Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Preparing to Serve

Before you begin any job, you have to learn about it. Then once the job is begun, you will need to always be studying to improve. (II TM 2:15) It is the same with serving the Lord.

The difference in serving the Lord and serving a corporate boss is that God is interested in your well-being.
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9

Jesus also told you that not one sparrow falls without God knowing about it, and then encourages you to cheer up, you are worth far more in God's eyes than the sparrows.

Jesus loves you. You can be encouraged by that in the Old Testament as well as the New. Jesus loves you. Therefore, study and learn of him. Learn about his character, because the Bible commands you to be like him. It is not an option just for those who want to reach a higher level of Christianity; it is a command for all Christians to obey.

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” I Peter 1:15

We use the word conversation today to mean to talk to each other, but the way that it is used in this verse, means more than your speech, it means in every detail of your life you are to be holy.
Your first responsibility is to God. This takes full surrender to the Lord: In every area of your life being willing to say, “You are my Master, teach me how to do this your way.”

It will not be easy. Those who would have you believe that once you are saved you can just sit back and let God clear all the problems away are not being truthful.

God is not a doting grandfather who grants all your wishes. He is God. And he is worthy to be worshipped and obeyed as Lord of all. He is also a merciful God, who understands your weaknesses. He will be there to give you strength if you search for him and ask his help to do his will.

As you go about your everyday job, whether it is working for a company, or in the home training your children, taking care of the home as you teach them to take care of the home, remember that you are to do it as if you were serving the Lord. Or as if you were working for the Lord himself, as it it were His children, his home, and His dinner you were cooking.

That should put your life in a whole new perspective.

God Bless,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Kept by the Power

This is the final lesson in this series of twelve. I hope that you will enjoy it and be able to apply it to your life - where you live. I believe that the Bible is up to date and able to help each one of us with our daily lives and problems in 2010.

“For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:11

Ref: 2 Pet 1:3-4; 1 Pet 1:5; 2 Pet 5:8; 1 Pet 5:10; 2 Tim 3:15; Phil 3:10; 2 Tim 1:7; Mt 28:18; Jn 1:12

Isn’t that a wonderful promise? If you look in the verse just above that one, (2 Pet 1:10) Peter reminds again to do the things he has listed. He wants to make sure that you understand. He knows that it is only by accepting the starter faith and doing these things in the recipe list that you will be brought into heaven to be a part of Christ’s kingdom. And He also knows these are the things you will need to live as a child of God in this world. These are the things that strengthen you.
As you work on adding to the starter faith, Christ is protecting you from being destroyed by the lust of the world.

“having escaped the corruption (death) that is in the world through lust.” (2 Pet 1:4)

He knows much better than you the enemy that is searching for you. He is giving you time to grow spiritually in God’s unmerited favor, to learn about Him and what He expects from His children; and what His children can expect from Him.

“But grow in grace, and in knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2Pet 3:18)

He knows that as you feed, or study, on the scriptures it will strengthen you. Just as the physical friendship bread strengthens your fellowship with your earthly neighbor, the Bread of Heaven will establish and strengthen you in your place among the brothers and sisters in the church. It will settle you.

You won’t be jumping about from one place to another believing every new teaching that comes along. You will learn where your true strength comes from and learn to depend on Him alone.

In the gospels Jesus Himself tells you many times that God has given him all power, and that it is available to you for the asking. But as a wise man once said: With great power, comes great responsibility. And in this case it is the power to become the sons of God. And it is your responsibility to not only learn what that means, but to act on it so that others can see and glorify your heavenly Father.

You have nothing to fear. Daily as you face the lions of temptation: know that the keeper of your soul has chained them so that they can only come so close-but don’t you wander too close to them.

Each day as the arrows of doubt try to pierce through to your mind and make you double-minded and unstable in your trust in Jesus: know that His way is perfect, it is complete and you need add nothing else to it once you have added these seven things to the “starter” of faith, grace and precious promises.

All that is left is for you to place the recipe into the oven of your life. The heat of trials and temptations,at just the right temperature and applied for just the right amount of time will make you to become that new creation that God has plans for. Both of these,the heat and the time are controlled by God himself.(Read the first couple of chapters in the book of Job in the Old Testament to find this out)

You need patience and obedience until the baking is complete. Christ himself will remove you when it is time. In the meantime you can be comforted in the fact that He is in control.

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." 1 Corinthians 10:13

God is faithful, he does not forget you.In His time, God will come and take His friend and child home to heaven to live with Him.

“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” (Rev 22:12)

I invite you to leave me a comment, to let me know how the recipe is coming along in your life. As always thank you for reading my post.

God Bless,

The Warning!

“But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” 2 Peter 1:9

Ref: Prov. 26:11; Lk 11:24-26; Is 55:2; 1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6; 1 Pet. 4:10; Eph. 4:7

Peter writes: “to them that have obtained like precious faith with us” (2Peter 1:1)

He lets you know that everyone receives the exact same “starter” which is: faith, grace, and precious promises. He gives the recipe in verses three through seven. In verse eight, he gives you a promise that if the recipe is followed and these things are added God will increase your ability to take your friendship with him to a deeper level; even as you take the results of the work on the recipe to others and introduce them to your Friend.

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Prov. 18:24)

If you have done much baking, it isn’t going to surprise you to find notes from Peter here at the end of the list of ingredients; just as you would find at the end of your Friendship Bread recipe. This time the notes warn you of what happens when you neglect the “starter faith” and fail to add to it the things needed.

“but he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”

If you let the “starter” lie within you and never use it; then you are in danger of forgetting about it. Satan would like nothing better than for you to do this.

If you place the “starter” on the shelf of you heart and never stir up the gift, if you never add to it daily from the ingredient list here, then before too many days the offer of friendship will be forgotten. The starter will sit idle, and you will return to your normal routine, back to eating the old breads that cannot satisfy.

Your Lord is wise. He knows what lies ahead in your life. He is preparing you for the journey. This "bread" recipe here,supplies you with everything you will need to travel the road of life as a Christian. (1Pt.1:3) He also gives you warnings of what will happen if the new things are not added.

“When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man…he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” (Lk 11:24-26)

The unclean spirit, the old way of living, will creep back into your life, and take over once again if you are not careful. perhaps your old ways included lying or stealing, or drugs,cigarettes, alcohol. Maybe yours was the bread of idleness:being lazy. There are many "old ways", many unclean spirits that can sneek back and take over your life. When when they do, they bring others with them: depression, resentment, anger. The devil is a hard employer. Why do I say that?

The Bible says:
"the wages (pay) of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

Why would you work for something or someone that cannot satisfy you and neglect the sweet Bread of Heaven: never to know the deep satisfaction of a life salvaged by the unmerited favor of a loving Friend.

Never knowing a life lived by saving faith and strengthened by precious promises to you? What a huge waste of God’s resources. What a waste of God-given talent.

So don’t just eat of the bread of life and let the starter lie forgotten while you go back to the bread of idleness. Remember the warning! Be careful to stir up that gift and use it daily.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Is it all in the Mix?

“For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus”
2 Peter 1: 8

Ref: 2 Peter 1:1-9;

At this stage of the recipe, you should stop to see if you have added all ingredients. When you think you have enough for yourself, go back and add more so you can share with a neighbor. That’s what the Amish Friendship Bread recipe is about.

That’s also what Peter says this is about, when he says:”if these things be in you and abound”. If you have carefully followed the recipe he’s given and not been stingy in the adding of them, then you will not be useless or lacking fruit.

After you have opened the door and sat down and supped with the Lord, then stir up the starter you received from him: the faith, grace (which is unmerited favor) and precious promises he has given you; but don’t stop there. If you stop there the starter faith will die. As you have learned through these lessons it must be added to.

Being a Christian that God can use; being able to bring the knowledge of his Word to bear on your life, to make it apply not to just your daily life but to others as well- that is the fruit of a maturing Christian.

When you first become saved, you knew there were actions in your life that were just wrong. You knew it before you opened the door and invited Jesus in – and nothing about that has changed. You still know those things are wrong. Start cleaning them out of your life.

As verse five says: start adding virtue, that’s goodness, fairness, and responsibility. For example you know you have treated someone badly, if possible ask forgiveness or try to make it right. Sometimes it is not always possible-then leave it to God. And I mean that literally, leave it; He can work where you cannot go.
If you have made a habit of always putting your needs and wants in front of others at home, at work or at school; then begin to work on breaking that habit hour by hour until it is gone.
Have you been playing video games or sleeping late when you should have been doing school work or perhaps preparing meals for your family? Take the first step in being responsible for what you know you should have been doing. Hold yourself accountable to you and to God. This next one is a hard one, but a very important one:
Start a new habit of looking for things in your husband, children, friends and brothers in Christ to compliment. Remember, in the description of a godly woman Solomon speaks of her as:

“and in her mouth is the law of kindness” Prov. 31

Those are just a few suggestions. You know your own self better than anyone, start working on your list.

Do you have questions about this friendship with Jesus that you have chosen? That is good. Questions give you opportunity for many long conversations with him as you talk with him through your prayers and open your Bible to read his words to you, adding knowledge of his ways and his will.

Are you beginning to see how the ingredients work together? Not any one “thing” can stand alone to make up the entire new friendship; everything must be added to complete the recipe of a mature Christian.

Start with the things that you know you should or should not be doing. Don’t worry about the future, what God may ask or what may take place; that is His responsibility as your heavenly Father. Live daily to please him. Then you will have grace and peace multiplied. Why? Because obediently living in his will pleases Him.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Selfless Love

“and to brotherly kindness charity” 2 Peter 1:7

Ref: Rm 15:1; Ac 2:44; Ac 4:32; Eph 6:28; Heb 10:25; 1Cor 13; Heb 13:1; Titus 2:2; 2Tim 2:22; 2Tim 3:51; Gal 6:10; Gal 5:14;

The final ingredient of our spiritual friendship bread is charity. Today the word has come to mean certain kinds of organizations to help solve different social problems; anything from caring for stray animals to supplying food and clothing for orphans overseas. That is not the meaning in this verse.

The charity Peter list here is a deep continual love not just for Christ, but for brothers and sisters in Christ. The more you dig into the knowledge of the Word the more you will see that charity (brotherly love) in the New Testament is a flag that shows just who is a true follower of Christ.

Paul in 1Cor 12 is letting the church in Corinth, and you, know that there are many different gifts given through the Holy Spirit for the growing and the carrying out of the work of the church, and he encourages you to strive to be the best you can, but look at the final verse in chapter 12:

“But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” 1Cor 12:31

If you look in chapter 13 you will see that the way Paul is talking about is charity. He explains it in detail so that there can be no mistaking what it looks like.
I know many people who will tell me that they have no gifts. They can't sing, they can't teach,those are the things that people see and admire. I ask, "Can you love?" Love sends a person a card just to encourage, love fixes a dish for a sick person and takes it to them. Can you love?" These gifts of love often go unnoticed by others, but not by God. Look back at the scripture:

What Peter and Paul are both trying to tell you is that it is possible for you to have all these things that they have both listed, but unless you have true charity you lack what is necessary for your salvation. Charity is love. Love is God. Can you truly say that you are saved and NOT love the brethren?

Having said that, take a look at what God says is true charity. Verses 1-3 in 1Corinthians 13 lets you know that charity is not works. Look at the list of things that Paul mentions: “all faith, so that I could remove mountains, understand all knowledge, gifts of prophecy, a wonderfully persuasive speaking voice; giving away everything you own to the poor, even to giving your body to be sacrificed for your faith, Paul says you can count all those things as nothing without charity!

In other words those things will not count unless you love the brethren! So what is brotherly love? Verse 4 tells you that charity is kind, willing to be patient with another brother who is struggling with his faith.

Just as an example;perhaps this brother thinks because you don’t wash your hands before you eat, that you are wrong, and he makes the judgment in front of others. You are to be patient with him, knowing that your heavenly father is patient with you.

Love looks for the best in a brother or sister and encourages it.
Love prays for the bad.
Love rejoices in the truth of the living Word. Love is never rude, or prideful.
Love doesn’t envy something that another brother has.
Love doesn’t “look out for # 1”, but tries to look out for other brothers and sisters in Christ.
Love uses the Word to remind others of God’s promises and goodness toward them.
Love endures all things for Christ’s’ sake, believes the truths of the scripture, and believes that others in the family of God genuinely care for her.
Love will hope for the best and pray to back it up. Having prayed the prayer of faith, love will endure not just many but all things, for the overall good of the brethren.

2 Tm 3:5 gives you a warning about those who have no love for the brethren:

“Having a form of godliness but denying the power. And from such people turn away!”

Love will never give up, love will never fail. The faith you have here on earth will one day be sight. The hope you have of Christ return will one day be realized. But when heaven and earth have passed away the love for the brothers and sisters in Christ church will still stand. In heaven it will remain eternal!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brotherly Kindness

(Add) “to godliness brotherly kindness:” 2 Peter 1:7

Ref: Rm. 12:10; Ph. 2:3; 1Pt. 2:17; Rm. 14; Rm.15; Eph. 6:18; Heb. 10:25; Gen. 4; Amos 1:9-11; Ps. 50:10; Pr 18:19; Pr 17:17; Pr 18:24; Mt 7:3;

Up to this point, the ingredients that you have been adding daily have been things that have to do with yourself: ingredients which are necessary for you to be pleasing to a holy God. The God who called you to be holy as well.
Just as the bread batter changes as you add and stir ingredients: the changes in you should slowly start to become more and more noticeable, to you and to those around you.

Here in this next ingredient the focus changes to include others; as is only natural when you are being conformed to the image of Christ. (Christ himself was focused on the needs of others and not himself.)
Because this letter is addressed to the saved of the church, this “brotherly kindness” Peter list here is the kindness shown to brothers and sisters within the body of Christ.

Looking back through the ingredient of knowledge(the Bible) that you are already adding, you will see that brotherly kindness is quite a large part of the whole loaf that you are working on.
God takes brother to brother relationships very seriously: not only in the New Testament, but also in the Old. He calls on you now to help a brother in need.

You cannot get by with saying “I have nothing to give”: that is a selfish excuse that Satan offers. Lift up your brother in prayer. Remember the promises in the “starter faith”? God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and they are yours for the asking. Read on to find ways to help your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Accept a brother into your circle of friends. No one likes to be left out, but there are restrictions that apply here. Don’t let him come in and cause problems by doubts that he might have, but don’t drop him either. Encourage him in his walk of faith, so that he will understand his doubts are groundless. Take him to Ephesians chapter six and show him where doubts come from. A true brother will have the weaker brother’s best interest at heart.
As the weaker brother grows spiritually he, in turn, will be able to encourage you and others.

Discipline is part of brotherly kindness as well. For example, if you were to see your earthly brother doing something that was wrong, and you knew that it would hurt him, would you not tell him? If you loved him you would. You would go to him and let him know that he was headed for trouble. If he didn’t pay any attention, as sometimes he won’t, you would enlist the help of someone else he knew and respected to come with you to talk to him. The two of you would try to get him to stop before it was too late.

This is exactly what God tells you to do with a brother of the church. Point him to the one who can help far more than you will ever be able to. Show him kindness, don’t run and tell someone else, that’s gossip.
Go to God first, and then go to the brother. Not in a “Hey, you better quit that!” attitude, but in the attitude of humbleness knowing that tomorrow, except for the grace of God, you may be in the same predicament.

There are times when it is best to “clean up around your own back door” first. You are in no position to point out sin in another’s life, if there is known sin in yours that has not been confessed to God and that you are not earnestly trying to be rid of.

Paul says that the kingdom of God is not contained in meat and drink. In other words the things that we place so much importance on in this life, will soon be gone, and are not worth arguing over.
Don’t allow Satan the opportunity to take your focus off the real prize: which is reaching heaven with that brother in Christ.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Life and Godliness

"Add to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;" 2 Peter 1:6

Ref: 2 Cor. 13:5; 2 Pt. 1:3; 1Jn 3:18; 2 Tm. 1:6; Rv. 3:20; 1Tm. 2:2; 1 Tm.2:10; 1 Tm. 4:7; 2Tm.3:5;

The Apostle Peter tells you, through the inspiration, of the Holy Spirit that you have been given everything you will need for life (eternal) and godliness. How do you have what you need? Through the Word or knowledge of Jesus. You have accepted this as true and have been willing to give this new relationship a chance.

All the while you, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, have been:
• reading the directions,(scripture)
• keeping watch on the starter faith;
• stirring up the gift that was placed within you,(faith)
• bringing to your memory the promises of the Friend who first brought you the bread of life

If you have added these “things” - these ingredients listed below then you are starting to grow.

• virtue (goodness, fairness, willingness to take responsibility)
• knowledge (of the scripture and the understanding to apply it in life)
• temperance ( not going too far in any one direction, keeping yourself in subjection or under control)
• patience ( to stand daily with a cheerful, hopefulness looking for Christ soon return, realizing that your life is a testimony of what Christ is like to those you work AND live with)

Depending on how far along in this recipe of Friendship you are, and how much you are willing to put into it yourself, something should be happening in your life. Have you seen it yet? Have others?

Virtue will change the way you look at your role as a Christian within the church and outside daily in the world.

Knowledge and understanding will change the way you will make decisions in your life, giving you discernment.

Temperance will show that you need to continually strive to be consistent in your relationships at home, in church and in the community, as well as be merciful and forgiving to those around you- just as Christ, your new friend is forgiving and merciful toward some of your behavior.

Patience will give you the ability to meet every day with peace and the knowledge of the promise that God is within you (in the person of the Holy Spirit) and will soon return for you(Christ himself).

The reason I have reviewed the ingredients is because the next ingredient is godliness. What exactly is godliness? It includes all of the things you have been studying; and hopefully applying to your life – plus adoring The One who is making this possible. Godliness is not just any one thing alone.

Where can you find true godliness? It will be a result of applying all these ingredients to your life hour by hour, day by day.

Godliness prays for your government and those in authority. Why? So that you will be able to worship the Lord openly and honestly before men.

Godliness helps you to know how to dress, and how to act as is proper for a child of the King of Kings.

Godliness helps you to be able not just to leave that old lifestyle you had, but to refuse to return to it, no matter what happens.

Instead of being caught up in man’s way of worship, godliness keeps you in the Word so you will know the truth that will set you free. It is essential to begin adding this ingredient before you can be skilled in adding the last two that Peter gives.

Don’t be fooled by imitations: There are some who have the “form of godliness” (they look good on the outside) but they deny the power of godliness. Be sure you have the pure ingredient that can only come through the knowledge of Him who called you.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Occupy, till I Come

“to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience;" 2Peter 1:6

Ref: Lu. 19:13; Ps. 119:18; Jm. 1:3, 4; Heb. 12:1; Rm.5:3, 4; 2Cor. 12:9; Lu. 19:13; Luke 21:19; Eph. 6:14; Rm.15:5; Php. 4:5; Heb.6:12; Heb.10:36; Jm.5:7; Rev. 3:10

I chose the title to this lesson from a parable in Luke that the Lord gave because it tells you what Jesus wants you to do while he is away. The word “occupy” has the idea of moving forward with the business. To come and go, to bring in, to grow; all these words tell you what God has in mind for his children to be doing while he is away. Notice all these words are words that show action.

When God directs Peter to list patience as the next ingredient in this life that you are making with the help of the “starter faith”; he did not intend for you to sit idle. The word Peter used gives the idea of not just waiting on the Lord, but living out your life in a hopeful, even cheerful endurance and constancy.
There will be times when you may be called upon to suffer for the cause of Christ. Of course he doesn’t expect you to enjoy suffering, but you can have peace that it will not last, and that your reward will come when He does.

Then again you may not be called to suffer, but just struggle with the day to day living of this life. This is where the word “occupy” comes in. It is used many times as a military term when an army is in a foreign land holding onto a hill, a town or an island until the commander returns. It is not always pleasant work.

For instance: you must live in this world, but you are not to become part of this world and its ways. It takes patience to live daily by a person who is constantly doing things that you know are wrong, and not allow it to affect your life, but for your life to affect theirs.

Paul says in Ephesians six verse fourteen; after you have done what is necessary,then you are to stand; not just propped against a tree type stand, but stand in the truth (scripture) and protected by righteousness. In other words, with a sense of expectancy,have patience and courage, expecting God to move,knowing the promise of his return is truth.

James says that you are to let patience have her perfect work. Give the Spirit time to complete the labor that he has begun in you. Just as your Friendship bread needs time to let the ingredients in it work when you place it in the oven, so do you need to give the Spirit time to knit these things together within you. Remember your “starter” promise:

“But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls.” (Lu.21:18, 19)

With a promise like that; giving up should not be in the vocabulary of a Christian,-- unless it is to give up the things of the world that would hold you back from being the Friend of God.

Don’t be a complacent Christian: content to live off the name of your father, always taking from his goodness and contributing nothing in return. The term that is used for that in todays non-Christian world is freeloading. Don't freeload off God.

Remember, the Lord is at hand(close by,preparing to come). The time of his return is closer today than it has ever been. There are headlines in the news that verify that every day.
Are you ready? Are your children and husband and neighbors ready? If not then you must learn how to “occupy” until he comes to claim you. Put off everything that will hinder you and continue in patience to live this life that God has given you.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's a Balancing Act

“and to knowledge temperance;”2 Peter 1:6

Ref: Ps. 50:6; Ec. 7:16-17; Rm. 14:4; Gal. 5:23; Gal. 5:1; Ph. 4:5;

The next thing that Peter lists is temperance. Having experienced the Holy Spirit’s timing, I believe that it is no coincidence you find it sitting right in the middle of your ingredients list.

Did you ever play on a see saw when you were a child? As one end comes up, the other goes down. But if both children are about evenly matched and will work together, they can balance that see saw so that neither of them are on the ground, but balanced perfectly between heaven and earth.
This is what I thought of when God was showing me the meaning of temperance.

This balance is important in cooking as well.One of the most important things when using a recipe is to follow it exactly: Too much sugar can cause a cake to fall; too much milk will cause the pancake batter to run all over the griddle. In other words too much of any one thing will cause you problems. Apply that to what Peter is telling you here.

Receiving this “starter” of: grace, precious promises, and faith, and then determining in your heart to add to it virtue which is goodness, fairness, responsibility; then adding to it knowledge which is Godly understanding, and the fear of the Lord just might make you tend to be a little critical of others who do not have your knowledge of the Word or have not matured as far as you.(smile) God who is perfect in wisdom and understanding knew that. This is why He instructed Peter to place the ingredient of temperance right where it is.

You are not to be self-righteous. This was one of the Pharisees problems. They felt with all their knowledge, and the good works that they did, they were far above the “normal” Jew.

The story that Jesus shared in Luke eighteen, beginning with verse ten explains:
“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are” Lu 18:11
If you notice, Jesus said he “prayed with himself” meaning he wasn’t praying in a reverent, humble attitude to a holy and righteous God; he was listing his good deeds and his knowledge of the scripture for all to hear and admire. He was extremely impressed with himself!
What He needed to do was to temper that knowledge of scripture and his good deeds with a humble acknowledgement of where they came from: God, and humbly ask for guidance in how God would want him to use the gifts.
In today‘s language you might say: Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good to God or to others.
The fact that this one ingredient: temperance is also an ingredient in the fruit of the Spirit lets you know how important is.

Think about that see saw again. There is also the other direction you can slide too far in: “I am saved and God will forgive me, I can do as I please.” Don’t abuse the freedom that you have been given in Christ.

In your daily life use the ingredients that God has helped you to achieve; to help others along their way. Your goodness, and responsible attitude, or your knowledge of the Word is never to be used to judge a brother or sister in Christ. There is only one Judge that is God, and He tells us that a person who judges another will be judged himself.

Temperance is needed even in doing good to others.
Kindness applied correctly with temperance can help you to reach out to a sister in need of encouragement. On the other hand, kindness without temperance can destroy both the person who is being kind, and the one they are trying to help.
Temperance is having self-control in both directions. Get serious with God about what he has for you to do.

“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (Philippians 4:5)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Knowledge of the Word

"add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge” 2 Peter 1:5

Ref: Pr. 1:7; Col.3:10; Eph. 6:17; Job 37:16; 2 Co.12:9; 2 Ch. 1:10-11; Mal. 3:10; 2 Cor. 4:16

Now there are many “brands” of knowledge. What Peter wants you to use in this recipe is the real thing.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Pr. 1:7)

Notice he says the “beginning of knowledge”, that means there is more to it than just saying “I know there is a God” or “I read a devotional every morning”. This ingredient will take a lifetime of searching for and adding to your recipe.
In Colossians three verse ten Paul tells you to put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. That new man (or woman) that you have become when you opened the door to Jesus is renewed in other words continually being made new by having knowledge of the ways of God.

When you get tired, and discouraged, when you are faced with those who tell you to quit; this ingredient of “knowledge” is going to give you the energy and strength you need to continue to believe and fight for your relationship with your Friend.

Knowledge is the sword of the Spirit in Ephesians six verse seventeen. What does a soldier use a sword for? It is his weapon. When you can’t seem to understand what is happening around you – the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
God is perfect in knowledge. He understands exactly how hard this is for you to do. That’s why one of the ingredients of the “starter” is grace. You will make mistakes, you will want to give up against what seems to be obstacles that are far too high and wide for you to get past.
God says: My grace is sufficient.

Why will this grace of God be all you need? Because His strength is made to exactly fit the need in every specific situation of yours to cover your weaknesses. That’s what the definition of “perfect” is when used in this text.

Solomon when he became King of Israel, asked God to give him knowledge. I’m sure that Solomon from his childhood could quote you scripture, but that was not what he was asking for. He already had a good memory. He was asking for the knowledge of the holy that would give him understanding of what those scriptures meant. And God was pleased.

Going back to the starter that friend Jesus gave you: hear this promise:

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Heb. 13:8

God never changes; He will be pleased when you ask him for knowledge of the holy as well.

Open the Word of God where knowledge lies, and pray for guidance in this essential ingredient for becoming a mature Christian. God has a storehouse in Heaven that is full. He is waiting to give you that next ingredient: knowledge; and the wisdom to use it. Remember, that’s what He did with Solomon-and He will do the same for you.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The #1 Ingredient: Virtue

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue”
2 Peter 1:5

Ref: 2 Cor. 8:12; Prov. 31; Phil. 4:8; Rm. 3:10;

The characteristics of a godly woman are timeless. King Solomon in the Old Testament told his son that a woman who has virtue is priceless.

“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies”
(Pr. 31:10)

In verse eleven of Proverbs thirty-one, Solomon tells his son, (and you) why a woman of virtue is priceless. It is because she can be trusted. And more than five hundred years later, Peter agrees.

In verse five of your text, Peter list the attribute of virtue as the very first ingredient you are to add to the starter faith you have been given. God himself cannot be anything but virtuous: He expects this character trait in his children as well.

He doesn’t just throw it out there anywhere; he tells you to take great care (giving all diligence) that you add this ingredient first.
The word virtue means more than being worthy of trust. It carries with it the idea of having great goodness, being fair in your dealings, and willing to take on responsibilities. When you break it down, that’s a lot!

Would you consider yourself virtuous? I thought I would have been, but then conviction set in. Have you ever been preparing a snack and there isn’t much there? – You decide to half it. Then the temptation comes to put just a l-l-ittle more on your plate or your bowl, after all he won’t mind. Right?...Just where is the middle of that candy bar!!????.....While we may laugh at something so simple, God takes it very seriously.

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rm. 3:10)

Whether it is something as simple as splitting a candy bar or treating a business associate fairly in a project you have been working on, God has called you to be a virtuous woman. Ready to be able to step up and say: Yes, Lord with your help, I can do this and I am willing to do this for you.

As the words of the old hymn “Are Ye Able” say:

“Lord we are able our spirits are thine, remold them make them like thee divine. Thy guiding radiance above us shall be a beacon to God to love and loyalty.”

The verse gives the picture of the light(presence) of God shining down on us. That light when seen by others acts like a signpost marking the way to God for them, to love(for God is love), and to loyality (for God is faithful or loyal)

But being good and fair and willing to take on responsibilities in your Christian walk does not come easy. Temptation is always there, -- if not to get you to fall into selfishness, then to tempt you to give up. That’s where the ingredients of the starter come in to encourage you- precious promises:

“For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” (2 Cor. 8:12)

God doesn't expect you to be perfect. As a matter of fact he knows you can't be. That's why it was necessary of him to send his son, Jesus. The requirement for perfection has already been met through Him. The promise in 2 Corinthians assures you that if you are just willing God accepts you just the way you are.

Are you trying to tame your tongue? The Bible says no man(woman) can do that. God can! Are you willing to let Him work? That's all he requires.

He will begin to show you through daily reading in his word things that will help you. He will put you into situations to give you practice in learning to control that tongue. If you humble yourself and don't stop being willing, in other words-don't give up then God will teach you how to control your tongue and give you a victory to celebrate! A testamony to help another with.

Add to your faith,Virtue.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Precious "Starter"-- Faith

“to them that have obtained (received) like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”
(2 Peter 1:1)

Reference: Ps. 119:18; Rm. 10:17; Heb.11:1-3; Titus 1:4; Jn. 6:44; Rm. 4:16; 2Cor.4:13; 2 Cor.4:18

Just as the “starter” for the Friendship Bread is made up of several things; the starter faith as I have called it is actually a combination of three gifts: saving faith, grace and precious promises from the Lord Jesus.
In the verse above, you see that the faith given to you is the same as was given to the Apostle Peter and every other friend of God.

“Abraham believed God (it takes faith to believe) and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.” James 2:23
God wants to be your friend as well. That’s why he came to your house to offer you the bread of life, and with it the “starter” faith needed to continue the friendship and help it grow. Hebrews tells what this faith is:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Since faith is made of something you hope for, combined with proof of what you cannot see, you can no more produce it for yourself than you can take a bottle and fill it with light, put a cap on it and use it to light the darkness of a room. Ephesians two and verse eight confirms that it is impossible for it to come from any other source than God himself.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Eph. 2:8

With God all things are possible. God can produce something from nothing and use it for His glory and he does it every time he saves a soul. Here is where your first precious promise comes in handy. (vs.4)

You have within you as a gift, the starter it takes to grow in the Lord. It by itself does not make the finished product; that will take work on your part and daily maintenance. What is that finished product? It is becoming a mature Christian.

Just as the neighbor does not supply you with bread from now on while you sit and enjoy; faith, grace and promises, although you cannot grow without them, will not give you all that you need to become a mature Christian. God in his wisdom has left some responsibility to you, but he did tell you what you will need.

Peter is confirming this and wishing you grace and peace, not just a little –not just sometimes, but multiplied (more and more added together). Peter was a practical man. He didn’t spend his days sighing and wishing he could be filled with peace.

Think of this. It was a goal he had been able to reach and he is telling you exactly how you can reach it too: through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.

Because of the divine power of Jesus you have been given all things that pertain to life and godliness. It is in his Word: the Bible. And what follows these verses is the recipe for a life filled with grace and peace multiplied.

The first step is to open the door and accept the gift of friendship that Christ has to offer.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” Rev. 3:20

He is offering you the start of an eternal friendship when you open that door, and with it the key ingredients needed to live an abundant life while you are here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What Things are You Talking About?

"For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren(useless) nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:8

The Amish have a sweet bread that is simply called Friendship Bread most women I know have heard of it. It's given to new neighbors as a token of future friendships. It is also gifted to old and dear friends to be enjoyed with conversation. What better gift than something that has sustained life for thousands of years?

For the next several post, I plan to use the simple friendship bread recipe in a comparison to the life of a fruitful Christian woman. I hope you enjoy and learn from this study as much as I did when the Lord gave it to me.

The neighbor, and potential friend, will bring the hot bread to the new neighbor's house along with the recipe and a small jar of "starter": which is the key to making the bread. The ingredients of the jar of starter aren't listed in the recipe; it will be given freely along with the bread at the beginning of the relationship by the one offering the friendship bread.

Certain things must be done daily to the 'starter' for it to remain active and grow. Just as the friendship it has come to represent between the neighbors, it takes effort and time daily to maintain the 'starter'.
But once it reaches a certain stage, the new neighbor will not only have enough to make a loaf of bread for her and her family, but also enough to give away to someone else. And the process starts over, spreading this delicious bread and the friendships it creates house to house throughout the community.

If you look in 2 Peter chapter one, verses one through eight, God gives you the recipe ingredients for a useful, fruitful, mature Christian life.

Thinking of our comparison to the friendship bread,as you read these verses, can you spot the 'starter'which is given by your potential friend Jesus? Just as with the Amish bread the key ingredient must be given to you.(faith,)Why do I say that?

In verse five you are told to 'add to' your faith. Verse one of the chapter tells you that you obtained(received)it: that tells you that it was not something you supplied for yourself, it had to be given to you.

Verse three tells you where it came from. "His divine power hath given."
There are many verses in scripture that comfirm where and how faith comes. One of these is Romans 10:17 This verse says faith comes by hearing, so if faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word, then who is the word?

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1

The friend who brought you the 'starter faith' is Jesus. He brought it the day he came to your house with the bread of life: salvation. As you read you will see that along with the faith you are given "exceeding great and precious promises" that will help you to maintain this faith and also the grace you will need to be able to share it with others.(vs.4)

So what is to stop you from adding to this 'starter faith' the seven things Peter says are needed? Study the Word to have a life that will be useful and fruitful to God and pleasing to others.

Remember Seven is the number of perfection(completion), it is God's number. He made the earth in seven days; He spoke seven times on the cross. The seven things listed in these verses, added to the starter faith, give you eight specific things. Eight is the number of new birth. (There were eight souls on the ark.) It can be your number. Study through these eight things if you want to have a new spiritual life of faith, a new daily walk of faith in Christ and a testamony that can be shared with others.

In my next post I will begin to break down this recipe one ingredient at a time. I hope you will join me to see what God has cooking for you!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Traveling "The" Road

My husband and I spend alot of time in our cars and on the road traveling to different churches with the ministry.

A church we are affiliated with needed a Kindergarten teacher to finish out the year:the current teacher's husband had been transfered with his work. I stepped in to fill the gap and finish out the year for them. That meant a daily long commute of about 100 miles round trip for four months.

At first I carried my directions with me everyday to make sure that I would not get lost or take the wrong roads and have to backtrack costing time and gas.
As the road became familiar, I stopped consulting my directions and started listening to the radio, going over lesson plans in my mind as I traveled the road. One morning, I suddenly realized that nothing seemed familiar to me. Panic! Had I missed my turn? Was I going the wrong way? You can imagine my relief when I spotted a familiar landmark.

As I calmed back down, I began to think of it in a spiritual way. As Christians this can happen to you and me in our walk with the Lord. We can get sidetracked, our mind on day to day living and off the Lord who is our guide. As I panicked that morning on the road, we can have a spiritual panic attack.

First thing we say is: "Where are you Lord?" Then we want to accuse him of leaving us to fend for ourselves. We can't see him taking care of us. We can't recognise his 'familiar landmark' ahead of us.

It's then that God sends a piece of a scripture verse, or the verse of a song that I have heard, or a brother in Christ to encourage me and to calm my spiritual nerves,to let me know when I am headed right.

There are some rural roads with four way stops that do not warrant a traffic light, but if you are watching the road, you will see the warning painted in large letters that even glow in the dark, letting you know: STOP AHEAD!

How many times in my life has God painted those letters STOP AHEAD!for me, and in my headlong,head strong way I go right through and into some major spiritual wreck! If I would only listen and look for his warnings how much better my life would be.

When you travel to a place you have never been you make preparation before hand. Some use a map, others may use online directions, others an
in-car directional device of some sortlike 'on star',Why? Getting to where we are headed without getting lost or delayed is important to everyone.

The Bible is our "onstar" our direct line in this world to our Lord who is our guide. Prepare ahead of time,read the directions. It marks the road to heaven clearly and gives step by step details as to the traffic problems, and road hazards along the way.

As you begin this new year, make sure your direct line to the Lord is always with you and you are listening carefully. Let's avoid those spiritual panic attacks