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|Posted on October 25, 2016 at 12:10 AM||comments (0)|
Session 9 - 1 Peter 5:8-9 – Alert Living – Day 3
1 Peter 5:8 Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 9 Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.
Although we can rest in God’s sovereign care, we must not become complacent. We must be vigilant and diligent in spiritual warfare. It seems we keep circling back to the armor of the Lord (Ephesians 6:10-20), but every Christian must remember that we are not only God’s children and precious jewels, but as long as we remain on planet earth, we are His spiritual army fighting battles against Satan. In order to successfully combat temptation and live victoriously as believers, we must abide continually in Jesus and His word.
Struggles against sin and suffering for the faith are not unique to me. They are experienced by Christians everywhere, just check out www.persecution.com for examples of other believers facing persecution. Our difficulties are not really directed at us but are aimed at God, Satan’s attempt to get to the Lord by being aggressive and harmful to His children. If Satan can keep us discouraged, defeated, and despondent, we are less effective in our witness for Christ. However, Satan is a frustrated foe, knowing that he cannot keep us from entering the kingdom of Heaven. So, he tries to prevent us from living effectively in order to harm our witness to others who are still in his camp. We must not allow him to do this! We must dig our heels in and stand firm in the assurance that God is with us and that ultimately God wins, and thus, so do we!
Chew on this: We are to be as vigilant as a soldier on guard duty. We guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus by bathing ourselves in prayer and soaking in the word of God. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to thy word.” Psalm 119:9 (KJV)
|Posted on October 4, 2016 at 12:20 AM||comments (0)|
Session 6 – 1 Peter 3:15-16 – Always Ready – Day 2
Reason for our Hope
1 Peter 3:15 but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.
According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, another word for honor would be venerate:
Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language:
VEN'ERATE, verb transitive [Latin veneror.]
To regard with respect and reverence; to reverence; to revere. We venerate parents and elders; we venerate men consecrated to sacred offices. We venerate old age or gray hairs. We venerate or ought to venerate the gospel and its precepts.
Do we do very well when it comes to venerating Jesus as Lord these days? Churchianity has got the Savior part of Jesus boiled down to a fire insurance policy purchased with the repetition of a simple prayer. You hear people say, “Jesus is Lord.” That means you give Him charge to go in the closet of your life, the messy, stinky, dirty closet of your life and clean it out because you could not get the job done. God knows you are full of sin. In order to receive salvation, you must be convicted of, laid low by the fact that you are trapped in the pit of your sinful nature with no way out except Jesus. Repentance is a necessary result of realizing the holiness of God and the lowliness of ourselves. When we surrender to Jesus, He cleanses us and continues to do so every time we confess.
We rightly say that the Lord is Holy, but do our words and actions on a daily basis honor, venerate, respect that holiness? In the case of many, even believers, I think not. They use “OMG” without even thinking of what the letters stand for and that it is using the Lord’s name in vain unless they are truly praying or praising Him. We describe inanimate objects as amazing but fail to be amazed at the Creator of the universe. It is true we can approach the Lord as “friend,” but it is also true that He is our Master. When we pray, do we remember that we are addressing the King of all kings? We need to enjoy our intimacy with our Savior while maintaining reverence for our Lord and Master.
People will notice the difference in our lives as we live joyfully for the Lord even in the middle of trials. We should always be prepared to stand up (since I have no feet, I will stand up with my words), declaring the reason for our hope in our conversations. The very reason we are alive is Jesus. When non-believers challenge our Christian beliefs, we need to be ready to explain them. In other words, we need to be able to present the Gospel clearly to them. The Holy Spirit will give us the boldness, and we can gain confidence by reading or attending a course on sharing our faith.
Acts 1:8 (AMPC) But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth.
1 Peter 3:16 However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame.
How do I share the gospel with a hostile world with gentleness and respect? We need to follow the example of Jesus in humility and love. It does little good to argue with an atheist. We give a defense by dismantling their ideology without defaming their character. (Our politicians could take a lesson from this). We treat them with respect, and allow our changed lives, our consistent good behavior to back up our words. Sanctification, becoming more like Jesus, being transformed by the Holy Spirit, should be evident in our lives. Jesus taking a lump of coal and transforming it into a precious jewel backs up our testimony. No one can really argue with a miraculously transformed life.
Chew on this: Do your words ever fail to honor Jesus? This week try to be conscious of the ways you honor the Lord or fail to honor the Lord. Ask the Lord to help you to guard your speech and your actions to keep them from being dishonoring to God. Go the next step and look for opportunities to bring glory to God in your conversations and through your deeds.