Thursday, 25 May 2017
THE WORLD SYSTEM--FEEDING MANKIND’S INTERNAL FIRE
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Ephesians 6: 12

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

What do we make of the apostle Paul’s statement?  Is there a spiritual battle going on?  Do we even believe in a spiritual dimension to reality?  I think many when many of us consider this we look at each other:  wink, wink, chuckle, chuckle and conclude with “uh huh, yeah right.”  And then we go off in the same direction, under the impression that like the author of INVICTUS, we are the captains of our own ship, setting our own course.  But here are a few things that we might want to consider: people, countries, societies, etc, all seem to end up doing the same thing; in fact, it would appear that the lifespan for all nations or empires seems to be about several hundred years; in the end, they all end the same way; they die from internal rot.  Governments may start out with lofty and superficial benign intentions; but sooner or later they become corrupt; they develop elite(?) groups who use the system to acquire power and wealth for themselves.  Societies become prosperous; they become decadent; and this decadence and a slide into immorality brings them down.  There is something within societies, within governments which seem to foster this development. 

This is where we need to think about Paul’s message in the sixth chapter of Ephesians.  Consider these propositions: first, we are incurably sick with something that manifests in an insatiable desire to indulge in what are known as “lusts.”  Now this refers to sex, to greed, to our desire to dominate others, to get ahead at the expense of our brothers, to cheat and steal to get what we think we WANT, to hurt others simply because we can; we are driven.  But also consider that the world system seems to feed what is driving us; it would seem as if its main function is to keep on feeding mankind’s internal fire.  Societies, i.e. governments ultimately develop structures that basically foster and maintain the temptations that cause us to sin, that feed our inner drive for self-destruction.  Is this true?  Well, think about the developments within our own country.  Our government has created and maintained cash streams to support abortion, homosexuality, and pornography; we have created a legal system that more often than not protects the criminal.  But so what’s the big deal?  Well, all these structures do is “give the people what they want.”  People want pornography; they want to gamble; they want to use drugs; they don’t want to take care of children; they don’t want to work for a living; they don’t want to have to keep their word—ALL THEY WANT TO DO--IS WHAT THEY WANT TO DO!  SO LET’S GIV’EM WHAT THEY WANT—even though the end result is destruction. 

So here’s another question: what is driving this; or maybe we should ask—WHO is driving this train?  Now here is where things may get a little hinky for some.  Now if we look into the scriptures, specifically in the book of Genesis, we come to understand how mankind acquired this internal destructive corruption; we are also told that a group of beings, the sons of GOD, the BENE HA ELOHIM, came into our reality to not only further corrupt mankind, but to introduce things which would help us destroy ourselves.  Ever wonder, how where we got the ideas to perform abortions, to make liquor, to come up with weapons to kill others?  Anyway, we are told in the sixth chapter of Genesis that the BENE HA ELOHIM do such a good of corrupting mankind and introducing him to the implements of self-destruction, that things became so bad, so violent, that GOD decided to use a world-wide flood to do a reset of humanity and all creation. 

But the story goes on.  After a world-wide flood in which only a remnant of the human race and the animal kingdom survive, GOD once again instructs the survivors, Noah and family and the surviving members of the wild kingdom, to spread out and increase in number.  GOD does this because He knows that mankind still has this internal problem; essentially all the thoughts of his mind, his heart are basically bad; and if left in one spot, they will predictably self-destruct.  But mankind doesn’t listen to the creator; essentially Noah’s descendants move in mass to the plains of Shinar; they don’t spread out and basically they decide to build a tower or something that will allow them to “make a name” for themselves.

 Now this is strange at first.  What are they trying to do, build a bigger REPUTATION?  Who cares?  No, that wouldn’t make sense.  So what are they up to?  Once again, mankind is throwing in its lot with the fallen one, who told their progenitors, Adam and Eve, that “you can be all that you want to be; YOU can determine your own reality.”  So here they are again, “yeah, yeah, yeah, we are going to be gods; we are going to decide what we are going to be; we are going to determine our own reality.”  Mankind has effectively pledged its loyalty to the fallen one and his cohort of followers, the Bene Ha Elohim.  But GOD knows that this is going to be a disaster, so He confounds their language and forces their dispersal. 

Then He does something else.  Okay, let’s see how this cosmic struggle plays out.  You want to follow the fallen one and his underlings; you don’t want to be my children, have it your way.  GOD turns mankind over to the ones that they have chosen to follow and He picks one man to creat a new nation that will be “HIS PORTION.”

Deuteronomy 32:5-9

5 They have dealt corruptly with him; they are no longer his children because they are blemished; they are a crooked and twisted generation. 6 Do you thus repay the LORD, you foolish and senseless people? Is not he your father, who created you, who made you and established you? 7 Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you. 8 WHEN THE MOST HIGH GAVE TO THE NATIONS THEIR INHERITANCE, WHEN HE DIVIDED MANKIND, HE FIXED THE BORDERS OF THE PEOPLES ACCORDING TO THE NUMBER OF THE SONS OF GOD. 9 BUT THE LORD'S PORTION IS HIS PEOPLE, JACOB HIS ALLOTTED HERITAGE. 10 "He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.

So now mankind is now being ruled by the beings that we have chosen in our rebellion; now the fallen one and his followers, the Bene Ha Elohim, have a chance to “show their stuff.” 

So how are they doing?  Well, the only thing that they have succeeded in doing, is to create societal structures, governmental structures that only foster the destruction of mankind; they have only managed to create entities that self-destruct within a few years; and GOD, the Creator, GOD our Father—is not pleased.

Psalm 82

1 God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: 2 "How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah 3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." 5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. 6 I said, "You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; 7 nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince." 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!

GOD Almighty, who is outside of time, has already judged this situation, put the hammer down on these renegade entities.  They have not been for mankind; they have actually been for the worst that mankind has produced.  I once heard a celebrity on a reality show talk about what his mission in the world was:  “to inspire the strong.”  The current spiritual entities in charge of our world and those that follow them, are not into justice, not into mercy, don’t care about the weak, could care less about those who are afflicted, who are needy; that’s not their focus.  But GOD the Father, Yahweh, looks at them and essentially describes them as without knowledge, essentially flopping around in the dark, without understanding how things, how reality works;  all they have done is screw up the world.  GOD ends His judgment of the fallen one and his followers with basically, the following statement: I made you and I gave you life and like the men that you tried to destroy, to cause to die—you too will die.  The psalm ends with this plea:  “LORD DO WHAT YOU SAID AND TAKE US BACK INTO YOUR FAMILY!”

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Posted on 05/25/2017 12:37 PM by LarryG
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Wednesday, 24 May 2017
Conclusion to 1 Peter
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(Taken from David Guzik Commentary on the Bible, Studylight.org)

(1 Peter 5:12-14) .

By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand. She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son. Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

By Silvanus . . . I have written to you: This portion was probably written by Peter’s own hand, after he (according to the custom of the day) had dictated the bulk of the letter to Silvanus. This man Silvanus is probably the same one known as Silas in many of Paul’s letters.

This is the true grace of God in which you stand: Peter sums up his message as an exhortation to understand and recognize the true grace of God in which you stand. We must understand not only what God’s grace is, but that grace is our place of present standing before Him.

She who is in Babylon . . . greets you: She probably refers to the church, which in Greek is in the feminine. Peter apparently writes from Babylon. This may be the literal city of Babylon (which still existed in Peter’s day), or it may be a symbolic way of referring to either Rome or Jerusalem. These were two cities that in Peter’s day were famous for their wickedness and spiritual rebellion, just like ancient Babylon. In any regard, this is one church greeting another.

So does Mark my son: This verse connects Mark with Peter, apparently the same Mark of Acts 12:12Acts 12:25Acts 15:37-39. When the style and perspective of the Gospel of Mark are taken into account, many to believe that Peter was Mark’s primary source of information for his gospel.

Greet one another with a kiss of love: Peter concludes with a command to greet and display God’s love to one another, and by pronouncing a blessing of peace. These two things - love for each other and peace - are especially necessary for those who suffer and live in dangerous times.

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Posted on 05/24/2017 4:27 PM by LarryG
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Tuesday, 23 May 2017
A prayer for their spiritual strengthening
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(Taken from David Guzik Commentary on the Bible, Studylight.org)

(1 Peter 5:10-11) .

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

May the God of all grace . . . perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you: Peter, knowing the suffering and danger Christians face, can only conclude with prayer. He asks God to do His work of perfecting, establishing, strengthening, and settling.

These things are God’s work in us and through us. Peter personally knew the futility of trying to face suffering and danger in one’s own strength. His own failure taught him the need for constant reliance on God’s work in our lives, so he prays for his dear Christian friends.

After you have suffered a while: We almost want to ask Peter, “Why did you say that?” But the truth remains. We are only called . . . to His eternal glory . . . after you have suffered a while. We wish we were called to His eternal glory on the “no suffering” plan. But God uses suffering to perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle us.

To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever: The God who can do this great work in our lives is worthy of our praise!

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Posted on 05/23/2017 4:22 PM by LarryG
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Monday, 22 May 2017
Be watchful for the devil
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(The following is taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE, Studylight.org)

(1 Peter 5:8-9) .

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

Your adversary the devil walks about: We must remain clear-headed (sober) and watchful (vigilant), because Satan has not yet been bound and restrained for 1,000 years as Revelation 20:1-2 says he will be. At the present time, the devil walks about.

Like a roaring lion: For Christians, Satan is a lion who may roar but who has been de-fanged at the cross (Colossians 2:15). Yet the sound of his roar - his deceptive lies - are still potent and he has the power to devour souls and rob Christians of effectiveness.

Resist him, steadfast in the faith: The secret of spiritual warfare is simple, steadfast, resistance. As we are steadfast in the faith, we resist the devil lies and threats and intimidation.

Significantly, Peter doesn’t tell us to cast demons out of other Christians. He simply challenges individual Christians to deal with Satan as a conquered foe who can and must be personally resisted.

Resist comes from two Greek words: stand and against. Peter tells us to stand against the devil. Satan can be set running by the resistance of the lowliest believer who comes in the authority of what Jesus did on the cross.

Knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world: We also take comfort in knowing that we are never alone in our spiritual warfare. Our brothers and sisters in Jesus have fought, and are fighting, the same battles.

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Posted on 05/22/2017 4:12 PM by LarryG
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Sunday, 21 May 2017
A promise for the humble.
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(The following is taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE, Studylight.org)

(1 Peter 5:5-7)

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Likewise you younger people: Peter begins this word of humility to you younger people, in contrast to the elders he has just addressed. But he soon realizes that it is of application to all of you. This word to be submissive to one another and be clothed with humility applies to everyone, but perhaps especially to the young.

Clothed with humility: Humility is demonstrated by submission. It is the ability to cheerfully put away our own agenda for God’s, even if God’s agenda is expressed through another person.

Be clothed with humility: “Be clothed” translates a rare word that refers to a slave putting on an apron before serving, even as Jesus did before washing the disciple’s feet (John 13:4).

For “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Humility is essential to our relationship with God. If we want to walk in God’s grace (His unmerited favor) then we must lay aside our pride and be humble - not only to Him but also to one another.

Grace and pride are eternal enemies. Pride demands that God bless me in light of what I think I deserve. Grace will only deal with me on the basis what is in God (love), not on the basis of anything in me.

“Pride is one of the most detestable of sins; yet does it find lodgment in earnest souls, though we often speak of it by some lighter name. We call it - independence, self-reliance. We do not always discern it in the hurt feeling, which retires into itself, and nurses its sorrows in a sulk . . . We are proud of our humility, vain of our meekness; and, putting on the saintliest look, we wonder whether all around are not admiring us for our lowliness.” (Meyer)

That He may exalt you in due time: If God has us in a humble place at the present time, we must submit to God’s plan. He knows the due time to exalt us, though we often think we know that time better than God does.

Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you: True humility is shown by our ability to cast our care upon God. It is proud presumption to take things into our own worry and care about things that God has promised to take care of (Matthew 5:31-34).

Sometimes we need to call worry and inappropriate care exactly what it is: pride and unbelief, and a desire to usurp God’s place as our providing, caring Father.

We often judge the parents by the children. When a child of God is full of worry and fear, doesn’t the world have reason to believe that their Father in heaven doesn’t care for them? Our worry and fear reflects poorly - in an unfair way - upon God.

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Posted on 05/21/2017 4:06 PM by LarryG
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Saturday, 20 May 2017
The reward for leaders in the church
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(The following is taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE, Studylight.org)

 (1 Peter 5:4) .

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

When the Chief Shepherd appears: Peter reminds shepherds in the church that they will answer one day to their Chief Shepherd, who will want to know what they did with His flock!

It is important for shepherds - pastors - to realize that they lead Jesus’ sheep. He is the Shepherd, He is the Overseer (1 Peter 2:25). In this sense, the Christian shepherd doesn’t work for the sheep, he works for the Chief Shepherd.

You will receive a crown of glory: Faithful shepherds are promised a crown of glory, but not like the crown of leaves given to ancient Olympic champions. This crown will not fade away.

Crowns are not only for shepherds, but for everyone who was faithful to Jesus and who did what He called them to do (1 Corinthians 9:252 Timothy 4:8James 1:12).

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Posted on 05/20/2017 3:57 PM by LarryG
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Friday, 19 May 2017
What leaders in the church must do.
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(The following is taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE, Studylight.org)

 (1 Peter 5:2-3)

Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;

Peter seems to be remembering Jesus’ three-part commission to him in John 21:15-17. In that passage, Jesus told Peter to show his love for Jesus by feeding and tending Jesus’ sheep.

How does a spiritual shepherd do his job? The first job is to feed the sheep. Jesus emphasized this to Peter in John 21:15-17. Another aspect of the job is to tend the sheep, which means protecting, guiding, nurturing, and caring for the sheep.

The most important “tool” to shepherd the flock of God is a heart like Jesus’, that is willing to give one’s life for the sheep, and who genuinely cares about and is interested in them (John 10:11-14).

Serving as overseers: For Peter, the job of being a shepherd can also be understood as being an overseer. This word for leadership comes to the church from Greek culture, and it means someone who watches over, a manager, or a supervisor (Acts 20:281 Timothy 3:1-2Titus 1:7).

Not by compulsion but willingly: Shepherds should not do their job by compulsion, as if they were being forced into a task they really hated. Instead, they should serve God and His people willingly, from a heart that loves sheep and wants to serve.

“None of God’s soldiers are mercenaries or pressed men: they are all volunteers. We must have a shepherd’s heart if we would do a shepherd’s work.” (Meyer)

Not for dishonest gain but eagerly: Shepherds should not do their job for dishonest gain. The gain is dishonest because it was their motive for serving as shepherds. Instead, they should serve eagerly, willing to serve apart from financial compensation.

Nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock: Shepherds should not do their job as lords, because the sheep do not belong to them. The sheep are entrusted to them. Instead, shepherds are to serve by being examples, not dictators.

The sobering fact is that pastors are examples to the flock, whether they intend to be or not. It is interesting to see how a congregation takes on the personality of its pastor in good ways and bad ways.

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Posted on 05/19/2017 3:49 PM by LarryG
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Thursday, 18 May 2017
A call to elders
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(The following is taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE, Studylight.org)

(1 Peter 5:1) .

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

The elders who are among you I exhort: Peter will give a word of exhortation to the elders who are among the Christians reading this letter. These elders have special responsibilities that Peter will address.

The idea of the elder came into church life from Jewish culture (Exodus 3:16Exodus 12:21Exodus 19:7). The word “elder” simply speaks of the maturity and wisdom that an older person should have, making them qualified for leadership. In its application, it is more about wisdom and maturity than age.

It was the practice of Paul and Barnabas to appoint elders in the churches they had founded (Acts 14:23). There was also the development of the office of pastor, who was essentially a teaching elder (1 Timothy 5:17) who appointed and guided elders and other leaders (1 Timothy 3:1-132 Timothy 2:2Titus 1:5-9).

I who am a fellow elder: Peter is qualified to speak because he is a fellow elder. Though Peter was clearly the prominent disciple among the twelve, he claims no special privilege or position, such as the “Pope” of the early church. Instead, Peter sees himself only as one fellow elder among all the elders in the church.

A witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Peter is qualified to speak because he is a witness of Jesus’ sufferings, when he saw Jesus’ torture and crucifixion, and he was a partaker of Jesus’ glory, probably when he saw Jesus’ transfiguration.

Peter wrote about suffering and glory in the Christian life (1 Peter 4:12-13). Because Peter saw both suffering and glory in the life of Jesus, he can speak with the authority of an eyewitness.

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Posted on 05/18/2017 3:42 PM by LarryG
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Wednesday, 17 May 2017
Committing your soul to God in the midst of suffering.
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(The following is taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE, Studylight.org)

(1 Peter 4:17-19)

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God: In the context of suffering, Peter tells us that judgment begins at the house of God. God uses suffering as a judgment (in a positive, purifying sense) for Christians (the house of God) now.

Now is our time of fiery trial (1 Peter 4:12); the ungodly will have their fire later. The fire we endure now purifies us; the fire the ungodly will endure will punish them.

We must always remember that there is never any punishment from God for us in our sufferings, only purification. For the Christian, the issue of punishment was settled once and for all at the cross, where Jesus endured all the punishment the Christian could ever face from God.

The same fire that consumes straw will purify gold. The fire is the same, but its purpose in application is different, and its effect is different upon the straw and the gold. Even so, Christians do suffer some of the same things the ungodly do, yet the purpose of God is different, and the effect is different.

Christians can rejoice that the sufferings they face in this life are the worst they will ever face, throughout all eternity. We have seen the worst; those who reject Jesus Christ have seen the best of life their eternal existence will ever see.

 Those who suffer according to the will of God: Peter again draws a distinction between those who suffer according to the will of God and those who suffer otherwise. Not all suffering is the will of God.

Commit their souls to Him: Commit is a technical word used for leaving money on deposit with a trusted friend. Such a trust was regarded as one of the most sacred things in life, and the friend was bound by all honor to return the money intact. It is the very word Jesus used when He said, Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit. (Luke 23:46)

So when Christians commit their souls to Him, they leave their souls in a safe place. God is a faithful Creator, and we can give ourselves to Him as pliable clay in His hands.

Faithful Creator: So much of the agony we put ourselves through in times of trial and suffering has to do with our disregard of God’s faithfulness, or of His place as Creator. He is our sovereign Creator, with the right to do with us as He pleases. Yet He is faithful, and will only do what is ultimately best for us.

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Posted on 05/17/2017 3:32 PM by LarryG
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Tuesday, 16 May 2017
The difference between suffering as a Christian and suffering as an evildoer.
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(The following is taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE, Studylight.org)

(1 Peter 4:14-16)

If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

If you are reproached for the name of Christ: Suffering for the name of Christ is a blessing, because it shows that we really are following Jesus, and that we suffer because we are identified with Him.

Peter, as much as anyone, would recognize that such times rarely are felt as a blessing at the moment, and that such times only feel like agony. Yet God knows how to bring blessing out of suffering and weakness.

On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified: We expect the world to blaspheme Jesus. But He should always be glorified among Christians.

Let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody: Suffering as an evildoer is deserved and brings shame to the name of Jesus. Peter recognizes that not all suffering that Christians experience is suffering in the name of Jesus.

We understand when Peter writes about the suffering that might come to the murderer, the thief, or the evildoer. Yet we shouldn’t be surprised that he also includes the busybody in other people’s matters. Such people do suffer a lot of grief and pain, but not for the sake of Jesus!

If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed: Suffering as a Christian is nothing to be ashamed about, even through the world may despise the suffering Christian. Instead, we should glorify God in these matters.

We don’t glorify God for suffering. But we do glorify Him in suffering, and we glorify Him for what He will accomplish in us and through us with the suffering.

As a Christian: “The word Christian is found in the New Testament only here and at Acts 11:26Acts 26:28; it means ‘follower of Christ’ - not ‘little Christ’, as some popular explanations claim.” (Grudem)

Christians were first known as “disciples,” “believers,” “the Lord’s disciples,” or “those who belonged to the Way” before they were known as Christians, first at Acts 11:26.

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Posted on 05/16/2017 3:25 PM by LarryG
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Monday, 15 May 2017
Enduring trials with the right attitude
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(The following is taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE, Studylight.org)

(1 Peter 4:12-13) .

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

Concerning the fiery trial which is to try you: Instead of thinking of trials (even fiery trials) as strange occurrences, we see them as ways to partake of Christ’s sufferings. And if we partake of His sufferings, we will also partake of His glory and joy.

Peter once told Jesus to avoid the suffering of the cross (Mark 8:32-33). “Once it seemed strange to the Apostle Peter that his Master should think of suffering. Now he thinks it strange that He could have imagined anything else.” (Meyer)

Partake of Christ’s sufferings: We can only partake of Jesus’ sufferings because He partook of our humanity and sufferings. He became a man and suffered so that our suffering wouldn’t be meaningless. It is good to share anything with Jesus, even His suffering.

Rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy: Our tendency is to embrace the glory and the joy, and to avoid any sharing of Jesus’ suffering. Or, we morbidly fixate on the suffering and forget that it is but a necessary prelude to the glory and joy.

We should never deny the place of suffering in building godliness in the Christian life. Though there is much needless pain we bear through lack of knowledge or faith, there is also necessary suffering. If suffering was a suitable tool to teach Jesus (Hebrews 5:8), it is a suitable tool to teach His servants.

 

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Posted on 05/15/2017 3:19 PM by LarryG
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Sunday, 14 May 2017
In the last days, Christians should live with an attitude of love.
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(The following is taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE, Studylight.org)

(1 Peter 4:8-11)

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Above all things have fervent love for one another: If these are the last days, how much more important is it to love those you are going to spend eternity with? In light of eternity, we must have fervent love for one another.

For love will cover a multitude of sins: Love does cover a multitude of sins, both the sins of the one loving and the sins of the one who is being loved.

“Where love abounds in a fellowship of Christians, many small offences, and even some large ones, are readily overlooked and forgotten. But where love is lacking, every word is viewed with suspicion, every action is liable to misunderstanding, and conflicts about - to Satan’s perverse delight.” (Grudem)

Be hospitable to one another without grumbling: Love will show itself in hospitality. Christians should often open their homes to others and doing it all without grumbling.

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another: Love will show itself as we give to the church family what God has given us as gifts. As we do so, we are good stewards of the many-faceted (manifold) grace of God given to us.

 

 

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Posted on 05/14/2017 3:11 PM by LarryG
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Saturday, 13 May 2017
In the last days, Christians should live with an attitude of serious prayer.
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(The following is taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE, Studylight.org)

(1 Peter 4:7)

But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.

The end of all things is at hand: If we really believe that we live in the last days, it is all the more appropriate that we give ourselves to prayer (therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers).

Many Christians who believe that Jesus is coming soon based on prophecy charts and political events fail to apply that belief the proper way. They fail to applying themselves to more diligent prayer.

Therefore be serious . . . in your prayers: We must give ourselves to serious prayer. As we see the weight of eternity rushing towards us, we dare not take the need for prayer lightly.

Therefore be . . . watchful in your prayers: We must give ourselves to watchful prayer, primarily having our hearts and minds watching and ready for the return of Jesus Christ. But this also means watching ourselves and watching this world, measuring our readiness for Jesus’ coming.

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Posted on 05/13/2017 3:07 PM by LarryG
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Friday, 12 May 2017
Christian Attitude of Wisdom (Continued)
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(The following is taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE, Studylight.org)

(1 Peter 4:3-6) In the last days, Christians should live with an attitude of wisdom.

For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles; when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

Lewdness means to live without any sense of moral restraint, especially in regard to sexual immorality and violence. When we look at this list (lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries), we see just how little fallen man has progressed in the last 2,000 years.

The magnitude of their foolishness will be displayed on they day when they will give an account to Him who is ready to judge. Even if one seems to live the “good life” living by the world’s rules, their life will be a waste in the measure of eternity.

For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead: Peter also says that because of this eternal judgment the gospel was preached to the dead. The righteous dead know, and live in constant awareness of, the reality of eternity - and are rewarded by this understanding as they live according to God in the spirit.

Peter has already told us that Jesus preached to the spirits in prison, preaching a message of judgment (1 Peter 3:19). Apparently during this same time, Jesus also preached a message of salvation to the faithful dead in Abraham’s Bosom (Luke 16:22) who anticipated the work of the Messiah for them.

This preaching to those who are dead was not the offer of a second chance, but the completion of the salvation of those who had been faithful to God under their first chance.

In doing this, Jesus fulfilled the promised that He would lead captivity captive (Psalms 66:18Ephesians 4:8) and would proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound (Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18).

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Posted on 05/12/2017 3:01 PM by LarryG
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Thursday, 11 May 2017
In the last days, Christians should live with an attitude of wisdom.
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(The following is taken from DAVID GUZIK COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE, Studylight.org)

(1 Peter 4:3-6)

For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles; when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles: Peter realizes we all spent enough time living like the world. Now we are called to live like Christians. It is a profound, and foolish, waste of time for Christians to live like the world, and we must simply stop being double-minded and start living as Christians.

They think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation: When the world looks at our godly living, they think it strange that we do not follow them in their flood of dissipation (wastefulness). If life lived after the flesh is anything, it is a waste.

Speaking evil of you: When we don’t participate in the sin around us, we convict those who practice their sin, and they don’t like that - so they speak evil of us.

“It does not matter how your good deeds are received by men. If you are like God, you will find them received with contempt and ingratitude.” (Meyer)

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Posted on 05/11/2017 2:54 PM by LarryG
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Friday, 5 May 2017
THE TOTAL DIMENSIONS OF WHAT JESUS DID
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John 3:16

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Why is the world the way it is?  Why do people act like they do?  Even more important: how did things get to be the way they are?  First let’s go to Genesis 3.  In this chapter we read about a place called the Garden of Eden, which is on the earth, but it is also a place where GOD communes or fellowships with mankind, aka, Adam and Eve.  This place where mankind, aka, Adam and Eve, fellowship with GOD, it is good; it is perfect; everything that they need to live, to thrive is there.  But there are boundaries which are in the form of a tree in the center of the garden; a tree which most of us know as the “Tree of Good and Evil.”  When we consider what this really is, it becomes apparent that this is a boundary, or condition of reality that is final; the truth regarding what is good and what is evil is permanent; it cannot be altered; there is no alternative to it.  There is also something else connected to this truth: going against it, not accepting it, not accepting how reality works-- results in death. 

Adam’s wife, Eve, is persuaded by someone else in the garden, the NACHASH, aka, the Shining One, aka, the Serpent, aka, the Satan—to go against what GOD has told her and her husband, Adam, to seek their own truth, to determine on their own, what good and evil are.  But instead of achieving godhood, they change and the change has three major effects on them.  They see themselves differently; they realize they are now naked or vulnerable.  They also see each other differently; in a way, an adversarial relationship results.  Most important—they do not seek fellowship with GOD, the Creator; in fact, they hide from Him.  GOD makes a comment that is filled with sarcasm; it basically goes like this: “So they were going to be like gods?  Uh huh, yeah right.  Look at them now.”  If we consider the description of the couple, we come to realize that they actually present a pitiful picture.  Not only do they have to leave the garden, they no longer have ongoing fellowship with the One who gave them life, the One who maintains that life—THEY BEGIN TO DIE; and death is something they pass on to their descendants—US.

The perpetrator of all this is also dealt with.  GOD tells the NACHASH, aka, the Shining One, aka, the Serpent, that instead of rising to great heights, he’s going to essentially EAT DIRT.  GOD also tells us something about how this individual views women—HE HATES THEM; and there will be continual warfare between her seed (all mankind) and his seed.  But GOD also makes a final promise that a specific seed of the woman, the MESSIAH,  would utterly destroy the serpent, the NACHASH.   But for now, the damage is done.  Mankind is dying and there is something imbedded within his inner-most being that will drive him and all future descendants toward destruction.

Now let’s go to Genesis 6 where we are told about something that many have never heard about or considered: the Sons of GOD—the BENE HA ELOHIM—enter into our world, into our reality; they are the “fallen” angels.  The passage tells us that they do so at a time when mankind is doing exactly what the LORD, Most High has directed—mankind is increasing in number; they are having children.  But remember, the NACHASH, the Serpent, hates mankind and he and his allies, which are other spiritual beings, (the fallen ones) make a deliberate effort to produce a scenario in which mankind destroys itself.  The book of Enoch describes what happens.  Now this book is not part of the Canon of scripture, but the apostles, i.e. Jude and Peter, do refer to what is contained in this book.  These fallen ones, descend to earth at Mount Hermon; they have intercourse with human woman and have offspring; essentially they contaminate the genetics of mankind.  Their offspring are called the Nephilim, and they are ugly; they are violent; they are absolutely sexually immoral; they copulate with human women, with animals; and they routinely sodomize each other.  Along with contaminating human genetics, the fallen ones also teach mankind certain things which will appeal to the fire that was lit in the Garden of Eden—things that will aid in the destruction of mankind.  These things include warfare, use of drugs, abortion and infanticide, and other destructive practices.  These fallen ones do such a good job of corrupting mankind, that by the time of Noah, the earth is so violent that GOD determines that it is time for a reset—and HE brings a world-wide flood to wipe away corrupted animals and mankind before total destruction results. 

But mankind is still corrupted and it is still dying; we can see that in the genealogies in Genesis.  Even though men are living almost a thousand years—THEY ARE STILL DYING.  But then we come to Genesis, chapter 11—THE TOWER OF BABEL.  A few things to consider here: after the flood, GOD tells the survivors that they are to SPREAD OUT AND KEEP HAVING CHILDREN TO REPOPULATE THE EARTH.  They don’t do this, instead they move to a place called Shinar; it becomes apparent that they have decided to not spread out; they are not going to obey the LORD; they decide to build a tower and “make a name for ourselves.” 

Now let’s think about what’s in a name.  A person’s name is associated with who or what that person is like, with his or her character, attitudes, etc.  When we think of a person’s name, we are talking about WHAT THAT PERSON IS.  Now this is important because, what the people are telling GOD at this point is: we don’t trust you; we won’t obey you; we are going to decide what we are going to do; we are going to be gods; WE ARE GOING TO DETERMINE OUR OWN RIGHT AND WRONG.  Think about what is going on here-- all mankind is basically telling GOD that they are following the NACHASH, the serpent, SATAN; this is where their loyalty is. 

We are then told that GOD confounds their language which results in an immediate cessation of work on whatever they were building and their attempts to remake themselves.  Now the LORD does this because He knows at this point that if they remained united, if they remain in one spot, they will destroy themselves.  That’s the bottom line.  GOD causes the one family of mankind to be split into 70 people groups which are also described in the Table of Nations.   We are also told in Deuteronomy 32, that the LORD gives authority over each of these family groups or nations to the BENE HA ELOHIM, specifically 70 of the fallen ones.  Mankind has denied its loyalty to the LORD MOST HIGH and GOD gives them over to the ones they have given their loyalty to.  GOD basically gives these fallen beings authority over the nations: “they want you for gods, now let’s see how you do,” (paraphrase).  We learn in the scriptures, such as Psalm 82, that they don’t do very well in governing mankind.  In any event, GOD has declared that mankind now belongs to the enemy, but He is going to create His own people which will be the instrument by which He will rescue mankind—“AND THE LORD SAID TO ABRAM”—the father of the nation of Israel.  One of Abram or as he is later known, Abraham’s descendants is called Jacob and Jacob and his descendants will be the LORD’s portion of mankind.  One last thing about what happened to mankind, when the LORD Most High, gave us over to the fallen ones, the ones we wanted for gods: DEATH ACCELERATES.  Mankind’s lifespan quickly decreases from 900 years to what it is now.  Our new gods cannot give us life; there is no life in them; all they can do is lead us to destruction.

So here’s the situation: All the world is dying, all of mankind is corrupted and GOD has given us to the gods that we have pledged our loyalty to and they hate us.  BUT—GOD has promised way back when this has all started to remedy the situation.  Remember, the “Seed of the Woman” who would crush the head of the NACHASH, THE SERPENT, THE DEVIL, SATAN?  His name is JESUS and that name means GOD SAVES or SALVATION IS OF THE LORD.  This brings us back to John 3:16.  Think about what JESUS say in this passage.  First, He lets us know that GOD is doing what He is doing because He loves us, and by us, He means the WHOLE world, EVERYBODY.  He would later die and shed His blood which would provide the antidote to the corruption in our innermost beings that is driving us to ultimate destruction, driving us away from GOD the Creator.  Finally, GOD the Father and GOD the SON are doing this—SO WE CAN HAVE LIFE, ETERNAL LIFE—that is, the only kind of LIFE there has ever been. 

SELAH

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Posted on 05/05/2017 8:43 AM by LarryG
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Tuesday, 2 May 2017
THE GLARING REALITY OF SIN
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Ezekiel 21:24

 "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have made your guilt to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your deeds your sins appear--because you have come to remembrance, you shall be taken in hand.

You cannot hide sin.  Why is that?  Maybe because it is a part of what a person has become; it becomes part of his innermost being; and it manifests in our actions.  JESUS told us that out of our hearts, come uncleanness, murders, adulteries, lies, etc; GOD emphasized to Jeremiah that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”  We can’t hide who we are; we are absolutely naked.  What we do will come to light; everyone will see.  But here’s something to think about: do we care about what we have become; inside do we groan at what we see; do we yearn to be rescued from this corruption, this inner wickedness that is driving us to destruction?  If you do, be of good cheer; there is hope.

John 3:16

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

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Posted on 05/02/2017 8:57 AM by LarryG
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