Thursday, November 29, 2018

  1. When morning gilds the skies,
    My heart awaking cries:
    May Jesus Christ be praised!
    Alike at work and prayer,
    To Jesus I repair;
    May Jesus Christ be praised!
  2. Does sadness fill my mind?
    A solace here I find,
    May Jesus Christ be praised!
    Or fades my earthly bliss?
    My comfort still is this,
    May Jesus Christ be praised!
  3. When sleep her balm denies,
    My silent spirit sighs,
    May Jesus Christ be praised!
    When evil thoughts molest,
    With this I shield my breast:
    May Jesus Christ be praised!
  4. The night becomes as day
    When from the heart we say:
    May Jesus Christ be praised!
    The pow’rs of darkness fear
    When this sweet chant they hear:
    May Jesus Christ be praised!
  5. In heav’n’s eternal bliss
    The loveliest strain is this,
    May Jesus Christ be praised!
    Let earth, and sea, and sky
    From depth to height reply,
    May Jesus Christ be praised!
  6. Be this, while life is mine,
    My song of love divine:
    May Jesus Christ be praised!
    Sing this eternal song
    Through all the ages long:
    May Jesus Christ be praised!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


Speaking of rejoicing, here is my prayer for you:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

Sunday, November 18, 2018

HOW THEN SHALL WE LIVE? 1 Peter 1:10-20

Jesus Fulfills God’s Promises

The Old Testament prophets prophesied about the grace that would come in Christ to bring salvation. But they were not given the whole picture. They searched and inquired to know who the Messiah would be, when he would come, how he would suffer, and how he would be glorified. (10-11) Despite this, the Holy Spirit did not give them the whole picture. In fact, even angels longed to see the revelation of Christ, but did not. (12)

They were not serving themselves, though. They were serving us, showing us the promises of God made in the past, then showing us the fulfillment of them in Christ. We have a great advantage, for the Holy Spirit has announced the full picture to us through those who preached the good news, such as Jesus himself and his apostles. What a blessing it is!

How Shall We Then Live

Yes, this is a reference to Francis Schaeffer’s book. Published in 1976, Schaeffer’s point in his book was that worldview affects the way people live and make decisions, which affects the direction of culture. Charles “Chuck” Colson was influenced by Schaeffer. He followed Schaeffer’s ideas in his own book “How Now Shall We Live”, published in 1999 and dedicated to Schaeffer.

Peter has the same thought in this passage, although more limited in scope. His question is “how do we now live in light of this inheritance, this hope?” . That is why he starts the passage with the word “therefore”. In other words, in light of this permanent inheritance given to us through the grace of God, how do we live out this life on earth?

First, Peter tells us what our state of mind should be. He says “preparing your minds for action”. (13) It is literally “gird the loins of your mind” for action. This is a reference to men getting ready for battle or some kind of action. The Jewish men wore robes that went down to their ankles. This was not conducive to running and moving. So, they pulled up the skirt of the robe and tucked it into their belt for more freedom of movement. It was called girding your loins. You prepared yourself for action. For example, as Israel prepared to leave Egypt, the men were told to eat their dinner with their robes girded. They were to be ready to move quickly when the time came.

This is not unlike Paul using the battle dress of a Roman soldier to tell us to put on the whole armor of God.

Christians need to go into the world prepared, knowing where trouble lies and being ready to face it. Peter also says to be sober minded. If our minds are full of frivolous things, we cannot fight spiritual battles. If we are drunk or on drugs, we cannot fight spiritual battles.

So, we go into every day knowing the world is not our home, that temptations and trials will come, that opportunities to witness will arise, and that we need to live each day to glorify God.

Sunday, November 04, 2018


Praising God For Salvation

Having greeted the readers of his epistle, Peter breaks into praise for God. These three verses are a doxology.

When Peter says “Blessed be..God”, it is a praise. It is not the same was when God blesses us by adding something to us, because we cannot add anything to God. He is self sufficient and perfect. But it is a way to say “praise God”. It is also a way of saying, may his name be blessed, or honored, on earth because of who he is and what he has done. That is probably why the NIV translates the word as “praise” rather than “blessed”.

This blessing of the Lord is common in the Old Testament. For example, see Psalm 89:52.

Peter praised God for our salvation. God gave us salvation according to his great mercy, not our work or righteousness. As Paul wrote, “for by the works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight…” He also wrote”by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Mercy is the showing of forgiveness to whom you have the right and power to harm. God certainly has the power to do us harm. He also has the right to do this, for we all sinned against him and deserve death. (Romans 3:23; 6:23)

But he acted in mercy, not judgment, toward those who would believe in his Son, Jesus. He caused us to be born again. It was his initiative.

No one can take credit for being born. No one can take credit for being born again.

What is different about people who are born again? We are born again to a living hope. That hope is not that we will live our best life now. It is that we will live our best life in eternity.

“Hope”, as the New Testament uses it, is not a wish. It is a firm belief in something to come that is so great and so much better than this life that we can even endure suffering and hardship for Jesus, know it is temporary and eternal life is forever.

This hope comes to us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Jesus was raised from the dead, so will all who are in Christ. Because he was raised, we can believe we will be raised as he promised. “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ”. (1 Corinthians 15:22-23)  

This hope of eternal life is an inheritance. It is something we receive in the future because of our relationship to God. Just as you might inherit money from you parents because you are their son, you, as a believer, inherit eternal life because you have been adopted into the Family of God. We are God’s children. We call him “father”. And we are brothers and sisters of his Son, Jesus. Since we are children of God through and with Jesus, we are heirs of God and fellow heirs of Jesus. (Romans 8:15-17)

In Old Testament Israel, the inheritance was portrayed in the physical land God promised and gave to his people. A plot or portion of land was allotted to each tribe and family by Joshua. But believers, the church, inherits so much more. We first inherit heaven, then the new heavens and new earth, all of which will belong to us, not just one tiny country.

This inheritance is kept for us in heaven. (4) We do not keep it ourselves. That is why we cannot lose our salvation. If we could lose our salvation, we would. But God keeps it. Peter says we are those who are guarded by God’s power through faith. (5) We place our faith in Jesus and God keeps our salvation for us.

Not only can we not lose our salvation, it cannot be diminished in anyway. Peter uses three words to describe this. Our inheritance is (1) imperishable; (2) undefiled; and (3) unfading. These are not three different types of salvation, but three ways of saying the same thing.

Created things all disintegrate. I got out some broccoli to cook this week. But, I had to throw it away because it was molded. It was perishable. But God is not perishable. He is the immortal God (Romans 1:23) He does not die or decline. Therefore, he can keep our salvation imperishable.

It is also undefiled. In contrast, I once had some bug poison in a can. The can rusted, the poison leaked out and got into some other things and ruined them. They were defiled or corrupted.

It is also unfaded. When I was young, each time you washed your clothes, they faded a little bit. Soon, they no longer looked new. But your salvation does not fade.

No matter how long you live, your salvation and eternal life will be as beautiful and glorious as on the day you were saved. No matter how long this age lasts, the age to come will be as perfect and beautiful as it would be if this age ended today. And it is because the eternal, all powerful, God keeps it.

Peter also pointed out that, although we were saved when we believed, the full measure of our salvation will be realized, or revealed, in the last time. (5) When Jesus returns and makes all things new, we will see the full measure of what God has for us.

Our bodies will be changed. “What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sow in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural (temporarily alive) body; it is raised a spiritual (eternally alive) body. (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)

The earth will be changed. “ Behold, I am making all things new”. (Revelation 21:5)

In this we rejoice. (6) “Rejoice” means to feel and to express great joy or delight. Let that sink in and convict you for a moment. You salvation should cause you to feel and express great delight.

I do not know how many of you rejoiced in your salvation this week. I know many who rejoiced when their sports team scored points or when they won the game. But Peter said these elect exiles rejoiced in their salvation.

Paul instructed us to rejoice. He wrote: “Rejoice the the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice”. (Philippians 4:4)

Rejoicing in salvation is important. On reason it is important is that it helps us endure suffering. Peter said his readers rejoiced even though they were grieved by various trials. Those trials tested the genuiness of their faith. It is easy to profess your faith in a room with fellow believers. It is more difficult to profess to someone who might punish you for it with death, or prison, or banishment, or depriving you of a job or other rights.

It is also difficult to rejoice when you are suffering, even though the suffering is not because of your faith. Do you rejoice in your salvation when you are very sick? Or when someone you love is very sick? Or when you lose your job? Or when friends abandon you?

Rejoicing in your salvation will not only help you get through those times, but it demonstrates to the world that your faith is genuine. And, it will result in glory, praise and honor when Jesus is revealed at his second coming. (7) This glory will come to you and also result in glory to Christ.

Peter acknowledged that his situation was different than his readers’. Peter knew Jesus in the flesh. He knew him intimately as a follower and friend. Peter also had a deep appreciation for the resurrection, for he saw the resurrected Jesus. And this Jesus came to the fallen, ashamed, Peter and restored him to fellowship and service.

Neither Peter’s readers nor we ourselves saw Jesus. But Peter said you love him though you have not seen him, you believe in him though they did not see Jesus at the time Peter was writing to them. And they rejoiced with this inexpressible, glorious joy.

Sometimes I go through a week and I am not joyful at all. I hate to confess it, but is true. Then, when Sunday comes around, I feel terrible about it. How could I be like that? Like David, I have to say to God, “restore to me the joy of your salvation”. (Psalm 51:12)

And he does.