Suffering for Glory

November 21, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Posted in I Peter | 3 Comments
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If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

I Peter 4:11 (emphasis added)

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Romans 8:16-18

Would a lifetime of what we call “suffering” be worth it to see God’s glory? It’s not even close! Just a GLIMPSE would far outweigh all suffering.

Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.

Galatians 3:4

It is not vain to suffer for the Gospel. It is not vain to suffer for God’s glory.

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

I Peter 4:13

The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

I Peter 5:1

God is not so much in the replacement business as He is in the transformation business. We don’t get our suffering replaced with glory; our suffering is transformed into glory.

A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.

Matthew 12:20

Christ can take the things that seem too broken to be useful, too painful to be joyous, too unpleasant to be productive, and and He can transform them into things too wonderful to be ignored. The discomfort of pregnancy, and the excruciating agony of labor and delivery are transformed into joy at the sight of a newborn baby.

Satan hates for God to be glorified in this world, and he hates the name of Christ. I don’t know that he hates the name of Baptist or Methodist or Presbyterian or any denomination, but if you tell somebody, “Jesus loves you. He wants you to repent of your sin, and He wants to save you,” that’s when Satan will cause somebody get offended.

Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

I Peter 4:16 (emphasis added)

This is one of only three times the Word “Christian” is used in the Bible (Acts 11:26 and Acts 26:28 being the other two). The idea is that a Christian is a “little Christ” or someone “of the party of Christ.” It was first devised by pagans as a derogatory term, although true Christians would find it extremely complimentary. Over time the Devil has tried to dilute the meaning so that people think it means “somebody who goes to church” or “somebody who has a personal belief in a higher power” or “somebody with conservative political views” or “somebody who doesn’t curse or get drunk or behave promiscuously.”

There is a fiery trial coming. The trials today, for the most part, for Christians living in the comfort of 21st Century America, are just a little toasty – not raging infernos like what is coming. One day the fire will separate folks, and we’ll find out just how much people VALUE the name “Christian.” The thought of eternal fire might get folks a little motivated to “do right,” but even vipers flee from a fire (Acts 28:3).

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

I Peter 4:17-18

Fiery trials bring heat, but also light. They are good places for self-examination, and for asking, “What is causing my suffering?” Suffering for Christ is cause for rejoicing because it brings glory to God.

Sobering Up, Sobering Down, Sobering All Around

October 31, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Posted in I Peter | 3 Comments
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As Christians our attitude as we are being prepared for glory (especially in suffering) should be an attitude of expectancy. But how do we maintain this attitude? We can’t just go around looking up at the sky, hoping that Jesus will come back any second, and ignoring everything around us. We can’t be lazy, but we can’t be overly fanatical either (although, for those of us who have seen much apathy on the part of those who ought to be serving Christ zealously, it would seem something of a relief to have to cool down a hot-headed fanatic rather than trying to warm up a bunch of corpses).

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

I Peter 4:7 (emphasis added)

“Be ye therefore sober” in that verse means to keep your mind steady and clear – to “stay cool,” to “chill out.” The opposite of “sober-minded” is “mania” or “frenzy.” At least 12 times in the Bible, the exhortation or option is given to be “sober” (II Corinthians 5:13; I Thessalonians 5:6,8; I Timothy 3:2, 11; Titus 1:8, 2:2,4,6; I Peter 1:13, 4:7, 5:8).

Revelation Chapter 12 is a great chapter to study and apply, but do not base your entire Christian life on Revelation Chapter 12. Some people are so excited about proving their interpretation of end-times prophecy that it’s like they think they’re on the planning committee. We need to move from the planning committee to the welcoming committee. When is Christ coming back? When He’s good and ready (and He’s already good).

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

I Peter 4:7 (emphasis added)

And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him.

Mark 14:37-40

This may give us some insight into why the Holy Ghost used Peter to write I Peter 4:7. Like all of us, at one time he needed to learn the importance of being sober and praying.

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

I Peter 4:8

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Proverbs 10:12

Love covers sins, the way that Japheth and Shem covered Noah’s sin, although Ham wanted to turn it into a spectacle.

Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

I Peter 4:9

It is important for Christians to share the homes that God allows them to manage.

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

I Peter 4:10

Identify and use your spiritual gift(s), or, more practically, USE and identify your spiritual gift(s).

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

I Peter 4:11

Suffering, Sin, and Sobriety

October 19, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Posted in I Peter | 4 Comments
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Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

I Peter 4:1

Christ did not cease from His own sin, because He had no sin, but the principle that suffering in the flesh can bring about a cessation from sin helps us prepare for not giving in to sin when suffering comes, and it prepares us to arm ourselves against the temptation to sin that often accompanies suffering.

Suffering is not always caused by a specific sin in a direct one-to-one relationship, but, even when we see suffering as the result of sin, the Devil still often manages to trick us by using our suffering as a temptation TO sin. We need to recall Christ’s resistance against temptation when He suffered for sin that wasn’t even His own.

That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

I Peter 4:2

The will of God is perfect. Therefore, it should bring contentment, if not outright enjoyment or ecstatic pleasure. However, we’re often so anxious to get more without giving up what we already have. What would make me think God would entrust me with more spiritual blessings if I haven’t even obeyed Him in my use of the ones He’s already entrusted to me? If God has commanded me to do something, it OUGHT to be done, and if it OUGHT to be done, it CAN be done, through the power and grace of God.

For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

I Peter 4:3

When we look back at our pre-conversion days, we must not make the excuse of “just” being trapped in sin. We were not Christians on the inside, just waiting for Christ to cut the strings on the package so we could burst free. No, let’s be honest. We enjoyed sin. We wanted sin more than we wanted holiness, and, in some cases, even salvation. Now, don’t let the Devil beat you up over this and give you a false reason to be defeated. We were slaves to sin, but we weren’t totally miserable in every sense, or we wouldn’t have been so good at it. When we remember this, we won’t get so exasperated with people who meet our attempts to share the Gospel with a reply of, “Come on, join the party.”

Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

I Peter 4:4

Light is strong, but light is not always popular. A child lost in the woods, cold, scared, and hungry, rejoices to see a light and runs to it. But the barroom crowd hates the light, and they’ll likely throw a beer bottle at you for shining it in their face.

Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

I Peter 4:5

Lost people are heading toward a judgment date with the most terrible Judge of all; they don’t need us to judge them.

For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

I Peter 4:6

That’s not talking about folks who are physically dead. If they died without receiving Christ, we can’t pray enough, pay enough, or light enough candles to bring them to eternal life. It’s talking about the spiritually dead judging the living – people lost in sin causing suffering for living saints now, and not even being able to see that they will one day be judged themselves. This type of suffering, though, conforms us to the image of Christ, teaching us to be longsuffering, patient, slow to anger.

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

I Peter 4:7

If you are a Christian experiencing suffering, financial problems, or the temptation to sin right now, and it is causing you, in panic, to turn to whichever religious charlatan is offering you a quick-fix scheme, chill out. You don’t have to run around your house “pleading the blood,” doing incantations and spells around every window sill and door frame to ward off the attack of the Devil. Be sober. Gird up the loins of your mind. Get your eyes fixed on God’s glory. Stay right on the line of the Word and His will. Watch and pray. Be vigilant and militant and harsh about sin in your life. The Devil can’t beat you up unless you fall asleep on your watch.

Who Carried the Cross?

March 6, 2018 at 3:16 pm | Posted in John, Luke, Q&A | 3 Comments
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Question: John 19:16-17 says that Jesus carried His cross. HOWEVER, Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21, and Luke 23:26 say that soldiers carried cross. Which one is true?

Answer: First of all, Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21, and Luke 23:26 do not say that soldiers carried the Cross. They say that a man named Simon carried it. Jesus carried the Cross AND Simon carried it. They both did. Jesus first, and then Simon the rest of the way. Jesus in His humanity knew what it meant to be so tired and injured that He could not carry a burden that others were demanding of Him. In this respect, although He is God, He can still sympathize with us when we are forced to carry some spiritual or emotional or other burden that is too much for us. We can pass our burden to Him in faith, believing in Him, and He will take it for us without despising us for it.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 4:15

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

I Peter 5:7

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Matthew 11:28-29

Why Get More Involved?

October 30, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Posted in Q&A | 5 Comments
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Question: I’m not sure if I want to get more involved with Sunday School and church because I’m not totally comfortable with it. Before I moved here, I had a church I really liked. For my sake and my wife’s and kids’ sakes, I’m not going to commit myself until I find a place that makes me feel the way church should make me feel.

Answer: That’s a tough one. The important thing is, if you are a Christian, you need to be serving somewhere. That’s not really an optional thing in the Christian life. See I Peter 4:8-10. Ideally, you would be able to serve at a place exactly like the place where you were the happiest, but finding two identical churches is probably not a real possibility.

Maybe you can try to think of it like this: Some days you come home from work and the house is spotless. The kids are delighted to see you. They run up laughing, and hug and kiss you. Your wife is cooking your favorite meal. Her hair is perfect and she’s wearing your favorite outfit. You are ushered to your easy chair, and handed the TV clicker and a cold drink, and told to relax. But other days, you come home and the place is a wreck. Kids are crying and fighting. Your wife has a headache and she’s surly. There’s no food in sight. And somebody forgot to buy the poster board for a big school project that’s due TOMORROW. Guess who they’re expecting to do that?

In the first example, it’s a no-brainer, right? You’re glad to be home, and all is well with the world. But the second scenario is tougher. You feel like turning around and going back to the car and leaving, right? Wrong! They’re both no-brainers. Why? Because you are a dad and a husband and you are there to love and serve your family, not to be served! That’s the Bible’s opinion, not mine (Ephesians 5:25; 6:4).

See, you go to a restaurant, you get lousy service, the food stinks, it’s too expensive, you don’t feel valued as a customer, whatever, fine, you leave and don’t go back. But your home is not a restaurant. It’s where your family is. So you sacrifice and you serve and you commit yourself to be faithful, no matter what. Same with church. That’s where your spiritual family is – the family of God in Christ. Now, if you’re not saved, then you can’t be expected to serve. But if you’re saved, you’re in the family of God, and you need to be serving, not demanding (or even expecting) to BE served.

I know that there are certain perceived “perks” (if you can call them that) to hovering around the edge of a local church family – showing up just often enough not be forgotten – but not often enough or on time enough to really be depended upon to do anything difficult or sacrificial. But those perks aren’t really benefits. They are really missed opportunities to glorify and thank the Savior who poured out His blood for your soul while they cursed and mocked Him. I would encourage you to jump in with both feet when it comes to Sunday School and church involvement. Nobody will go see Jesus at the end of this life and say, “Man, I can’t believe I spent that time serving Him!” I promise, you will want to go see the King saying, “I’m glad I did” a lot more than “I wish I had.”

The Solution to the Problem of Shame in Marriage

February 16, 2012 at 11:03 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage | 8 Comments
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Last time I wrote about Adam’s and Eve’s response to the problem of shame. Now we see:

God’s Response to the Problem of Shame

And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

Genesis 3:9-11

God says, “Okay, admit what you’ve done – we both know about it. Then we’ll talk about whose lies you believed.”

Practical help #1: When your spouse has wronged you, make sure he or she knows you are open to honest confession and you are ready to forgive – before you start getting into the cause (whose fault it was, what was the motivation, etc.)

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

I Peter 4:8 (emphasis added)

Pursue the opportunity for your spouse to ask for forgiveness. Banish the idea of, “He/She is gonna have to come to me first!”

Practical help #2: Stay in the Bible. Almost all sins are the result of believing lies, and the Bible may be the only truth you hear all day.

The practical response of Adam and Eve to the problem of shame was a sinful attempt at hypocrisy – portraying themselves as something they no longer were: less shameful. The practical response of God to the problem of shame was:

Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

Genesis 3:21

The purpose of clothing after the Fall was to be a reminder that we are not what we once were. In marriage it is important to remember that my spouse is a fallen sinner – and it is even more important to remember that I am a fallen sinner.

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Proverbs 10:12

Love does not pretend there are no sins. Love deals with sin in reality – by recognizing that sin needs a God-ordained covering. Married couples in a redeemed, Christ-honoring covenant should not revert back to the state of physical nakedness which Adam and Eve enjoyed before the fall – at least not in public. That would make a mockery of God’s prescription for depicting our reality. That would be the equivalent of saying, “My spouse is supposed to forgive me, and I’m wicked, so I might as well let my wickedness all hang out.” What sort of grace-recipient flaunts evil in the face of the grace-giver?

Another principle we learn from the way God dealt with the nakedness of Adam and Eve after the Fall is how He covered them. He did it with a covering that He Himself provided. It was a covering that was bloody, so that it pointed to the covering of righteousness which would one day be provided by Jesus Christ the Righteous. God’s response corrected their response. It pointed to their ultimate redemption. It allowed the correction of the broken covenant, so that, in Christian marriage, we can once again be naked and unashamed.

Clothing should not draw attention to what it is meant to cover.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Isaiah 52:7

Feet are beautiful when they go to people who need to hear the Good News. Feet are beautiful in marriage when they are the feet of husbands and wives walking toward each other, or alongside each other in God’s path.

She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

Proverbs 31:20

Hands are beautiful when they are comforting, lifting up the hurting, extending in fellowship, raising up to God, building God’s kingdom, or giving to the poor. Hands are beautiful in a marriage when they caress, when they are held, when they are carrying the other spouse’s burden.

And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.

Psalm 104:15

Faces are beautiful when they are shining with God’s love, and when they are expressing the joy of His Spirit. Faces are beautiful in a marriage when they are beaming into one another, when they light up at the sight of one another, and when they are so familiar that they are a picture of faithfulness.

Most of my body ought to be covered up – God invented clothing as a reminder of who I am and of what He’s forgiven me. The parts of my body which are normally uncovered – my feet, hands, and face – are to show that I gladly serve the One Who has forgiven me.

Regaining What Was Lost in Marriage

January 9, 2012 at 11:17 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage | 10 Comments
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Genesis Chapter 2 ends with a very strange cliffhanger:

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Genesis 2:25

In our previous lesson on marriage we saw that there was no shame in Adam and Eve concerning their bodies because they had not yet sinned. This, though, is still begging the question in a sense. If there was no reason for them to be ashamed, why does the Bible make a point of saying that they were not ashamed? The answer is: Because, even if their bodies were “perfect,” being naked is still dangerous unless there is sinlessness. Adam and Eve had the ability to use words. They had the ability to exercise trust. They had desires. We can say these same things about ourselves, but the difference is, for Adam and Eve before the Fall, all of these were based on their relationship to God, and specifically their covenant with God.

The covenant was God saying that He would give them everything good and that He would be with them. They were to enjoy and tend everything that He gave them except for that one tree: the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam’s and Eve’s part of the covenant was to leave that tree alone. We know that they did not do that.

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Genesis 3:5

This was Satan’s lie, but what made it an effective lie was that there was some partial truth in it. Adam and Eve really would “know” good and evil if they ate from the tree. What Satan intentionally left out was that Adam and Eve weren’t supposed to “know” good and evil. They were only supposed to know good. When they ate, they lost their innocence.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Genesis 3:6

The fruit of the forbidden tree did not make them “wise.” It gave them “knowledge.” Knowledge without wisdom is dangerous. In addition to losing their innocence, they lost their protection from temptation.

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Genesis 3:7

They also lost their lack of shame and their freedom.

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

Genesis 3:8

They lost:

1. Their innocence
2. Their protection from temptation
3. Their lack of shame
4. Their freedom
5. Their minds! (Trying to hide from God?!)

In other words, they lost their covenant.

Nakedness refers to more than just the lack of material covering – the lack of clothes. It refers to the freedom to enjoy your spouse without the danger of what a sinful person can do to you when you trust. Eve now had the ability to use her words to demean. She had proven a desire to be independent from God. She had thought of herself first. When we break covenant with God, we are not trustworthy to be in a covenant with someone else. When we experience a broken covenant we no longer have the assurance that love will cover sin.

This is why agape love in a marriage is the only hope for recovering a semblance of the “naked and unashamed” condition which Adam and Eve enjoyed in the Garden of Eden. That is very important because the “naked and unashamed” condition glorified God.

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

I Peter 4:8 (emphasis added)

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Proverbs 10:12 (emphasis added)

He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

Proverbs 17:9 (emphasis added)

Love is the remedy for shame-producing sin. I will cover my spouse’s sin with my love if I truly love (agape) her. Additionally, though, I must remember that I myself am a fallen sinner.

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

Proverbs 28:13

My response to my own sin must be to confess it, forsake it, and ask for mercy.

More Strange Weapons: A Stone (God’s Will Is Functional)

June 10, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Posted in Biblical friendship, Strange Weapons | 3 Comments
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In a previous lesson we saw that the weapon of a millstone reminds us that God’s will is like a weapon in spiritual warfare in that stones are foundational.

This time we will see that stones are also functional. Stones do a variety of jobs. In Bible times they not only made up the buildings, they were sometimes the tools for building. Sometimes they were also monuments for remembering. Other times they were weapons for throwing. God’s sovereign will is the ultimate in functionality. It not only creates or allows all circumstances, but it functions and operates in all circumstances.

Under the heading that “Stones are Functional” I want to use the memory device “CPR:”

Career: When you are building a career, will you trust God’s will, and seek out a “vocation” (a calling from God)?

Priorities: When you are considering your priorities, will you trust God’s will and let Him order your priorities and arrange your time? His Word settles the “first things.”

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Matthew 6:33

Things that are “added” are things that come “later.”

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Revelation 2:5

The best place to get back into God’s will is the place you got out. Do the “first works.” The freedom we have in the Spirit is not freedom to do what we want. Relaxation is not true freedom. True freedom is freedom from the selfishness of sin, and it is the freedom to obey God. The good works that God has ordained for us to do are prioritized by His sovereign will.

Relationships: When you are building your relationships, will you trust God’s will and let Him pick your friends? God has appointed your spouse to be your special friend over and above other people in your life. Beyond that, He has sovereignly appointed who your neighbors happen to be, who your acquaintances happen to be, and even who your fellow church members happen to be. These people are in your life for a reason – they are not “random.” Trust God in your relationships – you need this weapon on your side in spiritual warfare.

The strange weapon of God’s sovereign will can be found in every locality and in every situation, because, in spiritual warfare, the place where you are subject to being attacked is everywhere: at home, at church, on your job, in your relationships, in Bible study, in prayer, in Christian service.

Stones are wonderful weapons because of their functionality. They can roll down mountains and crush cities, or they can fit in your pocket. There is nowhere you will not be able to see the weapon of God’s will at work in the battle.

Stones are foundational, stones are functional, and stones are used for friction.

The weapon used by the woman in the tower to kill Abimelech was a millstone. A millstone is a large stone placed on top of another stone. These stones are usually round, and they are used to grind against each other and smash into powder or “flour” the kernels of different kinds of grain (e.g., wheat or corn) that are fed between them. A millstone works by grinding and crushing, and it produces friction. Do not think that God’s will is not going to involve you in a great deal of friction.

John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

Luke 3:16 (emphasis added)

Notice that this verse says “and” with fire, not “in” fire. It is speaking of the heat of persecution not a “fiery” emotional manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

I Peter 4:12

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Malachi 3:3

Christ the Lord – the Great Refiner – the Great Purifier of the Church – uses heat – friction – to purge impurities out of the hearts and lives of His people. If you have been a Christian for very long, then God’s sovereign will has sent circumstances into your life, sickness into your life, suffering into your life, even people into your life – to grind on you – to scrape away the rough edges and the impurities, so that you may be more conformed to the image of Christ.

The millstone in Judges Chapter 9 – the millstone that killed Abimelech – was the perfect weapon for the time and place of its use. It crushed Abimelech and cost him his life, his reputation, and his would-be kingdom. God’s will is perfect. Will you love it and trust it? Or will you try to resist it and be miserable? It is a weapon which we observe, not a weapon which we yield. The way to take advantage of this weapon is to stay close to God.

The Lamb Cows the Lion

June 28, 2010 at 11:21 am | Posted in Daniel | 3 Comments
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The Medes and the Persians diverted the stream of the Euphrates River, and went underneath the supposedly impenetrable walls of Babylon.

Daniel, who had been brought to Babylon as a teenaged boy, and had served under Nebuchadnezzar, now – in his 80s – found himself serving under a pagan king: Darius. How did Daniel do so well and gain the trust of all these pagan kings and rulers?

Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

Daniel 6:3

He had more than just exceptional qualities – he had an excellent spirit – like Elijah with Elisha in II Kings 2:9. Like Elijah, Daniel had a spirit that was pleasing to God. Therefore, Daniel was trusted for his honesty. Those who wanted to keep stealing schemed against him.

Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.

Daniel 6:4

They used flattery and appealed to the king’s pride to get him to sign a decree without thinking about it. The decree said that anyone who prayed to anyone other than the king would be thrown into the lions’ den.

Daniel and his friends had faith in times of great crisis because they practiced their faith in the ordinary, everyday things. Reading my Bible, praying, going to church – these things build strength into my faith.

To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

I Thessalonians 3:13

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

Luke 16:10

The king was mad at himself when he realized how he had been tricked.

Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him.

Daniel 6:14

How could this pagan king have such fond feelings for Daniel? Daniel had shown charity to him.

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

I Peter 4:8

Daniel was delivered and he gave God the glory.

My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

Daniel 6:22

The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

Isaiah 65:25

Satan, who is compared to a lion, can be controlled and made meek by the Lamb of God.

Daniel’s faith even caused the king to honor Daniel’s God and proclaim His power.

I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

Daniel 6:26-27

Eternal Security Does Not Have an Expiration Date

January 22, 2010 at 9:45 am | Posted in Eternity, I Peter | 9 Comments
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We go to great lengths to make food last longer. We put preservatives, such as salt, in it. We refrigerate or even freeze it. We wrap it in foil. We seal it up tight in a Zip-Lock bag. Ultimately, however, food, unless completely consumed, is going to spoil. In common vernacular, it just won’t “keep.”

Thankfully, though, we serve a Lord Who is mightier, stronger, and more dependable than the tightest Zip-Lock bag and the coldest deep freeze. For all those who come to Christ Jesus, and are washed by His blood, His power saves us, and His power “keeps” us.

Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

I Peter 1:5

Jesus Christ redeemed born-again believers from the worst source of corruption of all time: sin. He did this by taking on the sins of all His people in His body, and bearing those sins on the Cross of Calvary.

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

I Peter 2:24

Those sins included not just sins which had been committed up until that time, but sins which were committed since then, and even sins being committed today.

God’s power over sin is such that forgiven sinners may never be rejected of God. They will never be eternally “spoiled” by sin. Therefore, we must remember to take advantage of our access to this power, and to remember that we are part of God’s family, and to therefore live victoriously over sin in our own lives first.

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

I Peter 4:17

It is a great privilege to be “kept” by God’s power. Let us not abuse our position by acting “spoiled.”


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