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Saturday, December 29, 2012

2 Peter: Remember (Part 3)

File:Caravaggio-Crucifixion of Peter.jpg
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:8

It's important to remember that you must posses these things in increasing measure. Sure, you posses a little bit of faith, but to be effective, you must posses these in increasing measures. 

Increasing- verb to make greater, as in number, size, strength, or quality;augment; add to

Verb- noun any member of a class of words that function as the main elements of predicates, that typically express action, state, or a relation between two things, and that may be inflected for tense, aspect, voice, mood,and to show agreement with their subject or object.

When Peter said increasing measures, he means you should constantly be adding to you faith, goodness, etc. and that means action. You have do actually do something to keep yourself from being useless.

But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:9-11

This portion is quite self-explanatory. Don't we all want God to tell us "Well done, good and faithful servant!" when we enter heaven?

So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 
I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.
2 Peter 1:12-15

It's easy to skip a blog post about "simple" things, or about thing you already know about. It's easy to tune out a sermon about basic biblical principals. For some of you, things like this is new material, but for a lot of you, this is a reminder. And reminders are good...we all need them.

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Photo Credit:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Peter

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas Miracle

Taken from: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/christmas-devotionals/

Why is Christmas such a magical time of year? I think its because everyone is expecting a miracle at Christmas. Consider all the popular movies. Each one has a miracle as it's central plot. Whether it's a boy hoping his parents get back together, a shop-owner hoping he can keep his business running, or a town who needs a new hero to help "save Christmas."
You might be reading this and wishing for your own miracle this Christmas. It's probably much smaller than what makes a holiday movie. But it no less important to you.
Maybe you're hoping our prodigal comes home. Maybe you're wishing for a job. Some are yearning for a special someone to sit next to you by the fire.
2,000 years ago, there was a couple who hoped for their own miracle. But like many, they had long given up on this dream. Zechariah and Elizabeth prayed for a child, but year after year, that prayer went unfulfilled. So, they gave up on the dream.
But this couple didn't give up on God. They stayed faithful. Then, one ordinary day, the extraordinary happened. Zechariah, a priest in Israel, was chosen to give the incense at the altar. This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, a rare honor for such a common man. Then, as he performed this sacred duty, an angel of God appeared, breaking God's 400-year silence with Israel.
The angel told Zechariah that he and his wife, Elizabeth would have a son after all. He would have a special purpose an would prepare Israel for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus.
This all sounded impossible to Zechariah. Not the miracle itself—that Jesus would come, that John would be the forerunner. Zechariah, as a believing Jew, knew the Scriptures and believed this.
He just had a hard time thinking God could use silly old him. After all, he and his wife were well past the child-bearing age. But, true to His word, God performed this miracle in the lives of Zechariah and Elizabeth. You know the rest of the story. John the Baptist led revival in Israel and would later baptize Jesus Christ, the very son of God.
But let's focus on Zechariah and Elizabeth. They were faithful people in a time of unfaithfulness. And yet they had given up on the dream God had planted in their hearts—the dream of having a son. What's interesting is that Zechariah had no problem with the big miracle: God sending a Son to be born of a virgin and be the Savior. It was the little miracle he had trouble with, the miracle in his own life. Even though God had done a similar thing in Sarah, Hannah, Rebekah, Rachel, Zechariah refused to believe his wife, Elizabeth could bear a child.
He did something we often do. We believe in the big things of God—sending a son to be our Savior, Creation, Heaven—but when it comes to littler miracles, we limit Him. It's as if we say, Yes, God can create the earth in six days, be born of a baby, and send us to Heaven, but He can't possibly change me, fix a relationship, get me a job.
And God's answer is Yes I can. You see, the biggest miracle has already been done—Jesus. Everything else is small to God.
So maybe today, like Zechariah  you're letting God know that there is something too big for Him. Something even He can't fix.
And the story of Zechariah tells us that there is nothing too hard and that God is still in the business of doing miracles. Even in your own life.

Taken from: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/christmas-devotionals/

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Baptism

File:Jesus-army-baptism.jpg
These are the main verses used by people to say baptism IS needed for salvation

and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
1 Peter 3:21

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Romans 6:4

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:38

This verse is often used to say that baptism is part of salvation, but we know from other scriptures that it is not, lest there be a contradiction.  What is going on here is simply that repentance and forgiveness of sins are connected.  In the Greek, "repent" is in the plural and so is "your" of "your sins."  They are meant to be understood as being related to each other.  It is like saying, "All of you repent, each of you get baptized, and all of you will receive forgiveness."

I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
Matthew 3:11

I'll start with the big verse that says baptism isn't needed for salvation. This one pretty much says it all. These are clips from John three. So a Pharisee comes to Jesus and Jesus explain how to become a Christian.

In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.
"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
John 3:3-6

If you just look at verses 5, you could say Jesus said baptism is needed for salvation,  but quite the opposite is true The following verse says "Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit." 
And then Jesus said:

that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him.
John 3:15; 18; 36

3 verses uttered by Jesus say "Faith only"

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

Baptism is a work.

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about--but not before God. What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."
Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness. Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.
Roman 4:1-11

Circumcision was the old testaments version of baptism. Faith is simple, and yet so incredibly complicated. All you have to do is believe. You don't need to be baptized or circumcised. Those are symbols. You just have to believe.

Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
Romans 6:3-8

Baptism is a symbol of being one with Christ.

for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Galatians 3:27

For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
1 Corinthians 12:13

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.
Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
Luke 23:39-43

This man was not baptized, and he is in heaven.

And then there's Acts 10.The holy spirit came upon Cornelius (Romans 8:9, 1 John 3:24) and his household and THEN they where baptized.
Baptism is clearly a symbol of faith, and not a part of it. If you believe baptism is necessary for faith, then you must ignore numerous passages that state otherwise.

Sources:
http://www.gotquestions.org/baptism-1Peter-3-21.html

Photo Credit:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jesus-army-baptism.jpg

Monday, December 17, 2012

2 Peter: Faith (Part 2)

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
2 Peter 1:3

Everything means everything. God gives is EVERYTHING we need.
Life is hardly easy. We all face the challenges of life, but no matter what, God gives us everything we need for all of our life. We have everything we need to face life, and to honor God. And you'll begin to understand that when God is all you have, God is all you need.

Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
2 Peter 1:4

Either a promise is true, or it isn't. 
God alone is my rock and my salvation (Psalm 62:1-2); or he isn’t. The Lord will fight for me (Exodus 14:14); or he won’t. The arm of the Lord is not too short to save (Isaiah 59:1); or it is. God takes hold of my right hand and says, “Do not fear; I will help you (Isaiah 41:13); or he doesn’t. God will never leave me nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:7-8); or he will.
Do you believe God's promises?

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
1 Peter 1:5-7

This is teaching us how to build up character one step at a time. All of your life should be dedicated to getting closer to Christ, but whether your removing a bad habit from your life or add a good habit to your life, it should be taken one step at a time. And this is exactly what Peter tells us to do, to take things bit by bit.
-Ruth


Sources:
http://ronmoore.org/living-hope-2-peter-13-devotional/
http://www.preceptaustin.org/2_peter_13-4.htm
http://ronmoore.org/living-hope-2-peter-14-devotional/
http://www.jesuswalk.com/2peter/2_adding.htm

Photo Credit:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Peter

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

2 Peter: Introduction (Part 1)

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 
2 Peter 1:1-2

2nd Peter is 3 chapters long. It may be short, but it's a good book. 

I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to meAnd I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.
2 Peter 1:13-15

These three verse tell a LOT about why Peter wrote this book, to
  1. Remind people
  2. Because he knew he would die soon
  3. So that they would remember
So Peter was giving his last words in the form of a letter. 
And I don't doubt they were his last words to them. Peter died a martyr hanging upside down because he would not die the way Jesus had.
Peter's letter may have been a reminder to the people back in Peter's day, but it is also a reminder to us in 2012.

Sources:
http://preceptaustin.org/2_peter_commentaries_2.htm
http://preceptaustin.org/maclaren_on_2_peter.htm#lpf

Photo Credit:
http://www.aug.edu/augusta/iconography/staMariaPopolo/peterDeathCaravaggio.html

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Daily Reminders #8

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
John 15:1-9



Photo Credit:

Friday, December 7, 2012

Snow

File:Snow Scene at Shipka Pass 1.JPG
Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle? From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen?
Job 38:22-23; 29-30

File:Schneeflocken in Deutschland - 20100102.jpg
He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast? He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.
Psalm 147:15-18

File:Fresh snow.JPG
God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,' and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.' So that all men he has made may know his work, he stops every man from his labor. The animals take cover; they remain in their dens. The tempest comes out from its chamber, the cold from the driving winds. The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen. He loads the clouds with moisture; he scatters his lightning through them.
Job 37:5-11

File:Skiing Christmas '05 034.jpg
"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Isaiah 1:18

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Does the snow of Lebanon ever vanish from its rocky slopes? Do its cool waters from distant sources ever cease to flow?
Jeremiah 18:14
File:D Hoarfrost 3.jpg
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Psalm 51:7
File:Feather ice 1, Alta plateau, Norway.jpg
Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked like an expanse, sparkling like ice, and awesome.
Ezekiel 1:22
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When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor.
Exodus 16:14
File:Frozen Wappinger Creek.JPG
On that day there will be no light, no cold or frost.
Zechariah 14:6

Photo Credit:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Snow_Scene_at_Shipka_Pass_1.JPG
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Schneeflocken_in_Deutschland_-_20100102.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fresh_snow.JPG
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Skiing_Christmas_%2705_034.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Frost_patterns_2.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Feather_ice_1,_Alta_plateau,_Norway.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Windbuchencom.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Frozen_Wappinger_Creek.JPG

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Prayer Request Update

Thanks to everyone who is praying! My brother is doing good, he broke a part of his vertebra, but it was the best place to break it. He is home, and without any neck support at all. He broke a bone that is attacked to the muscle, which is really good because we where all concerned that is was a part protecting the spinal cord. Thanks to all who prayed!

Prayer Request!

My brother fell on his head and is in the hospital. He might have broken his neck. Please pray for my brother to be OK. I'll keep you updated, but prayer is awesome.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Daily Reminders #7


You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.



Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.


In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Mathew 5:14-16

Photo Credit: Me