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Posts Tagged ‘First Epistle of Peter’

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The Jewels of the Lord

 

 

“And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” (Malachi 3:17)

 

The jewels of the Lord are not rubies and diamonds, but rather are “they that feared the LORD” and who “spake often one to another.” Instead of being mounted in a crown or other adornment as precious stones would be, these jewels will be listed in a very special book. “A book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name” (v.16). What a blessing it would be if, when we get to heaven, we should find our names written in that special book of God’s memories! God does take note of our times of spiritual fellowship with other believers—especially, no doubt, when they occur during times of stress and worldly opposition.

 

This word (Hebrew cegullah) is not the usual word for “jewels,” more commonly being rendered “peculiar treasures.” For example, Psalm 135:4 says that “the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.” The word suggests treasure carefully guarded in a safe place. The word is translated simply “special” in Deuteronomy 7:6, “a special people unto himself.”

 

Note in particular Exodus 19:5-6: “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.”

 

Peter uses the same language in writing to prepare Christians for imminent times of persecution. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). HMM

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An Answer in Suffering

by John D. Morris, Ph.D. | Dec. 18, 2012

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15)

The words of this verse have much to say concerning a ministry such as ICR’s and have been oft-discussed in these pages. In short, they consist of a mandate to be always prepared to give a systematic, logical (scientific, if necessary) defense of one’s faith, with the proper motives and attitudes, of course. Let us today place the verse in its immediate context, verses 13 through 17.

Normally one would not expect opposition for doing good, but such a situation must be expected, particularly if a person is a zealous follower of good (as in v. 13). Such a person is enthusiastic about his cause, not in an irrational way, but a wholehearted way. This intimidates and infuriates those who “loved darkness . . . because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

“But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye” (1 Peter 3:14). Our natural response of fear need not overtake us, for Peter warns us to be prepared, and he gives several commands. First, “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” (v. 15). He must occupy the supreme position in our hearts. Next, we must “be ready always” with our defense. This implies forethought, study, and preparation. Lastly, he insists we must maintain “a good conscience” (v. 16), a lifestyle so pure and blameless that any accusations will be to the shame of the accusers.

It may be, however, that in spite of our walk with the Lord, our preparation and lifestyle, unjust persecution may come. It may be in “the will of God” (v. 17) for us. If so, so be it, “for it is better . . . that ye suffer for well doing than for evil doing.” JDM

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Days of Praise

That Which Endures Forever

 

 

 

September 17, 2012

“But the Lord shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.” (Psalm 9:7)

 This world will eventually pass away. The law of entropy assures us, in fact, that everything decays and dies. Atheistic scientists have even calculated that the very protons of which matter is composed will eventually disintegrate. And the Bible itself also tells us that the present earth and heaven “shall wax old as doth a garment” and “shall perish” (Hebrews 1:11).

 But God Himself is eternal! As our text confirms (and many other texts agree), “the LORD shall endure for ever.”

And that is not all! His glory will remain! “The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works” (Psalm 104:31).

 And His great name will never change. “His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him” (Psalm 72:17).

That also means that His righteousness will never change. “His righteousness endureth for ever” (Psalm 112:3).

 Then also “His mercy endureth for ever.” All 26 verses of Psalm 136 end with this wonderful assurance, and the same promise occurs 16 other times as well. If God’s perfect righteousness will last forever, then His great mercy must also endure forever, and we shall continue to thank Him for His everlasting mercy in all the ages to come.

 Next, God’s Word will endure. “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Peter 1:25).

 Finally, because God is forever, we also shall live forever. “His seed shall endure for ever” (Psalm 89:36). “The world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:17). HMM

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Psalm 121

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Those Who Depart

September 12, 2012

 “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” (1 John 2:19)

 One of the most hurtful experiences in the life of a Bible believing fellowship is when an ostensibly Christian leader, teacher, or pastor decides to abandon his faith and even to teach against it. This sort of thing does happen all too often, and it obviously raises difficult questions.

 Can a true believer, a teacher of the Word, a soul-winner, actually lose his salvation? Can a born-again Christian go back and be unborn? Can one who has received everlasting life through faith in Christ not really have eternal life?

 If so, what about the many promises which have assured us that “ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13) and that we “shall never perish” (John 10:28)?

 The answer to this vexing question is apparently in our text verse above. When such people, who once seemed to be genuine Christians become apostates, denouncing the truth they once taught, it is because “they were not of us” at all, no matter what they professed at one time.

 This fact implies a sober warning. When professing Christians fall away, assuming they have truly understood the facts and evidences of the Christian faith, it is impossible “to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:6).

 How important it is, therefore, for all professing believers to “give diligence to make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). We must be “rooted and built up in him” (Colossians 2:7), “ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). HMM

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Well Prepared

September 4, 2012 by Cindy Hess Kasper

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You also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. —Matthew 24:44
Bible in a Year:
Ezekiel 1-3

The idea of always being prepared makes me think of the man who lived next door to us when I was growing up. When Mr. Nienhuis came home, he never failed to back his car into the garage. That seemed unusual to me until my mother explained that Nels was a volunteer fireman. If he got a call, he had to be ready to race to the fire station. He backed in so he could leave quickly when he had to report for duty.

To be well prepared is important in so much of life. “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend 6 sharpening my axe,” said Abraham Lincoln. We prepare for a career by studying. We buy insurance in case of a car accident or a house fire. We even prepare for the end of life by making a will to provide for loved ones.

The Bible tells us we must prepare ourselves spiritually as well. We do that by putting on spiritual armor to protect ourselves from spiritual attack (Eph. 6:10-20); by preparing our minds for holy living (1 Peter 1:13); by making sure we’re always prepared to answer questions about the reason for the hope we possess (3:15); and by ensuring that we are ready for the promised return of Jesus (Matt. 24:44).

How well prepared are you for what lies ahead? Unsure? Ask the Lord for His help and guidance.

When I awake at early morn
To meet the coming day,
I want to be prepared to take
Whatever comes my way. —Simmons

Spiritual victory comes only to those who are prepared for battle.

 

 

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Question: “Is there meaning in tragedy?


Answer: When tragedy strikes, it is common for people to ask, “What does this mean?” When we witness some disaster or mass murder, there is a natural feeling that what has happened should not have happened. This innate sense of “wrongness” is a clue to meaning in these events. When we look to find meaning in tragedy, we must have the right perspective. We need to approach the question in a way that allows for a coherent answer, and this is only possible through a Christian worldview. Because God instills meaning into every moment and event in history, through Him we can begin to find meaning in suffering. The nature of this world lends itself to tragic events. Fortunately, God speaks to us, so that we can find not only meaning, but salvation and relief from the sufferings of the world.

When studying physical motion, it is crucial to understand perspective. Speed and acceleration are only meaningful in relation to some other object; this object is the reference point. The way in which the reference point moves affects our perception. The same is true in our sense of right and wrong. For concepts of good, bad, right, wrong, or tragedy to be meaningful, they have to be anchored to a reference point that does not change or move. The only valid reference point for these issues is God. The very fact that we consider a mass murder wrong strongly supports the idea of God as the reference point for our sense of good and evil. Without God, even the events we consider the most tragic are no more meaningful than anything else. We have to understand the nature of this world and our relationship to God in order to draw any meaning at all from the things we see.

God infuses every moment and every event with meaning and gives us confidence that He understands what we are going through. When Jesus instituted communion, He tied the past, present, and future together. 1 Corinthians 11:26 says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup (the present), you proclaim the Lord’s death (the past) until He comes (the future).” God’s knowledge of all events means nothing is insignificant to Him. If God knows when a sparrow falls, He certainly knows when we face tragedy (Matthew 10:29-31). In fact, God assured us that we would face trouble in this world (John 16:33) and that He has experienced our struggles personally (Hebrews 2:14-18; Hebrews 4:15).

While we understand that God has sovereign control over all things, it is important to remember that God is not the source of tragedy. The vast majority of human suffering is caused by sin, all too often the sin of other people. For instance, a mass murder is the fault of the murderer disobeying the moral law of God (Exodus 20:13; Romans 1:18-21). When we look to find meaning in such an event, we have to understand why this world is the way it is. The hardship of this world was originally caused by mankind’s sin (Romans 5:12), which is always a matter of choice (1 Corinthians 10:13). While God is perfectly capable of stopping tragedies before they begin, sometimes He chooses not to. While we may not know why, we do know that He is perfect, just, and holy, and so is His will. Also, the suffering we experience in this world does three things. It leads us to seek God, it develops our spiritual strength, and it increases our desire for heaven (Romans 8:18-25; James 1:2-3; Titus 2:13; 1 Peter 1:7).

In the garden of Eden, God spoke to Adam and communicated in clear and direct ways, not in abstract concepts. God speaks to us today in the same way. In some ways, this is the most important meaning to be found in any tragedy. Tragic events demonstrate much of their meaning in the way we react to them. C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” This does not mean that God causes tragedy, but that He uses our reaction to tragedy to speak to us. Tragic events remind us not only that we live in an imperfect and fallen world, but that there is a God who loves us and wants something better for us than the world has to offer.

Recommended Resource: Is God Really in Control? Trusting God in a World of Terrorism, Tsunamis, and Personal Tragedy by Jerry Bridges.

Is God Really in Control? Trusting God in a World of Terrorism, Tsunamis, and Personal Tragedy  -     
        By: Jerry Bridges

Is God Really in Control? Trusting God in a World of Terrorism, Tsunamis, and Personal Tragedy

NAV Press / 2006 / Paperback
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 There’s no more crucial topic in today’s world than understanding what God is up to in the midst of personal and global tragedy. Author Jerry Bridges helps readers answer the question “Is God in control?”, offering comfort and hope by exploring the greater purposes of God in light of Scripture.

 Publisher’s Description

From devastating natural disasters to deadly highway accidents, tragedies occur every day around the world and in our own lives. As we face death, grief, loss, we become angry and our faith is tested as we ask, “Is God really in control?”

Navigator author Jerry Bridges helps answer that question positively in this topical Bible study, offering comfort and hope by exploring the greater purposes and character of God.

• Includes discussion questions
• Can be used by men, women, and teens

Author Bio

Dr. Jerry Bridges is the best-selling author of such books as The Pursuit of Holiness, The Practice of Godliness, and Transforming Grace. Jerry is on staff with The Navigators’ collegiate ministry. A popular speaker known around the world, Jerry lives with his wife, Jane, in Colorado Springs, CO.

ChristianBookPreviews.com

Where is God when life is falling apart? From Job on, people have asked this question when their souls have been in anguish. Jerry Bridges supplies answers in Bridges writes for “the average person who has not necessarily experienced major catastrophe but who does frequently encounter the typical adversities and heartaches of life”. (p. 11)

Using Scripture and quoting other writers, many of them Puritan writers, Bridges grapples with the problem of understanding how a good God who is sovereign can allow, and sometimes initiate, suffering through humans, nature, and accidents.

“(I)t often seems more difficult to trust God than to obey Him….The circumstances in which we must trust God often appear irrational and unreasonable….Obeying God is worked out within well-defined boundaries of God’s revealed will. But trusting God is worked out in an arena that has no boundaries.” (p.21)

Bridges confronts questions about God’s goodness, His sovereignty, His wisdom, and our responsibility. Then he goes beyond the questions to apply Scripture to our times of hurt and confusion, helping us to accept our hardships and to grow spiritually.

His approach is very readable. He leans toward Calvinism in his acceptance of all things arising from the hand of God, and, though he does not excuse sin in human beings who bring us grief and pain, he suggests ways of dealing with our resentment, hurt, and anger against them. He promotes both recognizing God’s sovereignty and our responsibility with a good discussion of prudence. Each chapter ends with discussion questions, making it easier to use in a group setting, as well as in private study.

Jerry Bridges, a Bible teacher for the Navigators, has written several books, including the highly acclaimed The Pursuit of Holiness. Whether one fully agrees with him theologically, he addresses a thorny question thoughtfully, yet approachably. He offers much help in this short book. — Debbie W. Wilson, Christian Book Previews.com

 This bood not only teaches me to Trust God but it also backes up everything with GOD’S WORD.

Excellent commentary on the sovereignty of God.

For those who have doubts about the sovereignty of God, this is a must read. This book is an easy read yet very profound.

Christian Book Previews.com

  • Top 50 Contributor

Where is God when life is falling apart? From Job on, people have asked this question when their souls have been in anguish. Jerry Bridges supplies answers in Bridges writes for “the average person who has not necessarily experienced major catastrophe but who does frequently encounter the typical adversities and heartaches of life”. (p. 11) Using Scripture and quoting other writers, many of them Puritan writers, Bridges grapples with the problem of understanding how a good God who is sovereign can allow, and sometimes initiate, suffering through humans, nature, and accidents. (I)t often seems more difficult to trust God than to obey Him….The circumstances in which we must trust God often appear irrational and unreasonable….Obeying God is worked out within well-defined boundaries of God’s revealed will. But trusting God is worked out in an arena that has no boundaries. (p.21) Bridges confronts questions about God’s goodness, His sovereignty, His wisdom, and our responsibility. Then he goes beyond the questions to apply Scripture to our times of hurt and confusion, helping us to accept our hardships and to grow spiritually. His approach is very readable. He leans toward Calvinism in his acceptance of all things arising from the hand of God, and, though he does not excuse sin in human beings who bring us grief and pain, he suggests ways of dealing with our resentment, hurt, and anger against them. He promotes both recognizing God’s sovereignty and our responsibility with a good discussion of prudence. Each chapter ends with discussion questions, making it easier to use in a group setting, as well as in private study. Jerry Bridges, a Bible teacher for the Navigators, has written several books, including the highly acclaimed The Pursuit of Holiness. Whether one fully agrees with him theologically, he addresses a thorny question thoughtfully, yet approachably. He offers much help in this short book. — Debbie W. Wilson, Christian Book Previews

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