Psalm 90 and 1Cor 15 were the readings at funerals in the first century. Both reveal the same truths: God has placed eternity in our heart [Eccl 3] that we might know and seek what is eternally significant. And the second truth is that before God created the world as we know it, God was eternal and He still is so. A 24 hr. day to us is like a thousand years in His sight. And the third truth is that our life is to like a beautifully crafted tapestry. Each thread creates a picture of our lives from birth to death.

Therefore, even though life is fleeting, we should enjoy and invest wisely in that which will count for eternity.  Because through “the sweat of our brow and painful toil we will eat from the ground all the days of our lives…until we return to the ground.” [Gen3 paraphrased]  Only our tombstone will recall the life we have lived and even those will decay and the remains below will be forgotten by others.  We all are frail and, like grass, we grow and we wither with the heat of the sun. “We shall surely die and be like water spilled out on the ground.” [2Sam 14]

Sounds a bit morbid if you only stop there—however that is not the end but only the beginning if you are a believer in Christ! “But let the believer take courage and be comforted. When we move out of this tabernacle, the real man will leave the body and enter into the presence of the Lord.” [Lehman Strauss] Then we can reclaim our eternal inheritance reserved in heaven for us. [1Peter 1] Have you been born anew so that this promise is for you?

 

 

 

 

 

Life seems so contrary these days.  When life seems so up and down where do you turn? The psalmist asked where are your earlier faithful deeds? Habakkuk asked: how long must I cry for help? Both of asked: God where are you? Life is so topsy turvy! Both questioned the sovereignty of God and wondered when all of this turmoil would end. These lived thousands of years ago but today many are asking the same questions. Why is the world in such confusion and unrest? Why doesn’t God step in and stop this merry go round?

Beloved, God is in the same place He was yesterday, will be today and will be tomorrow. He is sovereign and in control and on his throne. “When God seems to be acting contrary to His character and promises, the godly should remember that He is loyal and faithful. They should call on Him to act for His own glory and for the welfare of His people. However, they must remember that appearances can often be deceiving,” [Dr. Constable]

The psalmist ended with these words: “the Lord deserves praise forevermore!” and Habakkuk ended his quest for answers after noting that although the fig tree doesn’t bud and there were no grapes on the vine still “The sovereign Lord is my source of strength.”

You may be going through a ‘tough time’ but God is still on the throne. He is full of grace and mercy and “The Lord is near all who cry out to him, all who cry out to him sincerely”[Ps 145] Cling to that truth.

Come sit a spell with Jesus and let Him answer those questions. Believers have the  Blessed Holy  Spirit as our teacher who will bring to mind all the things Jesus taught and explain all truth to us.

One of my favorite places to visit as a child was a carousel in a park in Auburn, NY. For 25ȼ you could ride and ride up and down on the ponies. Later this carousel would be moved to an inside mall only to disappear after some years; sadly. The carousel is like our world which is spinning faster and faster, taking lives which once were assured only to present more questions than answers. But you as the believer have those answers. Perhaps that is a challenge to us to do as Peter said: “always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess.” [1Peter 3:15]

With technology as your passion and your tool of the information highway of Facebook, Twitter, Skype, or email you will meet people whose questions are almost daunting. They send you on rabbit trails that may lead nowhere but you are forging a relationship with them that shows you care. This is where you as the believer are to sow the seeds of righteousness before them so that they may choose Jesus as the only way and the only answer to life’s dilemmas.

Beloved, remember this truth as noted in Rom 7, the unbeliever “does not get it and never will get it” because they are in a battle against God. Remember you were once like them as Paul reminded the Colossians and the Ephesians.  They do not have the Holy Spirit within and therefore they are questioning God and themselves. This is the truth according to Rom 1 and Gal 5. We need this list before us when they are asking the “why” questions that should send you to your knees and into the Book!

Or the opposite side of the coin you may find yourself in an online dialog with believers, who like the unbelievers, are also asking:  “why do you [God] make all people so mortal?” [Ps 89] Or why is there so much hatred, scoffing, and even unforgiveness amongst believers? I thought we were all about love? What is the answer?

You may not have all the answers but you can point them to this truth: “Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” [Rom 8:1] Or you can direct them to Habakkuk 3 to remind them that when all of life is falling apart you can still cling to this one truth: “The sovereign Lord is my source of strength.”

Remember this is the battle of the flesh against the Spirit. It is a spiritual battle for which we need the armor of God. [Eph 6] Because it is a spiritual battle those who do not know Him will lose in the end without the intervention of our witness and the power of the Holy Spirit to bring them to the saving knowledge of Christ and His work of redemption.

Take time to thank God for your expertise in the use of technology! Thank God for each interaction He sends your way.

PRAY FOR THEM/ WITNESS TO THEM

 

 

 “you also died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you could be joined to another, to the one who was raised from the dead, to bear fruit to God.” Romans 7:4

Paul uses the analogy of the marriage contract. In marriage we are to be faithful until death; in fact, it is stated in the marriage vows “until death do us part.” But, today divorce is rampant because we have forgotten this vow Remember Eccl 5:4-5 “when you make a vow, do not delay in paying it for God takes no pleasure in fools: pay what you vow!”  The opposite of being faithful is being an adulteress as Paul uses it here.

Many walk the aisle to say we will be faithful but when life goes awry we step into the divorce court only to be followed by walking the aisle again to marry and repeat that vow. God calls it plain and simple: adultery. We have become unfaithful to the one to whom we vowed the first time. The only release from this vow is the death of the one to whom you vowed these words: “until death do us part.”

In like manner, Paul is saying we are wed to the Law and it is lord over us.  Therefore one of us must die to be freed. We must die to the Law so we can be joined to Christ who is our new husband.

And why should we want to be dead to the Law? So we can bear fruit to God. May our fruit plate be filled with the Fruit of the Spirit and the character qualities from 1Peter 3:8 “harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, and humble.”

1 Peter 3

Since marriage is God’s design it might be a good thing to stop and look into His book for what He wants us to know about this topic. Husbands and wives are God’s design, they are one of a kind and they are made to match Him. “in the image of God He created them.” Together they are “fellow heirs of the grace of life.”

Peter writes “in the same way” meaning as Christ submitted, so husbands are to submit to God in the same way He did. Peter gives the husbands two simple directives: “treat” and “show.” He is to treat and show his wife honor or respect for two have become one. Peter inserts the words “she is the weaker vessel” meaning she is like a priceless piece of china. Weaker has nothing to do with her value or her worth. She is weaker by design so that a husband can care, protect and provide for her. That was and is God’s design.

God brought Eve to Adam and the two became one flesh. “Then the Lord God made a woman from the part he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.” Now Adam treated/dwelled together with Eve as the weaker vessel; the fragile vase that was precious and God created.  He said she is flesh of my flesh, and taken out of “me.” This is a spiritual truth of the intimacy of marriage.

Peter says if you do these two simple steps nothing will hinder or stop your prayers. Prayers are hindered when we fail to obey and submit to the ways of God.

Photo Credit: BenWhite/Unsplash with Author’s Caption

1Peter 3 Let your beauty be “the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight.”

Although written to first-century women married to “disobedient husbands” this quality of one’s inner beauty should be as valid a desire and goal for all women—married or single or divorced or widowed.

So gals let’s talk about this quality for a minute.

Peter specifically notes that a woman with these qualities is “holy” which takes us back to chapter 1: “like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct,” which then takes us back to chapter 3 where it says “holy women long ago adorned themselves in this way.” Did you notice the key is “holiness?” Your lasting beauty is sheltered in your heart and that leads to holiness.

Kay Daigle writes “our primary adornment is to be in the heart” It applies to every part of our lives and is then the preciousness of being a woman of God.

Did you notice that Peter doesn’t say that the beauty comes from our voice—and in fact Peter notes that women are not to be “preachers” to disobedient husbands but to win them “without a word.” Peter is saying it is our spirit—the real “me” inside that he is to see.

So on a scale of 1 to 10 how are you doing today ladies?

 

 

1 Peter 3 Peter is writing to believers who are facing persecution. They are facing trials for their faith.  They face hatred and evil insults from others and the sinful heart of man is revealed. Today we are seeing this hatred in real life; it is all around us. It is in our news, in our communities, and yes even in our families. We must stop and ask: How shall we respond?

Beloved, whether or not you or I are facing persecution or evil behavior from others, the truth remains. We “MUST” Be Christ-followers and Christ-examples. Peter leaves no stone unturned when he says “Finally ALL of you….you “MUST” be of one mind” and that only happens when the mind is renewed. “Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” [Rom 12]

Remember Peter’s counsel: “get rid of all evil and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.”: “FINALLY ALL of you be harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate and humble.” We do it because we “MUST” choose to do it.

Think of it like a light switch. If we want light we push the switch to the upper position and to close it the opposite. So it is in our minds. We “MUST” choose to pull the switch of our new nature so that we do not return evil for evil or insult for insult. We “MUST” choose to bless others. We “MUST” turn away from evil and do good. We “MUST” seek peace and pursue it.

Remember this: the battle begins in the mind. It is there that we make choices when faced with evil, insults, and injustices.

Photo Credit: DAustin image with Josh McDowell’s 4C’s

1Peter 3 Sarah is a woman of many twists and turns. We find her in Genesis, Galatians and then in Hebrews. She called Abraham ‘lord,’ which Peter recalls. He also reminds the wives, to whom he is speaking, that like Sarah’s condition, nothing is too hard for God when we do what is good and have no fear in doing so. As a subordinate to Abraham and considered inferior in her culture, she remains a steadfast picture of faith, obedience, and submission.

But, who was she really?

As the wife of Abraham, she was externally beautiful; perhaps arrayed with jewels and braided hair. Or perhaps it was her inner beauty, gentleness and a tranquil spirit that captured the eye of Pharaoh and then King Abimelech.  Taken by them due to a foolish and irresponsible decision by Abraham, she had to trust God where there was no other solution. Her life is a picture of the truth of Peter’s words; you will be protected by God’s power through faith. [1Pet 1:5]

She was a woman who hoped and prayed for a child but remained barren. She overruled her husband and it ended with disastrous results. Coaxed by Sarah, Abraham impregnated her maid, Hagar. A child was born from this relationship—Ishmael—and with it came the stigma—he would never truly be Sarah’s child; but always Hagar’s.

But her final triumph of faith came when she realized truly nothing is beyond the scope of God’s plan and promise when Isaac was born as a child out of due season.

Wives, will you trust God? Will your faith sustain you as it did for Sarah?

1Peter 3 “Candid Camera Week”

Candid Camera was a TV show which often caught people in the various acts set up to catch their reactions. When revealed there were howls of laughter at being spoofed but in real life, we are all on Candid Camera to the world and our character and our attitudes are being revealed. If caught what would it see?

Does it see “one who wants to love life and see good days? Does it see a tongue that spews forth slander and deceit?” Peter reminded the believers under trial that they were to get rid of these last behaviors. Jesus reminded his followers that what spews forth from our mouths either edifies or defiles. If the camera took your picture what would it reveal?

Again we are to seek peace.  “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people.” [Rom 12:18] We are not only to seek peace but to pursue it. We are to be actively running swiftly towards it and not let anything deter us from that goal. How do we do that? We must “turn away from” and “turn toward” the good that is offered as a solution. However, in our humanness, we either avoid conflict or engage it. The question is do we engage it by doing good? Turning from is the harder choice but it is what we are “set apart” to do. It is part of our obedience to the sprinkling of Christ’s blood.

If caught on God’s camera what would it see?

Photo Credit: Kit Junglit/Unsplash + Author’s Caption

1Peter 3 This is crazy hard! said one author after reading vs 8/9 of this chapter!  How can I be all of these things to those inside and outside my community? Jesus never said life as a believer would be an easy road and especially so when he said if we want to follow him we must be ready to pick up our cross daily. That means we must put “us” aside and put Jesus first. Peter learned that lesson.

Yes, the Christian walk is sometimes “crazy hard” but as he sums up this section on submission he says “finally ALL of you” leaving no stone unturned. We are now living stones and this means being built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices together. This means it begins with us being a living sacrifice first and foremost. We were chosen according to the foreknowledge of God in eternity past. We were sanctified or set apart to obedience. We are living stones interlocked with the Cornerstone. Therefore, we are to be inwardly “harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, and humble” and outwardly “to not return evil for evil or insult for insult, but instead, bless others.”

Yes, this is “crazy hard.”

This is your short term mission trip for this week:

  • Observe your walk.
  • Listen to your talk.
  •  Live like your walk is “crazy hard.”
  • Be ready to share with whom you have lived life both inwardly in community and outwardly outside your community.

Are you ready?