“Be Very Glad”

even-smaller-bug-light1

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. – 1 Peter 4:13 NLT

Some of us have thought or been taught that once we are saved, life is just sunshine and roses. This can be true for us inwardly because we have the joy of the Lord abiding in us as our strength. But on the outside, satan is still around and sin still abounds, so we are going to have to face some offenses and situations. We should not be surprised when these issues arise.  Instead, we should rejoice in the situation.  Not because of the situation or offense, but because we know that if satan is confronting us with his garbage and lies, we must be messing with his plans. Sometimes it hurts deeply, but warriors on the front lines are the ones who get wounded. Should we complain?  Was Jesus not “wounded for our transgressions”?  Yes, He was and He suffered silently. Is the created better than the Creator? No, we are not.  We should count it a privilege and a joy to participate in the sufferings of Christ.

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. — James 1:2, 3 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 04-20-2018

“Called to Do Good”

even-smaller-bug-light1

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. 
– 1 Peter 2:21 NLT
 
 
We have brothers and sisters throughout the world who “bear up under the pain of unjust suffering” everyday because of their commitment and faithfulness to Jesus Christ. If someone asked us to tell about our latest persecution brought on by our commitment to God, what would our answer be?  Do we even understand what it really means to suffer for doing good and/or being faithful?  Worldwide, Christians are the most persecuted group and yet, Christianity is still the fastest growing group. Even though, we are not yet being openly persecuted, Christians in the “free” world are being more and more marginalized everyday. Our time to be openly persecuted may be closer than we care to admit.  We can name the names of our favorite pastors, members of our favorite sports team, but can we name the name of one persecuted Christian?  Add persecuted Christian(s) to your list of people to pray for everyday. Pray that God will send His angels to strengthen them in their situations.

41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. — Luke 22:41-43 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 04-19-2018

“Render Unto Caesar…”

even-smaller-bug-light1

17 Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.– 1 Peter 2:17 NLT
We should obey the laws of the land unless they contradict the Scriptures. We do this so that people who are watching will not have a reason to criticize the body of Christ. We are free to live as we choose, but that does not give us a license to go around violating the laws of the land. Violation of the law is a sin in God’s eyes. Our lives should reflect the example that Jesus showed us while He was here on earth. As hard as the religious leaders looked, they could not find one legitimate reason to arrest and/or imprison our Savior much less put Him to death on the cross.  They had to resort to hiring people to lie against him on the witness stand. We may or may not agree with the official holding the office, but we are still to respect the office and give due honor to it. Paul shows us this example in the book of Acts:

4 Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!”  5 Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’ — Acts 23:4,5 NIV

We must constantly battle the flesh to show love and respect for those with whom we disagree. But we must never use the freedom we have in Christ Jesus to do anything that would cast the slightest shadow on His Name. Fearing God requires us to show others respect and love.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 04-18-2018

“Out of Darkness”

even-smaller-bug-light1

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. 1 Peter 2:9 NLT
 
We were born in sin into a world filled with the darkness of sin. Some of us spent more years than others stumbling through the darkness thinking we could make it on our own.  Then the Holy Spirit called us out of darkness and into the wonderful light of Jesus Christ. It was then and only then, that we realized our inability to even walk upright without God’s help.  As new creations, we realized that we were foreigners and aliens in this world. Our fleshly desires had held us in bonds and chains, now we are free to live the good lives that God has called us to live. It should be our heart’s desire to please God in every way, every day. We are in a war and there is no neutral ground.  There is no standing still, if we aren’t making progress everyday, we are regressing. When we are in love with someone, we want to spend time alone with them. God is in love with each of us and He is overjoyed when we choose to spend time alone with Him. The time we spend with Jesus is the way we get the strength to wage the war. If we don’t spend time preparing for the battle, we will be defeated daily, even though the war was won at the Cross. Spend a minute with God right now and often throughout the day. He will give you peace in the middle of the chaos and strength to wage the war.


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 04-17-2018

Just Taste It!

even-smaller-bug-light1

1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. — 1 Peter 2:1-3 NIV

Do you remember the first time in your life that “you tasted that the Lord is good”?

I actually don’t remember the date but I do remember that it was about 9 in the morning on a hot summer day and I could take you to the exact place that the Holy Spirit miraculously moved in my life and “saved me to the uttermost”. Tears of joy and relief streamed down my face so much that I had to stop on the side of the road and just praise God for His goodness. Since that time I have not lived a sinless life but I can tell you that when I do sin, it grieves the Holy Spirit, breaks the heart of God Himself and now, thanks to His enduring goodness, faithfulness and mercy, it breaks my heart as well.
His love motivates me to rid myself of all malice and sin of any and every kind. When I pray and receive the forgiveness that Jesus bought for me on Calvary, I taste again and again of His goodness and mercy. I crave His Word and a day without it would be a dark, dreary and lonely day. My heart’s desire is to know Him more and more every day. I look forward to the day when I can move from the “milk” of the Word to the “meat” of the Word, so I might grow to be the mature son He wants me to be. Nothing less and nothing more.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 04-16-2018

Show Sincere, Deep Love

even-smaller-bug-light1

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. – 1 Peter 1:22 NLT
 
In these verses, we are reminded of how limited the English language is in words to express love.  We have one word, the Greeks had at least six words expressing different levels and types of love. Philia which means friendly and/or brotherly affection and is the word used here for the “love for each other”.  The second word used here for love is agape which is the word that comes closest to expressing the kind of love Jesus showed for us when He chose to die on a cross for our sins. It is a totally selfless, unconditional love. It is a love that is unquenchable and no matter how much it gives, it is never satisfied.  It only wants to give more and more. It is the kind of love that God wants us to have for Him and our brothers and sisters, as well as our enemies. The last part, “love for our enemies” is the one that gets our flesh in an uproar.Our flesh screams out, we have been wronged by that person and there is no way that I will ever forgive or love that person or those people. But Jesus told us in His model prayer to pray “forgive us as we forgive others” and we are also told:

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. — Matt. 6:14, 15 NIV
This is a requirement for those of us who have been born again. Our flesh is perishing but we are being renewed daily by the living Word of God. So, we must mortify the flesh and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit that so richly abides within each of us. That leadership will require us to love and to forgive at all costs.


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Posr 04-15-2018

Good News!

even-smaller-bug-light1

19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. – 1 Peter 1:19 NLT

1 Peter 1:17-20 NLT

There is nothing that we can offer to God that is acceptable for our redemption. Before the creation of the world, the price for our salvation was agreed upon by the Trinity. Nothing less than a sacrificial Lamb without blemish would be acceptable. In the Old Testament, the lamb had to be sacrificed over and over. In the New Testament, the perfect Lamb is sacrificed once for all sins of all times, past, present and future.


25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.— Hebrews 9:25-26 NIV

His work is finished. We, as Christians, have a work to do that will not be finished until the end of this age. We are foreigners, aliens and ambassadors here on earth. Our work is to spread the Good News that Jesus Christ has died and rose again to seal our redemption.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 04-14-2018

Press On Toward the Mark

even-smaller-bug-light1

13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”  — 1 Peter 1:13-16 NIV

We are saved by grace though faith and that is the only way anyone can be saved. Good works and good intentions cannot save us, only the grace of God. That is our belief, that is our hope. That hope is eternal based on the mercy and grace of God. We will not know the fullness of His grace and mercy until Jesus Christ returns in all of His glory to receive us into heaven. The eternal hope that we have through the grace of God should fill us with so much love for Jesus that we choose to remain obedient to His teachings and example.  Our flesh desires to stay conformed to lusts and other evil desires.  But now that we know those are displeasing to our Savior, we should attempt to “abstain from the very appearance of evil”.  Is this a call for perfection? Yes. Will we attain perfection while we remain in this tent of flesh? No. But that does not excuse willful, deliberate sin nor is it an out for us to do whatever we desire and ask for forgiveness. Every moment of every day, we are making decisions. Those decisions will either lead us closer to Jesus or take us farther away from Jesus. Perfect? No.  Forgiven? Yes. But we must determine at every moment whether or not we will press on toward our goal.13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. ​ — Ph​il. 3:14,14 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 04-13-2018

MVP – Most Valuable Possession

even-smaller-bug-light1

6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.— 1 Peter 1:6​, 7​ NI​V

We have to go through trials and tribulations here on earth.  This should not surprise us, Jesus said “in this world you will be offended”. There is a specific reason that God allows us to go through these times of testing. And, amazingly enough, it is not to prove to Him how much we love Him, He already knows the answer to that question.  No, these tests are so we can know where we are on our journey with Him.  The suffering does allow us to realize whether or not our faith is genuine. If it proves to be genuine and our works withstand the fire, that is worth more than anything money can buy. Everything on earth can be and will be destroyed by fire except our faith and our hope.  Because we have hope eternal, we can praise Jesus Christ and give unto Him the glory and honor He so richly deserves. It is then that we will realize the truth of what Paul tells us:
 

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.— Romans 8:18, 19 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 04-12-2018

“Praise to the One Who Gave Us His Son”

even-smaller-bug-light1

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. — 1 Peter 1: 3-​5​ NIV

Because of what Jesus has done for us, we owe Him everything and yet we owe Him nothing. Our salvation is free and can’t be purchased, so, in that sense we owe Him nothing.  But in the sense that we can be nothing and have nothing without Jesus, we owe Him everything. We owe Him praise, honor and glory at all times. We owe Him our allegiance and our faithfulness. We have to go through trials and hardships here on earth but we have an inheritance laid up for us in heaven.  This inheritance gives us a living hope that we are totally secure here and now and for eternity. We are saved now but we will not realize the full extent of what that means until we are at home with Jesus for eternity. But we do know enough to know that we owe Him all of our praises, so let’s just praise Him continuously.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

 

Post 04-11-2018