God chose us 
to be His precious jewels.
We overcome 
life?s challenges 
through the grace of God
in order to radiate 
the glory of God.

Our Recent News

Session 12 - 2 Peter 2:17-22 - ON GUARD - Day 5

Posted on November 14, 2016 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Session 12 – 2 Peter 2:17-22 - ON GUARD – Day 5


2 Peter 2:17 These people are springs without water, mists driven by a whirlwind. The gloom of darkness has been reserved for them.


Jude compared the false teachers to clouds that did not give rain. Peter says they are dried up springs providing nothing to drink, nothing to quench the thirst. In contrast, Jesus provides rivers of living water that flow through the believer constantly (John 7:38). These false teachers, unless they repent and trust Jesus, will be thrown into the pit of hell.


2 Peter 2:18 For by uttering boastful, empty words, they seduce, with fleshly desires and debauchery, people who have barely escaped from those who live in error.


The false teachers loudly proclaim they know the way to freedom but turn around and seduce people back into ungodly ways. They particularly work their wiles on those who are trying to climb out of sinful lifestyles but are still weak because they have not trusted Jesus and are relying on their own strength and efforts.


2 Peter 2:19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, since people are enslaved to whatever defeats them.


They preach freedom while still entangled in the corrupt ways of the world. They are slaves to their lusts, their sensual appetites, and are conquered by them. They are not free nor can they help anyone else to freedom.


Luke 6:39 (VOICE) Luke 6:39 Jesus told them this parable: Jesus: What happens if a blind man leads a blind man? Won’t both of them fall into a pit?


The Holy Spirit is the one who opens our eyes in order to lead us to faith in Jesus. He can also open our eyes to spot and avoid these blind guides.


2 Peter 2:20 For if, having escaped the world’s impurity through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in these things and defeated, the last state is worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy command delivered to them.


If a person has heard the truth of the Gospel but then disregards it, he is no better than he was before, and is, indeed, worse off. They walked away with head knowledge of the truth, but did not entrust their hearts and lives to The Truth incarnate, Jesus Christ.


2 Peter 2:22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb: A dog returns to its own vomit, and, “a sow, after washing itself, wallows in the mud.”


Those who hear the good news but turn away from it to go back to a life characterized by sin, are like the two illustrations Peter gives. They would rather cover themselves with filth than be washed by the blood of Jesus and made clean.


Question: How should we pray for those people we know who are wallowing? Can we ask the Holy Spirit to open their eyes to the truth, to wake them up from their sleepwalking in the muck? If you are bogged down in sin, lift up your eyes and ask the Lord Jesus to pull you out. No matter how hard you try, you cannot do it without Him.


John 15:5-6 (VOICE) I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear great fruit. Without Me, you will accomplish nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is like a branch that is tossed out and shrivels up and is later gathered to be tossed into the fire to burn.


Session 12 - 2 Peter 2:4-10a - ON GUARD - Day 3

Posted on November 14, 2016 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Session 12 – 2 Peter 2:4-10a - ON GUARD – Day 3


2 Peter 2:4 For if God didn’t spare the angels who sinned but threw them down into Tartarus and delivered them to be kept in chains of darkness until judgment;


This is referring to the fallen angels of Genesis 6 who lusted after and cohabitated with women. They were also referenced in 1 Peter 3:18-19.


John MacArthur Study Bible


Peter borrows a word from Greek mythology for hell, “tartarus.” The Greeks taught that tartarus was a place lower than Hades reserved for the most wicked of human beings, gods, and demons. The Jews eventually came to use this term to describe the place where fallen angels were sent. It defined for them the lowest hell, the deepest pit, the most terrible place of torture and eternal suffering.


God judged them by sending them to the lowest part of hades, the belly of hell, and will ultimately throw them into the lake of fire.


2 Peter 2:5 and if He didn’t spare the ancient world, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others, when He brought a flood on the world of the ungodly;


God sent judgment in the form of a world-wide flood in the days of Noah, killing everyone and everything except Noah, his family, and the animals God had commanded him to take on the ark for protection.


2 Peter 2:6 and if He reduced the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes and condemned them to ruin, making them an example to those who were going to be ungodly; 7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, distressed by the unrestrained behavior of the immoral 8 (for as he lived among them, that righteous man tormented himself day by day with the lawless deeds he saw and heard)—


The Lord also brought severe judgment on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for their ungodly and especially sexually perverse behavior by destroying both cities completely by fire and brimstone. However, he spared Lot and his family because of his righteousness and the plea of his righteous uncle Abraham. However, due to her disobedience in looking back at the burning cities, Lot’s wife was turned to a pillar of salt.


2 Peter 2:9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 especially those who follow the polluting desires of the flesh and despise authority.


If, or better yet since, God had executed judgment in these examples and mercy toward the righteous, those who trusted Him, we can be assured that He is still able to rescue His children. He still judges the ungodly, the unrighteous, the unbelieving ones and preserves to the utmost those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.


The apostates, the false teachers, Jude and Peter have been warning us about may seem to prosper for the moment, but they will be judged if they do not turn from their ungodly ways and submit to Jesus Christ as Lord.


Chew on this: It is sometimes tempting to be overcome by the evil in this fallen world, especially those who operate covertly under the guise of being ministers. We need to be sure we can discern false teachers from the true Christians shepherds. However, we need not become frightened because of them. God will deal with them in His perfect timing. We must remain faithful and trust our Father to sustain us. Read all of Psalm 37.


Psalm 37:7 (NASB) Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.


Jude 8-15 - Bonus Lesson

Posted on November 9, 2016 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Jude 8-15: 2nd bonus lesson


Jude 8 (HCSB) Nevertheless, these dreamers likewise defile their flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme glorious ones.


“These dreamers” refers to the apostates who had so been deluded that they gave themselves over to fleshly appetites and perhaps even attributed their perverse ways to dreams or visions from God. They were characterized by sexual perversity, rejecting God and godly authority, and even blaspheming angels (glorious ones).


Jude 9 Yet Michael the archangel, when he was disputing with the Devil in a debate about Moses’ body, did not dare bring an abusive condemnation against him but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”


Michael was a powerful angel but did not fight Satan in his own strength, instead calling on the Lord to rebuke him. This account of Michael battling the Devil for the body of Moses is not found anywhere else in scripture, but is found in the pseudepigraphal Assumption of Moses. The fact that Jude quotes from this book does not necessarily mean that the entire book is true, but does imply that this particular account is accurate. However, scripture does record that Moses died alone on Mt. Nebo without entering the promised land and “was secretly buried in a place not known to man” John MacArthur Study Bible. (Deut. 34:5, 6)


We should be cautious about rebuking demons and in all dealings with spiritual beings. We must defer to the Lord Jesus and His power against them. Rather than speaking directly to them, we should pray that the Lord intervene on our behalf or on behalf the person we are praying for.


Jude 10 But these people blaspheme anything they don’t understand. What they know by instinct like unreasoning animals—they destroy themselves with these things.


John MacArthur Study Bible:

10 speak evil. Lit. “blaspheme.” Cf. v. 8. Apostate teachers, in their brash, bold, egotistical infatuation with imagined power and authority, rail on that which they don’t even understand....


Reformation Study Bible:

As usually interpreted, Jude’s point is that the rash talk of the false teachers contrasts with the temperate speech of Michael (2 Pet. 2:10 and note). Others interpret Jude as contrasting Michael’s appeal to God’s authority with the false teachers’ claim to having their own spiritual authority.


The apostates, the false teachers, rant and rave about things they do not really understand.


Jude 11 Woe to them! For they have traveled in the way of Cain, have abandoned themselves to the error of Balaam for profit, and have perished in Korah’s rebellion.


Cain committed the first murder out of jealousy that Abel’s offering was accepted and his was not. He was exiled. These teachers were jealous of the true believers, those declaring the truth of the Gospel. They, too, will be exiled permanently! (Gen. 4:1–15; cf. Heb. 11:4; 1 John 3:12)


Balaam was hired for a tidy sum by the king of Moab to speak false prophesy and lure Israel into idolatry and immorality. The Lord used Balaam’s donkey to talk sense into him. (Num. 22, Num. 31:16; Rev. 2:14)


We discussed Korah’s rebellion in our study of Psalm 106:16-23 which will post this weekend. Long story short – Korah and those with him rebelled against the leadership of Moses and Aaron. God had everyone move away from Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, the leaders of the rebellion. The earth opened up and swallowed the three men, their families, and their possessions (Num. 16:1–32).


God did not deal lightly with these three examples from the Old Testament, and He does not and will not deal lightly with false teachers. In fact, Jude pronounces doom upon them.


The Apostates’ Doom


Jude 12 These are the ones who are like dangerous reefs at your love feasts. They feast with you, nurturing only themselves without fear. They are waterless clouds carried along by winds; trees in late autumn—fruitless, twice dead, pulled out by the roots; 13 wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shameful deeds; wandering stars for whom the blackness of darkness is reserved forever!


Jude uses several metaphors to say the same thing…false teachers promise what they cannot deliver. They are clouds that do not water the crops, trees dead and unable to produce fruit, waves that wreak havoc on the church rather than tapping into the power of almighty God. They are all “dog and pony show” with no lasting results. They are what my relatives would call “a flash in the pan.” They seem to burn bright but soon burn out. Since they rely on their own power, they are truly powerless. Jesus is the only one who can fulfill our needs permanently.


Since the apostates teach a false gospel and deny the Lordship of Christ, they are doomed to an eternity in Hell.


Jude 14 And Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied about them:


Look! The Lord comes

with thousands of His holy ones

15 to execute judgment on all

and to convict them

of all their ungodly acts

that they have done in an ungodly way,

and of all the harsh things ungodly sinners

have said against Him.


In case you do not remember Enoch, he was the one the Lord took home without him having to suffer physical death.


Genesis 5:24 (AMPC) And Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him].


His prophesy concerning false teachers is found in an apochryphal work but is consistent with other Old Testament prophecies concerning judgement. Those who have denied God in the person of His Son Jesus Christ will be condemned.


Chew on This: How can we identify false teachers? We must know the characteristics of those who teach the truth versus those who are apostates trying to infiltrate the church. How are we able to discern them? We have a responsibility to know the word of God and to test all teaching against it.


Jude - Intro through verse 7

Posted on November 7, 2016 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Intro to Jude - Jude 7


Bonus lessons: The Explore the Bible curriculum only covers verses 16-25 of Jude, but Susan and I are committed to studying the word verse by verse. So, we will end this week with the first 15 verses of Jude.


Introduction to Jude:


Author – Jude is accepted as one of the half-brothers of Jesus Christ, and the brother of James, by most scholars. He rejected Christ during His ministry on earth, but believed after His resurrection.


Audience – No specific audience is named, but they were most likely Jewish believers based on the Old Testament illustrations employed by Jude.


John MacArthur Study Bible:

Jude is replete with historical illustrations from the OT which include: 1) the Exodus (v. 5); 2) Satan’s rebellion (v. 6); 3) Sodom and Gomorrah (v. 7); 4) Moses’ death (v. 9); 5) Cain (v. 11); 6) Balaam (v. 11); 7) Korah (v. 11); 8) Enoch (vv. 14, 15); and 9) Adam (v. 14).



Main Theme: Jude spends almost the entire letter addressing apostasy. He condemns false teachers and urges His readers to take a stand against them.


John MacArthur Study Bible:

Jude is the only NT book devoted exclusively to confronting “apostasy,” meaning defection from the true, biblical faith


For more background on the book of Jude, read the introduction to Jude in a good study Bible or at www.biblegateway.com.


Jude 1a (HCSB) Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James:


Jude begins by classifying himself as being in submission to, subservient to Jesus even before he declares himself to be a brother of James who was head of the church in Jerusalem. Jesus was no longer present in His earth-suit to exercise authority over His half-brothers, but Jude internalized the message of Christ to the point that he did not require Jesus to be present to lead him. Jude did not accept Jesus as Messiah until after the resurrection, but once he did believe and trust the Lord, the Holy Spirit guided him into obedience and a life of confirming the truth of the Gospel. Because of his initial unbelief, Jude was not present to hear all of Jesus’ teachings first-hand, but he had the testimony of the disciples, both verbal and via their letters. Jude was not one of the twelve apostles but was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write this letter.


Jude 1b To those who are the called, loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ.


Jude addressed his letter to Christians, most likely Jewish believers (completed Jews.) He wrote to those who had accepted Jesus as the Messiah and, therefore, were kept in the faith by Jesus.


Jude 2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.


I love the greetings used in the Biblical epistles! So much stronger than “Dear Friends.” It is not just a salutation. It is also Jude’s prayer on their behalf. He desires the Lord to bless them.


Jude 3 Dear friends, although I was eager to write you about the salvation we share, I found it necessary to write and exhort you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all.


Jude wanted to wax eloquent on the Gospel message, but instead he was led by the Spirit to exhort them to ready themselves for battle on behalf of the Gospel and its message. He strongly urged them to be ready to give a defense for belief as Peter had in an earlier letter (1 Peter 3:15). In addition, these believers were needing to combat the false teaching that apparently was rampant in their area.


Jude 4 For some men, who were designated for this judgment long ago, have come in by stealth; they are ungodly, turning the grace of our God into promiscuity and denying Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord.


False teachers were prophesied about in both the Old and New Testaments and will receive their just “reward,” the judgement of God against them. False teachers are recognized by the fact that they are ungodly (not exhibiting the character traits of Jesus), they preach a perverted version of the Bible that distorts the truth of salvation by grace alone, and they deny the deity of Jesus. They initially infiltrate the church seeming to be followers of Jesus and His message but do not teach sound doctrine in keeping with the word of God. They tweak the gospel to fit their own agenda which often involves lining their own pockets.


Apostates: Past and Present


Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language


APOS'TATE, noun [Gr.]


One who has forsaken the church, sect or profession to which he before adhered. In its original sense, applied to one who has abandoned his religion; but correctly applied also to one who abandons a political or other party.


APOS'TATE, adjective False; traitorous.


Jude 5 Now I want to remind you, though you know all these things: The Lord first saved a people out of Egypt and later destroyed those who did not believe;


We saw a recap of many of God’s judgements against those who did not trust Him during the exodus from Egypt to the Promised land in our study of Psalm 106 which we are posting on weekends during November. For some examples, see Numbers 11:33-34, Numbers 14, Numbers 16, Exodus 32.


Jude 6 and He has kept, with eternal chains in darkness for the judgment of the great day, the angels who did not keep their own position but deserted their proper dwelling.


If God so judges fallen angels (demons), we can know He also will judge the ungodly, those who deny and refuse to believe the truth of Jesus’ deity and the gospel message. Manipulative “pastors,” those who teach false doctrine, and false prophets espousing lies as truth will incur a harsh judgement. Some see this as dealing specifically with the fallen angels in Genesis 6 who had relations with human women.


Jude 7 In the same way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them committed sexual immorality and practiced perversions, just as angels did, and serve as an example by undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.


The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were so sexually perverse, that the Lord rained down fire upon the two cities and destroyed them and their people completely. Because of Abraham’s faithfulness, his nephew Lot was rescued out of the city by angels. The unbelieving people of Sodom and Gomorrah will be thrown into the lake of fire along with Satan and his demons as will all those who reject Jesus. Then they will be remembered no more. However, at this time their story serves as a reminder and a warning that failing to trust Jesus has the most serious consequences – eternal punishment – eternal pain with no comfort, no hope, no God! They will be alive forever but constantly tormented by their rejection of the One who could have spared them.


Challenge: The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was rejecting God’s direction, His law, resulting in gross sexual perversions. Unfortunately, this sounds like the USA today. PRAY for our nation to repent and return to being what our founding fathers envisioned – a nation submitted to and led by our Eternal Father.


Session 8 - 1 Peter 4:18 - When Ridiculed - Day 4

Posted on October 17, 2016 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Session 8 - 1 Peter 4:18 – When Ridiculed – Day 4


1 Peter 4:18 (HCSB) And if a righteous person is saved with difficulty, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?


Those of us in Christ barely made-it. We could not keep the Law perfectly, so there was only one way, one hope. We had to surrender to Jesus, repent of trying to run our own lives, and allow His Holy Spirit complete control. As Christians, we cannot accomplish anything apart from the Lord working in and through us.


John 15:5 (NASB) I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.


In fact, no one, saved or un-believing, can even breathe unless God sustains them. As Creator, He gave people life.


Acts 17:27-29 (VOICE) His purpose in all this was that people of every culture and religion would search for this ultimate God, grope for Him in the darkness, as it were, hoping to find Him. Yet, in truth, God is not far from any of us. 28 For you know the saying, “We live in God; we move in God; we exist in God.” And still another said, “We are indeed God’s children.” 29 Since this is true, since we are indeed offspring of God’s creative act, we shouldn’t think of the Deity as our own artifact, something made by our own hands—as if this great, universal, ultimate Creator were simply a combination of elements like gold, silver, and stone.


Those who have been adopted into His forever family through accepting the gift of salvation, will continue in life with the Lord after the shell of their body dies. Those who never trust in Jesus, will suffer permanently because Hell is a reality.


Chew on This: Not one of us deserved the blessing God gave us when Jesus died for us on the cross. We could never earn a place in His kingdom. There was only one way to have a right relationship with God – trusting, relying on Jesus alone. Yes, that is “narrow minded,” but Jesus said the way was narrow and few find it. Do you know anyone who is still strolling down the broad path? Gently guide them to the narrow path and pray the Lord draws them to follow Him on it.


Session 8 - 1 Peter 4:17 - When Ridiculed - Day 3

Posted on October 17, 2016 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Session 8 - 1 Peter 4:17 – When Ridiculed – Day 3


1 Peter 4:17 For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?


God judges the church, not in the sense of pronouncing judgement but with the end result of purging, purifying, and perfecting His people. Jesus judges the church, His bride, out of love in order to present her pure and blameless.


Ephesians 5:27 (KJV) That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.


God also treats us as His beloved children.


Hebrews 12:6-7 (VOICE) For the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He corrects each one He takes as His own. 7 Endure hardship as God’s discipline and rejoice that He is treating you as His children, for what child doesn’t experience discipline from a parent?


If we, God’s chosen children, endure hardship and judgement, what must be the result for those who do not trust in Jesus, those who never believe? Into the lake of fire, with their father Satan, they go. They are judged guilty of rejecting the gospel and endure suffering eternally. God did not do this TO them. They chose to reject His Son and His message; and in so doing, they rejected God the Father.


Question: Are you enduring the painful process of being refined by fire or having the Father chisel away that which is not honoring to Him, and therefore, not best for you? It is better to be saved and go through the process of sanctification – being molded into the image of Christ – now than to suffer eternal punishment for rejecting Jesus. Give thanks for the lessons the Lord teaches even when they are difficult to learn.