Category: General epistles-BibleTrekToday

Pay attention!

Scripture reading for October 20th: 2nd Peter 2

Key Scriptures: 2nd Peter 2:4-8 “For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if He did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes He condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; . . .”

Peter, in writing his last letter before his own execution by Nero, warned the church family against being taken in by false teachers and prophets. He pointed them to the Scriptures and God’s past acts of judgment upon the ungodly. God shows mercy towards the repentant and those keeping faith in Him, but He judges the wicked who refuse His mercy. The angels were created by God to serve Him and the heirs of salvation, us. Some of these created beings rebelled under Satan and God cast them into hell. The word here in Greek is “Tartarus” and is a special holding place for wicked spirits. God judged the ancient world of people and animals living before the flood by destroying them but preserving Noah and his family through their faith. God judged Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from heaven for their sinful rebellion, saving Lot and his daughters, and left that as an example of the fate of the ungodly. These warnings are clear and powerful and from God through the apostle Peter! Let’s not despise his authority!

2nd Peter 2:9-10 “. . then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for Your loving warnings through the apostle Peter to Your church. We repent of complacency and failure to listen to Your warnings and those You place in authority. Have mercy upon us and our nation in these rebellious last days. Use me to preach Your Word clearly and lovingly to the lost today and to live as an example of Christ Jesus my Lord.

2nd Peter 2:20-21 “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.”

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Partakers of the Divine Nature!

Scripture reading for October 19th: 2nd Peter 1

Key Scriptures: 2nd Peter 1: 2-7 “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him Who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption of this world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement you faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.”

Knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior through faith in the Gospel brings to us spiritual understanding of God’s amazing transformation in our hearts and the amazing inheritance that He has provided for us. We are instantly transformed into God’s children and given the Holy Spirit to help us understand how to grow and walk in holiness. We are given God’s Word, full of precious promises that are true and give us vision of our purpose here and our future glory in the kingdom. They require focus and effort on our part to apply daily. Through them we actually can partake of God’s nature and find pleasure and fulfilment in the grace and peace that are ours as God’s children. Our transformation to maturity is progressive as well as instantaneous at conversion. Like a child growing up, we add to our faith the virtue of application of God’s promises and allow His nature to show itself through us in the fruits of His Spirit. As our faith produces works, God’s grace and peace is secure and we will never fall! Amen!

2nd Peter 1:8 “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for giving me all things that I need for living a godly daily life. Your Word and Holy Spirit guide me daily to grow in my faith and add to my virtues and knowledge the fruits of Your divine nature. Help me to love my brothers and sisters and make me fruitful and effective to Your glory and honor. I desire a richly provided entrance into Your eternal kingdom.

2nd Peter 2:10-11 “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

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The power of a godly example

Scripture reading for October 18th: 1st Peter 5

Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 5:1-4 “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”

Jesus chose twelve disciples and called them to follow Him. His training initially and even to the last was mentoring and modeling how to walk in this world and how to seek and save the lost. Jesus was the Chief Shepherd and taught the disciples He was the Good Shepherd Who would, as a perfect example, lay down His life for His sheep. Jesus did not work for money or fame nor was He a domineering or harsh taskmaster. He was filled with grace, even as He suffered on the cross praying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Peter was shaped by Jesus and now called those in leadership in the church to set godly examples for Christ’s flocks. Reward awaits the faithful and obedient.

1st Peter 5:6-7 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for sending Your Son Jesus as a powerful example of holiness and consecration. Thank You for the privilege of serving You as an elder in Your Church. I am eager to set an example for others as You empower me with Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for Your daily care for me and for Your church as we wait for Your return and our complete restoration. I will worship You forever and ever!

1st Peter 5:10 “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, Who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

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Suffering halts sinning

Scripture reading for October 15th: 1st Peter 4

Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 4:1-5 “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to life for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but the will give account to Him Who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”

Jesus Christ was a man of sorrows and acquainted with suffering and grief. The trial and crucifixion brought maximum suffering to Jesus Christ and although His flesh wanted to find a way out, He chose to submit fully to His Father’s plan and will. His example should motivate us as well. Jesus promised His followers that as He suffered and was persecuted, so they would also. Peter is pointing out to believers that this same attitude will serve them well. The world will not understand why we cease from sin and live fully for our Lord, but we will be fully rewarded on that Day of Christ.

1st Peter 4:13-14 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for the example of Jesus Christ and the teaching You give us on the value of suffering in focusing our lives on the eternal kingdom and coming King! Help me to live a life free of sins and live fully sold out to You as a witness of Your saving grace to a lost world. Use any suffering for Your will as further purification and increase my focus on You. I rest in my Faithful Creator!

1st Peter 4:19 “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”

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Called to bless!

Scripture reading for October 14th: 1st Peter 3

Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 3:8-12 “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Peter called the believers to unity and brotherly love. Their hearts were to remain tender and their minds humble toward the brothers and sisters. If anyone did evil towards them or spoke evil of them, they were to counter with a blessing of those misguided and bitter people. They were to seek peace and be peacemakers and do good towards them, not fear them. Peter then quoted Psalm 34:12-16 that encourages God’s people to watch their tongues and their actions. It also promised that God sees everything and hears every prayer. God also sets His face against those who are doing evil and He alone will repay. You may still suffer reviling or evil treatment, but for doing good and not evil you will be blessed by God! You should also be ready to share Christ with them when your love breaks through their hard hearts!

1st Peter 3:13-14 “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, help me today to stay humble in my mind and keep a tender heart towards those who would mistreat me or revile me. This requires Your supernatural strength for I am often weak. Prompt me to be ready and bold to share the hope I have in Christ Jesus with gentleness and reverence. Let Your love and blessing break through hard hearts.

1st Peter 3:17-18 “For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is God’s will, than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. . .”

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Chosen to proclaim!

Scripture reading for October 13th: 1st Peter 2

Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 2:9-11 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”

Peter is writing to believers who were undergoing persecution from Jews on one hand and the government of Rome on the other. Peter encouraged them with truth concerning their true identity and calling. They had been chosen by God to be a royal priesthood, representing man to God in prayer and intercession. They were also a holy nation, set apart by God to live a holy life of obedience and faith shining as light in the darkness of this present world. God had called them out of the darkness and flooded them with His glorious light of truth and salvation. They were especially a people that God would dwell within and call His own because of the grace He had lavished on them. In response to their identity, these believers were given the opportunity and calling of proclaiming the surpassing greatness of God and to live on this earth as strangers and exiles while awaiting the King and His eternal kingdom!

1st Peter 2:20-21 “For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for choosing me and giving me a new identity in Christ. As a part of the royal priesthood, help me to faithfully pray for those in need and the lost. Help me to hold this world loosely and proclaim Your excellencies passionately in worship and proclamation as I follow the example of Christ Jesus My Lord.

1st Peter 2:24-25 “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but now have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

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Prepare for action!

Scripture reading for October 12th: 1st Peter 1

Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 1:13-16 “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He Who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.””

Peter, the impulsive apostle, was now writing a letter to the church after years of following Jesus and serving Christ faithfully. He offered instruction to fellow-believers from the grace that he had received over the years. He called believers to prepare for action in their minds. They need not be confused by worry or fear or drunk on the circumstances of the world that they lived in. They must be sober-minded and centered on the fulness of grace that would be brought to them when Jesus Christ returned. Because of this hope, they must be obedient to Christ Jesus and pursue holiness of thought and deed, not being dominated by their former passions and the ignorance that kept them in spiritual darkness. True faith actively pursues obedience and holiness because God’s Word calls us to it.

1st Peter 1:17-19 “And if you call on Him as Father Who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear through out the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a Lamb without blemish or spot.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, as I read this Word of God from Peter, I prepare my mind for action to obey You in all Your loving instruction. I believe in the grace that I have received from trusting in Jesus Christ and His shed blood, and look forward to the full salvation experience when Jesus is revealed again. Help me daily to be holy and obedient to the Holy Word and Holy Spirit.

1st Peter 1:22-23 “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding Word of God; . . “

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Patience required waiting for the Lord

Scripture reading for October 11th: James 5

Key Scriptures: James 5:7-9 “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.”

James knew and believed that Jesus Christ would return to earth for His people. He taught the church using the example of a patient farmer who had planted seed and was awaiting its growth to maturity and a harvest. In the waiting, the crop would need rain from heaven early to get it started and growing. It would also need the later rains to fill the seeds and fruit and bring maturity. In the same manner, believers having in them the Seed of Christ, would also need patience to wait for Christ’s return. They would need early rain for the Seed of the Word to grow and be planted in them. The later rains would refresh them and bring the fruits of their lives to maturity. Grumbling and living in known sin would not prepare them for the coming of the Judge–Who was standing right at the door awaiting God’s signal to come for His Bride.

James 5:10-11 “As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the Name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, as a farmer, You have taught me the need for patience in waiting for the precious fruit of the earth. Help me to have the same patience with my brothers and sisters in the church as you cultivate their lives through the trials and tests of life. Allow me to rescue the wanderer and see restoration. Give me the steadfastness of Job that I might experience Your mercy and compassion and share it with others.

James 5:19-21 “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

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Perils of an adulterous people!

Scripture reading for October 8th: James 4

Key Scriptures: James 4:1-5 “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that He has made to dwell in us”?

James addressed the church with several questions. He used the rabbinic method of that day, perfected by Jesus Christ, to cause God’s people to think deeply about their own lives and also about their relationship with God and the world they lived in. There were some who had more friendship with the world than love and commitment to God. They had made a commitment, but were now acting in an adulterous manner towards their Savior by following their own passions instead of Christ’s love and obedience. The result was quarreling and fights among believers. There was internal strife and divided loyalty and hatred which was equal to murder. James asked them to consider that God jealously yearned over them and had given them His Holy Spirit as a down-payment on the future eternal life together. Grace was needed and humbly asking God in faith was the first step.

James 4:6-8 “But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, forgive your people for their adulterous ways and divided loyalty. Forgive us of the quarreling and fighting and passion for things over our relationship with You. Fill us afresh with You Holy Spirit and give us grace to resist the devil and draw nearer to You with clean hands and a pure heart.

James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.”

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Taming the tongue!

Scripture reading for October 7th: James 3

Key Scriptures: James 3:5-8 “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”

James understood the power of the tongue. He instructed the church in helping to bring the tongue under God’s control. Just as a bit is placed in the horse’s mouth to bring the beast under control of the rider, so we need a bridle on our tongues. A ship is a large vessel but it is guided through the waters by a small rudder. Our tongues can only successfully guide us if they are under the control of the Holy Spirit. But the untamed tongue is like a fire that can quickly spread to set on fire a whole forest or a deadly poison that poisons all it touches. Behind this untamed tongue is the fire of hell itself, says James. The deadly poison is hatred, envy, jealousy, partiality, cursing and strife. Human effort has tamed every bird and beast, but not this small entity called the tongue. Only God can bring it under control and use it to bless others and guide us through life.

James 3:9-10 “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, forgive me for the fires I have ignited by speaking unadvisedly and hastily. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and use me to be a blessing in my worship of You and my ministry of teaching Your Word to others. I realize the great responsibility and stricter judgment that comes from teaching Your Word.

James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”

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