Putting God's Word into Practice…

2 Peter 1:16-21 Credibility

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.  And we have something more sure, the prophetic word,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, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.  For no prophecy was every produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

At first I thought this section of verses lent credibility to Peter’s letter, but now I realize that the words above give credibility to Jesus as the Son of God and the Bible as the inerrant word of God.

Peter opens this section by saying basically, “I know this might all sound made up, but it’s not! We never sat around devising schemes to put Christ’s power and glory on display.”  We don’t have to use any man-made technology, schemes or programs/processes to put Jesus Christ’s power and glory on display!  Jesus Christ is more than a man; He is the King!  He stands alone in authority and power!

Jesus’ lordship, glory and honor were on display to those who walked closely with Him.  James, John and Peter experienced it first hand at the transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13).  We ourselves can ascend the holy mountain if our hearts are pure and our hands are clean and our souls are lifted up to Christ alone! Yes!  We can experience firsthand His majesty and glory! (Psalm 24)

Not only can we have close fellowship with Christ and the testimony of ones who walked with Him on earth, but we have His perfect Word.  Peter said it is even more sure than being on the mountain with Christ and hearing the voice of God from heaven.  What a treasure!!!  What a light in a dark world!  To have such supreme, verified, validated truth in a world of shifting, fading, decaying “truths.”  The Word of God is how we know Christ–it is how He takes root in our hearts.

We don’t need anything cleverly devised, JUST JESUS AND THE WORD OF GOD! The God-dictated, Spirit-inspired, man-transcribed precious, perfect, prophetic Word!

The Word of God is essential to spiritual growth!  It is life-altering and the stepping stones of change in the qualities in which we should be growing.  It is where we experience God’s divine power for godly living and learn of His precious and very great promises.

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2 Peter 1:5-15 Qualities: Distinctive Attributes or Characteristics

For this very reason… Because I have escaped the corruption of the world and am called to share in God’s nature; because His divine power has given me all I need to live a godly life; and because I can claim God’s precious promises as my own…

Make every effort to supplement your faith… Our faith alone is what saves us, but faith must be proven with actions.  In James 2:17 it is written that faith without action is dead!  When we experience God’s grace and power, it alters the course of our daily lives.  We are called to make EVERY effort–to go all out, never quit, leave it all on the floor!  My sons are both playing basketball this winter–there were no cuts, everyone who showed up made the team.  But what good would it do to be on the team and just stand on the court!  If we are saved, we are on God’s team, but we must play like we belong to His team.  We must give Him our best effort.

To supplement your faith with…

  • Virtue.  Virtue can be defined as moral excellence.  And we learn this through the earthly example of Jesus Christ (1:3).  He did not sin, even when He was tempted.  He did not pay back His enemies, but loved them and pleaded for their forgiveness.  He sacrificially laid down His life for the sake of mankind.  He made choices in speech and action based only on the will of His Father.
  • Virtue with knowledge.  We are called to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, MIND, and strength.  After salvation, we must continue to grow in knowledge of the Lord through His Word (1:19-21).  That’s how we love Him with our minds.  We’ve already learned several benefits of growing in the knowledge of the Lord–grace, peace, power, and promises.
  • Knowledge with self-control.  Self-control means having disciplined, moderate, control over our sinful desires.  After having the privilege of escaping sinful desire-induced corruption, loving the Lord with all our strength is demonstrated in self-control by continuously avoiding those corrupting sinful desires that tempt us to fall back into old patterns of living.
  • Self-control with steadfastness.  This patient endurance is also required in loving the Lord with all our strength.  Steadfastness/patient endurance does not mean looking for the quickest exit out of adversity, but keeping on in spite of it–having the strength to remain under it until God is finished using it in our lives.
  • Steadfastness with godliness.  Loving God with all of our heart can be demonstrated by our desire to cultivate God’s character in our lives.  It also means that we have a desire to please Him with our lives.
  • Godliness with brotherly affection.  We are to thoughtfully consider others as we would our own family–with commitment and deep love, bearing each others’ burdens…
  • Brotherly affection with love.  This love is completely unconditional towards all people.  It is the second commandment that is equal to the first…the call to love our neighbor as ourselves.

These are the qualities in which all followers of Jesus Christ are to be growing.  They all flow out of the foundation of faith!

For if these qualities are your AND are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  If these qualities belong to me and are increasing it proves that I am growing in the knowledge of the Lord.    They are proof that my faith is effective and fruitful–that it’s real and life-changing!  Who wants their lives to be described as ineffective and fruitless?!  Not me!  But all too often I can evaluate the outflow of faith in my life that way.  As I mentioned earlier my sons are playing basketball this season, but my older son wasn’t getting enough playing time.  Instead of complaining or sending us in to plead his case, Ben went to his coach and asked where he needed to show improvement to get more time on the court.  We can do the same thing with the Lord.  He sees us and knows us.  He wants us to grow in godly qualities.  If we just ask Him where we need to grow to be more effective and fruitful, He will tell us and help us!

For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.  For in this way there will be richly provided for you and entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Practicing the above mentioned qualities is a sign of truly understanding our salvation.  It is a sign that we remember what it cost the Lord to cleanse us of our sins–His precious blood shed on the cross.  Our righteousness does not come through these qualities, but only through having our sins forgiven by Jesus.  Growing in these qualities shows the Lord that we appreciate His grace and that we want to live up to the call to be like Him.

Therefore I intend always to REMIND you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.  I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of REMINDER, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to RECALL these things. When Peter wrote this letter he was facing execution for following Christ and preaching His truths.  Peter found these qualities to be so valuable that they were his final reminders to people who call themselves Christians.

Am I growing in godly qualities?  Is my knowledge of Jesus resulting in fruitful, effective living?  Am I living a life that shows I value the grace and forgiveness that Jesus bought for me with His own life?  Am I stirring up a desire in others to grow in godly qualities like Peter did?

Dear Lord, make me like Peter.  Let my legacy be one of continuously stirring myself and others up to living a life worthy of our calling as Your followers.  Give me passion, grace and strength to make every effort to grow in these qualities and to help others grow in these qualities.  Forgive me for being nearsighted and blind, for letting myself become ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of Your Son.

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2 Peter 1:3-4 God’s Power and Promises

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.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…God calls His followers to live lives that are excellent, virtuous, holy, and godly.  He would never call us to something that He would not also equip us to do.  God is generous!  By His power, at salvation, He gave us everything we need to live a godly life.  God holds nothing back from His followers–all tools are at our disposal to be godly in this corrupt world.  I have no excuses for living a selfish and sinful life.  This has been very convicting to me over the last two days.  I have found myself being snippy and easily angered.  That is not virtuous or godly.  I have a choice to tap into God’s power and overcome my desire to give in to anger or to do things my way.

Through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence…Knowing Jesus doesn’t just give us a limitless source of grace and peace (1:2), but everything we need to live like Him in this corrupt world.  Jesus came to our corrupt world and lived a sinless life.  His divine power can help us overcome sin and live a godly life too.  The same power that allowed Jesus to live in this world according to His Father’s will is available to us!

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…Fixing our hearts and minds on God’s promises helps us to become more like Him.  Here are some promises for which I have been thankful recently:

  1. God has given me all I need to be godly in this world.
  2. God’s grace is sufficient for me–it is all I need!
  3. Jesus is coming again or I am going to Him–either way I WILL see my Lord!
  4. I share in God’s nature.
  5. Everything in my life is used for good by God.
  6. God never stops loving me–or loves me less when I make mistakes.
  7. God is patient with me.
  8. God will never leave me or forsake me–I am never alone.
  9. God planned good works for me to walk in.
  10. God planned every day of my life before I was born.
  11. God chose me!
  12. God forgave all my sins!
  13. In Him, I have true freedom, joy and peace.
  14. From the fullness of His grace, I have received one blessing after another.
  15. God supplies all my needs according to His glorious riches.
  16. All wisdom for any circumstance is available to me at any time.
  17. I can talk to God anytime, anywhere, about anything.
  18. God’s Word is absolute, eternal truth.
  19. God sees and knows me.
  20. God has planned good for me.
  21. God is always faithful.

Having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire…Corruption comes from sinful desires!  We can’t blame guns, video games, music, internet, lack of parenting, hormonal imbalance, experiencing tragedy or loss–corruption comes from the heart of the person.  “Having escaped” Is it present tense or past tense?  This kind of verb is a perfect participle.  The action happened and is continuing to happen…or when something in the past is relevant now.  We are all trapped in a corrupt world, but when we are saved by the grace of God, He rescues us out of this corrupt world system AND gives us daily power to be free from our sinful desires.

We have a generous and powerful God.  His promises are precious and very great, AND He keeps every one of them! He never asks more of us than He promises to equip us to accomplish, and He even sent His own Son to be our perfect example.

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2 Peter 1:1-2 Introduction

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

This letter was written sometime between 65-69 A.D. shortly before Peter’s death as a martyr for His belief in and preaching of Jesus Christ.  Historians state that Peter was crucified in Rome under the persecution of Nero.  Believing himself unworthy of dying like his Savior, it is believed that he was crucified head down.

Peter mentions three reasons for writing this letter:

  1. Remind them of the godly qualities they should be growing in (1:12)
  2. Warn them of false teachers (3:13)
  3. Encourage them to anticipate Christ’s return (3:12).

Know who I serve!  Peter titled himself as a servant OF Jesus Christ.  If my service is not first and foremost for Christ, I am a slave to whatever I am serving.  I will feel like a slave to my family, church, boss, teachers, neighbors, etc…which can lead to a life of weariness and bitterness.  All service must flow out of serving Jesus.

An equal standing!  All followers of Jesus Christ are on a level playing field.  Peter’s faith and mine are the same.  Our salvation only comes by way of the righteousness of Jesus Christ that He gives to all who believe on His name.  Peter may have been an apostle, the leader of the first church, an author of letters that are found in the Bible; but we are both sinners saved by the blood that Jesus shed on the cross.

Growing in knowledge!  The two things I need multiplied in my life on a daily basis are grace and peace.  I need the Lord’s help, favor, and divine enabling to succeed in living the life to which He has called me.  I need His peace in my relationships and circumstances.   The only source of abounding grace and unfathomable peace is knowing Jesus.  As we grow in the knowledge of Him, grace and peace will be multiplied to us.

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1 Peter 4:19 Swelling Truth

In Literature my son was reading the book From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  Towards the end of the book Mrs. Frankweiler gives some advice to the youngster, Claudia:  “I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal.  But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside you until it touches everything.”  That is precisely how I feel about 1 Peter 4:19!

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Throughout 1 Peter I have been reminded that forgiveness and salvation only come by way of the shed blood of Jesus (1:2). Through His resurrection from the dead He conquered death giving me new life and the hope of eternal life (1:3-4).  I have the promise that I will see Jesus face-to-face one day because I believe in Him by faith and love Him (1:7-9, 13).  I have been reminded that the Lord is holy, and because of my hope in Him and because He paid for my soul with His own blood I should want to be like Him–following His example of holiness (1:15-16).  I learned that Jesus set the ultimate example of humility by willingly suffering rejection, temptation, insults, hardships, persecution and death at the hands of His enemies in order to save us all (2:21-24).  When I am willing to suffer for His name according to His example, He will use it to strengthen me and change people’s hearts towards Him.

My Father in Heaven will never expect more from me than He required of His own Son!  Jesus is my supreme example of holiness, humility, and honor.  He is my source of hope, help and happiness!  He gives purpose to everything I go through in His name and for His glory.  Everything in 1 Peter points to Jesus and chapter 4 verse 19 is no exception.

Jesus suffered according to His Father’s will.  Matthew 26:36-40 says, “Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I go over there and pray.’ And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.  Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.’ And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will’.”  Jesus did experience tremendous suffering from that point on in His earthly life.  His body was beaten.  He was mocked.  He had a crown of thorns pressed into His head. He was nailed to a cross.  His flesh was destroyed.

Jesus entrusted His soul to a faithful Creator.  Luke 23:44-46 tells us that before He breathed His final breath on the cross, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”  Sure, they could destroy His body, but His Father could preserve His soul.

Jesus suffered while doing good.  Jesus did the greatest work of all time by suffering according to His Father’s will and entrusting His soul to the faithful Creator.  He provided the way for all mankind in all ages to be redeemed, reconciled and restored to their Creator!

Our flesh may fail; our bodies may waste away; our bodies may even be destroyed through suffering.  As amazing as our bodies are, they are just tents for our eternal souls. Our souls are created by God, and He is able to save them.  We can trust Him with our souls–He is faithful!

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1 Peter 5:8-9 We Have an Enemy

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. 1 Peter 5:8-9

Peter knew he had an enemy who wanted to destroy him.  He had been tempted to deny that he knew Christ three times prior to Jesus’ crucifixion, and he blew it!  Yet he also knew of the grace, forgiveness and restoration that is offered freely through the Lord.  When Peter gives directives about how to avoid being devoured by our enemy, we would do well to listen!

Humbly depending on the Lord to care for us is one way that we can resist the devil.  The devil wants us to believe the lie that we need to protect, defend and care for ourselves.  If he can separate us from the truth of who God is and how He loves, the devil can destroy us.

Having an alert, sound mind is another way to resist the enemy.  If we know and apply God’s Word to our circumstances, we have truth as a weapon to defeat our attacker where the battle starts–in the mind.

We also need to widen our focus by taking our eyes off of our suffering and circumstances.  Satan wants us to isolate ourselves, to think that we are the only one who is suffering.   He uses suffering to make us anxious and angry.  He uses suffering to cause us to doubt God’s care and goodness.  He uses suffering to weaken us.  When we see that we are not alone in suffering, we can love and pray for each other.  We can encourage one another in faith and truth.  God uses our suffering to strengthen us!

Today if you feel like the Enemy is winning in your heart, mind and life; please message me.  I would like to pray for you!  God is bigger than our enemy, and He has the power to defeat him.

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1 Peter 5:6-7 ~ Anxiety and Pride

(Recently I have been discouraged that year two of this journey through the New Testament is coming to a close, and I am still unfinished.  Then I remembered a quote from Jeremy Kingsley, “We don’t read the Bible to finish.  We read the Bible to change.” I hope that my life reflects a lot of changes over the past two years.  As we wrap up our women’s study through 1 Peter at church this week, I am hoping to get back into my expedition through the New Testament.)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

With the birth of my baby approaching in the next few weeks, I have realized that I have turned into a control-freak–even more than usual!  I have pridefully tried to control everything and everyone around me from Christmas gift buying, to scheduling, to my teenage son’s spiritual life, to when I want to deliver the baby, etc…!  I know that some of this is pregnancy related.  It even has a name–nesting!  But trying to control everything around me is a sin if I am not trusting in and humbly relying on God’s wisdom, direction, and strength.  I can plan, but I am not in charge of anything.  God already knows the delivery date, and I can rest in Him.

Pride and anxiety go hand-in-hand.  I cannot possibly plan for and fix everything that happens in my life.  When I think it is all my responsibility, anxiety sets in!  Anxiety is real and common among us, or else God would not have seen fit to graciously give us a way to handle and overcome it.  He gave us His unchanging character, His steadfast promises, His perfect Word, and the privilege of prayer.

Verse 7 says to cast ALL my anxieties on Him.  There is not one thing that I can’t give to Him, not one thing that He cannot handle or does not want to handle for me.

A lot of times, the word “cast” in verse 7, is used in relation to anxiety more as a fishing term.  I can “cast” my anxieties out into waters, but I don’t let them off the line so that I can reel them back in.  That is not the kind of casting Peter is talking about in verse 7. Casting really means “to throw something forcefully in a specific direction.”  I picture this kind of casting more like the shot put event in track and field competitions.  When the competitor’s name is called, they have just 60 seconds to release the shot put towards the legal target zone.  We, too, must throw our anxieties right away in obedience to God.  We cannot hang on to them!  The other thing I learned about shot put today is that after the shot is thrown, the competitor must exit towards the rear of the circle.  They cannot take one step towards the thrown object.  We must cast our anxieties on God and walk away from them!

Because He cares for me!  God is concerned with my life.  God is providing for my every need.  I have nothing to fear unless I refuse to turn to Him and humble myself under His mighty hand.

I encourage you  to take time right now casting all your anxieties to your caring, mighty God!  It brings freedom and joy!


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