Live Like Christ–But Do it in His Power 1 Peter 4

There is a sense of urgency–We should be living as though Christ is returning…Because he is! It is so easy to become complacent in these current circumstances.  No matter how comfortable things seem, we are living for eternity.  That means we seek God, we love others and we act as he would act.  The great news is that we do not have to do it in our power.  The Holy Spirit comes and fills us and guides us to living a Christ like life. 

So what does that life look like, well according to Peter their are three major components–Love, selflessness and humility. If we are selfless and humble, it does not mean we act like EEOre.  It only means that we are always looking for ways to promote others and show them Christ in our lives. Loving others means that we see the from God’s perspective and as members of our family.  We accept them as they are but steer them to the wonderful journey with Christ.  Life is about selfless, loving humility.

Living that kind of life is a sign we are looking to eternity–not simply existing for today!

God Bless You

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Doing the Right Things for the Right Reasons–1 Peter 2 part 3

While we are not saved or loved because of what we do as children of God, as in any family, our behavior reflects first on our heavenly Father and second on the entire family.  One need only watch the media’s characterization of the Church and of conservatives to realize scrutiny is intense, real and never favorable.  It was no different in the early church.  Both the religious elite and the pagans were looking for reasons to persecute and destroy the followers of Christ. 

In part, it is because we have always and still stand out like a sore thumb. The idea that we are glad to submit and follow the lead of a selfless person is somewhat unnerving to a society bent on protecting and meeting each and every personal interest.

With that said, whenever we as God’s kids break the law or buck authority, the world seizes that moment to show we are not selfless, but merely frail hypocrites. In addition, as quickly as people are to judge—they are equally relentless in holding a grudge. 

That is why this scripture is so important—follow the law and submit to authority, you are representing Christ and his family. It is not complicated, nor is it unfair.  We set the standards—not because we have to, but because we would do nothing intentional to embarrass God or the family.

God Bless You

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

Let It Go!!!–! Peter 2 Revisited

Frozen–a great Disney flick! The Part that grips us all is the scene where Elsa sings Let it Go.  She has lived a life in fear and finds that her worst fears are realized.  She runs away to the hills and in a moment of clarity drops all the baggage Continue reading “Let It Go!!!–! Peter 2 Revisited”

Marraige–An Amazing Illustration of Sacrifice–1 Peter 2 Part 1

As a Pastor, I have the honor of performing weddings.  They are a delight.  In the process of preparing for a wedding, I counsel the couples on some critical issues for a successful marriage.  Probably the most intense discussion that occurs always centers on mutual submission.  Marriages require Christ like leadership and Solomon like wisdom.  Husbands are called to lead like a servant–simply put, they are living sacrifices in their marriage.  Their interests always finish last, their minds always focused upon protecting and providing for their family.  Within that framework, wives allow them to lead, but partner with them in their day to day operation.

Husbands, if wise, also recognize the absolute operational savvy of their wives.  After 22 years, I have learned to listen to my wife on all issues related to parenting, building relationships, listening and public appearance–If you remove those categories, pretty much all that is left is Sports and Sci-fi.  When I treat my wife as a partner, I am the winner mainly because she is the BETTER Half.  If I treated her as an inferior or subservient person, I would be wrong 1st and foolish 2nd.  She has shown, throughout our marriage, she holds my interests as primary and our family as the most precious possession. 

It is mutual submission that makes families great and Christ honored.  Do not fear it–Submit to Christ and each other and watch God build a legacy that lasts for generations.

God Bless You

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight…Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Being Holy–I Peter 1 Final

National Pride…One thing we Americans have always been known for is national pride.  We are unique in the world.  We are a nation of free people. We are open to build our lives as we choose.  We stand out on the world stage and are loved by many and hated by many more.  None the less, we continue to be separate, independent and free–with no desire to conform or fade into the woodwork. 

It is the same with our spiritual nationality.  God Calls us to be HOLY–separate and unique.  He asks us as his followers to stand out in the world and be identified as one of his.  We are characterized as ones with peace in the midst of chaos.  We have confidence in our eternal destiny.  We live to follow him and to serve others–pretty unique on this world stage.  God does not want us to conform or blend in.  He wants us to be such a stark contrast– as to act as a beacon to the world to grasp the freedom that is in him.  So the question of the week is–Do people see a difference in you–Is it compelling?

God Bless You

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.”[a]

17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.

Genuine Faith–I Peter 1Part 2

It  is easy to talk a good game.  We can know the lingo, we can do the right dance and say the right things.  We can go to the right functions–but, faith is really lived out when things are a struggle.  After 22 years of marriage (Happy Anniversary My sweet Joni), God has seen fit to allow us to endure trials of various kinds. They were unpleasant and many times felt like the undoing of our lives and family,  but, they were the tool God used to refine us and our kids.

We know our faith is genuine because it has been tried by fire.  And though we have cried and complained along the way, we know God is real and provides and protects his chosen through any and all circumstance.  In addition, he teaches us to be content in our circumstance and hopeful for an eternity with him. James and Peter agree that we are blessed when we encounter trials of varies kinds because it is those trials that mold and complete us! When you can walk in that peace, then you are experiencing “Genuine Faith”.

God Bless You

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 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. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

The Hope of Glory–I Peter 1–Part 1

When we travel through life, we do so seeking God and hoping for eternity—that is the heart of faith. But what we are looking for is an eternal inheritance. When we try to picture that inheritance, we have nothing on this earth with to compare it.  Everything here fades–beauty, riches, power, life all eventually break down and quit.  That is what makes our hope of Heaven worth the trails and the training.

 As we walk by faith, we do so to see heaven—a place where things do not fade.  There, we will have eternal bodies and rewards that are forever. In heaven there will be no war, no crime, no disease—only Gods chosen and eternal peace and joy.  It will be beautiful and glorious.  It is definitely worth the wait. 

So, in the meantime, we suffer some, we go through trials and training.  We do this with joy knowing that the treasures we are being prepared to receive are for real and eternal.

 God Bless You

In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 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. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.

Prayer is Powerful and Effective–James 5 Final

When is it a good time to pray.  According to James, all the time. God loves to talk to us.  He uses his word, he uses others in our life ad even nature to reveal his truth to us.  But, prayer is our way to communicate back.  According to James, we should pray when we are happy, when we are sad.  We pray when we are sick and pray when we have needs–our father simply wants to hear from us.

God wants an open and honest relationship.  Meet him where you are.  Even when we are rebellious, God would simply have us confess that and make things right.  He never turns a deaf ear–but, like any father, he will not reward rebellion.  But as we follow his plan, he like any dad wants to laugh with us, cry with us, walk with us and meet our needs.  When we pray, we should be patient and believe.  Often our timing is different than God’s. It is as simple as this–The prayer of the righteous avails much.

God Bless You

 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Be Patient and Stand Firm–James 5 part 2

There is simply no better teacher than perseverance.  I am not a patient person.  I want things done quickly.  I want trials to be over quickly.  But last Saturday, as I took my sweet daughter to college, I realized that life moves too quickly. she was a little baby just yesterday…she was performing her first play, Annie, just yesterday…God tries to remind us that life is but a vapor.  That is why no matter how difficult the trials are, we must stand firm–we must persevere.

If we stand firm and persevere, then we begin to see God do amazing things in our lives and in the lives of those we touch.  We not only become stronger, we leave a lasting impression that draws men to God.  In this culture, it is simply too easy to cut and run.  So, when we choose to persevere, we stand out and God is glorified.  In addition, we become stronger, wiser and more peaceful.  We begin to see things from an eternal perspective.  Then, no matter what the test, we can face it and God will honor our effort and reward our faith.  Help me Lord to follow at your pace and persevere.

God Bless You

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Hold on Loosely–James 5 Part 1

God does not favor people based upon their financial condition.  I know that seems like it is stating the obvious, but the truth is, God is much more concerned on who or what your God is than he is concerned with your wealth.  God places wealth in the hands of his people to give them the freedom and opportunity to use it to reflect him in their lives.  The way we use our wealth and the focus on him rather than our stuff are what sets his people apart.  God does not want misers, oppressors, cheats and thieves to be the examples of his wealthy people.  He wants God focused generous and joyful people that enjoy his provision, but worship him.

The love of money and things is what makes God crazy. He knows the stuff wears out, is lost and stolen and clearly is temporary.  He wants us to be free from greed, from jealousy, from materialism.  He wants our focus to remain on him–whatever our financial standing.  If our focus is on him we can say, with Paul, “I have learned to be content whatever my circumstance.  Whether well fed or hungry–living in plenty or in want, I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me!” 

God knows that unless you are content with what you have, you will never be content, no matter what your financial condition becomes. 

God Bless You

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.[a] You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

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