11 Sep 2011
September 11, 2011
Apply The Benefits!
2 Peter 1
This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ.
I am writing to all of you who share the same precious faith we have, faith given to us by Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, who makes us right with God.
May God bless you with his special favor and wonderful peace as you come to know Jesus, our God and Lord, better and better. As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness! And by that same mighty power, he has given us all of his rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature.
So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness. Godliness leads to love for other Christians, and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop these virtues are blind or, at least, very shortsighted. They have already forgotten that God has cleansed them from their old life of sin. So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Doing this, you will never stumble or fall away. And God will open wide the gates of heaven for you to enter into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I plan to keep on reminding you of these things - even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth. Yes, I believe I should keep on reminding you of these things as long as I live. But the Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that my days here on earth are numbered and I am soon to die. So I will work hard to make these things clear to you. I want you to remember them long after I am gone.
For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and his coming again. We have seen his majestic splendor with our own eyes. And he received honor and glory from God the Father when God's glorious, majestic voice called down from heaven, "This is my beloved Son; I am fully pleased with him." We ourselves heard the voice when we were there with him on the holy mountain.
Because of that, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. Pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a light shining in a dark place - until the day Christ appears and his brilliant light shines in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophets themselves or because they wanted to prophesy. It was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God.
JesJeJeJJjEJJJ JJThe LORD is king! Let the nations tremble! T***
Good morning. Today I am continuing with the study in Peter. There are only 2 chapters after this, so I hope you will keep studying through the end of this month to complete it. Where we go after that is up to the Lord. And I sure love the journey. I learn more each day and I hope you do as well.
Peter presumably wrote this letter to all Christians about 67 AD approximately 3 years after he wrote 1 Peter. It seems Peter was concerned that he was dying and wanted to reinforce the Gospel message and that all must adhere to it to benefit by it. He also wanted to insure everyone understood that there were false prophets and to be careful of them. Perhaps he was nearly led astray and his experience and fear of what that could have meant caused him to warn others to such an extent. So let's get started.
In his very first line he refers to himself as a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ. A slave to love, a willing heart, a beating passion to believe in and do for his master....loving, giving, caring, inspiring, ever-lasting life-giving Jesus Christ....his Lord and Savior and God. He was an Apostle....someone who sees Jesus....called by Jesus. He was embraced by him. Directed by him, instructed by him, touched by him, led by him, lived with him and ate with him, while he walked with him.
He says he is writing to all of us who share the same precious faith he has, faith given to himself and the other Christians by Jesus Christ our God and Savior who made them [and us] right with God. Do you have a 'precious faith'? If not, why not? Jesus has already given it to you to receive. Will you receive it....him?
He goes on to request that God bless you/all Christians with his special favor and wonderful peace as you/and all Christians will come to know Jesus, God and Lord, better and better. Surely if Peter is praying this for us, God will gift us with it, don't you think? I think so. The bigger question is perhaps, will you believe it enough to receive it?
'As we know Jesus better', is a great line. AS WE KNOW.....present tense.....what are you doing right now, today, every day to know Jesus better? How do you do this? Read his Word, the Scriptures given to us. Pray to him....and listen....he has much to say. We are told by Peter that, as we know Jesus better, Jesus' divine power will give us everything we need for living a godly life. "ACHHHH! I have to live a godly life?" Yes.............. He has called YOU....and me....and everyone who receives him as Lord and Savior....to receive his own glory and goodness! And by that same mighty power, he has given you, and me, and all Christians everywhere, his rich and wonderful promises. He has promised us that we will escape the decadence all around us caused by evil desires and that we will share in his divine nature. Don't tell me you don't want that....tell Satan then. IF you do want this, you had best be talking to Jesus now. Soon. Hurry. As I've said before, 'Your end time may come before THE end times", so you better consider all this NOW and make a final decision NOW. Now....as in right now. Take a minute....this page isn't going anywhere unless you click it gone. But Jesus, well, he's gonna hang around forever, so getting rid of what I have to say, isn't going to change what Peter said, or what Jesus' plan is. So think about that, too. Why would you not want to share in his divine nature?
Peter tells us more.....
"So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life.
Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. [The world could use a lot of that right now.]
A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. [Such a great and good opportunity.]
Knowing God leads to self control.
Self-control leads to patient edurance [The world REALLY needs this and the last one.]
and patient endurance leads to godliness. [The world REALLY REALLY needs this.]
Godliness leads to love for other Christians
and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone. [The world SOOOOO needs this.]
The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." [Hallelujah.]
"The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." [Yes, I'm being redundant, the world needs all of the above!]
"But those who fail to develop these virtues are blind or, at least, very shortsighted. They have already forgotten that God has cleansed them from their old life of sin." States Peter, based on what our Lord has told him.
And Jesus gives him more to share:
"So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Doing this, you will never stumble or fall away. [Thank you.....a way to stand.]
And God will open wide the gates of heaven for you to enter into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." [Amen.]
What a glorious gift it would be to be received into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ....when it is our time to be called home into his arms in heaven. So let not any of us become blind, or shortsighted. Let us never forget that we have been washed anew....cleansed....from our old life of sin. Let us CHOOSE to live a righteous life with our Lord every day, as we put one foot in front of the other and walk the walk, while we talk the talk. I'm assured, are you?
Peter....and I....plan to keep reminding you of these things - even though you already know them. We both hope you do know them, or, if you don't, or are unsure, hope you will take the time to read Scripture, so you are 'sure that you are sure' that we are giving you THE Gospel of Jesus Christ. And in reading, will indeed, not only know these things, but live them and go forth carrying them to others. As Peter expects, and I pray, once you know, 'you will be standing firm in the truth'.
Peter then tells us he was not making up clever stories about the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and his coming again. He says, "We [Jesus, Peter, James and John] have seen his majestic splendor with our own eyes. And he [Jesus] received honor and glory from God the Father when God's glorious, majestic voice called down from heaven, "This is my beloved Son; I am fully pleased with him. [Matthew 17:5b] We ourselves heard the voice when we were there with him on the holy mountain."
Can you imagine what that might have been like? I think of being in a baseball stadium, the game is due to end with the scores tied, all bases are loaded and a ball has just been hit. The stadium goes quiet. And then the announcer exclaims, "It's goin' outa the park, folks!" Pandamonium occurs with the winning team and those in the stadium supporting them because all runs will come into home. Okay, so it's a SMALL example in comparison, but I hope you get the analogy of sorts. You, too, can get to home base. Are you as excited as the team that just won, or it's supporters in accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior? What about the fact that if you work hard to unleash the miracles, that you will go to heaven and receive eternal life? Wow. I'm thrilled!!!! Just work hard and do what the Lord tells you. PROVE to him you are one of his, with your work being a gift of thanks to him showing him you are one of his, and you do believe and care.
Because of what he has done for us, because we KNOW Jesus is God's son and can be our Savior, because we KNOW God has his eye on Jesus and us, IF we work hard to unleash the miracles, we will share in his divine nature, receive the wonderful promises, and, we can be assured of salvation. We, too, can have confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. But we must "pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a light shining in a dark place - until the day Christ appears and his brilliant light shines in your hearts", according to Peter.
He goes on to tell us, "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophets themselves or because they wanted to prophesy. It was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God." I think he adds this to confirm that he is not a false prophet. He gives us a way to insure that what we are hearing from someone claiming to be a prophet can be confirmed or denied. He leads us back to the Scriptures. If what someone is telling us is indeed from God, Jesus, or Holy Spirit, we can find confirmation of such in the Scriptures. If what they say does NOT align with Scripture, then we need to move along. This goes for what I say, too. Or any other Minister, Pastor, Priest, Rabbi, etc.
Are the Scriptures going to tell your child to do the dishes specifically, if he or she is looking, after you have directed them, and they are looking for an excuse not to? Actually, it does.....it says 'honor your father and your mother'. And folks, for those of us who are adults, who may not have parents living, who would that be...? And what is the first commandment? 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. Matthew 22:37 In serving our parents, we are serving God. When we are serving one another, we are serving God, and we are giving him thanks. Let us serve God fully first and foremost. That is the greatest thanks.
So don't be shortsighted. Live for him. Apply yourself to receive the benefits of God's grace, mercy, love, and share in his divine nature. Stand firm in the truth, and open wide the gates of heaven!
Let Us Pray
Lift high the cross! God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Apostle Peter....thank you for this message! It is engraved upon my heart, that I, too, can be received into heaven...if I make every effort to apply the benefits of the promises given to my life. Thank you. Forgive me of my sins, Father God, and heal me in all the ways you will, mind, body, spirit and soul, that I may have room to love you with all my heart, my soul, and my mind. Help me be all that I can be for you, and for others that you call me to help and bring to your cross. That we may all lift high the cross of Jesus. I am so grateful for todays message to be reminded.....always. May I live a very long time yet to tell many others of how much you love them and have to give them...forgiveness of sins, eternal life, your rich and wonderful promises, sharing in your divine nature and so much more. But it's not all about what you can give us, but what we should be giving you for what you have already done and given. Given your son, given your life, given your eternity, given us His Word. Now help me share this with the world. Thank you again. I am so grateful. I love you. Amen. Lift high the cross!
Let us hear from Paul as he prays:
When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT
Scroll down to read Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving...'The Unforced Rhythms of Grace'.
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baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this:
I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Our Current Cause
It is time to reach into the community and the world around you to see wherein lies the greatest need. As you choose to focus on these areas, do so with a servant's heart. Whether the need is for children, adults, or animals, or any cause in between that will help those in need, ask God how you can best serve his needs, what path you must take, and how long you should persevere. Sometimes we are to be in the lives of others merely as stepping stones. Sometimes we are to touch those lives forever. Whatever journey you are called to take, whatever team you will be a member, know this: God is with you always...even til the end of time. He loves you, is grateful for you, and will help you along life's way, especially if you are helping others along theirs, persevering with a servant's heart.
Please accept my sincerest thanks....and God's....and may God richly bless you!
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One last thing....
Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving
'The Unforced Rhythms of Grace'
"Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: "Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You've concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that's the way you like to work."
Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. "The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father - Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I'm not keeping it to myself; I'm ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen."
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn how to live freely and lightly.
Matthew 11: 25-30
And the people said,
I now write most prayers in the position of ' I ' (first person) because most people are sitting at their computer alone, not in groups, and it allows those reading and praying to personalize the prayer as coming from them going to God. Variations may appear on holidays when families may wish to use the prayer provided.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
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