935.) 1 Peter 5

November 30, 2012

“The Apostle Peter Kneeling” by Rembrandt, 1631

1 Peter 5 (New Living Translation)

Advice for Elders and Young Men

1 And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: 2 Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. 4 And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.

5 In the same way, you younger men must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for

“God opposes the proud
but favors the humble.”

5. basin and towel

John 13:1-5 (New International Version)

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.

7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.     –1 Peter 5:7

The Christians Peter addressed were facing persecution.  They did not know whom they could trust; a friend, a neighbor, or even a family member could betray them, resulting in suffering and even death.  But Peter had walked with the risen Christ, and he had personally experienced the love that Jesus had for His followers.  He knew that Christ was in control, capable of handling every trial and that He wanted to do so as an expression of His love.

Casting our cares is a choice.  It means consciously handing over our anxiety to Christ and allowing Him to carry the weight of our problems.  At times this is the most difficult part of trusting God!  We don’t like turning over the responsibility of our problems.  We have been taught that self-reliance is good and praiseworthy.  We may even enjoy worrying.  Yet if we are to be freed from the burden of our concerns, we must choose to cast them into the strong hands of our Father.

Peter does not distinguish between little cares and big cares.  God does not differentiate between problems we should handle on our own and God-sized needs.  He asks us to turn them all over to Him.  He stands prepared to take your load and to carry it for you.  Will you let Him?

Psalm 37:5 (English Standard Version)

Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.

8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

5. roaring-lion

quotes from The Screwtape Letters,
by C. S. Lewis

(in which an older demon, Screwtape, instructs a younger one, Wormwood, about how to be successful in luring and keeping people away from God, whom he calls the Enemy)

“It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

“Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is finding his place in it, while really it is finding its place in him.”

“There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against the Enemy. He wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.”

“Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

_________________________

9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.

10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen.

__________________________

Music:

Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV)

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

Peter says God will “place you on a firm foundation.”  Organist Diane Bish and the Chancel Choir of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church perform this stirring arrangement of  “How Firm a Foundation” by Bish.  Click  HERE  to be inspired!

How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He has said,
To you, who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

Fear not, I am with you, O be not dismayed,
For I am your God and will still give you aid;
I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call you to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with you, your troubles to bless,
And sanctify to you your deepest distress.

When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be your supply;
The flame shall not hurt you; I only design
Your dross to consume, and your gold to refine.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

–London pastor John Rippon, 1787

__________________________

Peter’s Final Greetings

12 I have written and sent this short letter to you with the help of Silas, whom I commend to you as a faithful brother. My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.

13 Your sister church here in Babylon sends you greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet each other with Christian love.

Peace be with all of you who are in Christ.

5. Peter_Signature

_________________________

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Rembrandt.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/Rembrandt_st._peter_in_prision.jpg
basin and towel stained glass from Vienna Baptist Church, Vienna, Virginia.  http://www.vbc-va.org/images/template/discipleship_window_side.jpg
cartoon.  http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_8E54dOHsMTw/RyLGPeHJjqI/AAAAAAAAANY/DbiLe6KxRj4/s1600-h/Carry+your+books+%282%29.bmp
roaring lion.  http://reallyrobins.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/roaring-lion.jpg
Peter signature.  http://www.e-mailmarketing.com.au/profitune/Peter_Signature.gif

934.) 1 Peter 4

November 29, 2012

Saint Peter, by Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1618.

1 Peter 4 (New Living Translation)

Living for God

1 So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. 2 You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. 3 You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.

4 Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. 5 But remember that they will have to face God, who will judge everyone, both the living and the dead. 6 That is why the Good News was preached to those who are now dead—so although they were destined to die like all people, they now live forever with God in the Spirit.

7 The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers.

4. pray

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (King James Version)

Pray without ceasing.

8 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.

4. graphics-love-n-hearts

Proverbs 10:12 (New American Standard Bible)

Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all transgressions.

9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.

4. hospitality

Romans 12:12-13 (New International Version)

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

Suffering for Being a Christian

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

from My Utmost for His Highest,
by Oswald Chambers

PARTAKERS OF HIS SUFFERINGS

If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all, they are meant to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what transpires in other souls so that you will never be surprised at what you come across. Oh, I can’t deal with that person. Why not? God gave you ample opportunity to soak before Him on that line, and you barged off because it seemed stupid to spend time in that way.

The sufferings of Christ are not those of ordinary men. He suffered “according to the will of God,” not from the point of view we suffer from as individuals. It is only when we are related to Jesus Christ that we can understand what God is after in His dealings with us. It is part of Christian culture to know what God’s aim is. In the history of the Christian Church the tendency has been to evade being identified with the sufferings of Jesus Christ; men have sought to procure the carrying out of God’s order by a short cut of their own. God’s way is always the way of suffering, the way of the “long, long trail.”

Are we partakers of Christ’s sufferings? Are we prepared for God to stamp our personal ambitions right out? Are we prepared for God to destroy by transfiguration our individual determinations? It will not mean that we know exactly why God is taking us that way, that would make us spiritual prigs. We never realize at the time what God is putting us through; we go through it more or less misunderstandingly; then we come to a luminous place, and say – ”Why, God has girded me, though I did not know it!”

_________________________

Acts 5:40-42 (New Century Version)

The Sanhedrin called the apostles in, beat them, and told them not to speak in the name of Jesus again. Then they let them go free. The apostles left the meeting full of joy because they were given the honor of suffering disgrace for Jesus. Every day in the Temple and in people’s homes they continued teaching the people and telling the Good News—that Jesus is the Christ.

_________________________

4. congrat promo

“If every call to Christ and His righteousness is a call to suffering, the converse is equally true–every call to suffering is a call to Christ, a promotion, an invitation to come up higher.”

–Charles Brent (1862-1929)

14 So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. 15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. 16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! 17 For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? 18 And also,

“If the righteous are barely saved,
what will happen to godless sinners?”

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

_________________________

Music:

All this suffering — and for what?  Ah, believer, look what awaits you!  “Den Store Hvide Flok” sung in Norwegian (as it was at my mother’s funeral).  Words in English below.

Who is this host arrayed in white
Like thousand snow-clad mountains bright,
That stands with palms and sings its psalms
Before the throne of light?
These are the saints who kept God’s Word;
They are the honored of the Lord.
He is their prince who drowned their sins
So they were cleansed, restored.
They now serve God both day and night;
They sing their songs in endless light.
Their anthems ring when they all sing
With angels shining bright.

On earth their work was not thought wise,
But see them now in heaven’s eyes;
Before God’s throne of precious stone
They shout their vict’ry cries.
On earth they wept through bitter years;
Now God has wiped away their tears,
Transformed their strife to heavenly life,
And freed them from their fears.
For now they have the best at last;
They keep their sweet eternal feast,
At God’s right hand our Lord commands;
He is both host and guest.

O blessed saints, now take your rest;
A thousand times shall you be blest
For keeping faith firm unto death
And scorning worldly trust.
For now you live at home with God
And harvest seeds once cast abroad
In tears and sigh.  See with new eyes
The pattern in the seed.
The myriad angels raise their song.
O, saints, sing with that happy throng;
Lift up one voice; let heav’n rejoice
In our Redeemer’s song!

_________________________

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Rubens.  http://dailyoffice.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/stpeterrubens.jpg

pray.  http://morefire.files.wordpress.com/2007/01/pray.gif

love.  http://dragonartz.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/graphics-love-n-hearts-preview2-by-dragonart.png?w=495&h=277
hospitality.  http://clubenglish.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/club/user/hosfair/images/hospitality_gift1.gif
Why does God allow suffering?    http://static.lulu.com/browse/product_thumbnail.php?productId=12304281&resolution=320
congratulations.    http://rlv.zcache.com/congratulations_on_your_promotion_card-p137791112957664762b21fb_400.jpg

933.) 1 Peter 3

November 28, 2012

bronze statue of St. Peter by Arnolfo di Cambio, circa 1300 (St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome)

1 Peter 3 (New Living Translation)

Wives

“Those graceful acts, those thousand decencies, that daily flow from all her words and actions, mixed with love and sweet compliance, which declare unfeigned union of mind, or in us both one soul.” 

–John Milton

1 In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over 2 by observing your pure and reverent lives.

3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 5 This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands. 6 For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.

Proverbs 12:4 (New Living Translation)

A worthy wife is a crown for her husband,
but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones.

Husbands

7 In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

Proverbs 18:22 (New Living Translation)

The man who finds a wife finds a treasure,
and he receives favor from the Lord.

“You can never be happily married to another until you get a divorce from yourself.  Successful marriage demands a certain death to self.”  –Jerry McCant

“A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short.”  –Andre Maurois

“My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.”  –Winston Churchill

There is one phase of life that I have
Never heard discussed in any seminar,
And that is — all women think that men
Are funny and all men think that weminar.
–Ogden Nash

_________________________

All Christians

8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. 10 For the Scriptures say,

“If you want to enjoy life
and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies.
11 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
against those who do evil.”

Suffering for Doing Good

13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good?

Proverbs 16:7 (English Standard Version)

When a man’s ways please the LORD,
he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!

“Crucified Christ” by T. J. Walsh

18 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.

19 So he went and preached to the spirits in prison—20 those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. 21 And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

22 Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.

from the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in Jesus Christ . . .
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father . . .

_________________________

Music:

Charles Wesley’s “Rejoice, the Lord Is King!”  Note verse 3:  “The keys of death and hell are to our Jesus given.” And verse 4:  “He sits at God’s right hand.”

_________________________

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Cambio.  http://lydiapham.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/img_05061.jpg
good wife.    http://helloladies.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/good_wife.jpg
wedding bands.    http://jcarolljewelers.com/portals/0/WEDDING%20BANDS.png
Walsh.  http://timothyj.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/crucified_christ_color_edit.jpg

932.) 1 Peter 2

November 27, 2012

“Bust of St. Peter” by French sculptor Nicolas Cordier, 1565-1612 (San Sebastiano fuori le mura, Rome)

1 Peter 2 (New Living Translation)

1 So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

Psalm 34:8  (NRSV)

O taste and see that the Lord is good;
happy are those who take refuge in him.

_________________________

Music:

This takes me back!  Petra and “Taste and See.”  Words and music by Bob Hartman.  Petra was a the first Christian band to be inducted into the Hard Rock Cafe.

If all you got is a fancy car
And a precious diamond ring
When you stand before the Lord
Will it really mean a thing?

You’ve got to see how good your life can be
You’ve got to feel what’s really, really real
How can you know until you taste and see
How good it is to be set free?

Taste and see that the Lord is good
He’s got milk and honey for you
Come and dine at the Master’s table,
He’ll serve bread and wine to you

Well you tasted this and you tasted that
But you still ain’t satisfied
You’ll never find any peace of mind
In those empty things you tried

Don’t be afraid of tasting something new
Your soul is hungry, nothing else will do
The bread of life will keep you satisfied
You won’t go hungry or ever be denied

You’ve got to make up your mind
And leave your old life behind you
You know He’ll take it away

_________________________

Living Stones for God’s House

4 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.

5 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.

from the hymn “Built on a Rock”
by Nikolai F. S. Grundvig (1783-1872)

We are God’s house of living stones,
Built for his own habitation;
He fills our hearts, his humble thrones,
Granting us life and salvation.
Were two or three to seek his face,
He in their midst would show his grace,
Blessings upon them bestowing.

6 As the Scriptures say,

“I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem,
chosen for great honor,
and anyone who trusts in him
will never be disgraced.”

7 Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him,

“The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.”

8 And,

“He is the stone that makes people stumble,
the rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.

9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

10 “Once you had no identity as a people;
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.”

11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.

Respecting People in Authority

2. authority

Romans 13:1 (English Standard Version)

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

13 For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 14 or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.

15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16 For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 17 Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king.

18 You who are slaves must accept the authority of your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. 19 For God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right and patiently endure unfair treatment. 20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.

21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.

“Seeing the Light” by Osnat Tzadok

from My Utmost for His Highest,
by Oswald Chambers

The Cross of Jesus is the revelation of God’s judgment on sin.  Never tolerate the idea of martyrdom about the Cross of Jesus Christ.  The Cross was a superb triumph in which the foundations of hell were shaken.  There is nothing more certain in Time or Eternity than what Jesus Christ did on the Cross:  He switched the whole of the human race back into a right relationship with God.  He made Redemption the basis of human life, that is, He made a way for every son of man to get into communion with God.

The centre of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much.

_________________________

22 He never sinned,
nor ever deceived anyone.
23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted,
nor threaten revenge when he suffered.
He left his case in the hands of God,
who always judges fairly.
24 He personally carried our sins
in his body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
and live for what is right.
By his wounds
you are healed.
25 Once you were like sheep
who wandered away.
But now you have turned to your Shepherd,
the Guardian of your souls.

_________________________

Music:

A Celtic rendition of “The Lord’s My Shepherd.”

_________________________

2. Shepherd - Simon Dewey

Psalm 23 (The Message)

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.

_________________________

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Cordier.  http://www.wga.hu/art/c/cordier/st_peter.jpg
ice cream cone.  http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/pic/PTGPOD/426583~Ice-Cream-Cone-with-Many-Colored-Scoops-Posters.jpg
cross and cornerstone.    http://bibleseo.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/cornerstone.jpg
cornerstone.    http://copiosa.org/images/cornerstone.jpg
authority.   http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_ag8cy9r2XdE/SKlVI3rpwnI/AAAAAAAAAnc/lp_mLmyGepg/s400/authority.jpg
Osnat.    http://www.osnatfineart.com/art/abstract-paintings/5793-Seeing-the-Light.jsp
The Lord is My Shepherd by Simon Dewey.  http://michaelguth.com/myblog/pictures/Christ%20-%20The%20Lord%20is%20My%20Shepherd%20-%20Simon%20Dewey.jpg

931.) 1 Peter 1

November 26, 2012

“Peter the Apostle.” Giuseppe Nogari (1699-1766)

1 Peter 1   (New Living Translation)

Greetings from Peter

1 This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.

I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.

2 God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

May God give you more and more grace and peace.

The Hope of Eternal Life

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

1. eternal life

John 10:28 (New International Version)

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.

from Edges of His Ways,
by Amy Carmichael

Every trial is a trust.  The Oxford Dictionary gives the history of the word “trial” from 1526, onward.  One early use was, “the action of testing or putting to the proof the fitness, truth, strength or other quality of anything.”

By 1554 it meant, “that which puts to the test; especially a painful test of one’s endurance, patience, or faith; hence affliction, trouble, misfortune.”

1608 gives a new use of the word.  It will give all who think food for thought.  “Something that serves as an example or proof of a manufacture or material, the skill of an operator, and especially in pottery manufacture, a piece of clay, or the like, by which the progress of the firing process may be judged, a trial-piece.”

“But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our Potter” (Isaiah 64:8).  Thou dost trust us to be Thy trial-piece.

So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

1. happy child

Psalm 13:5 (New American Standard Bible)

But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.

10 This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. 11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward.

12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.

_________________________

Music:

Hillsong United and “Salvation is here.”

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A Call to Holy Living

13 So think clearly and exercise self-control.

1. fruit-of-the-spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

from My Utmost for His Highest,
by Oswald Chambers

DESTINY OF HOLINESS

Continually restate to yourself what the purpose of your life is.  The destined end of man is not happiness, or health, but holiness.  Nowadays we have far too many affinities, we are dissipated with them; right, good, noble affinities which will yet have their fulfillment, but in the meantime God has to atrophy them.  The one thing that matters is whether a man will accept the God Who will make him holy.

Do I believe I need to be holy?  Do I believe God can come into me and make me holy?  If by your preaching you convince me that I am unholy, I resent your preaching.  The preaching of the gospel awakens an intense resentment because it must reveal that I am unholy; but it also awakens an intense craving.  God has one destined end for mankind:  holiness.  His one aim is the production of saints.  God is not an eternal blessing-machine for me; He did not come to save men out of pity; He came to save men because He had created them to be holy.  The Atonement means that God can put me back into perfect union with Himself, without a shadow between, through the Death of Jesus Christ.

17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as “foreigners in the land.” 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.

21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.

22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.

23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say,

“People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.

The grass withers and the flower fades.
25 But the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.

_________________________

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Nogari.  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/de/Peter_the_apostle.jpg
map.  http://www.bibletrack.org/notes/image/Peter_Intro_Map.jpg
“Home at Last”  by Danny Hohlbohm.    http://www.art.com/products/p10109503-sa-i1647359/danny-hahlbohm-home-at-last.htm?sorig=cat&sorigid=0&dimvals=0&ui=11aa7d9634dc49e8bfbe805af7f577a0
happy child.  http://www.dgcommunity.net/dgcommunity/xMWimages/11252.JPG
pottery in the making.  http://img.ehowcdn.com/article-new/ds-photo/49/186/fotolia_5527219_XS.jpg
fruit of the Spirit.  http://www.sermons4kids.com/fruit-of-the-spirit.gif
holiness.  http://therubicon.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/holiness.jpg
flowers in a field.  http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1331/536347063_9abbc12f40.jpg

930.) Psalms 114 and 115

November 23, 2012

skipping and leaping like a lamb!

Psalm 114   (NIV)

The saga of Israel’s redemption from Egypt, her wilderness experiences, and her arrival in the land of promise was a tremendous display of the power of God from beginning to end.  In fact, to the Jewish mind it was the greatest demonstration of divine power that had ever taken place.

–William MacDonald

When Israel came out of Egypt,
Jacob from a people of foreign tongue,
Judah became God’s sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.

The sea looked and fled,
the Jordan turned back;
the mountains leaped like rams,
the hills like lambs.

Why was it, sea, that you fled?
Why, Jordan, did you turn back?
Why, mountains, did you leap like rams,
you hills, like lambs?

Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turned the rock into a pool,
the hard rock into springs of water.

1 Corinthians 10:1-4  (NLT)

I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground.  In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses.  All of them ate the same spiritual food and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.

_________________________

Psalm 115   (NIV)

Not to us, Lord, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.

Why do the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Our God is in heaven;
he does whatever pleases him.
But their idols are silver and gold,
made by human hands.
5 They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear,
noses, but cannot smell.
7 They have hands, but cannot feel,
feet, but cannot walk,
nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
8 Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.

Model Jesus First, Gently.

A former Hindu who recently decided to follow Jesus, L.S. believes that believers in Christ must not speak to Hindus with condemnation.  “This is where Christians should be very careful,” L.S. said. “You can’t tell them right off that they are worshipping false gods, because the mob will become ferocious. It should be within a certain framework.”

L.S. urges Christians to model Jesus first if they want Hindus to see Him.

“If you want to talk about Jesus, you must be Jesus here,” he said. “You must show all the qualities of Jesus, His love, His affection, His gentleness. If Jesus is reflected in any person who is a leader, all people will be drawn toward him, and they will find Jesus.”

As he reflected on those who worship idols as he formerly did, L.S. urged Christians to open their eyes to what is happening in his country.  “India is not just a land of software,” he said. “It is a land of darkness.”

from The Christian Telegraph

All you Israelites, trust in the Lord—
he is their help and shield.
10 House of Aaron, trust in the Lord—
he is their help and shield.
11 You who fear him, trust in the Lord—
he is their help and shield.

12 The Lord remembers us and will bless us:
He will bless his people Israel,
he will bless the house of Aaron,
13 he will bless those who fear the Lord—
small and great alike.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.

The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one;

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows for our play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day;

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

–Cecil F. Alexander, 1848

14 May the Lord cause you to flourish,
both you and your children.
15 May you be blessed by the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

16 The highest heavens belong to the Lord,
but the earth he has given to mankind.
17 It is not the dead who praise the Lord,
those who go down to the place of silence;
18 it is we who extol the Lord,
both now and forevermore.

Praise the Lord.

_________________________

Music:

Verse 1 reads — Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.

Chris Tomlin sings “Not to Us.”

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
leaping lamb.   http://scrib.wblog.ro/files/2012/05/IEDUTZ.jpg
water from the rock.    http://www.bullartistry.com.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/waterfromrock.jpg
rainbow.   http://2.bp.blogspot.com/–7ZZegF_8-U/TbXITA2LJzI/AAAAAAAAAZ8/70zc3ECGPMY/s1600/Psalm-115A.jpg
“Stone-studded Radha Krishna Miniature Idol.”   http://static6.shop.indiatimes.com/images/products/additional/original/B953891_View_1/flowers-gifts/religious-gifts/stone-studded-radha-krishna-miniature-idol.jpg
child with butterfly.   http://www.inhabitots.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/butterfly.jpg

929.) Habakkuk 3

November 22, 2012

Habakkuk 3   (NIV)

Habakkuk’s Prayer

Habakkuk now prays to the Lord.  He had heard of the Lord’s dealings in the past with the enemies of His people; now he asks Him to revive His work by punishing His foes and saving his people.

–William MacDonald

A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet.

Lord, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.

God came from Teman,
the Holy One from Mount Paran.
His glory covered the heavens
and his praise filled the earth.

The prophet pictures God marching forth against His foes, crushing them by His power and triumphing gloriously.

His splendor was like the sunrise;
rays flashed from his hand,
where his power was hidden.
Plague went before him;
pestilence followed his steps.
He stood, and shook the earth;
he looked, and made the nations tremble.
The ancient mountains crumbled
and the age-old hills collapsed—
but he marches on forever.
I saw the tents of Cushan in distress,
the dwellings of Midian in anguish.

Were you angry with the rivers, Lord?
Was your wrath against the streams?
Did you rage against the sea
when you rode your horses
and your chariots to victory?
You uncovered your bow,
you called for many arrows.
You split the earth with rivers;
10  the mountains saw you and writhed.
Torrents of water swept by;
the deep roared
and lifted its waves on high.

11 Sun and moon stood still in the heavens
at the glint of your flying arrows,
at the lightning of your flashing spear.

Click  HERE  to read in Joshua 10 of the mighty miracle God worked in the sky to help Joshua win a battle.

12 In wrath you strode through the earth
and in anger you threshed the nations.
13 You came out to deliver your people,
to save your anointed one.
You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness,
you stripped him from head to foot.
14 With his own spear you pierced his head
when his warriors stormed out to scatter us,
gloating as though about to devour
the wretched who were in hiding.
15 You trampled the sea with your horses,
churning the great waters.

Click  HERE  to read the story of God marching the people through the Red Sea in Exodus 14.

16 I heard and my heart pounded,
my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us.
17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The literal is “I will jump for joy in the Lord; I will spin around for delight in God.”  Here is the hilarity of faith!–joy at its best with circumstances at their worst!  What a victory!  May it be ours!

–J. Sidlow Baxter

I CHOOSE to praise God for being God, no matter what my situation may be! 

I CHOOSE to bless him not just for his gifts to me every day, but for what he wisely withholds as well! 

I CHOOSE to take a moment today and thank him particularly for rescuing me from darkness and bringing me into the light through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!

19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.

For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.

_________________________

Music:

“Yet Will I Praise Thee”  by Kent Henry.

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New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
faith in a sovereign God.   http://www.damascusroadchurch.org/sermon-series-habakkuk
Joshua and the sun.    http://www.vineyardop.org/files/images/151230-custom.jpg
walls of water at the Red Sea.   http://media.photobucket.com/image/recent/ascroll/moses_parting_the_red_sea.jpg
jump for joy.   http://images.psxextreme.com/wallpapers/ps3/jump_for_joy_910.jpg