Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Art of being last.... Part 3

This last post has been a long time coming because God has really be impressing it on my heart and soul. For me (and maybe you) this part is where the rubber meets the road in our walk with Christ.

But before I begin I'll let you know the verse that started it all: Romans 12:10 "Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." Actually it was that last part "outdo one another in showing honor". Well I have to admit I for one have not been good at doing that!

In the context of this chapter, Paul is speaking to his "brothers". This is the church he is speaking to; he is saying "offering your bodies as a living sacrifice to God" - God first; "don't think of yourself more highly then you ought" - yourself last; and now put others before yourself, "outdo on another in showing honor".

Life within the "body of Christ" can be hard. People not being perfect, and sometimes living in the flesh, do things that hurt you or others. It's a product of this sinful world we live in. I'm not excusing the behavior, just acknowledging why it happens. I (you) have been hurt by someone in the church, or I (you) have hurt someone in the church. This portion of scripture tells us how to move past the hurt, and towards a fuller, more intimate relationship with Christ. Let's take a look at Romans 12:9-21, and list what it says we are to do:

  • Love genuinely (the NAS version of the bible says "let love be without Hypocrisy ~ Ouch) Can I ask you a personal question? Have you ever loved with hypocrisy? I have and that one hurt!!! Fake! I always say I know when someone is being fake and I hate it. How often have I been fake??? Ugh!
  • Abhor what is evil (Abhor means to "have a horror of ~ how often are you in horror of any particular sin, either in your life or others? Are you horrified by gossip? We're all horrified of the BIG sins, but what about "all" evil, which includes our "little" sins.)
  • Cling to what is good (To cling means to glue together, cement, to join. You should be permanently attached to the good around you.)
  • Love one another with "brotherly" love (I find it interesting that Paul mentions love twice here don't you?) (This is a love you should have for a brother or sister, familial love, ~ one that sacrifices for the good of the other. There's that word again "sacrifice".
  • Outdo one another is showing honor! Oh that verse! Go out of your way to show preference to someone else! Does it say those that do good to you? No, it says one another. Could that include someone who has hurt you? I think we'll find out in a little bit.
  • Here Paul gives a short list of other to do's and when I hear these I think of those verses in Colossians 3:17, 23. Do them unto the Lord:
  • Do not be slothful in your Zeal. In other words: Don't be lazy! Be passionate for Christ!
  • Be fervent in spirit. In other words: Be on fire in the spirit!
  • Serving the Lord.
  • Rejoice in hope.
  • Be patient in tribulation ~ Boy that's a doosy isn't it?! I'm not often the most patient person around, especially when there is a trial. I want it done, and yesterday!!
  • Be CONSTANT in prayer. "CONSTANT" I love the definition of "constant", but here is one part that I will pull out ~ to persevere and not to faint. How often do we give up in prayer when a situation is not handled as timely as we think it should be? (Please see "Be patient in tribulation").
  • Contribute to the needs of the saints. We are the "saints"! Remember we are set apart, a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:5). The definition of "contribute" means to:
    1. to come into communion or fellowship with, to become a sharer, be made a partner
    2. to enter into fellowship, join one's self to an associate, make one's self a sharer or partner
  • Show Hospitality (The definition of show includes: pursue, press on towards) This means even though it may not be easy for you to do hospitality, it is still required. God gives to us what we lack. I for one have a hard time practicing hospitality, but I now know God calls me to it, especially to my brothers & sisters in Christ.

Now we come to verses Romans 12:14-21. I believe we are still talking about the church here, and look at Paul's words. How does he start off? "Bless those who persecute you". Whoa, wait one minute here, I am suppose to bless those who persecute me? What?! Bless and do not curse?! Really?! Yes really, look also at what is said in Matthew 5: 43-44, and Luke 6:27-28, and in 1 peter 3:9, it addresses the same as in verse Romans 12:17.

This is right where God has had me for awhile now. One thing I am good at is avoiding people who have hurt me. I think this is a family trait, avoidance. Well God will no longer have any of that with me. He has said "enough Kim, let's get on with obedience!" He has also brought to my mind the fact that when I say I've forgiven, I really haven't. YIKES!! (Do you see where that loving without hypocrisy hit pretty close to home?!) Over and over again He is showing me where I need to be genuine in my love, where I need to put others before myself, where I need to let go of the past, and let him handle it. WOW! What freedom is in that!! Someone actually told me lately that my countenance had changed. She could see more joy in me. Why? Because I am learning to truly forgive and not to harbor feelings that will only keep me in bondage! Hallelujah he came to set me free (Isaiah 61:1 and Galatians 5:1)!!

So what about you?

1. Do you find it easy to love others? How about those who have hurt you?

2. How do you see the part of verse 10 "outdo" each other in showing honor? What does that mean to you?

3. Forgiveness is hard in our humanness, but necessary and possible with the Holy Spirits help. We leave it to God to handle the sin. What do you need to forgive and receive freedom from?

Oh I so hope this has been a blessing to you, and something that spurs you to a closer more intimate relationship with Christ!! If I don't blog before I so hope you have a blessed Christmas! Remembering HE came to set your free!!

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lessons I learn from the Dogs....

You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.

Psalm 90:8

My dogs hate to "go" outside, especially Gizzy.. They will do everything they can to prolong the inevitable. Champ even has gone so far as to circle the deck and come back to the door, making it look like he went down the stairs. I have to tell my kids "if their paws aren't wet (from dew), then don't let them in.

So now when I put them out I either have to go with them to the top of the stairs, or stand at the slider. Yesterday as I stood there, and they did their normal looking back, checking to see if I'm still there, it brought something to my mind.

"Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:23-24

Aren't we like that? We have a task to do, and it's something we do not want to do, so we keep looking back to see if anyone notices that we're being disobedient. We will do everything in our power not to do what it is that we need to do, and is really for our benefit in the end. Others may not see my disobedience, just like sometimes I miss the dogs disobedience because I walk away. But God never walks away, He is always watching, He is always on the throne. When we look back, we see Him. He knows what is best for us. He gives us tasks to do, sometimes hard tasks, but they are meant for our good and his glory! He also gives us the power to do the task, but at times we doubt that power. Our looking back robs us of our peace, and joy in Christ.

And he said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."

Mark 4:21-23

Do not allow Satan to rob you of what God has for you! Is the road easy, no. Is it worth it, YES!

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Monday, November 28, 2011

The Art of being last.... Part 2

First of all I need to apologize for 2 things. The first is my first post seems to have a mind of it's own. It shows me that there is repetition of a phrase that is not supposed to be there. When I go in to fix it, it doesn't show up. Not quite sure how to fix the situation. I'm wondering if I may need to switch to a different blogosphere! The second is taking so much time in between posts. I'm not quite sure how that happened, except to say this is a hard bit of scripture, and I may have procrastinated a bit!! Anyway on with it:

Romans 12:3-8

I love how Paul pulls no punches here. He starts out say (basically) ~ "Don't think to much of yourself dude". It says in my ESV Bible to think with sober judgement (to put a moderate estimate upon one's self, think of one's self soberly). Keep it in check. We are not to look at ourselves as more important to the body because we may have a role that can be seen by more people. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE that is a new creature in Christ has a job to do, that benefits the whole body! Not one job is more important then the rest, it's just a different job. As I type this I think of how people say, I love both of my kids the same, just differently. We love our kids the same amount, we just may love them in different ways because they are different people, with different personalities. Neither is more important than the other, just different.

It says in verse 3 - God assigns (to distribute) to each person a specific task for His kingdom. Each member has a task that is a necessary part of the body. We function as one, though we are many. Think about it ~ if one member of the body doesn't do what it's supposed to do the whole body suffers. 1 Corinthians 12 shows this concept so beautifully. One part of the body cannot say to another part of the body that they are not needed. If one doesn't work, it effects the whole body.

Do you see how important it is that you know, and do your part?! It says in verse to "use them". That means use the gifts given to you by God. He didn't give them to you to be ignored, but to help the body of Christ, which are ONE in Him. Then what ever you have been called to do, do well! In Romans 12:6-8, Paul lists a few of the gifts given. Colossians 3:17, 23; and 1 Corinthians 10:31 tell us how we are to use our gifts.

This also goes back to our 1st post. When you are a living sacrifice you do not think of yourself first, but last. Sacrificing your ambition for the good of the body. In 3 John it mentions a man named Diotrephes who "likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority". This is a man who probably didn't realize his name would forever be in print as someone who thought more highly of himself then others (as Beth Moore pointed out in our study). I wonder would his attitude be different now? Will mine? Will yours?

Q1. ~ How are you viewing yourself in the church? Do you see yourself better than others, or as not measuring up? Do you see yourself as a significant part of the body of Christ? If not, why not?

Q2 ~ How are you viewing others in the church?

Q3 ~ Are you using the gifts God has given you to encourage and support the body? Again, if not why not? The body is suffering without you!

Don't look at these questions as condemnation, but as a spurring on towards greater fulfillment in Christ!!! That is most definitely how they are meant.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pretty Pink Tractor!!!

Just had to share this new Tim Hawkins video! This guy is a stitch!!!

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The Art of being last.... Part I

Recently a verse struck me profoundly in Romans 12, so I began a study of the chapter. I'm not going to tell you which verse right now, but you can try to figure it out and let me know which one you think started all this!! In reading Romans 12 I was blown away by how our mind is supposed to be wired in fellowship. This will be a 3 part posting.

(I do not know what happened above.  It sincerely doesn't look like this when I go to try edit it.  I'm sorry if it's hard to read!!)

Romans 12: 1-2
Paul begins the chapter by appealing to the brethren (church), to present (to show, Proffer, stand ready) their (our) bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, which was their (our)spiritual worship.
We are to first submit to God as members of the body of Jesus Christ. We are not our own, but have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). We are not to be conformed (to conform one's self (i.e. one's mind and character) to another's pattern, (fashion one's self according to) to the worlds standards of me first. It says also in 1 Peter 1:14 that we (as obedient children) are not to be conformed to our former lusts, which we had in our ignorance. But we are to be transformed(to change into another form, to transform, to transfigure) by the renewal (complete change for the better, Renovation**I like that one!**) of our minds. In this way, we can test (Prove, scrutinize) what the will of God is, actually what is the good, the acceptable, the perfect will of God (my emphasis).
God's desire for us is to become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Through the sanctifying (setting apart, making holy) work of the Holy Spirit we are transformed into a better likeness of our heavenly Father. We no longer conform, or copycat the world, but just like a butterfly we become a new creature, with a different purpose, all for the Glory of God!!!
So what is all this saying really?: GOD FIRST ALWAYS!!! Let's get it in proper order, then things will make more since! You can no longer hold unto the things that you thought before coming to Christ. Living sacrifices are just that ~ we are living, and we sacrifice our wills to His will; our mind to His mind, and in this we see His plan that is good, acceptable and perfect!
1. We are called to present our bodies as living sacrifices to God, holy and acceptable. What does that mean to you?
2. In order to not be conformed to this world , what is one very important way to renew your mind?
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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Paradise Bound 5k, Personal Record, and Running with Pippa!!!

Today, finally my girl and I were able to run a 5k together!!! Well as together as a 12 year old and a 47 year old can!!! We ran in a 5k which benefits an organization called Paradise Bound. This organization helps people in Guatemala, by providing homes and medical services. The money raised today went to the building of homes that a team will be building in February.

It was a beautiful day for a race!!! My only issues where I overdressed, and that pesky asthma!!! Breathing was an issue, but are you ready for this ~ I ran my personal best!!! I came in under 40 minutes!!! That is a 1st!!! My time was around 39:36, and Bekah's time was around 29:36. We are waiting for the official times to see how close we come to those numbers.

We also ran with a group of ladies from our Women's Ministry!! See our cools Scarves?! Jennifer @ Zaankali's Adventure made them all for us!!!

It was a great morning, celebrated with a late breakfast at a local restaurant!!!

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Monday, November 7, 2011

A new twist on an old classic...

There's a new band (well at least new to me) called "NewWorldSon". In my quest to find their new song called "Learning to be the Light", which I heard the other day I found this song...

Which reminded me of this sweet song from my youth...... (I couldn't find a video, but here are the words!

The Hallelujah Line.

Oh...I'm traveling on the hallelujah line,
On the good ole gospel train,
I am on the right track, and never will go back
To the station of sin again.

I need no fare, I'm riding on a pass
Tis the blood for sinners slain;
I'm traveling on the hallelujah line,
On the good ole gospel train. (toot-toot)

I remember when I was younger on a Sunday night (because you know in the Baptist church that's when we let our hair down) we would take sides: One side of the church would do the Choo-Choo, and the other side would sing the lyrics. My pastor, who had very red hair would take the side that did the Choo-Choo (you didn't want to sit in the front row, if you know what I mean!!). Then he would switch sides and we would do it again!! What great memories!! We also would do the Hallelu, hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah, Praise Ye the Lord! That was our exercise for the night! There again we would do one side of the church doing the Hallelujah, and the other doing Praise Ye the Lord! To see all those older people, including my very intimidating father shoot up when it was their time was another great memory!!! I miss that!!!

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Commitment as a Christian

This morning in church we read the following commitment. I could have shouted it! Our pastor said that it was written by a young pastor, he doesn't know how long ago.

My Commitment as a Christian.

I'm part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power.
The die has been cast, I have stepped over the line, the decision has been made: I am a disciple of HIS! I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still!

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, foolish talking, cheap living and small goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, or popularity. I don't need to be recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer and labor by power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven; my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few...but my Guide is reliable and my mission is clear.

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won't give up, shut up or let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up ~ for the cause of Christ! I am a disciple of Jesus!!!

I must go until he comes, give until I drop, preach until all know and work until HE stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me - my banner will be clear!!!

Can you say it with me?!

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Giving Thanks Challenge 2011

Well it has been a long time since I have done a Thanksgiving Challenge!! God has just blessed me bunches this past year and I just feel that I need to share with all of you! If you would like to join, go here and get the button and read the very simple rules. Here are 5 for today:

  1. For God continuing to find me lovable and teachable!
  2. My wonderful husband who supports me and is always my biggest encourager!
  3. My redheaded boy!
  4. My tenderhearted girl!
  5. My Church, that stands firmly on the Word of God!

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A Fall tradition that not everyone is happy with.....

Gizzy is not the biggest fan of anything that take him outside a house!!!

Champ just deals! Well that is not necessarily true, he has a lot of "issues"!!

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Righteous Anger over a Mockery of Marriage!

O.K. since I no longer have a Facebook account and I have no other place to vent my incredible frustrations, you dear ones are going to get an earful!!! Here it goes:

I am so angry over this Kim Kardasian farce of a marriage that, as I told my son this morning "I can spit fire!!!" I just saw a snippet of an interview she will be doing this morning on The Today Show, where she said "this is hard, but I had to be true to my heart". True to your heart! Shouldn't you have thought about that 75 days ago? This man did not do that much changing in 72 days! I read an article on Fox News (remember their fair and balanced, whatever) about her spending 10 million dollars on this wedding, but through selling of pictures and stories she made 17 million. It was not about love, commitment, or even having too, it was a money maker!

Well Kim dear, I am here to tell you that as a child of God, and the wife of a wonderful man, SHAME ON YOU FOR MAKING A MOCKERY OF A COVENANT THAT GOD ORDAINED!!! Shame on you!!!

You may not know this, but I am here to tell you that marriage is a picture of Christ and his church (or bride as he calls it in scripture). God ordained for a man and woman to leave their homes and cleave to each other. He ordained that it be life long (ya know like animals that mate for life). He (Christ) performed his first miracle at a wedding. Whether you realized it, or realize it now God was a witness at your wedding. It says that in Malachi Chapter 2:14. Whether you wanted him there or not, he was there! Even though society today says "follow your heart, life is too short", God does not! You took something that he ordained and made it a circus act! Here are a few more pictures to help you understand how NOT lightly God takes marriage:

Isaiah 61:10

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Isaiah 62:5

For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you,and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

Matthew 9:15

And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guest mourn as long as the bride groom is with them? The day will come when the bridegroom is taken from them, then they will fast." (Who is this bridegroom, but Jesus Christ)

This next one gives me goosebumps and it should you too!

Revelations 19:7

Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.

We are that bride! We adorn ourselves! We make ourselves as beautiful as we can, just like any bride does today! Just like you did! You did look beautiful! But that beauty was all surface. It was not real. It was an act!

I have to admit
that I am asking God to give me a love for you, because right now I am just so angry! Young people today look at you as a roll model, and you stink at it! I know why, I do! You don't know Christ, so you are going on your own moral compass, that society has taught you, you can. It's about you, and your personal happiness. It's not about love. It's not about commitment. It's not about forever. It's about the here and now. Getting all I can. Doing what is best for me, never thinking of others and how my actions may affect them. Believe it or not, you do not live in a bubble, where you decisions affect only you! People, young people are watching and learning, and you act totally irresponsibly. I know you are ignorant of these truths and I wish I could talk to you in person to speak to you about The Bridegroom himself, but I can't. I live in Michigan, and you live in la la land.

I will pray for you and for me, and for anyone that may be wrongly influenced by your actions. Right now that is what I can do, so I will do it.

O.K. I think I feel better now! Got that all off my chest. I think I'm breathing again!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I am a runner.......

O.K. so I'm a 47 year old runner, but for me to even say that is an amazing miracle!! It all started when our sweet Bekah joined Cross Country in the 6th grade. Both Steve and I were so amazed at her determination and ability to persevere through the pain to finish. We both said we should take up running. Well that talk went on for quite sometime!! But in March we decided to start training. We found a wonderful podcast that helps you go from the couch to a 5k in 8 weeks called runningmate101. Not wanting to overdo it I did it in about 12 weeks. To say this is amazing is just not saying enough! I remember when I first started out running at the High School gym to run 1 1/2 minutes about killed me! I couldn't wait for that 1 1/2 minutes to be over with so I could walk for 3. It took me almost the whole 3 minutes to stabilize my breathing. Funny thing too, Steve had to drop out because he got Planters Faciatis(?) and his feet hurt to bad, so I became a lone runner.

Little by little I met the challenges and surpassed my expectations! I'll never forget the first time I ran 3 ~ 12 minute intervals. I was running in Ludington State Park and cried most of the time because of the beauty, and that I could run for 12 minutes without walking!! Then came the running for 30 minutes. What in the world was I thinking! I remember starting out that day with the thoughts that I can't do this! I don't have the strength, and I'm to overweight. Then God showed up (excuse me ~ He showed me he had always been there!!!)! He started to remind me of scripture such as: Psalm 147:10; Isaiah 40:31; Philippians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9. I could do it when I focused on him! And you know what ~ I did! All praise and glory and honor go to him and him alone!!!

I ran my first 5k on September 10th! Thought I would die, but I finished!!! It was hard too because I run on flat surfaces and silly me signed up for a race that was one BIG hill after another!!!

These days I run about 3 times a week. I try to run at least 3 miles, but sometimes do shorter stints at faster times. My goal is to get my 3 mile pace to a 14 minute mile. There are times I get discouraged, but then I am reminded by my wonderful husband, my kids and the Lord of how far I have come since March! I will never be fast, and that's O.K.! I can't say I love to run YET, but I do like it, and I like the fact that I can do it. If you would have told me that even 1 year ago I would have laughed at you! I remember watching runners and thinking "that doesn't even look like fun, why in the world would anyone do it!!?!" It's also encouraging for my children because I can show them that even though things are hard, in Christ's strength we can persevere! They are such wonderful encouragers too! I will run my second 5k on November 12th, this time with my sweet Bekah (of course she will be waiting for me at the finish line, since she runs much faster then I). We are running to help a ministry called Paradise Bound (great cause!)

So there you have it! I am a runner!!!!! Who would've thunk!!!!

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

Well Halloween is over for another year! This year we let Jeremiah go out with a friend, but told him, "Seriously when you're driving, you are no longer "trick or treating!!!" I wouldn't have minded him stopping a couple of years ago, but my easy going husband was like, no big deal, so I relented. I just thought I would share their costumes from this year. I think Bekah's is my favorite one from all the years! I just loved that tu tu!!! Jeremiah's was made, hummmmm...... let's see at 3:50 yesterday!!! He said after school, "yeah I'm going with Caleb to his grand parents house." They live in a rich neighborhood apparently where they had out King Size candy bars!! Ho Boy!! So off to the local LOVE Inc (In The Name of Christ), and $3.71 later viola!!! His mask is Hillary Clinton, I honestly do not know what the rest is stating!!!!

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Monday, October 31, 2011

My husband knows how to make me cry...

Tonight I was out of sorts for so many reasons. Since Jeremiah was off with a friend, and we had just dropped Bekah off to go Trick or Treating with a friend, we were kid less. So we headed to Mickey D's for a hot cocoa. While getting the cocoa Steve was standing over to the side messing with his new DROID phone. I laughed and asked "what are you doing?". He said "nothing".

When we got back in the car, he put his DROID on the dashboard and all of a sudden "Margee Ann" by Fernando Ortega came on. A while back Steve told me this song reminded him of us. Well needless to say I hugged him and just started crying (Hormones, what are you going to do!!). Anyway I tried to find a video of it, but couldn't, so here are the lyrics:

My dearest, darling Margee, sleeping in my arms,
Dreams flutter just behind your eyes.
And in the eucalyptus branches all along the hill,
Birds sing their songs to the night.
I love to hold you near me, I love to hear your breath,
Blending with the swaying of the trees.
I love to wake together in our quiet home,
That looks down the hill to the sea,
White sails on the sea....
You're the first light of the morning, my cool sunrise.
You're my love across the table, a little sleep in your eyes.
You're my strong cup of coffee, you like to laugh right with me.
You're my heart's companion, my one true companion,
Sweet darling, lover of mine.
Dear Margee stay with me, don't wander from my side,
I can't imagine life without you here.
The longer we're together, the more I realize,
Our love was meant for the years,
We're made for the years....
You're the first light of the morning, my cool sunrise.
You're my love across the table, a little sleep in your eyes.
You're my strong cup of coffee, you like to laugh right with me.
You're my heart's companion, my one true companion,
Sweet darling, lover of mine.
You're the first light of the morning, you like to laugh right with me,
Sweet darling, lover of mine

My husband I think I'll keep him!!!

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My Bucket List...

This is my entry in the Just Ask Bucket List Getaway Giveaway. Just Ask offers a breast and ovarian cancer screening and is encouraging people to share 15 things that I want to enjoy in my lifetime as a reminder to be aware of my health. Want to enter? Head over to TodaysMama.com to get the details.

For this give-away they asked us to list 15 things that we would like to do, and here are my 15:

  1. A trip to the Holy Land. Preferably with Beth Moore on one of her teaching trips.
  2. Do go on all of Paul's Missionary Journeys.
  3. To write some kind of devotional or Bible Study on what God is teaching me.
  4. To lead someone to Christ.
  5. To retire to a small lake somewhere in Michigan with my sweetie.
  6. In retirement I don't want to be idle, but continue to do God's work.
  7. To have a boxer (doggie).
  8. To go on a missions trip and help with orphans.
  9. To be debt free.
  10. To travel Outwest with my hubby again and see the Tetons.
  11. To para sail.
  12. To learn how to work through issues with others, in order to bring healing.
  13. To see my kids get through college with NO debt.
  14. To see Australia.
  15. To see a blue whale.

So if you want to join in, check out the link above!!!

What's on your bucket list???

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Monday, October 24, 2011

What needs to die?

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Isaiah's vision of God on his throne in Isaiah 6. It has come to mind a lot lately, what with how God has been stripping needless things away from my life.

The passage starts out "In the year King Uzziah died". King Uzziah was a good king who did right in the eyes of the Lord (mostly). You can read about him in 2 Chronicles 26, and here is a Bible lesson that gives a lot of information on him. During his reign the nation of Judah knew prosperity and influence in the known world. Everyone would have looked to him for stability and peace. His people trusted in him, and counted on him. They enjoyed life in his kingdom. Then he dies. What now? How could things have gone so wrong? Why did he suffer such a death as this (by leprosy)?

This is where Isaiah was as he entered the temple that day. His hope may have been more in King Uzziah then the Lord. Then his vision! He saw the Lord seated on His throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe FILLED the temple. What a sight to behold! The earthly king that Isaiah and the people of Judah counted on was no longer there. But there was/is a King that reigns eternally that we CAN put our hope in. He will not die, he does not sleep (Psalm 121:3-4). In His presence we recognize our unworthiness, but as soon as that happens he uplifts us with his grace (Isaiah 6:5-7).

This got me to thinking in light of what God is calling me to give up to/for him. Isaiah and the people of Judah needed to have their security taken away before they could see their need of the great "I AM". When Isaiah saw Him, he realized what state he truly was in, and where his hope should be placed! This encounter changed his life! From that point on his focus was not an earthly king, but the Heavenly King that was before time, and creator of the universe!

I fear our view of God is to small, as Isaiah's may have been before this vision. We do not often see him on the Throne. We have marginalized him. Made him comfortable and likable. God brought to mind this week how if we really saw God as Isaiah did , as Ezekiel did in Chapter 1 , and as John did in Revelations Chapter 4, how would our worship of him be different? How would our lives be different? Then he asked me this question:

What needs to die, so that you will see that I am enough?

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Monday, October 17, 2011

So long Facebook ~ Obedience is calling!

Well this has been coming for quite some time, but I have selfishly put it off. The deactivation of my Facebook account. Why do I feel I need to write such a long explanation? Probably because I need to be reminded myself of what God is calling me to do, and why.

Most people probably have no issues with time. They can manage their time well, and can control the things that try to undermine their progress in a day. I am not one of those people. I can get sidetracked really easy, and well, let's face it Facebook sidetracks me on several fronts. I find myself on there far more then anyone should. When I get up in the morning I say I just check things out while I wait for my coffee to brew ~ can't start Bible study until I have that cup in hand. Well a few minutes turns into 20 and viola shortened time in the word.

It's funny how addictions go. I am not addicted to alcohol, or drugs, but put any food in front of me or give me a Facebook account and I'm a goner!!!

Well God has been impressing on me lately (O.K. for a while now) that I need to turn it off! He wants me to focus on Him, and I truly want to focus on Him, so he's asked me "Am I important enough to you?", "Are you willing to give up something that you like and spend more time with me?" , "I have things to show you, and you need to be ALL IN, are you willing?" Well of course my answer is YES!! I want more of God! I want to know Him and the power that I possess through His Son Jesus Christ! I want to share that with others, and I can't do any of this while being on Facebook.

There is much I have enjoyed on Facebook, and other things I haven't really enjoyed.

I've enjoyed:

  • Reconnecting with old High School Chums!!
  • I have loved meeting and reconnecting with people I am of like mind with in Christ, like ~ Idella, Dianna Orea, Rhonda, Lori, Vicki, and of course E-Mom (but she's a bloggy friend too).
  • I have enjoyed sharing my faith and encouraging others!! (Even though I'm sure I've been hidden by a few (or not a few) for the same reason! But glory be to God I will not be ashamed, and maybe someone desires him more because of what I've wrote.
  • I've enjoyed connecting with family. It's hard to stay in contact with everyone and this has allowed us to connect. I will miss my 4:00 am (or even 3:00 am) instant talks with Judy, when we are both up.
  • I will miss the pictures I get to see on here.
  • I will miss the quickness of answers to breakfast from Diane and Patty, but we still have e-mail and I think we still know how to use the phone.
There is much I won't miss too, but I don't need to go into that!!

I hope that someday I can reconnect again. Once I'm through this time of teaching, and if I've learned to keep my priorities straight I just might be able to come back.

Thanks for the fun, and fellowship!!!

If you still want to stay connected come here to Scattered Stones (I think I'll be posting more) or my e-mail address is skjbvh4(at)allcom(dot)net.

Also our phone number is (616) 895-5689

Remember: So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Cor. 10:31)

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

2 Peter Chapter 3 – God's patience means our repentance

Apology! I am so sorry for the length of this post!! I thought about making it two posts, but didn't want to go through the effort! Please forgive me and hopefully enjoy!

2 Peter 3: 8-13

God's patience is something I have a hard time understanding. Could it be because that is one of the qualities I need to PRACTICE!!!! Those who know me well, know I can be a little impatient at times. But God! How do we begin to understand a God who waits until all those he has called come to repentance before bringing destruction on the ungodly? How do we begin to understand how day after day he can suffer all types of sadness brought on, not only by those who practice evil, but by His children? It is something I have such a hard time wrapping my brain around, do you?

But here beginning in verses 8 & 9 Peter reminds his beloved again to not overlook this ONE fact ~ to the Lord 1 day is as 1000, and a 1000 like 1 day. He is not slow in KEEPING his PROMISES as some count slowness, but is PATIENT towards us, not wishing that ANY should perish, but that ALL should reach repentance!” BUT the day will come!! Mark God's word, that day will come! All those scoffers from the previous post will one day see and understand, possibly to late for them, that God is God. He is who he says he is, and He will do what he says he will do. Follower of Jesus Christ, please understand that! God can be trusted! He has proven himself to be THE faithful, just, gracious, merciful God that he claims to be! He will come like a thief, completely unexpected. Then what he said will happen, will happen. The current heavens and earth will be completely burned up and dissolved (can you imagine?!) and ALL that is done on earth will be exposed! Yikes! Well yikes to those who are not covered in the blood of Jesus Christ. This will come as a complete shock to them, even though they had been warned.

Peter then asks the question ~ Since all these things(heavens and earth) are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought we to be? We're to live holy and godly lives, waiting (to expect , to look for) and hastening (to haste, make haste, to desire earnestly) the day of the LORD which will come and destroy the current heavens and earth, knowing that a new heavens and new earth await. Here's the really cool part too: Righteousness dwells there!!! This reminds me of my study of Ezekiel, where God's presence returns to the Temple. In the very last verse of Ezekiel 48:29 it says: And the name of the city from that time on shall be “The LORD is There.” So cool!!!

I have to admit here I needed a little help. The version of scripture I use to study (ESV) is a little confusing in it's wording. In the text Peter is posing a question, but to me never really seemed to answer it. When I went to the NIV it showed a little clearer what was being stated. Well that and calling my pastor to discuss it (Thanks Steve).

2 Peter 3:14-18

Here Peter begins with that wonderful word again “Beloved”. But before that he uses “Therefore” and you know what that means! What is the “therefore” there for? “Therefore” because we are waiting for what is going to happen we need to be about a few things:
  • We are to be diligent (to hasten, make haste, to exert one's self, endeavor, give diligence)

  • To be found by him (to come upon, hit upon, to meet with, after searching, to find a thing sought, without previous search, to find (by chance), to fall in with, those who come or return to a place, to find by inquiry, thought, examination, scrutiny, observation, to find out by practice and experience, to see, learn, discover, understand, to be found i.e. to be seen, be present, to be discovered, recognized, detected, to show one's self out, of one's character or state as found out by others (men, God, or both), to get knowledge of, come to know, God, to find out for one's self, to acquire, get, obtain, procure)

  • To be without Spot(free from censure, irreproachable, free from vice, unsullied)

  • To Be without Blemish (that cannot be censured, Blameless)

  • To be at Peace (a state of national tranquility, exemption from the rage and havoc of war, peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord, security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous), of the Messiah's peace, the way that leads to peace (salvation), of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is, the blessed state of devout and upright men after death)

  • To Count (regard) the LORD's patience as salvation.

We are not to be passive in our waiting. We are not to be like the statement “To heavenly minded for earthly good”. God has called us to a mission. That mission is to proclaim The GOOD NEWS to ALL people. We are to be actively pursuing God and his righteousness.

I so love the next part of this section because again it shows how Peter's heart had changed. He ends the above verse with “just as our beloved Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him.”

There was a time when Peter and Paul didn't see eye to eye (See Galatians 2:11-15), so this tenderness and validation of Paul's ministry is big. They both agreed on this issue, and most likely many more. It makes one think of how you can work through issues to the Glory of God doesn't it?!

Paul wrote concerning this same thing (God's kindness meant to lead us to repentance) in Roman's 2:4.

Peter is reminding the people of the symmetry of scripture. How all the Apostles teachings reflect each others, because their hearts are in tuned to God. Each one validates the other. The people needed to know this because (as we all know) Paul's teachings can be hard to understand. Which the “ignorant and unstable” will twist to their own destruction. These scoffers, these false teachers are getting it wrong, and proclaiming what they believe as truth, as they do other scriptures.

Again Peter uses the word “beloved” when he tells them (and us) ~ you know all this beforehand. We have told you, so you are aware and prepared for WHEN it happens. So don't be carried away by these falsehoods. Stand firm, so as it says in 2 Peter 1:10-11 “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fail. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Be confident in the truth you know! Know that truth, and know the God of truth!

“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

2 Peter 3:18




  1. God is patiently waiting until all he has called comes in. How are you sharing your story with others to bring them to repentance? Aren't you excited about the new heavens and new earth where righteousness dwells?
  2. Are you standing firm, or do the scoffers make you doubt? Because you are in Christ even the hard stuff of scripture will be made clear to you by the Holy Spirit. Do you trust that?

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

2 Peter Chapter 3 - An Intimate Reminder to Stand.

Well here we are at the end of Peter, at the end of Summer! It's amazing how 2 little books took me all summer to finish, but OH how I have loved this study! As I type this I am sitting in one of my favorite places. A campground in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan! It is so peaceful here! Our whole family enjoys it, and it's a great place to end the summer, as well as this study.

I Peter 3:1-2

When you think of the Apostle Peter, what are the first words that come to mind to describe him? Impulsive? Rash? Uneducated? Weak? You name some. Through this study I have come to see how he has grown in so many ways. In this chapter I see how he gained such a love for the people in his care. I am struck by the way Peter begins this 2nd letter. He uses the word “beloved” to describe his readers. Peter goes on to use the word “beloved” 3 more times when speaking directly to them(us). I have never thought of Peter as someone who easily shows affection, but here he is showing the great love he has for these people. Oh how the Lord can change us!

Peter again reminds his readers to remember the Prophets predictions and the commands of Jesus through the Apostles. Remember that he reminded us of that early in the passages: 1 Peter 1:10-12 and 2 Peter 1:18-21). Peter reiterates the need to KNOW scripture. This is a very important theme that is throughout the books of Peter! Know the word of God! We just finished the section on the false teachers, where we saw how important it is to know the word. We will learn more about that as we finish chapter 3. I believe what Peter is doing here in this Chapter is summarizing all his teaching, and reminding us of what is most important. 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22 says “Do not despise prophecies, but test everything, hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” Test what you hear and hold fast the the truths of scripture!!

2 Peter 3:3-7

Just as in 2 Peter 2, Peter reminds these believers that scoffers(mockers) WILL come. They will completely ignore and overlook All that God has done. They try to place doubt in the minds of the believers by saying “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation”. I love how in verse 5 it says “they deliberately overlook, this fact” ~

  • The heavens existed long ago

  • the earth was formed out of water

  • and through water (now here is the important part) BY THE WORD OF GOD.

Then it says “by means of these (THE WORD OF GOD) ~

  • the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.

Then a future prophecy ~ By the same WORD ~

  • the Heavens and earth that exist now are stored up for fire.

God is faithful! He is true! As my kids learned last week at our local community fair, there are 3 things God cannot do:

  • He cannot associate with sin (Habakkuk 1:13)

  • He cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18)

  • He cannot go back on his word (Timothy 2:13)

These scoffers, as well as the false teachers will do their best to discredit God. But those who know Him, and his completely perfect track record can rest assured that everything he says he will do, he will do. Because he has done everything he said he would do.

We read a great verse in Proverbs 28 that I thought fit here too. It is verse 10:

Whoever misleads the upright into an evil way will fall into his own pit.

These scoffers are following their own evil desires (vs. 3), and will pay the consequence of that.


  1. Are you aware how much you are loved in the Lord? Do you understand the rich treasure you have in His written word? Are you growing yourself in love for the Lord and for His people?

  2. Are you prepared for the certain attacks that WILL come against God and the gospel? Do you see it happening already, and are you standing firm? Are you confident in God's ability to take care of the situation?

In my next post we will finish this study. I hope that it not only has blessed you, but that it has given you the desire to dig into God's word, and to grow in the knowledge of Him.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

2 Peter Chapter 2 - Don't you just hate "Buts"! Part 2

Who are these false teachers we are learning about? Are they easy to pick out? For those who don't know the Word I would say no, they will not see them for who they are. But for those steeped in the Word there should be warning signs.

I want to start out in the middle of this passage (2 Peter 2:10-16) with this portion of scripture: "They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, (and here it is) while they feast with you"(vs. 13b). These people ARE among us! It's not a matter of "if". Who are they? How can we tell? Peter gives us some descriptions to help:
  • "They are bold and willful. They do not tremble when they blaspheme (malign, dishonor, revile) the glorious ones." These people really do not believe in the powers of light or darkness. They do not really believe in the power of God. It is as if they are thumbing their noses and saying "You're(angels, God) not going to do anything, because you lack power, so I will be OK". Now can't you just see the angels (vs. 11) just seeing this situation and not responding with a ZAP! But they don't. They leave that up to God! Boy I sure wish I would respond like the angels! That's some self (or God) control!!! Can I get an AMEN!!
  • "They are like Irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed." YIKES! When I think of irrational animals I think of an animal with rabies. They are just plain out of their minds! Their is no reasoning in their thought process.
  • Which leads into our next description: "They blaspheme about matters they do not understand". They have ceased to reason. In their thinking they have it all figured out. They know what the Word of God says, they do not need to study it. Also, if the Spirit is not in them (which it's not) they would not be able to understand the scriptures anyway. They are Ignorant, and worse yet they are irrational. There is no understanding AT ALL!
  • They are not ashamed of their behavior (goes again to the bold and willful). They revel in the daytime. It's there, right in your face. Try to prove me wrong, they may say. This reminds me of what Peter says in verse 2 ~ "The way of truth is blasphemed" because of their ignorance. Can't you just see the scenario? Unbelievers or young Christians (unsteady souls from vs. 14), who do not know the Word, listening to people like this, and falling prey to their wrong thinking.
  • Their eyes are full of adultery, insatiable (incapable of being satisfied, unable to stop) for sin.
  • Hearts trained (they are practiced) in greed. Remember in 2 Peter 1 where Peter is telling us to practice, well here is one reason. These false teachers are well trained. They have put their all into self serving practices. Which brings us to a delightful fellow. Balaam! Read Numbers 22, if you are unfamiliar with the story. Basically, Balaam was about his own business. He was going to give a false prophecy (placing a curse on) concerning Israel for profit. But God took care of him in a most embarrassing way.
  • They are waterless springs, and mist driven by a storm. There is no life in them, and they will soon disappear. But the destruction the leave behind is deadly and eternal. Because of their determination (loud boasts of folly) they entice (bait, allure, deceive)by sinful (sensual) passions those who are barely escaping. They are trying to take many with them. But please remember here, if you are a new creation in Christ Jesus, you are secure. Satan has lost the battle when it comes to you! Rest in that!!
  • They promise freedom, but are themselves slaves. Now here is another telling statement "For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved". There is no freedom in what these people preach, just a different enslavement. It says in John 8:34 " Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin." But Christ has called us to true freedom. In 1 Peter 2:16 is says "Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants (slaves) of God." (Also the book of Galatians speaks much to our freedom in Christ). Be enslaved to Christ, may he overcome you!!
  • Now again we get to who are they, or should I say, who they are not? This is a very difficult passage of scripture from verses 20-22. Scholars differ over what the meaning is, and I am NO scholar, so I will give you my take and leave it up to God from there. These false teachers have never been, nor will ever be part of the "true" church of Jesus Christ. They are counterfeit. They are fakes. They have all the looks of being real, but are not. They are in and among the "true" church. It reminds me of the parable of the Weeds in Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43. They will one day be sifted and sorted out and thrown away! There is no hope for them. They will always return back to what they know, as a dog to it's own vomit (which is so yuck when you see it isn't it!?) (Prov. 26:11) or a sow to the mud after being cleaned. It's just their instinct to return to it.
I. Are you prepared to face and defend THE faith against false teachers? These are people who are in and among us, can you see them for what they are?

II. True freedom only comes through Christ. Are you weakened in an area where a false teacher might be attacking? Stay true to God's word for reinforcing strength!

Boy I'm tired!!! This was a hard one. Praying you are blessed!!!

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2 Peter Chapter 2 - Don't you just hate "Buts"! Part 1

At the end of Chapter one we read that we do not follow cleverly devised myths, but had eyewitness accounts and the prophets to guide us. We learned also that no scripture comes from man but were from God as they (men) were carried along by the Holy Spirit. Wonderful news ~ God's word is trustworthy!! Then there is this pesky little word ~ “BUT”!

vs. 1-3: People always have to come along and try to ruin things. In Chapter 2 we read again about False Teachers who “secretly” ~ (craftily) bring destructive heresies into the church. Even to the point of denying Christ. Sound Familiar? God knows who these people are, after all he is God and knows all. He says that they are bringing swift destruction on themselves. It's not an if they will be destroyed, it's when. The sad thing is though they will bring many with them. Those that are weak will follow their “sensuality ~ (Unbridled lust, excess, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence)”. They will “exploit” ~ (To use a person or thing for gain) the truth because of greed. Because of them the way of truth will be “blasphemed” ~ (Maligned, dishonored, reviled).

Does this all sound remotely familiar to you? Have you had concerns over certain things you have heard either from a TV evangelist or pastor from the pulpit, or even from someone you trust to know the word well? I know I have. I also know that we cannot judge the heart of man, that is up to God, (Mark 7:14-23, speaks of Jesus knowing the heart and understanding.), but there are most definitely signs that tell us what direction a persons heart is taking him/her. This is another reason it is of the utmost importance for Christ followers to know the word of God! We will get into that a little more later, but how are you supposed to be able to detect a False Teacher, if you do not know the text book he/she is maligning?

vs. 4-10: Peter goes on to explain why we can trust that what God says will happen, will happen. He gives the people a little history lesson. He uses those 2 little words “For it”:

  • God did not spare angels when they sinned (which is an interesting thought, isn't it?), but cast them into hell, committed them to chains until judgment.

  • If he did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah (a herald (Messenger, preacher) of righteousness) and 7 others.

  • If by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what will happen to the ungodly.

  • If he rescued “righteous” Lot who lived among the ungodly and was greatly distressed by their “sensual” conduct.

“then” don't you think He knows how to rescue the “godly” ~ (you) from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, especially those who indulge in the lust (remember the definition) of defiling passion and despise authority? God has got it all under control! There is nothing that goes on in this world that he has not allowed! Do we understand it, NO. Do we wish it were different and that he would "smite" (cool word) them right on the spot, YES. Would he have to smite us too! Most Probably! But God will handle those who lead people astray, he will!

Yes there are those among us (we will hear more of this in the next post), that are not truly part of the church. We need to be wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16) when it comes to identifying them. We need to know the word of God. We cannot rely completely on the preaching we hear on Sunday. It has to go further, as Paul says in Acts 17:11 “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”

  1. Are you in God's word faithfully so that you are able to fight against False Teachers?

  2. Do you know of someone who may be falling for destructive heresies?

  3. What does God call us to do when we see or hear a false doctrine being taught?

  4. What are you going to do?

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

2 Peter Chapter 1 - Who, What, Why, How Part 3

So Peter has told us Who we are, and has told us What qualities are necessary and Why. Today he will give us the How. We are looking at verses 12-21.

Peter starts out verse 12 with "Therefore". You know where there's a "therefore" it's there for a reason! HA! It's basically saying the same thing as in verse 5 "for this reason". Because what Peter just said was so important he was going to REMIND the faithful of these qualities (refer back to previous post for qualities). He goes on to say that "we" know them and are ESTABLISHED(made stable, fixed, strengthened) in this truth. There again he is encouraging us to not listen to the voice of Satan, but listen to the voice of truth! That being ~ You are in Christ; You are on equal standing with other believers; You have the power through Christ to partake in the divine nature of God; You are a force to be reckoned with!

In verse 13 he alludes to his impending death. What I see in this section is his URGENCY! Time is short! Therefore Peter thought it was right to STIR (wake up, awaken) his readers. Wake up! You need to know that you know this, and you need to put it into practice! There is no time to waste! You don't know what tomorrow brings! He would make a way for them to recall these things, even after he is gone.

Look what we have today! This wonderful book that reminds us of our calling! Is that not just AWESOME! Praise God!

This book that we have, what is it? Ah. Peter goes on to tell us about this book. What it contains.

Peter wants his readers to know that these aren't clever stories that have been concocted by man, but that they (the Apostles) who had been with Jesus are giving us an eyewitness of the glories of Christ! They saw Him, touched Him, lived with Him and were taught by Him. They were on the mountain (of Transfiguration) when he received his glory from the Father!

But, if that wasn't enough, well then you have the prophetic word (enter Old Testament). Peter uses the words "more sure"(stable, fast, firm) here in verse 19. Peter's readers knew the OT. They would know what the prophets had said about Christ, that would give confirmation to the Apostles personal testimony. It all fits together! The old and the new! So Peter tells them, you will do well to "pay attention" to the prophetic teachings because they are like a lamp shining in a dark place, until Christ returns. Scripture is not only a tool (as some would say), but is our vital connection to Christ. Without it we have no way of knowing the true heart of God, and His Son Jesus Christ!

So many today attack the authenticity, inerrancy, and infallibility of scripture, to their own demise, and the demise of those who listen to them. There are those that put the Sovereignty of God in question because they would say things like "if the writers only knew about "this or that" they would not have written that". God knew, God knows, God's word speaks! Here in the very last 2 verses of this chapter Peter speaks to this issue.

1 Peter 1:20-21

But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

So what do you believe today? Do you doubt scripture? If you doubt, then you need to start back at the beginning.
  1. Who are you? Are you one of the faithful? That's a pretty important question.
  2. What qualities are you growing in your life? Do you understand the importance of these qualities to your spiritual health?
  3. Do you believe the Bible to be the word of God, written through the hands of men, by the power of the Holy Spirit? If not, why not? If so, are you diving into it daily, asking the Holy Spirit to help you to understand what God is telling you (reminding you).
We have all we need that pertain to life and godliness, and it is contained in this wonderful book called "The Holy Bible".


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Monday, July 25, 2011

2 Peter Chapter 1 - Who, What, Why, How Part 2

So after telling the faithful who they are, Peter proceeds to let them and us know:

What we need, and why we need it?

In verse 5 he begins by saying: For this reason (what reason), because of WHO you are, you should make every effort (apply all diligence) to supplement (add to, supply) your faith ~ virtue; virtue ~ knowledge; knowledge ~ self-control; self-control ~ steadfastness; steadfastness ~ godliness; godliness ~ brotherly affection; brotherly affection ~ love.

Sounds a little like Peter is telling us to work, right? No, that is not the case. What he is saying is as we grow in Christ (I myself think of "sanctification" ~ The act of making a thing pure and holy or "Consecration" ~the devoting or setting apart of anything to the worship or service of God. ) these are qualities that we need to practice:

  1. to make ready, to prepare
  2. to produce, bear, shoot forth
  3. to acquire

in order to not be ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (Verses 8 & 10). You need to claim these qualities, recognize the importance of them in your spiritual life, and be increasing in them. It's a big product of time spent with God, through the study of His word, through prayer, through worship. It's a nature progression that, if one truly is one with Christ, happens without effort or work. The process is driven by a thankfulness to God for our salvation; by our recognition of our state without this great salvation, our desire to KNOW him more, and our desire to be partakers in His divine nature. That being said "It's not WORK at all".

Peter also goes on to say that those who lack these qualities is SO nearsighted and blind that they forget they were cleansed of their former sins, Verse 9. If you are not in the Word, and growing in these qualities you are in danger of forgetting what God has done for you, and the power that you possess (in Him) to live a life of godliness. It is easy then to fall into temptation. But Peter says, those that practice these qualities will not fall (stumble, err, make a mistake, sin). He actually says NEVER! WOW, that's amazing! With these qualities you will make your calling and election sure. What Peter means here is that you will not doubt your standing in Christ. If you are not in the Word, and not growing in these qualities, you may doubt your salvation, and therefore be ineffective and unfruitful.

Practicing these qualities = Confidence, fruitfulness and effectiveness

Not practicing these qualities = blindness, confusion, doubt, unfruitfulness, ineffectiveness, and stumbling in the dark as a blind person.


  1. Are you practicing the qualities mentioned in this section? It is never to late to start. The only time it is too late is when we stand before our Lord and Savior.
  2. Are you getting into the Word daily and seeking the Holy Spirits help in understanding what it says, and applying it to your life?
  3. Do you doubt your salvation? If so, please talk to someone about it, and get into the word so your knowledge of God grows.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

2 Peter Chapter 1 - Who, What, Why, How Part 1

I'm taking a little different approach to 2 Peter. I have to admit I have procrastinated on it because it feels like a completely daunting task for me! I have said several times that I am not a writer. My thoughts are often scattered (hence the name of my blog), and my grammar, well it's pretty bad!!! So here I sit wanting desperately to translate to you (mostly Mari, my one faithful commenter!!) the truths that God is showing me in my study, and fearful of not being able to articulate the beauty of God's word. But I feel compelled to continue, so like Steven Curtis Chapman says in his song "I'm diving in"! I pray that the Holy Spirit will illuminate your mind to His truth's and I will get out of the way!

Also this will be done over a few blog posts, so they don't get to long.

WHO we are? (Verses 1-4)

Peter is all about encouragement of the saints! Really, that showed up so much in 1 Peter. Even though there will be struggle, take heart, remember whose you are, rejoice, etc....

Here in 2 Peter, right off the bat he reminds the faithful of who they are! They did not have to think them less then he, or the other Apostles (who had seen Jesus). They were on equal standing with them. There is no saint in the Kingdom of God that is greater then any other. Why? Because (by) the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ we have obtained (to receive by divine allotment) it!

So many of us (myself included) look at others and say "WOW I wish I had their faith!" Well Peter is here to tell you, YOU DO!

I often said as the Director of Children's Ministries, that God does not make Junior Disciples. In verses 3 & 4 Peter says that God's divine power has granted to us ALL THINGS that pertain to life and godliness, through KNOWLEDGE of him. There is so much more to this run on sentence of his I just need to show it:

2 Peter 1:3-4

His divine power has granted to 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 (bestowed) to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers (sharers, partners, associates, companions) of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

So you see we have all we need, our knowledge of Him needs to grow. Satan would like us to believe that we are weak and not useful in the Kingdom of God because there is always someone with more knowledge them we have, BUT throughout this chapter Peter will encourage us to understand that we have what we need IN HIM (Christ)! What we need to do is claim it, and practice it (which we will learn later).

I think my first question always has to be:

  1. Are you one of those who through faith has obtained an equal standing? Have you professed faith in Jesus Christ, and excepted his wonderful gift of salvation? If you haven't, please seek out someone today to further explain the wonderful plan of salvation laid forth in Jesus Christ! If you have:
  2. Are you seeing your faith as inferior to others? What does the passage say about who you are and what you've been given?
  3. Are you claiming the divine power granted you to live a life that shows your equal standing with other believers?
Walk in that faith! You have what you need to life a godly life! We will learn more of the what, why, and how as we go forward.

Get into the Word today!!!

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Friday, July 8, 2011

1 Peter Chapter 5 - Homiletics Practice

Well I am to the final Chapter of 1 Peter, and I have loved every minute of this study so far! At the end of this post I will give a brief summary of what I believe is the key issue Peter is addressing in 1 Peter. I hope that these posts have blessed you and caused you to examine 1st of all the Holy Scriptures, and 2nd of all to examine yourself in light of them. I know I have, and have come up wanting.

Divisions ~

I. Verses 5: 1-4 ~ Peter instructs the elders on their role as shepherds.

  • This portion of scripture is so important to the life and ministry of "the Church". It speaks to the leadership. I am convicted by this passage of scripture and the passages that describe the qualifications of those who are eligible for leadership in 1 Timothy 3, and Titus 1. Why you may ask? Because I have never really taken my job as a member of the congregation seriously in nominating or voting on members of Consistory. Now I myself have a lot of questions for those who feel called to this office.
  • Also I think it needs to be noted here that the office of "elder" also includes the pastor. In other scripture he (the pastor) is called "shepherd" (Eph 4:11).
  • It is of the UTMOST importance to have men in leadership that fully embody the descriptions in these passages! To many churches reputations and effectiveness for the Kingdom are destroyed because of lack of integrity or knowledge on the part of leadership. As "the flock" we should be in much prayer and discernment when electing officers and when choosing who will "pastor" the flock!

II. Verses 5-7 ~ Peter instructs the youth and all the church in humility.

  • It is right for the youth to show proper respect to those older and in authority over them. That and so much more are said in these short verses. Once leadership is established, it is up to "the flock" to "be subject" to that leadership. NOW I do have to ask, what if leadership is stepping out of God's will? Well here are "my" thoughts: God has given us clear instructions in how to resolve conflict. Matthew 18 comes to mind as one. Also in Timothy where it talks about the Bible being useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training (2 Tim 3:16). What we need to remember though is that we do so in a manner that is pleasing to God and God honoring.
  • There is one word that is so key in all of this! HUMILITY!! Here Peter addresses "all of you", meaning the elders and the youth. The whole church! "Clothe yourselves, ALL OF YOU, with humility toward one another for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the HUMBLE."

III. Verses 8-14 ~ Peter gives instruction on how to prepare for the attacks of our adversary.

  • Again we are given instructions of how we should be living in order to resist the certain attacks that WILL come:
*Be Sober-minded:
  1. to be calm and collected in spirit
  2. to be temperate, dispassionate, circumspect
I like the word calm here, don't you? We are not to get our panties all in a bunch, but basically "Be still and know that I am God", right?

  1. to watch
  2. metaph. give strict attention to, be cautious, active
    1. to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one

*Resist him FIRM in the faith, KNOWING that the same kinds of sufferings are being experienced by fellow Christians.

And now here's the really cool part! After you've suffered "a little while" the " the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, WILL HIMSELF:


Doesn't that just give you goose bumps!!! It should!!! For All Dominion belongs to Him forever and ever!! He is able!

Subject Sentence ~

Humility is required to lead, and to resist satan's attacks.

Aim ~

To cause the audience to examine themselves and their God given roles in the church. To understand that power to resist & restoration begin with humility.

Applications ~

I. Where has God called you to lead by example? Church, work, home? Are you leading with integrity?

II. Where is God calling you to submit to authority? Has your heart been humble in confrontation?

III. Has satan been attacking you lately? Where? If so were you able to resist? If not, why not?

One last question: Do you realize that God WILL himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you?!

Final summation of 1 Peter:

SURRENDER AND SUFFERING are our calling! God's POWER is our tool!

God's glory is our goal!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

1 Peter Chapter 4 - Homiletics Practice

First and foremost I must learn to spell Homiletics! Apparently I have spelled it differently a few times!!

Divisions ~

I. 4:1-6 ~ Putting on the mind of Christ frees us from sins grasp to live a spirit filled life.

  • In this section I was interested in the word "arm" in the ESV, here is the definition:
The original Greek word is: oplizo, meaning:
  1. to arm, furnish with arms
  2. to provide
  3. to furnish one's self with a thing (as with arms)
  4. metaph. take on the same mind
When I think on #4, being of the same mind, I think of Philippians chapter 3 and how we are to have the mind of Christ (vs. 5). To "arm" ourselves with the same mind as Christ had in his suffering, is what we are told to do here. When we suffer in the flesh, as Christ did, sin no longer has power over us, and we are able to live our lives for the will of God. This "arming" is important!

It also reminds me of putting on the Armor of God. We need this in order to fight the battle that WILL rage. It says later in Chapter 4, that suffering WILL come to test (vs 12), so we must be prepared.

II. 4:7-11 ~ Recognize the time, be good stewards of God's gifts for his glory through Christ Jesus.
  • In this section the word that interested me was "varied"
The Original word is: poikiloß, meaning:
  1. a various colours, variegated
  2. of various sorts
I like the NAS version of verse 10:
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

We (as true followers of Christ) have received a "special gift", that God has given us (every one of us) to use as good stewards of his "manifold" (varied) grace. Without exception, if you are a child of God you have a gift, given to you by the Father to use for His glory. There is no excuse. We are also given the gift to be able to love each other, because as in vs. 8 "Love covers a multitude of sins". I also looked up "covers", it means to: to hide, veil, to hinder the knowledge of a thing. In Christ's death and resurrection we have a covering of our sin, and so our love continues that showing of God's grace to others. Don't you just love the definition of "varied"? It reminds me of a rainbow. God's grace is brilliant and beautiful, and has many different characteristics, and this he bestows on you and I!

III. 4:12-19 ~ To suffer for Christ is something to rejoice in, knowing God is the Faithful Creator.
  • Under this section the word that interested me was "judgement"
The original word is: Krima, meaning:
  1. a decree, judgments
  2. judgment
    1. condemnation of wrong, the decision (whether severe or mild) which one passes on the faults of others
    2. in a forensic sense
      1. the sentence of a judge
      2. the punishment with which one is sentenced
      3. condemnatory sentence, penal judgment, sentence
  3. a matter to be judicially decided, a lawsuit, a case in court
Honestly on this one I had to go to the footnote of my ESV bible. Our judgment (as followers of Christ) is refinement. It mentioned in my footnote the passages of Ezekiel 9:1-6 and Malachai 3:1-4. In Ezekiel the Lord talks about going through the House of Israel and marking those who are saddened by the abominations going on in Israel, and striking down those who are not marked, regardless of age or gender. In Malachi the Lord talks about the refiners fire, that purifies the sons of Levi. We are being refined at this time. If we are being refined, then how much more will those suffer who are not of the House of the Lord. Knowing all of this, we need to live our lives giving it over to The Faithful Creator!

Subject Sentence ~ "Christians" share in Christ's suffering, entrusting God with their souls.

AIM ~ To cause the audience to understand: As Christians we no longer live as we did in the past. We understand we are different and live in the power God gives to be good stewards of his graces, know he is faithful.

Application ~

I. Are you living a spirit-filled life? Do your unsaved friends notice a difference in you?

II. Are you using the gift God HAS given you to serve His body for His glory?

III. Are you prepared for the suffering that WILL come as a Christian? Have you been arming yourself with the mind of Christ through the study of the Word of God?

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