this one.  Where do our hearts long for?  Oh my friends, I hope and pray that your hearts long for heaven and that the calls of this world will ever pale in your ears as you have heard the call of God to you for His home. Live in anticipation, with holy conduct and godliness, of God’s eternal home for you.  When this world is but a shadow of your memory you will be eternally glad that your gaze and your grip was on heaven.

Nancy’s surgery went well, thanks to God for that.  As expected, she is quite uncomfortable.  Do keep her in your prayers and feel free to call her.  If she doesn’t answer, send her a text or leave a message.  Thanks to those who sent her cards. I was with her when a hospital mailman brought her a card from a church family.  It was very special to her. 

Tomorrow we are having a work day at the church from 9:00 – 3:00.   Any of you who can come for any amount of time, please do.  Spring cleaning is a big deal and there is much to be done. 

After church on Sunday we will be loading a moving truck for Sandra Smith.  I am heading this up.  If you can help for an hour or two please bring clothes to change into and stay to help.  Sandra lives very close to the church.  She is leaving on Monday so if you can bring her a card on Sunday it will be our last good-bye to her. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Longsuffering leading to salvation

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2 Peter 3

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

 

As we have been studying the Fruit of the Spirit on Sunday mornings I have come to understand the gift of longsuffering in a new light and this verse makes that light bright.  When we think of being longsuffering we think of putting up with an annoying person who is just hard to live with.  Our “putting up with” has a time limit, a patience limit, and emotional limit and a love limit.   We put up with that annoyance just as long as we have to and then either blow up or quit or breath a huge sigh of relief when the time comes to an end.

 

God’s longsuffering is so much different from our longsuffering, and I am so glad it is. For while we might practice longsuffering when we have to, God is longsuffering. God is longsuffering with humans because He wants to eternally save them from their sins. And since God’s longsuffering leads to our eternal life we have a different example to follow. God does not put up with sinners to give them a chance, no, God shows patient longsuffering with a desire to save them from eternal damnation.

 

Suppose you knew that the person you have to put up with was put in your path by God to show them His love, His kindness, His gentleness, His patience, in essence, His salvation. And suppose that most difficult person whom you can’t wait to get away from saw God in you and was drawn by God to eternal salvation because of your longsuffering toward them. Would your care for that difficult one have been worth it all? Of course it would. Furthermore, you would have gained an eternal brother or sister who would forever thank you for showing them the longsuffering of God.

 

Whom does God have in your path that He wants to show His longsuffering leading to salvation through you?

 

I heard a woman on the radio this morning saying that she is showing God to those around her through kindness. She feels that in this current political climate the missing element is kindness so when she shows it people will truly see God in her.   What a great way to look at life.

 

Nancy Schmidt’s surgery got postponed again so she is now scheduled for 1:00 on Wednesday.

 

I am going to need some help this Sunday after church loading a truck for Sandra Smith. She is getting everything ready and is on the first floor so I think with enough people we could load the truck in two to three hours. If you have teenagers they are a great help too.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

We need to be reminded

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2 Peter 3 (NKJV)

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,

2 Peter 3 (ESV)

1 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles,

(The two translations simply serve as a comparison, read them and see what differences you notice.)

I find it interesting that Peter, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, knew the great value of the writings of the Old Testament prophets and the words of Jesus, which he was writing about.  He knew that both were necessary for the stirring up of their minds, which minds were sincerely desiring to live righteously in this present world.  Peter did not address the value of the writings of the philosophers of his day nor of philosophers who were before him.  The Greek world was filled with such men of earthly wisdom and could have found their way into the teachings of the Scriptures.  But Peter was far more concerned with the words of Christ, words he had heard both audibly and through inspiration to write these letters.

Both in chapter 1 and here Peter brings up our need of being reminded of these Scriptural teachings.  He must have observed that we Christians have a tendency to drift away and need to be reminded about the important things of life.  I think it was last summer that I used the illustration of coming to church to keep your life compass pointing to true north.  We drift.  We are pulled by the world, our flesh, and the devil and we need, desperately and daily to be reminded of those things that are important to God.

So Peter, the Apostle recognized by both the Christian and the Catholics, emphasized our need to remember the predictions of the prophets, (the OT writings) and the commandments of Christ recorded by him, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, James, and Paul.

How often are you in the Word of God for your own reminder?  Can you say with David, “Oh how I love Your law, it is my meditation day and night.”?  Can you say with Jeremiah, “Your words were found and I did eat them, and Your word was unto me the joy and the rejoicing of my heart.”?  Ironically, our own flesh resists our involvement in God’s word.  Defeat that flesh and let God’s word remind you every day and throughout the day all that you need for life and for godliness. 

Thank you for letting us switch the Bible study and prayer time last night.  It was really important to Stefani that her parents came to her concert last night.  It was their annual performance at Wentz Hall which really is a big deal. 

The teens had a great time last night as Ben came to youth group and brought their message.  One of the girls bemoaned that Anna did not come so Ben told her to call Anna.  Anna got a call right then.  I love the spontaneity of the teenagers.

Nancy Schmidt is to have jaw surgery today.  This is a serious surgery as Nancy as an abscess that has actually caused a fracture.  She is in really good spirits and is looking forward to having this done so that her pain in the jaw will be gone.  She is at Loyola and enjoys visits.  

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

God will judge the wicked and He will preserve His righteous ones

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2 Peter 2

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,

 

The blasphemy of man against God is nothing new.  We see the world getting worse, it appears, but it has always been bad.

  • Peter refers to the angels who left heaven with Lucifer and some were so bad that God immediately put them in chains to await their day of judgment.
  • He refers to the destruction of the wicked in Noah’s day, a day when every imagination of the thoughts of man’s hearts were only evil continually.
  • He reminds us of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah whose wickedness of homosexuality was so great that God could not wait until their natural day of judgment but brought about swift and violent destruction against them.

Then Peter makes the key point which is this: God knows how to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.  My friends, do not envy the wicked nor must we wonder if God is seeing their wickedness and letting them get away with it.  The truth is that God is seeing the wickedness of the wicked and God is keeping perfect records.  God will, in His perfect timing, bring the wicked of this world under full penalty of His law for their rebellion against Him.

But Peter makes another point here that should encourage us.  God spared Noah and Lot, both men whom God called righteous, from His judgment and God will spare all of His righteous ones from the judgment of the wicked.  As we see the wicked facing God’s wrath (we should first pray for their conversion to Christ) we must not fear that we will be involved in their judgment.  We must maintain our righteousness before God knowing that He will save us both in this life and in the next.  For God always rescues the godly from His judgment of the wicked. “Thank you, oh God, for your mercy toward me.”

In case you forgot, be sure to turn your clocks ahead Saturday night or you will be really late for church Sunday morning.  I know how important it is for you to be on time on Sunday so I just wanted to remind you of the time change.

Ben will be with us this Sunday and will be bringing the morning message.  He has one more block class at Moody and will finish His masters this semester. He and Anna are very glad to be this close to the end.  We are looking forward to having Ben with us for a week.  (He will be in class eight hours a day and on the train for two hours a day but we will see him in the evenings.

Patrick and Peggy have influenza.  Pray with us for their swift and complete recovery.

I have a special request for you today. It is a private request that I cannot give you any details on.  Pray that God’s will might be made clear for a church family and that they would fall on His mercy.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Are we sure that the Bible is God’s word?

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2 Peter 1 (ESV)

19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

 

This is the classic New Testament passage for the inspiration of the Bible. As we saw yesterday, Peter knew the voice of God for he heard it with James and John at the mount of Transfiguration.  From that day forward Peter knew when God was speaking to him.  Peter knew that Paul’s writing were from God and compared Paul’s writings to the rest of the Scriptures.  Here we see Peter letting us know that it is good for us to pay attention to God’s prophetic word which will, like a lamp, shine into the darkness of our lives until the day dawns and the morning star of God’s light rises fully in our hearts.

Verse 20 is one that every Bible teacher and preacher needs to heed all of the time.  None of us has the liberty to tell you what we think the Scripture says but we need to determine God’s meaning and present it as it was given.  Our own interpretation may not be God’s intended message and we must be careful not to misrepresent God!

Verse 21 tells us that no writer of Scripture ever decided on his own to write the Bible.  God used men who often were the least likely to succeed to write down His holy words.  The Holy Spirit would move in their hearts and when He did these men knew they were writing down God’s words, not their own. When God’s words are read and understood lives change.  There is no power in Paul, Peter, Jeremiah, Isaiah or Moses but the power comes through the words given to them by God.  Yes, the Bible is filled from cover to cover with the very words of God for us for all time.  It has the power to change minds and lives and it is ever relevant to our cultures and lives.  It is God’s word.

Someone has said that the Bible is the anvil and those who attack it are the hammers.  The anvil is made of much stronger steel than the hammers and many hammers have been worn out attacking this anvil but the anvil remains while the hammers are all broken.  Man will never destroy God’s word, no; it will remain forever while men and their ideas will perish.  Stand on God’s word. Be steadfast and secure in it.

On Sunday we passed out a list of all church members inviting them in groups to come to our house over the next four Sundays and talk about where our church is going, what our mission is, and what else we might be able to do.  If you were not there Sunday let me know and I will let you know which Sunday you have been assigned to.  If you cannot make your assigned Sunday you can come on a different one, we just wanted to give all a chance for input. 

I hope to see you tonight for prayer.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

The Source of Peter’s writings

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2 Peter 1

16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

When the Bible writers talk about something being true and trustworthy we can be absolutely certain that it is. And while they, led by the Holy Spirit to write what they wrote, need not defend the source of their truth, they often do.

Peter has just given us some “things” to add to our lives and is so determined that “these things” be added that he reviews them, reminds us of them, and then promises to make sure that after his death we are still reminded of “these things.” Now he takes “these things” one step further and tells us that he did not make any of this up nor did he follow the cunningly devised fables of others.

Have you ever been asked where you got a certain story or a certain belief? “Where did you get that?” is often asked with a sneer and is not an honest request for core sources. Perhaps Peter had gotten that response at times in his life so he wants us to know that the very source of his teachings is God himself. Peter was one of three eyewitnesses to the majesty of Jesus Christ and these three heard the very voice of God coming out of heaven. Peter knew the voice of God, saw the glory of God in Jesus Christ, and only wrote what he heard from God.

Yes, God inspired the Bible writers. Yes, what they wrote had and still has the authority of God behind it. Yes, when we live submitted to the entirety of God’s word we benefit greatly from living the wisdom and grace of God every day.

Over the past three days I have had three heavy situations regarding people and their marriages or other important relationships. Do pray for one another. Pray that we would all live submitted to the Word and the Spirit and would be careful to honor the Lord together. When happiness becomes the goal people suffer. When bitterness lives between, people suffer. When confusion lives, people suffer. God calls us to obey and promises joy. God calls us to forgive and promises reconciliation. God calls us to peace and confusion leaves. Pray for one another.

 

Our teens were greatly moved by God at the Dare2Share conference. Their testimonies Sunday were a thrill to hear. There is a battle for the lives of our children and the people at Dare2Share are fighting for our teens to live for Christ and to openly testify of Him.  All of us could benefit from this emphasis to share our faith.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

 

The importance of spiritual reminder

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2 Peter 1

12 For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, 14 knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. 15 Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.

We read yesterday that there is a list of qualities that Peter wants us to remember.  In fact, he wants us to diligently pursue these qualities and to add them to our lives.  Here again is that list of qualities:

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.

By adding these qualities to our lives we will not spiritually short-sighted but will be able to see clearly and will abound with fruit toward God and man.

Then Peter continues and tells us that he would not be negligent in his responsibility to remind us of “these things.”  In fact, he tells us that he is going to die shortly and wants us to know that after his death the constant reminder of “these things” is going to be important to us.

Peter knew the importance of spiritual reminders.  He knew that without his reminders we would find it easier to drift away from where God wanted us to be.  If Peter, the Apostle, was so committed to us being reminded then we must realize the importance of adding “these things” to our lives and must continue to do so.

Why do we read our Bibles, go to church, have Bible studies, read Christian books and more?  We are heeding Peter’s admonition to ever be being reminded of all that God has taught us about Him and about life.  We need the spiritual reminders.

 

Men, we have a prayer breakfast this Saturday morning.  Church, we have our dinner at church this Sunday after the morning service.  We do enjoy our fellowship.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

 

A simple remedy

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2 Peter 1

For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Some Scriptures are more clear than others, this is one of those more clear passages.  Peter, led by the Holy Spirit, just gave us a list of qualities to diligently add to our faith. (Read yesterday’s devotional for thoughts on diligently adding to your faith.)  Now he says that if these things are yours and abound in your life you will not be barren nor unfruitful in your knowledge of Christ.  Your life in Christ will thrive with abundance and good fruit!  You will be able to clearly see your life and the lives of those around you.  You will make your calling and election sure, that is, you will have eternal security.

 

As a pastor, I have all kinds of conversations with people.  This is one where I might simply ask, “Are you adding to your faith as Peter prescribed?”  The simple answer is either yes or no. If you are adding these qualities to your faith your Christian life is doing great and life is clear.  If you are not adding these qualities to your faith but are resisting them then your Christian life is confused and you cannot see what God is doing.

 

The remedy is simple too: go back to verses 6 and 7 and make a checklist of which qualities you have and which qualities you still need to add. You too can thrive and abound in your walk with Christ thus seeing clearly the ways of God in your life.

 

Our teens will be going to the Dare2Share conference this Friday night and Saturday.  Make this a matter of prayer as some of them need to be saved, some need to give their hearts to follow Christ fully.  All of them will be challenged to tell someone else about Christ.  Pray that there will be a harvest of souls for God’s kingdom and an army of teens zealous about Christ turned loose on this world.

 

Tonight we will be having our study first and prayer second.  This is a one time switch. 

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

 

PS

Diligently Adding To Your Faith

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2 Peter 1

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.

While we could take time talking about faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love, that is not what the focus of this devotional is.  If you have a Bible dictionary or a Strong’s concordance you can look up these words and see how these character traits added to your life will be a benefit to you and to those around you.  You will see how living these qualities must be done by a Spirit-filled person who longs to shine the light of Jesus Christ wherever they are.

But I want to look at two other words in this passage today. The first word is the word “diligence.”  Growing anything requires diligence. Keeping my grass green requires diligence on my part.  Growing her flower garden requires diligence on Bobbi’s part.  When either of us stops being diligent in caring to grow these things from the dirt, they don’t look as good as they could and eventually don’t look good at all.  Our Christian lives require diligence.  Church attendance, by itself, is not enough diligence. If you are to be a man or a woman of God you must be diligent nearly every day in your Bible study and prayer.  It cannot be something done by rote but must be something you enjoy and look forward to thus increasing its value in your soul.

The second word here is the word “add.”  We like adding to our savings account.  We like adding to our refrigerator, but how often do we intentionally add to our faith?  Do you listen to Christian radio?  Do you play Christian music?  Do you watch Christian videos?  Do you read books about great Christians or books that open up the Bible to you? Again, coming to church alone is not sufficient adding to your faith. I pass out sermon notes so that you can take it home, study it, understand God’s word better, and thus add to your faith.

I have known too many “Christians” who were happy to be saved and happy for the changes at salvation but stopped diligently adding to their faith.  Their spiritual plateau became a dead end and they became un-submissive to any new growth; they lived fairly cold Christian lives. Their faith was not attractive to their children and their friends never asked about it.  Christ was a one-time fire escape but nothing to continually and diligently add to their lives.

 “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith…”

Today is another opportunity to shine as lights in a dark world.  I am praying for you that you will have a light-shining opportunity.  When God gives this to you please send me a note and tell me what happened.  I’d love to hear from you.

I will be speaking at Sunrise Assisted Living today at 10:30 and as always, covet your prayers for this service. 

Remember our sister, Kim Lavryk in your prayers.  She is in a bad way and can use our love.  She is at: West Suburban Rehab, 311 Edgewater Dr, Bloomingdale, IL 60108   You could really encourage her with a card and a note. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

The Bible is what we need to know

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2 Peter 1

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

 

Throughout my life as a follower of Jesus Christ, an adopted son into His family, one whose sin was washed by the Father in the blood of the Son, I have found the Word of God, Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, sufficient for my life and eternity.  Many self-help books have come and gone during my life but I could always go to God’s word for the wisdom and guidance that I needed. This is what Peter is teaching us here.

God, by His divine power and trough His knowledge has given us His precious and very great promises in His holy Word, the Bible.  These precious and very great promises are all that we need for life present, life eternal, and godly living.  Some people live to read the next book that comes out; as followers of Christ we must fill ourselves with God’s words.  There are books that help us understand God’s word, those always have value.  But before you give a book too much time check out how many biblical references are in it. If it is just the author’s opinion on life it does not have much authority.

If we want to understand God’s divine nature and grow into greater godliness and Christ-likeness, we will find how to do that in the Bible.  It is God’s words that have caused us to escape the corruption that is in this world with all of its sinful desires.  Spend time in the Bible.  Pray as you read it.  Ask God to teach you about life from its pages.  Fill yourself with heavenly wisdom.  As you do this you will be able to discern truth from error, right from wrong, and be filled with God’s joy regardless of what is happening around you.  I know our world is a mess, but I have also read the last chapter and I know who wins in the end.  You will be more secure, less anxious, and a stronger light for God as you fill yourself more and more with His very great and precious promises.

Satan is attacking us all the time.  The world encroaches upon us with its pressures and desires.  Our own flesh often screams with selfish lusts and passions.  Our children have the same attacks.  Join me in prayer every day for the children and teenagers of our church.  We see our children as the next generation of church members and leaders.  In order for them to rise to this they must become redeemed followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Knowledge of God is not enough.  Pray for our kids to come under conviction of sin, a realization of Christ’s work on their behalf, and in humility and faith to become life-long followers of Him. 

Tomorrow night we will be having a youth activity at my house.  “Pastor’s Place” used to be a monthly event and we are re-establishing it. Bring your junior high and high schoolers over around 6:00 and pick them up around 9:00.  We eat the food they bring so have them bring either pop or chips or cookies. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Multiplied Grace and Peace

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2 Peter 1:1–2

1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

In most religious systems the leaders of the system have enviable positions and those who find themselves looking up to those leaders will either strive to attain that position or will accept their own inferiority. Peter debunks that idea when it comes to Bible Christianity. Since we don’t have a system of religion but a relationship with God by faith in His grace, Peter makes it clear that all who have obtained this faith are on equal standing with the Apostles, the very leaders of the movement.

No, we are not Apostles nor do we believe in apostolic succession. Peter wants us to know that all who come to God through faith in the righteousness of Jesus Christ are on equal standing. James told the rich to be humbled and the poor to step up. When men and women come to the Cross of Jesus Christ they will find that the ground there is level. There are no superior Christians and there are no lesser Christians. The rich rejoice in their humility and the poor rejoice in their exaltation. All are equal when it comes to repentance of sin and acceptance of grace.

In verse 2 Peter uses a word that I want to emphasize today. Peter wants those who have come to Christ to have grace and peace multiplied to them in the knowledge of Jesus our Lord. God grants us His grace and His peace at salvation then He wants to multiply His investment in us. Saving grace and peace is amazing but the grace and peace needed to continue living for Christ is a multiplied grace and peace. God never saves us just to get us by; no, God saves us to continue giving us the grace and peace needed for every day of our lives.

Peter had enjoyed this multiplied grace and peace over and over in his life and now wants us to know and enjoy the same. Whatever situation you find yourself in, look to your Lord and Savior and cry out to Him for the grace and the peace that you need to get through it. God, who has deposited saving grace in you, wants to multiply that grace to carry you all the way to His glorious presence. Look to Him in your moment of need and find Him granting you multiplied grace and peace for every day of your walk with Him.

Saturday night I came down with a head cold and it has primarily affected my sleep. This has caused me to be unable to get up as usual. Consequently, I have not been able to maintain writing the devotionals. I appreciate your prayer for my health that I might quickly get back to “normal.”

Tonight is our midweek prayer and Bible study time. I am going to ask those of you who do not normally join us for prayer to do so tonight. Come at 7:00 and if needed leave at 7:45. We are praying together for God to open hearts of men and women both in our church and in our community this year. If we want God to know that we are serious about this matter then we must gather together as a church body in prayer for this cry of our hearts.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

God’s greatest desire for us

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2 Peter 3:14-15

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.

Even though we just finished 2 Peter, I wanted to come back to this section for today.

As we look forward to the second coming of Jesus Christ, we are to know that we are to live without spot and blameless before man and God.  As we live this way we will live in peace.  It amazes me how many church members don’t live in peace.  Nearly every NT epistle begins with this expression, “May grace and peace be upon you.”  Peace always follows grace so if someone is without peace it seems to me that they are also without grace.

But going forward, Peter tells us that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.  This has continually run through my mind since the devotional when we talked about it.  God’s desire for all is salvation.  The longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.  From the first recorded history between God and man God has been interested in the salvation of that man.  From that point forward the recorded history of God and man has shown God’s interest in the salvation of man.  As man became more and more sinful God was grieved and desired man’s salvation.  God placed His grace on Noah and his family and saved them.  God placed his grace on Abraham who believed in God and found His salvation.  God sent Jonah to Nineveh desiring to save them.

Do you see this?  God developed an entire nation upon which He could grant His grace.  He gave them His Law so that they could follow Him.  He taught them the atonement and prepared them for the coming of the Lamb of God who could take away the sin of the world.  Jesus came not just to teach us but to save us.  This is God’s desire, He is patient longing to bring us to salvation.

As you go through your day and your life, interpret all of scripture through this thought: “The longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.”  God in His love for us His creation desires to save us.  Because of sin we transgress God’s law and find ourselves separated from God.  Separated from Him we need a Savior as we cannot bring ourselves back to a holy God.  What a great realization, God’s greatest desire for us all is our salvation.

Hard to believe that it is Friday already.  Whew, what a fast week!  I am going to a funeral this morning.  Pray for the friends and family of Eddie Estrada.   His drug use finally caught up with him.  A very sad life that did not have to go this way.

Pray for Pastor Bill’s community services today. 

Remember to spend time in prayer laboring in prayer for RU tonight.  Last week, fourteen people came.  Tonight pray that those who need to be there will not be held back.  Pray for the opening of spiritual eyes and spiritual hearts to accept and to believe God’s word.

Sunday, I will be bringing a message from Isaiah 38 looking at a seemingly impossible situation of sickness where Hezekiah prayed to God when God said that he was going to die.  We face situations like this all the time.  Here is an example that will be good for you to become acquainted with.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

 

Are we sponges or mirrors?

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2 Peter 3:18b

To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

As the Apostle Peter closes his letter, his salutation reminds us of the purpose of his life and the prescribed purpose of our lives.

Peter, after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, was a changed man.  Before the death and resurrection, Peter, along with the others, was pretty self-centered wanting to be an important part of the earthly kingdom of Jesus.  The disciples wanted to be on the right and left thrones, they wanted to be leaders, they wanted to be BIG in Jesus’ coming kingdom.  But after the resurrection, they realized who they were in the light of who Jesus was.

When they were big in their own eyes, the disciples fled when Jesus was arrested.  But when Jesus was big in their eyes they stood boldly for Him on the Day of Pentecost and later in front of the Sanhedrin, and for the rest of their lives.

Can we say that we want the Lord to receive all of the glory both now and forever?  Do we live to give Jesus Christ all of the glory for all that we do?  There are things that you and I are good at, do we give the Lord Jesus glory for what we are good at?  When we realize that we don’t have anything that He has not given us and that all of our gifts have come from Him, then we can give Him the glory.  When He is big in our eyes, He receives the glory for all that we do.

May we never be sponges absorbing the praise of men but may we be mirrors ever reflecting the praise of men up to God thanking Him for all that He has given us enabling to do all that we do.

To Him be the glory both now and forever.

Pray with us today.  Pray for one another today.  Pray in the Spirit today.  Ask God who needs prayer and let Him lead in your prayer.  We need the prayers of one another.   I am thankful for your prayers.  We will not know until we get to heaven just how much the prayers of one another matter. 

 

Pray for our kids in school.  They are in a busy time of tests and projects and concerts and graduations.  Some of them are busier than they have ever been.  Pray for their strength physically, mentally, and spiritually during the next two weeks.

 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS