Thursday, May 31, 2007

I Peter 1:23

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
(NIV)
Anytime I hear about being born again, I am always drawn back to the story of Nicodemus. I can remember hearing this story for the first time when I was a child. The story of this pharisee who came secretly to see Jesus. The pharisee who wondered how a person could reenter his mother's womb to be born again. It was during this discourse with the pharisee that we get to hear one of the most profound statements of the gospel, John 3:16.

Notice in this passage, that being born again makes you different. You are no longer perishable, you are imperishable. You will continue living, like the living Word.

How should this knowledge affect your life?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I Peter 1:22

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.
(NIV)
Notice the deep connection between purifying yourself and loving others.

Have you ever met someone who claimed to be a Christian, yet used such words of hatred when it came to homosexuals? Or maybe you (like me) came from some tiny little town and a tiny little church, and you could tell that the elders in the church looked down with great disdain on the black families that were moving into the neighborhoods around the church. It could have been as simple as the way people in your church talked about that other church that was "way too liberal" in their music and such.

Did you ever feel like there was something wrong with that? That it just seemed off? Well, you were right to feel that way. In this verse, like so many others, there is an absolute connection between loving God and loving others. It is inescapable.

The real question to ask though is, how do you stand? Are you loving your neighbors. It is always so much easier to see the lack of love in others, but have you been examining yourself?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I Peter 1:21

Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
(NIV)
I would like to pause on the very first phrase in this verse, the phrase, "Through him..." As I have continued in the faith over the past years, I have come to realize more and more that the "through him" is the most important part of the day to day existence.

I used to focus on the actions. I didn't believe that the actions saved you, and I still don't believe that, but I would focus on the fruit. I still believe that the fruit is important, and not to be ignored. In the world we live in, it is essential to observe the fruit of a person's walk. There are too many out there that live such a deceived existence, thinking that they are OK, when they are in a deep spiritual disaster zone. But I am digressing here, let me get back to the point:

Everything in life goes back to one thing, but that one thing isn't an idea, or a belief, it is a person: Jesus Christ. As we walk through this world, it is essential to understand the idea of LORD. We miss it so much, but it needs to be part of our daily life, not just some bullet point on our belief statement.

Is Jesus your Lord? How can you tell?

Monday, May 28, 2007

I Peter 1:20

He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
(NIV)
The focus of the blog has always been personal application. So, even in a verse like this, I have to ask the question, as we always should as we come to God's Word, how can this apply to me today?

Now, this verse is packed with some "big picture" theology, and so many people, when they encounter this kind of theology, they will bypass it, leaving that to the so-called theologians. It is easy for many of us to have this same thought, even though most of us wouldn't admit it, we like things to be easy, we like to be spoon-fed, but this type of theology isn't to be overlooked and left to someone else. It is to become a part of our lives. These types of passages help to establish a correct world view, so that we are more enabled to live that day to day existence.

Consider even this verse. It is right in the middle of a very practical, easy to understand, easy to follow teaching on personal holiness, yet here it is. Take this verse in context: Redemption was planned before the world. Christ was to be the one. His revelation in redemption was for our sake. (So then follow the reasoning...) How can we then, not strive for personal holiness. To be like Him, is the greatest of all goals. God is seeking to work that out in us, and we should be striving for that as well.

But, it is all to be done through Christ.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I Peter 1:18-19

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
(NIV)
I have found it to be difficult add commentary to many of these verses. Peter writes in such a plain, straight-forward way. Just consider this verse, as you read through it, it is so clear what he is trying to get to. It is almost like, "don't you get it? You weren't purchased with corruptible things, so don't work for corruptible things. You were purchased with the blood of the perfect Christ, the Messiah... with the blood of Jesus."

Remember this verse as you go through your day. Don't work so hard for things that won't last. Work for the things that are eternal.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I Peter 1:17

Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.
(NIV)

This passage if full of great quotes. Little one-liners that come in very handy in difficult situations.

I know that this particular verse has come in very useful to me when it comes to internet usage. As many American men have learned, the internet can be a great tool, but it can also be the source of many temptations. Things that one would have had to be very sneaky about coming into contact with are now available right in your own living room. All forms of internet pornography are right at your fingertips.

This verse, especially the second part about the "reverent fear" as "strangers here" can be very encouraging when you are considering those temptations.

I hope that this verse might come in handy to at least one person today. If you are like me and you have faced the temptations of the internet, then let me make one practical suggestion. Post this verse right above the screen.

(But don't make the same mistake that I did. Get accountability. Be honest with someone you love and trust. Follow the example in I Corinthians when it speaks of Godly sorrow: "See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter." A person who is exhibiting true Godly sorrow is willing to do whatever it takes to be right with God. Some of us are only willing to do the least amount possible.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I Peter 1:16

for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
(NIV)


As any good counselor would do, Peter backs up his statement from the scriptures. This holiness thing isn't just some brilliant idea that Peter came up with, it is part of the big picture plan that God has for His people.

These last few passages would work very well in a counseling situation (or a discipleship situation, if you prefer that word better). It is a great "blanket statement" that could be used in any situation.

We are to be holy in all we do, because our creator is holy. This applies to your work, your play, your leisure time, your family life, what you eat, what you drink, what you watch, etc. He is a holy, set apart God, and He wants us to enjoy the benefits of life with Him, but we cannot be where He is unless we are also set apart. This is a process that begins with salvation, continues through a sanctified (and sanctifying) life, and is completed at death in our glorification.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I Peter 1:15

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;
(NIV)


The word holy means to be seperated. Sometimes it is translated sanctification. So, the opposition to conforming to our evil desires is to set ourselves apart. To be like the one who is set apart.

Some people get confused about this holiness. When they begin to set themselves apart, they end up entirely setting themselves apart from the world. Jesus tells us that we are to be in the world but not of it. There is a difference. That is why I wanted to point out that we are to be set apart from the evil desires, the way we used to live.