A Must-See Video for Every Christian

Friday, May 15, 2015

Grow in the Grace and Knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Peter concludes with a final warning and an exhortation. He tells us Christians to be on guard so that we may not be led astray by the error (wandering out of sound doctrine) of the lawless (the morally corrupt/false teachers) and fall from our secure position (our firm faith in Christ). Be prepared and be careful. Be on the alert against instability in our faith and against false teaching. The danger is real. Don't be so arrogant thinking that you can never fall (get off course spiritually) or be deceived. "Keep watch over yourselves...Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!" (Acts 20:28a, 30-31a)


We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Christians are not meant to be stagnant/static. We are to keep on growing to be more like Christ every day. Ongoing spiritual growth is the most effective safeguard against spiritual instability/weakness. A growing tree is a healthy, stable tree that does not get blown over by a wind of false teaching. God wants us to grow in embracing grace, appreciating grace, understanding grace, and giving grace. Imitate Jesus Christ! He is the ultimate picture of “grace”...the Embodiment of God's grace! Is grace evident in our speech, attitude, and actions? Do we extend grace that the Lord bestowed upon us to others? For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope--the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:11-14) “Growing in grace” means learning to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions while living self-controlled, upright, and Godly lives, being more like Christ each day. Abide in Christ and you will grow in grace!

A growing knowledge of Christ (a more increasingly intimate relationship with Christ) will protect us against error/false teaching. The more we know Christ, the more we love Him. The more we love Him, the more we want to know Him. "What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ--yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead." (Philippians 3:8-11) When Christians don't know the Scriptures well or don't spend time with God regularly, they become unstable in their faith and vulnerable to seduction from false teachers. Ignorance of God's Word will make anyone an easy target for Satan's lies, truth distortions, and all sorts of false teaching & unBiblical ideas. Even mature Christians sometimes are easily impressed by famous teachers/ preachers who attract huge crowd or authors who sell millions of copies without comparing their messages to the Scriptures. We must be careful not to be so enamored with any preacher/teacher/author that we think they are infallible. We must be more like the Bereans who "received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." (Acts 17:11)

Our life's purpose should be to praise, honor, and glorify Christ now and forevermore. "The knowledge of Christ’s love for us should cause us to love Him in such a way that it is demonstrated in our attitude, conduct, and commitment to serve God. Spiritual maturity is marked by spiritual knowledge being put into action." (Edward Bedore)

Prayer: Lord, please help me grow in grace and in Your likeness. I want to know You more and more. Shine Your love and Your light through me, Lord Jesus! I want none of self but all of You. Be glorified in my life, in everything I do and say, Lord!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Spotless, Blameless, but Not Restless

Our confident expectancy of Christ's return should propel us to be mindful of how we live each day. Peter encourages us believers to be diligent/to make every effort (which requires self-discipline) to be found by Christ spotless, blameless, but not restless (= at peace).

When Jesus returns, in what condition will He find us? I'm thankful that His righteousness covers me. My conduct should match my position in Christ which is without spot or blemish. My character should reflect Christ in me. Be constantly ready for His return by faithfully abiding in Him, focusing on things above, not on earthly things, living a life of holiness & godliness, and doing Kingdom work. "And now, dear children, continue in Him, so that when He appears we may be confident and unashamed before Him at His coming." (1 John 2:28) Those who are looking forward to Christ's return should have no fear or anxiety because they have a blessed assurance of their salvation. They are at peace because they have already made peace with God (been reconciled to Him) through Christ. The end of the world doesn't scare them/us. 

Our belief and behavior must be congruent. Live a life of love, faith, obedience, purity, and integrity with no compromise. Resist worldliness. "Without spot or blemish" is the exact opposite of the false teachers' character that Peter points out in 2 Peter 2:13b, "They are blots and blemishes." We are not sinless (one day we will be :)), but we can and we should sin less.

Prayer: "May God Himself, the God of peace sanctify us through and through. May our whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:23)




Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How Ought We to Live?

Christ will return suddenly at an unknown hour when He is not expected. The heavens will disappear with a great noise. Everything on earth will be destroyed by fire. God will create a new heaven and a new earth. 

Knowing this and waiting for our Lord's coming, we ought to live holy and godly lives. Live lives that are separated from sin and evil, set apart for God's use, and devoted to Him alone. "Holy conduct refers to action, godliness refers to attitude. Holy conduct refers to the way I live my life, godliness refers to the spirit of reverence within me by which I live my life. Holy conduct refers to that which rules my behavior, and godliness refers to that which rules my heart. And so he (Peter) is saying what kind of person ought you to be in heart and in behavior, in motive and in action, in attitude and in duty." (John MacArthur) Instead of working for things that will be destroyed, we should focus on working for/investing in things that are eternal. We need to guard ourselves against materialism and worldliness. "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." (Colossians 3:1-2)

"O for a heart that is willing to serve,
Laboring while it is day!
Nothing is lost that is done for the Lord,

He will reward and repay." (Unknown)

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past, 
Only what's done for Christ will last. 
And when I am dying, how happy I'll be, 
if the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee." (Unknown)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Lord's Patience

Peter does not want Christians to stumble over the subject of Christ's return. He encourages them to be steadfast in their faith and remember this fact that the Lord does not view time the same way we do. "A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night." (Psalm 90:4) God is outside of time. God's time frame is different than ours. We are finite and we have a finite perspective. God is infinite and He looks at things from an infinite perspective.

God delays Christ's second coming and final judgment because He graciously desires that all people will repent and accept His free gift of salvation through faith in Christ. This is God's heart! Don't mistake God's immense loving patience for slackness/ slowness in the fulfillment of His promise. His motive demonstrates His incredible grace and mercy! The Lord is abounding in love and slow to anger. He is being patient with the ungodly and unrepentant. He is waiting patiently like the father of the prodigal son. We are given more time to reach out to people with the Gospel; do not waste it. Invest in eternity! Some will perish but it is not God's will that they perish. His desire is for all to come to Him, believe in Jesus, be saved, and be with Him for eternity. Jesus died for all. The gift of salvation is available to all. But God will not save us against our will. God also gives us the gift of choice. We can choose Jesus or reject Him. He deliberately keeps giving people more and more time to come to repentance. God has concealed the time of Christ's coming on purpose for His redemptive purpose.

Even though we all deserve God's wrath and condemnation, God our Savior "wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4), "not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9b). The purpose of the Messiah’s mission is not to judge or condemn, but to offer the grace of the Gospel, salvation, and eternal life, to people in the world. At His first coming, Christ came to save the world. When He comes again, He will come in judgment upon those who refuse His offer of salvation. Because of God's amazing love, kindness, grace, mercy, and patience, we are offered a pardon and the sentence of condemnation has been delayed. Condemnation is a result of rejecting Jesus (as stated in John 3:18b: "Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son").

Monday, May 11, 2015

Scoffers

Peter wants Christians to know that there will certainly be scoffers in the last days (the days between the Messiah's first coming and His second coming) who make light of sin and make fun of salvation by grace through Christ. They will mock at the Lord's promise of His return. They don't believe that He will come because they don't see any changes. These scoffers deny Biblical truths and follow their own sinful desires. They have no reverence for God. They resist the idea of a time of judgment and moral accountability because they love their self-indulgence too much. Obviously, they are spiritually blind since in reality, things are not as they were. Things will continue to get worse before Jesus returns. God is sovereign. He is working toward His purpose. He always keeps His promises according to His own timing, not ours. "There is a living God; He has spoken in the Bible; He means what He says and will do all He has promised." (Hudson Taylor) Don't listen to these scoffers and become spiritually apathetic and asleep in the light. Jesus will return! Peter wants us to be alert and active in living for God.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Worse Off

They (false teachers) are worse off than they were at the beginning (before knowing Christ) if after they have escaped the corruption/ pollutions of the world through knowing Christ, yet they are again entangled in worldly lusts/snares and are overcome/enslaved. They have tasted and seen that the Lord is good yet they choose to reject Him and return to their old sinful way of life. Inexcusable! They may have a form of godliness but they're so dead in their sins. In other words, apostasy (abandoning faith in Christ and deliberately sinning) is worse than unbelief (not having faith in Christ or not having known Christ and sinning in ignorance). To hear the Truth/to see the Light and revert to lies and darkness is worse than never hearing the Truth and seeing the Light at all. These false teachers repudiate the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in spite of knowing fully Who He is and what He has done. At the same time, they use/misuse His name to lure people for their own gains. They know what is right but they choose to do what is wrong.

"It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace." (Hebrews 6:4-6)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Slaves of Depravity

False teachers speak empty, boastful words that appeal to the sensual desires of the flesh. Words that sound good and impressive but have no real content. False doctrine results in spiritual barrenness. False teachers speak flattering lies that entice people. "For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." (2 Timothy 4:3-4) "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of His holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage." (Jude 14b-16) 

People who are just escaping from those who live in error (of atheism or Judaism, etc.) are allured and ensnared by these false teachers who claim to be Christians. New believers/converts are easy targets for false teachers to prey on. They promise them freedom (not true Christian freedom from sin, but rather freedom to sin) but they themselves are slaves of corruption/depravity. This kind of sinful carnal liberty is attractive to their carnal lusts and interests. Sadly, they don't realize that it's indeed bondage/slavery to sin. These false teachers are still under the power and dominion of sin. They are enslaved to worldly pleasures and wickedness. They talk about freedom but they do not know/have the true freedom which can only be found in Christ. "Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?" (Romans 6;16)



Wednesday, May 6, 2015

They Will Be Paid Back

False teachers will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Spiritual death is their doom. They take pleasure in sensual desire of the flesh even in broad daylight without shame. They defile and deceive themselves and others, bringing disgrace upon the teachings of Christ and the Christian name. These people are among the Church participating in Communion and social meals with us. They're enjoying themselves in their errors. They revel in fooling and taking advantage of other Christians.  To them, it's all about self-indulgence and self-gain. "These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm--shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted--twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever." (Jude 12-13) Ouch!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Lord Knows...

God is sovereign, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient! The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials. This brings comfort to believers. He also knows how to hold the unrighteous (including false teachers) for punishment on the day of judgment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority and those who are bold & arrogant and are not afraid to slander celestial beings. This shows their ignorance and comtempt. "For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord...These people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct--as irrational animals do--will destroy them. Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion." (Jude 4, 10-11) There are always consequences to our actions/decisions. Live to glorify God, not gratify self! It's a terrible sin to corrupt the Church...to lead God's children astray. Let those who do it take warning from what happened to the fallen angels (verse 4), to the world of Noah's time (verse 5), and to Sodom & Gomorrah (verse 6).

Monday, May 4, 2015

Beware of False Teachers

Peter warned the believers about false teachers among them (within the Church). These false teachers distort the Scriptures with heretical interpretations and doctrinal errors (such as denial of Christ or denial of His deity) Destructive/dangerous heresies refer to any wrong teachings that result in the moral and spiritual destruction of those who follow them. By these heresies, people are hurt, harmed, deceived, and destroyed. These false teachers even deny Christ who died on the cross to pay the penalty for their sin. They're motivated by greed/ covetousness. They bring destruction on themselves because God will certainly not let them go unpunished.

I encourage you all to be like the Bereans/to compare everything you hear and read to the Scriptures. "Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." (Acts 17:11) Guard yourselves against lies and false teaching by familiarizing yourselves with the truth, God's Word! And pray for God's wisdom and discernment.



Friday, May 1, 2015

Word of God

Above all, we must understand this truth that no prophecy contained in Scripture comes about by the prophet's own interpretation of things. All prophecies/All Scriptures are divine words from God, dictated by the Holy Spirit. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:17)

Prophecy never had its origin in the human will but in the will of God. The Holy Spirit gave the prophets knowledge of divine things and moved them to write or say what God wanted them to. Prophets were instruments of the Holy Spirit who used them to speak from God. "The Holy Spirit so supernaturally superintended Scripture writers that without circumventing their intelligence, their personal literary style or personality, He enabled them to record Scripture with perfect accuracy." (Dr. Grant C. Richison)  "prophet of God, therefore, is simply one who speaks forth God’s Word, and prophecy is the proclaiming of that Word. The gift of prophecy is the Spirit–given and Spirit–empowered ability to proclaim the Word effectively." (John MacArthur) 

This shows the authority of the Scriptures since they are the Word of God, and not of men. God, the Author, reveals His attributes, His heart, His thoughts, and His will in His Word. What God wants us to know is in the Bible, the most valuable book in the world. We need to read, study, and memorize it. The Bible is reliable because God is reliable. The Holy Spirit who dictated Scripture is the Best Interpreter to help us understand God's Word. And Scripture is the best commentary on Scripture. The unity of the 66 books in its content, despite the facts that the Bible was written over a period of 1,500 years, by 40 different authors from a wide range of backgrounds and occupations, on 3 continents, and in 3 languages, is another amazing proof of the divine inspiration and authority of the entire Bible.

"I'll trust in God's unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever;
For though all things shall pass away,

His Word shall stand forever!" (Luther)

"When reading God's Word, take special care
To find the rich treasures hidden there;
Give thought to each line, each precept clear,

Then practice it well with godly fear." (Unknown)

"How to increase your faith: Expose your mind to God's Word, more & more, more & more, more & more." (James MacDonald)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2015

This month, I've been participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge (blogging at least once a day everyday), the #fmsphotoaday challenge (I post a photo(s) for each day's meme on my photo blog), and the A to Z April Challenge (26 posts in an alphabetical order). It's challenging but fun :). The letters Q, X, and Z are always difficult for me. I thought it would be neat to look back at all the posts from A to Z so I'm listing them in this post.


Zany Accusation

Peter responded to some zany accusation from false teachers in his time. "False teachers were claiming that Jesus' resurrection and return, as well as the Holy Spirit's indwelling of believers, were all cunningly devised fables. Peter countered their faith claims with an eyewitness account." (from my NKJV Study Bible commentary) Peter was referring to Christ's transfiguration when he, James, and John were present with Christ on the sacred mountain. "In Christ's transfiguration the disciples received a foretaste of what His coming will be like when He returns to establish His eternal kingdom." (from my NIV Study Bible commentary) They heard the voice of God the Father saying, "This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased." God the Father gave Jesus honor (the public acknowledgment of His Sonship) and glory (His face and clothes shone with glorious splendor). Peter had seen Christ's majesty and power manifested in His miracles with his own eyes and heard His teachings with his own ears; he knew that what he told about Jesus was true. This is to confirm the authenticity and reliability of Peter's gospel testimony/message. 
This passage made me think of the song, He's Alive by Don Francisco. It's written from Peter's perspective.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

You Must Possess These Qualities in Increasing Measure

In 2 Peter 1:3-5, we were told to make every effort to add virtue (goodness), knowledge, self-control, steadfastness (perseverance), Godliness, brotherly affection, and love to our faith. Now Peter is saying that we must possess these qualities in increasing measure because they will keep us from being ineffective (useless) and unproductive (unfruitful). "Increasing measure" indicates growth, abundance, progress. Christians should be growing more and more in Christlikeness. It is possible to know the Bible and know about Christ and yet remain fruitless if it's just head knowledge without an intimate relationship with Christ. To be fruitful, we must abide in Him. "It is possible to have considerable knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and yet to be unfruitful in that knowledge. Failure to practice what we know leads inevitably to barrenness. Inflow without outgo killed the Dead Sea, and it kills productivity in the spiritual realm as well." (MacDonald) Additional benefits for having these Christlike qualities in increasing measure include a blessed assurance, spiritual stability, and a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:10-11). 
Those who do not have these qualities are spiritually nearsighted and blind. They forget that they have been cleansed from their past sins and they still live like the world. They forget that they're sinners saved by God's grace alone through faith in Christ alone. They lose sight of  the significance of being a new creation in Christ and living a holy life that God calls them to. They don't have an eternal perspective. They still look at things from worldly perspective and only focus on temporary, earthly things. They are unable to see beyond the temporal to the eternal in everyday life situations. They are blind to God's truth. If we are truly grateful for our redemption and forgiveness of sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, we would be eager to thank Him, please Him, glorify Him, and obey Him. Obedience is not optional!
Keep growing deeper in your relationship with God and keep growing in Christlikeness. There should be no such thing as complacent Christians.
"More about Jesus would I know,
More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fullness see,

More of His love who died for me." (Eliza Hewitt)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X Is for Xristos

When we trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior and surrender all to follow Him, God begins to move us from point A to point B. This process is called sanctification or spiritual growth. 
Point A (faith)-------------------------->X Point B (Christlikeness) The Greek word for Christ is Χριστóς (Xristos/ Christos). We must make every effort to move towards the end goal of being like Christ. These qualities (virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, Godliness, brotherly affection, and love) are to be added to our faith so that we will become more and more like Christ. God has given us everything we need for life and Godliness (2 Peter 1:3); that's God's part. God empowers and enables us but we must cooperate (with the promptings of the Holy Spirit), obey, and work at it. God will not make us Christlike against our will or without our involvement. It requires desire, determination, and discipline on our part. God gives us the gift of choice for a reason. Here we see a beautiful interplay between God's sovereignty and human responsibility. We are called to put our faith into action and with all diligence, to live the way God wants us to. We are called to do good deeds because we have been saved, not in order to be saved. 

Peter tries to tell us that these qualities of Christlikeness are very important for us. Without them, the pressure of persecution and suffering will cause us to give up and give in. Without them, the charm of false teaching will tempt us to opt for an easier life.

Faith

"Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6) Our journey towards Christlikeness starts with faith in Christ.

Virtue (Goodness)

Virtue is moral excellence. Is our life reflecting the excellencies of God?

Knowledge

This refers to prudence and wisdom from learning God's truth in the Scriptures and applying it. A knowledge of sound doctrine will strengthen our faith. To know God and His will, we must study His Word diligently.

Self-Control

Control your tongue, emotions, thoughts, and actions/reactions. "No matter how strong we are, or how much we know, if we have not self-control, something is wanting. He that can rule himself is strong, while he that lacks self-mastery, no matter what other gifts he may have, is pitiably weak." (J.R. Miller)

Steadfastness (Perseverance)

This is patience that endures trials, afflictions and adversities.

Godliness

"A genuine reverence toward God that governs one's attitude toward every aspect of life." (from my NIV Bible commentary) Coram Deo = To live one's life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God! 

Brotherly Affection

Mutual affection & kindness among brothers and sisters in Christ

Love (Agape)

Love like Christ by loving unconditionally, sacrificially, and selflessly. It's fitting to end the list with love because if we do not have love, all other qualities we have mean nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

These qualities are the fruit of the Spirit and should be evident in a fruitful, spirit-filled life. Abide in Christ and you'll bear much fruit. 

- Prayer: Dear Jesus, take my heart and hand,
And grant me this, I pray:
That I through Your sweet love may grow
More like You day by day. 
(Garrison)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Whatever We Need to Live a Godly Life

God's divine power has given us whatever we need spiritually through our knowledge of Him. "All things" means that we lack nothing. He gives and He gives freely out of His everlasting love and inexhaustible grace. God's power is always available and always adequate for whatever we may face in life (He already knows what we will face). God's omnipotence is at work for us and in us. How wonderful this truth is! What a generous, gracious, mighty God we serve! He empowers us to live an abundant life of Godliness for Him. "For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose." (Philippians 2:13)

In 2 Peter, Peter wants to warn Christians about false doctrine. It is essential that we know the right Jesus. "Now this is eternal life; that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent." (John 17:3) Watch out for all sorts of different gospels and different Jesus! God reveals Himself in His Word. We need to keep studying the Bible in order to know Him more and more. The better we know God, the better we are able to apply His principles for our lives and the more we grow in Godliness. What we know/believe will dictate what we say and what we do. That's why it's so important for us to know/understand God's Word. In addition, when we're so familiar with God's truths, we'll be able to detect any false teaching/false doctrine/Satan's lies immediately. "It is impossible to practice godliness without a constant, consistent and balanced intake of the Word of God in our lives." (Jerry Bridges) "The difference between worldliness and godliness is a renewed mind." (Erwin W. Lutzer)

Christ's own unique glory (excellence of His Being/His attributes) and virtue (excellence of His deeds) draw us to Himself. We "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18) by feeding on God's Word and by imitating Him. Godliness is Christlikeness. "Godliness is devotion to God which results in a life that is pleasing to him." (Jerry Bridges) "It (Godliness in Greek) comes from two words: well and to worship. A godly person worships well. He directs his worship rightly...Godliness is true and real spiritual relation to God. Religion relates more to outward acts of religious observance or ceremony. Godliness, on the other hand, cherishes the will of God." (Dr. Grant C. Richison) Since God has granted us everything we ever need for our Christian life & Godliness, there is no excuse whatsoever for not living vibrant, Godly lives or for not growing in Christlikeness. "We may have as much of God as we will. Christ puts the key of the treasure-chamber into our hand, and bids us take all that we want. If a man is admitted into the bullion vault of a bank and told to help himself, and comes out with one cent, whose fault is it that he is poor?” (Alexander Maclaren) "If the way of godliness is rejected so is the hope of eternal life. So Peter forbids us to turn our faith into a fire insurance policy for escaping hell while our lives remain unchanged. The hope of life and the way of godliness stand or fall together." (John Piper) 


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Book Review: 31 Days of Mountaintop Miracles by Susie Y. Jennings



Our God is God of miracles! Miracles didn't happen only in the Bible time; they still happen today. I enjoyed reading 31 Days of Mountaintop Miracles. The author, Susie Jennings, shares about miracles after miracles that have taken place in her life as she's resolved to live for God with unconditional obedience. After a tragic death of her husband, Susie found her calling to reach out to the homeless in her own city with blankets and the Gospel message. Along her journey, she has witnessed God's wonders time and time again. God's faithfulness, goodness, and power as well as Susie's passion, faith, and devotion to God shine through this book. 

The book is divided into 5 parts: Miracles of God's Promises and Plans, Miracles of Answered Prayers, Miracles of God's Perfect Timing, Miracles of Obedience, and Miracles of God's Provision. It is written in a devotional style. Each day's devotion starts with Bible verses and ends with Mastering a Miracle Mindset questions which aim to challenge readers to look through their spiritual eyes and see God's miracles in their everyday lives. Susie believes that when God gives the vision, He also gives the provision. God has blessed her steps of faith & obedience from simple blankets and Gospel tracts to Operation Care International, a global outreach ministry dedicated to caring for the homeless in Dallas, Texas and children in need around the world. 

Susie Jennings reminds me of George Müller, a Christian evangelist/a man of great faith and prayer, who cared for over 10,000 orphans in his life. In both of their lives, I see total dependence upon God and a beautiful childlike faith. Susie is a woman of prayer who walks in faith, love, service, and obedience to God. Her radical obedience brings glory and honor to God and makes an eternal impact on so many lives. Never underestimate what God can do and will do when you surrender all to Him and obey Him wholeheartedly/unconditionally. Keep your eyes wide open and you'll see God's fingerprints everywhere. I highly recommend this inspiring read! Prepare to be astonished :)! All proceeds from this book will go directly to Operation Care International.

"We've all had a lifetime of miracle moments--the key is to recognize them and give all honor and praise to God for the glorious ways He provides them." (Susie Jennings)

"After all, when you find yourself in the middle of a God-shaped miracle, is it any wonder that you want to give God the glory for the rest of your life?" (p. 172)


~I received a free copy of this book via The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Victory in Jesus

I just finished studying 1 Peter. If you're interested, you can check out my notes I've posted on this blog :). This hymn/song seems like a perfect conclusion to my study. In 1 Peter, Peter tried to encourage the persecuted Christians to keep having a Christlike attitude, standing firm in the faith, pressing on as servants of God, entrusting themselves to the Just Judge, embracing an eternal perspective, and relying on God since we believers already have victory in Jesus and are guaranteed to receive the eternal glory after our perseverance through pain and sufferings. "Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:57) This song just makes me want to dance with joy :)! I hope your heart will be encouraged.
 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Understand This

The God of all grace has got our backs. We have been given and blessed with riches of His inexhaustible grace. Fresh supplies of His grace are always available to us. His grace is always sufficient for every need/every situation. Our sufferings are temporary and cannot be compared to the eternal glory awaiting us. "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) 

God who has called us/chosen us to eternal glory in Christ will Himself restore (perfect, complete, repair, make whole), confirm (stabilize, make solid), strengthen (God gives us strength/makes us strong to meet the demands of life), and establish (settle on a firm foundation, ground securely) us. "God is working through the Christian's struggles to produce strength of character...While you are being personally attacked by the enemy, you are being personally perfected by God. It's personal, Himself He's doing it. Marvelous thought. He is intimately involved in the suffering of our lives." (John MacArthur) 

God is in control of everything forever and ever. We are safe and secure in the loving arms of God who is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. Understand that God's purpose realized in the future involves some pain and sufferings in the present. Understand this truth, embrace an eternal perspective, rely on God, and you'll be able to face anything.








Thursday, April 23, 2015

Timely Truth

- Satan, God's enemy and ours, is real and is actively, aggressively, persistently seeking to destroy all that God loves, especially us, His beloved children. Satan is never satisfied with the prey he has already gotten; he always prowls around looking for more. He is ravenously hungry for us. He is roaring insults, accusations, and lies at us to intimidate us, to get us to doubt God and/or stay away from God, to make us feel unloved, unworthy, and unfruitful for the kingdom of God.

- Spiritual warfare is real but we don't have to be afraid of it. Our God is stronger than our adversary. "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (1 John 4:4) He gives us power through Jesus Christ to overcome all attacks from the devil. First, we must stay alert, be watchful/vigilant, and be sober-minded/self-controlled/self-disciplined. Don't let down your guard. Watch out for Satan and his tricks & temptations. His schemes are cleverly hidden and disguised. He loves to make sin look sweet and God's principles burdensome. Satan's desire is to tempt Christians to doubt, deny, disregard, and disobey God. Know your Enemy but more importantly, know God (and His Word) so that we will know how to respond, defend ourselves, and defeat our Enemy. 

- Perhaps Peter remembered his own difficulty in staying alert during our Lord's prayer in Gethsemane. Jesus said to His disciples whom He found sleeping, "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41) When we are weak (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually), suffering, feeling lonely, feeling sorry for ourselves, focusing on our troubles/circumstances, isolating ourselves from fellowship with other believers, ignoring spending time with God in prayer & in His Word, we tend to forget to watch for danger and we are more vulnerable to Satan's attacks. Keep your eyes on Christ always. Satan tries to keep us from living freely and fruitfully for Christ. Don't listen to him...don't believe his lies. If you're feeling weary today, run to Jesus and let His love empower you to face every fear, worry, and discouragement that Satan throws at you. Unseen spiritual battles must be fought in Christ's name and by the power of His blood. "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) The devil is to be resisted through divine grace and power. Remember that we're more than conquerors through Christ. A surrendered life (to Christ) is a victorious life. As we humble ourselves and rest at Jesus's feet, He promises to give us everything we need to live a victorious, godly life. Pride is an open door inviting Satan to have a field day. "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7) Before we can stand against Satan, we must bow down (submit) to God.

We're told to resist the devil. Stand firm and strong in the faith, in God's truths, in the Holy Spirit's power and we'll have courage to say no to all ungodliness and be able to withstand and overcome evil. Put on the full armor of God daily (Ephesians 6:10-18). "Since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet." (1 Thessalonians 5:6) The devil is powerful but not invincible. Our winning defense strategy is to stay steadfast/unmovable/impenetrable in our faith, grounded in God's Word. Be prepared/ready always. Satan wants to destroy our faith and one of his ways is to use our suffering to get us discouraged and disillusioned. That's why it is so important for us to be resolute in our faith. Peter tries to encourage the persecuted Christians by helping them realize that they're not suffering alone. Christians all around the world are enduring the same kind of sufferings (we have obviously seen more and more recently). Knowing this helps us not to be surprised when we suffer for the sake of Christ and His gospel. Moreover, their faith encourages our faith. Their courage strengthens our courage. Their perseverance moves us to persevere. We believers need to be reminded to expect hardship and persecution so that we won't be dismayed and overwhelmed by them. Knowing that God enables them to stand strong through suffering to the end will help us cope in time of duress. We don't need to stand alone against the Enemy. We should stand with other brothers and sisters in Christ around the world in prayer.


Related Posts with Thumbnails