Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Some fun Bible reading for the holidays!

Genesis is 50 chapters.  They aren't supper long chapters, but one a day should be a good pace to get to know the characters that helped shape the story of our current faith in Jesus.

I hope you want to dive in with me.  We will be done the week before Christmas.  That seems like good timing!

If you are the type that likes to check off the days as you read, sorry, there will not be a reading plan for this 50 days of reading.  Just know that December 1st you will be on chapter 31 of Genesis and you should be finished by December 20th.  

I hope you join me tomorrow!  November 1st!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Revelation 21-22~ The Old Order has passed away! Yay!! ~ Day 120

The verse that stood out to me today was, “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (21:4)

Like I mentioned on Day 118, God’s “economy” will be so different from what it is now, it’s hard to imagine.  But the few clues we have gets me giddy with excitement! 

Well, you did it!! You read the New Testament in 120 days!  Yay!! I am confident God revealed new things to you through his Word. I pray that you continue to read His word and stay abiding in Him!

If you would like to join me, I will be reading Genesis through November and part of December and than I will be picking up on the New Testament again in the New Year!!  

How fun to read the beginning of the whole Bible as the last chapters of the Bible are so fresh in our minds!  I hope you join me! 

Always keep reading something in the Bible and God bless you as you do!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Revelation 19-20~A dip into eschatology ~ Day 119

Chapter 19 is such a victorious picture of Christ on his white horse (19:11)  I love it!  

It seems like everything is posed for a great battle (19:19)…but…no detail of fighting occurs….The reality is, the battle has already been won when Jesus rose from the dead!  
So, this is just a picture of the swift end of evil that will occur when Jesus returns to get his bride (19:9).

Then, in our reading, we come to chapter 20….the chapter that, to some, seems out of place. Others, who want to keep it in order, create a theology out of the order of events.  Thus, you have Christians holding different points of view on “eschatology” (the study of end-times).  But, let me make this clear, a Christ follower can hold a different view on end times from another Christian.  It does not determine who is the more righteous, true believer.  Both will be in heaven when all is said and done.  Right?!!  Amen!

But, here is the break down, just in case you are unfamiliar with the different views Christians may hold.  
Premillennialist think Christ will reign at his second coming, yet evil will not end until after a 1000 years. (They keep ch. 20 in order of sequence.)
Post-millennials and amillennial's think Christ’s coming is after the “millennial kingdom” (which is happening now). When he returns, evil will immediately end. The difference between post-millennial and amillennial is that the former optimistically thinks the world will get better before Christ’s second coming, because Christ’s current reign would cause that.  The latter is not so optimistic.  (They both read ch. 20 as a different view of the same ultimate end described in chs. 17 & 18.)
There you have it in a nutshell! 

Basically, ask yourself, do I read these chapters chronologically or do I read them like they are different views of the same event?  Well, as I have said several times since we arrived in Revelation, I am reading it through, this time, “according to literary, rather than strictly chronological patterns.”

So, imagine John is seeing a vision of Satan being “bound for a thousand years” as what symbolically occurred when Christ rose from the dead.  Satan’s other agents of evil are still on the scene working havoc, but Satan has been bound from those who have made Christ their king.
Then, it’s reasonable to see that the battle scene and defeat of Satan is so brief in 20:7-10 because John has already described the end defeat in more detail from other vantage points of the same battle (Chs. 17-19).  
And obviously, if Satan is released, it’s going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. (I guess I’m not as optimistic as the post-millennials! Hahaha!)

Anyway, I find this all very interesting…..don’t you?

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Revelation 17-18~The "woman" will be out of business.~ Day 118

I like chapters 17 & 18 because they give me a glimpse of what heaven will be like….or rather…what heaven won’t be like….

It’s near impossible for me to picture a life without commerce (18:22), without labor (18:22), and without marriage (18:23 & Matt. 22:30).  God’s economy will be something, at this point, I can’t imagine.  Yet,….how exciting to think of the possibilities of what it could be like!

The woman who sits on many waters (the water being people, multitudes, nations and languages) symbolizes everything related to greed.  Desire for power, fame, prestige, wealth, popularity are basically all forms of greed.  Think about it, when you get a little wealth or a little prestige, a little fame…t’s never quite enough…there is always a desire for more.  
Greed, the desire to be “a something”, not “a nothing”.  If everyone could understand that they are already “a something” in the eyes of their Maker,….that would be another world…right?  I know I am a child of God.  He loves how he made me!  That makes me “a special something”.  That is so much better than anything the “woman on the waters” could ever give me!  

So, in the end, “she” (greed, materialism, pride, or what ever you want to call her) will no longer exist.  

It’s hard to imagine what life would be like when the drive for materialism and greed is gone; the desire for “just a little bit more” will be gone!  There will actually be satisfaction. That reminds me of what Jesus said to the woman at the well, “but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.” (John 4:14)

We will never thirst for “just a little bit more” ever again!  We will be totally satisfied!!!   Having Jesus on the throne puts that “woman” out of business!!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Revelation 14-16~Wake up!!~ Day 117

Let's talk a minute about that “mark of the beast” we read about yesterday.  I always thought it was a literal mark that everyone would be able to see. Yet, one thing I know about Satan, he loves to imitate God. 
God marks his followers (Rev. 7:3).  We are already marked according to what Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 1:22, Eph. 1:13 and 4:30.  We are marked with the Holy Spirit.  It’s not a tattoo or implanted chip.  The proof that we have been marked with the Holy Spirt is that we have a repentive heart, we exhibit fruit of the Spirit, we are conforming to God’s commands and we have love for His people. 

So, why would I think that Satan’s mark is an obvious outward symbol that humans can see?  Maybe his mark is manifested by people doing the exact opposite to what is listed above as the mark of the Holy Spirit.
So, even though we humans can’t see obvious marks of who belongs to Satan and who belongs to God, the angels can!!!! And when it is time to reap the harvest, like we read about in ch. 14, it will be obvious to the angels on how to separate the two.

Reading about the wrath of God can be uncomfortable, even for a Christian who will be saved from it.  However, my footnote made a good point: 
“But unless we face the necessity of God’s judgement we will never see our desperate need for his mercy.  A God with only a grandfatherly kindness would not inspire our repentance, obedience and worship.” 
Isn’t that the truth?!  
Those “fire and brimstone preachers (Edwards and Whitfield) of the 1700’s had it right!  That’s why their time in history was called “The Great Awakening”.  I think it’s time our culture wakes up again to the justice and mercy of God, because we are getting closer and closer to the harvest time!”

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Revelation 12-13~Keep doing the happy dance!~ Day 116

I love chapter 12!  I love reading, “Now have come the salvation and the power…For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before God day and night, has been hurled down.” (12:10)
That is what our hope is all about, right?!!

It makes me think of the story of Job. If you have read that book, you may remember this: On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him (2:1) 

I can just imagine Satan presenting himself before God with a list of my sins, ready to accuse me before the judge.  He would definitely have a full list that would prove my guilt as a sinful person……but today’s reading!!….aahhh…. “Now have come salvation”..Yay!!  I have been cleared of my sin in such a way that when God takes that list from Satan and starts to read it..he finds the paper is blank!!!  Hee hee!  I love that!!  Satan has nothing to accuse me with!….And God hurls him out!!  
I get to trample over Satan by the blood of the Lamb (12:11).  
I am doing a happy dance! 💃🏻
Wouldn’t you feel utter relief as you saw that list being passed from Satan to God, God sees nothing and throws him out?!…yes…Woo 🙌🏻woo 🙌🏻!!

“But woe to the earth” 😳 Satan is mad and is out to get everybody who isn’t covered with the blood of the Lamb…and he hasn’t forgotten about me either! (12:17)

Wouldn’t you agree that this vision John is writing, describes us now?!  Chapter 13 talks about Satan’s other agents of evil.  They have been hard at work since Christ rose from the dead and started his reign.  
I like how John says, “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.” (13:10)  Isn’t that the truth?!  And, also, haven’t we heard that before from Paul, Peter, the Hebrew writer and Jesus?!…Yes.  

Looking back on the past 2000 years, all the saints who have gone before us took this to heart and lived it!  I pray, we too, today, will do the same; patiently endure all that Satan throws at us…and remember why we are doing the happy dance! 🤗

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Revelation 10-11~What John saw.~ Day 115

I am going to reiterate that this time reading through Revelation, I am purposefully trying not to be so linear in my thinking.  I have already repeated a couple of times what my commentary said, “Events are ordered according to literary, rather than strictly chronological order.” 
So, when we read that John was told to “write what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later” (Rev. 1:19), we know that we are reading “what he has seen”.  
But those scenes could have been symbolic “recaps”, so to speak, of what has already occurred….right?!
It will be really easy to understand what I am saying after tomorrow’s reading of chapter 12.  But, it’s not as easy to spot other examples of that,…except maybe in today’s reading of chapter 11.  Let me just pose some food for thought…

Reading ahead one chapter might make this example a little easier to understand,..tomorrow we will see clear symbolism of Jesus being born to a woman (the Jewish people).  That is a scene John is seeing of something that has already occurred. So, in today’s reading, could the two witnesses, who sound so much like Elijah and Moses, actually be Elijah and Moses? 🤔
After all, Elijah did shut up the heavens so that it didn’t rain for three years (Rev. 11:6, see 1 Kings 17 for the story) and Moses did turn water into blood and strike the earth with every kind of plague (Rev. 11:6, see Exodus 7-11).

I’m just asking….thinking outside the box….😜

Chronologically speaking than, tomorrows reading would be the next huge event after those “two witnesses”…I’m just say’n…..

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Revelation 8-9~One way to look at the 1/2 hr. of silence.~ Day 114

There is a verse in the Old Testament that says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” (Isaiah 30:15)  God was saying this to the rebellious nation of Israel.  

From that verse, scholars feel that silence conveys trust and confidence in God.

Keeping that in mind, the half hour (a symbolic amount of time) of silence can imply that God’s people were using that time of silence to pray (8:3).  It’s thought that those prayers were for justice.  So, in answer to those prayers, God releases his judgement (8:5)

It’s interesting that the next few judgements only destroy a third of the earth.  The “partial” judgment reminds me of how merciful God is.  Remember when Peter said, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promises, as some understand slowness.  Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)  Even at this time of judgement, God is giving 2/3 of the earth a chance to turn and repent. 

Sometimes, God uses hard times in people’s lives to get them to turn to him.  Not with all people, but with some…he knows what will ultimately turn you toward him.  

If you are going through a hard time, turn to him!  Trust in him so that you can experience the rest he wanted to give the Israelites and that he wants to give you.  And....wouldn’t a half hour of silence be nice?! 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Revelation 6-7~God is in control!~ Day 113

Yesterday, I mentioned that the 4 creatures could be symbolic of God’s character.  Keeping that in mind for today’s reading, I found it really interesting that, one at a time, those creatures called out, “Come!” (6:1,3,5 & 7).

So, that would be different aspects of His character calling the “the horses” and allowing these things to happen on the earth….Well, that makes sense.  God is always in control and has the authority to dictate all that happens on the earth.

Today we also read about the different colored horses and what they represent.  Did you know the prophet Zechariah (in the Old Testament) also talked about horses (1:7-11 & 6:1-8) representing God’s judgement?

I wonder if the horses John sees is a continuation of the story that Zechariah is telling form his vision?  If so, than these seals that John is describing would be a recap of events that have already taken place.

Well……that’s an interesting way of reading this section!  Don’t get upset with this different way of thinking.  Remember, “events are ordered according to literacy, rather than strictly chronological patterns.”  Be open to thinking outside the box! 😉

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Revelation 4-5~Worthy!~ Day 112

I had to buy a new Bible because my ‘old faithful’ got bugs in it!! 😖 So, I fumigated it and put it in the garage for a period of isolation.  That was a bummer, however, I am really liking my new “Life Application” Bible!  It’s commentary is giving me some new thoughts on what I am reading in Revelation.  

The commentary suggests that the four living creatures we read about in 4:6-9 are symbolic, just as the seven lamps are symbolic of the Holy Spirit; the four creatures “represent attributes (the qualities and character) of God.”

Well, that’s a new way of understanding those creatures!  “God’s attributes symbolize in the animal-like appearance of these four creatures are majesty and power (the lion), faithfulness (the ox), intelligence (the man), and sovereignty (the eagle).  

So…where on earth did the commentary come up with this interpretation?….By looking back to a description of God in the Old Testament (Ezek. 1:5-10).

I thought that was super interesting!  God doesn’t change! (Malachi 3:6).  He showed both Ezekiel (434 BC) and John (95 AD) the same vision of himself.  That’s pretty cool! 

And with all his majesty, power, faithfulness, intelligence and sovereignty….He is worthy to “receive glory and honor” (4:11) from all who sit around the throne ~ including us!  (5:13). ☺️

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Revelation 1-3~We are priests now!~ Day 111

So, here we start a book that is confusing, to say the least, but knowing that if we read or listen to it, we will be blessed. (1:3)  Who doesn’t want to be blessed?😄
One thing I am going to keep in mind as I read through this time, is what my commentary says, “The events are ordered according to literary, rather than strictly chronological patterns.”

So let’s get into it!

First off, it stood out to me that in his greeting, John says Jesus Christ is the “ruler of the kings of the earth.” (1:5)  Jesus rule is now.  It’s not some future event to look forward to…it’s now.  That goes along with what we read on Day 102.  It’s weird to think that Jesus rules, even over bad rulers, but that does go along with Romans 13:1.  “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.”

My Bible had a little ‘g’ next to “kings of the earth”  So, I had to investigate!  It led me to look at Rev. 17:14 where it says, “They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings.”  Doesn’t that sound like what is happening now?  Rulers who are not followers of Christ, wage war against him?  Yet, our hope is in Christ, and he will triumph!

The next thing that stood out to me (& will be the last thing I’ll mention today, even though the warnings to the churches are full of good stuff), was how John says “has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father.” (Rev. 1:6) That’s us now!!   Being a priest is not some future change we will experience when we are made perfect.  Believers are priests now!  I love what my commentary said, we are priests “to administer God’s love to others.” I love that!  Administer God’s love….I had never thought of it that way! 

Lord, help me to be a good priest!  

Friday, October 19, 2018

Jude~ Contend for the truth~Day 110

As I was reading Jude 6, I was thinking, “Didn’t I just read this?”  
“And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling- these he has kept in darkness, bound with ever lasting chains for judgement on the great Day.”

So, I had to go back and figure out who else said the same thing…It was Peter! Remember, we just read, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgement..” (2 Peter 2:4)

Both of these writers had a point in bringing up fallen angels; there is punishment for all, even angels, who reject God.

Jude starts off saying, “I urge you to contend for the faith (1:3) because some people are “perverting” the gospel.  Boy!  Some things never change!!  Jude’s “reminder” (vs 5) can be used for us today. 
False teaching was present in the church back then, just as it is creeping into the church today. 
Does this sound familiar?  “God is love. He is so loving, he would never sentence people to “eternal fire” for rejecting him!” 

Jude says that way of thinking is perverting the gospel.  His response was perfect for the people then and perfect for us now.  There is punishment for all, even angels, who reject God!  Don’t entertain false teaching; know truth! (See Day 109 on that topic 😉) Contend (Jude 3) for the faith!! 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

2 & 3 John ~Stick with Truth ~ Day 109

I used to think that these letters were so short, they didn’t have much in them.  It’s like John is saying, “Hi, there! I have too much to write, so this is just a heads up that I’m coming to talk with you.”
But, that’s not entirely true. In John’s second letter he actually gives some very important instruction that still applies to us today.  2 John 6 says, “Walk in obedience to his commands.”….and how can we do that?…..By knowing the truth (2 John 1), which is the Word of God.
John is stressing the point that believers need to know truth (He uses the word 5 times in the first 4 verse!) so that they can distinguish between truth and false teaching.

Isn’t that a message for us today? You better know truth so when you hear something wrong you can tell!

For being such a short letter, John was very firm. “Do not take them into your house or welcome them.” (verse 10)  False teaching is a serious issue!  John says, “Don’t even entertain it!” 

That’s pretty serious teaching in a very short letter, don’t ya think?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

1 John 4-5~ Who is front and center? ~ Day 108

This letter had so much good stuff in it!

I love how John takes time to establish in the minds of his readers, who Jesus is, “He is the true God and eternal life.”
It’s like John is saying, “Get that in your mind!!” 

With that firmly established, John ends his letter simply by saying “Dear children, keep yourself from idols.” 
End of letter!

So what is an idol these days?  It certainly isn’t just a stone carved into the shape of an animal.  
An idol is any loyalty that replaces God at the center of your life.
What a great way to end a letter.  
He is making his readers ask themselves; is there something that is center, front stage, of utmost importance in my life, that has me thinking about it, more than anything else?  

So the question for you and me as we end this letter is……..Is Jesus front and center, the utmost important thing in my life?

The answer should be a resolute “Yes!”  And nothing else better be creeping up on that position!  John would say very simply, “Get away from it!”

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

1 John 3 ~ Have I been born again? ~ Day 107

“No one who lives in him keeps on sinning.” (3:6) 😳

I know him….I am spotless in God’s eyes because of the blood of Jesus!…..but….I still sin….😬…what’s up with that?….

John even repeats himself!!! “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” (3:9) 

Uh oh, that’s enough to get me to question myself!  Have I been born of God?  (Doing a little “self-evaluation” here!)

I really appreciate my Bible’s footnote on this topic!  
It reads, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin” means that true believers do not make a practice of sinning, nor do they become indifferent to God’s moral law.  All believers still sin, but they are working to gain victory over sin.  John is not talking about people whose victories are still incomplete; he is talking about people who make it a practice of sinning and look for ways to justify it.  
“God’s seed remains in them” means that true believers do not make a practice of sinning because God’s new life has been born into them. 

Ok, I get it now….so…the self evaluation should be to take an honest inventory of my sin.   Am I habitually justifying actions that I know are wrong or am I pleading to God to help me be victorious over the sin in my life?   My answer to myself will be tale telling as to whether I have truly been born again.

Monday, October 15, 2018

1 John 1-2 ~ "Heavenly minded"~ Day 106

A theme sure  does keep popping up in each letter we’ve been reading! Don’t lie to yourself!

“If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” (1:7)

Doesn’t that sound like what we just read in Peter? “Make every effort to be found spotless” (2 Pet 3:14)  The only way to be spotless in front of God, is to have the covering of the blood of Jesus.  It’s very simple, have faith that you are covered!

But, we humans can struggle with that faith.  John is writing this letter to encourage these believers in their faith.  This is what I have heard, seen and touched…Jesus is real! Trust me, believe me, everything you have heard is true. (1:1-4)

On another note, I love the simple question John gives to the age old question, “How do I know I am saved?”

Answer: “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” (2:6)
Boom!  There you go…

John even goes on to say how Jesus lived:
  1. He had no lust of the flesh
  2. He had no lust of the eyes or the pride of life. (2:17)

OK, that sound kind’a hard to do, even for someone who has faith to believe they are clean in God’s eyes.
While I was reading how to live like Jesus did, an expression we are all familiar with came to mind.
“Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good”.  I pondered that and realized that statement could have originally been spoken right out of the mouth of Satan!  😈
Wouldn’t it be just like Satan to create a saying that sounds like it could be right; a saying that gets people to not talk about heaven too much; a saying that keeps you focused on ‘the important’ things that need to be taken care of here and now?

As I am reading how Jesus lived, thus how I am supposed to live, the saying should be, “Be so heavenly minded that you can be some earthly good”.  Jesus was so heavenly minded that he had no desire to fulfill fleshly desires, he had no lust of the eye of earthly things because his eyes were heavenly minded.  Pride in this life on earth meant nothing to him because he was focused on the life to come with his Father.

Now going back up and reading the verses where Peter and John sound like they are saying the same thing, it can be read, “Self-evaluate, are you heaven minded like Christ or are you earthly minded?  Remember heaven is real and it’s the only thing you should set your mind on!”

Sunday, October 14, 2018

2 Peter 2-3~Again, EVERY effort! ~ Day 105

Well, what do you know! Peter says it a third time! “Make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” (3:14)
I mentioned yesterday that he said “make every effort” two times.
He is really stressing the point that he wants people to self-evaluate. Are you at peace with God?

 I like what one commentary said about these versus, “Belief should determine behavior.” This commentary goes on to say the false teachers of Peter’s time had severed the link between belief and behavior. Doesn’t that sound familiar in our culture today?
“Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the thruth into disrepute” (2:2)

Peter is saying the same thing that James says in his letter. “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” (2:18)
So if your actions do not follow your declaration of faith, than you must evaluate your belief.

The commentary I read says this:

We see this same fatal error (belief not determining action) creeping into modern evangelicalism, where some would teach erroneously that one can pray a "prayer of salvation" to receive Jesus as Savior and subsequently NEVER demonstrate one iota of change in their life for the remainder of their life and still be assured that when they die they will wake up in the presence of Jesus. To be sure "Once saved, always saved" but one needs to be 100% certain that they were "Once saved"! And when there is a "disconnect" between what one says they believe and how they behave, they have cause to seriously doubt if they were genuinely once saved! (see 2Cor 13:5Jas 2:14151617181920212223242526-note)

Interesting thoughts, don’t ya  think? 🤔

Saturday, October 13, 2018

2 Peter 1~ "Make every effort"~ Day 104

Only one chapter today!

Did you notice that Peter says twice in this one chapter, “Make every effort..” (verses 5&10)?

I found that odd since I know that my salvation is a free gift and I can do nothing to earn it. (Eph 2:8)… why is Peter stressing “effort’?

Well, when I read, “make every effort to confirm your calling and election”, I think of when Paul said, “Examine yourself, to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves." (2 Cor. 13:5) he follows that with, “If Jesus lives in you" than “we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth." (2 Cor. 13:8)

I also think of the verse, “Don't be deceived: God can not be mocked” (Gal 6:7) and “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers.” (James 1:6)

Peter, Paul and James wrote to groups of people who were comprised of true believers and people who were fooling themselves thinking they were believers, but had not "died to themselves” (Matt. 16:24) to be raised with Christ (Col 3:1).
That mix of people is true for any group.  Even congregations today, that you can walk into on any given Sunday, are comprised of a mix of people.

So, Peter is telling his group of people, and it goes for us as well, examine yourself, make every effort to be true to yourself.  Don’t deceive yourself, because there is NO deceiving God! 

So, how does one make “every effort” to be true to oneself?  Peter gives a litmus test…do the things listed in 1:5-7 come naturally as a result of “His divine power" in you?  He has given you “everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him.” (1:3).  Growing and adding to your faith the attributes Peter listed are the outward signs that Christ is doing the work in you.  That's faith in action!
Peter’s point is, make every effort to be real with yourself- are at the starting point with the “faith”? Be honest with your self! 
If Jesus lives in you, you can do nothing against the truth but only for the truth.

Friday, October 12, 2018

1 Peter 4-5~ Hey Pope, don't be surprised!~ Day 103

Have you noticed how much anger is being expressed these days regarding politics?  One group of people are so demonstrative with their anger, it’s causing others in the opposite camp to stay very quite.  Almost like they are afraid; they don’t want that anger directed at them!

In a way, this current political storm is similar to the religious storm these early Christians were experiencing at the time Peter is writing this letter.  I bet Peter’s encouragement was timely for the recipients.  
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice…” ( 4:12)

I was listening to talk radio yesterday and heard that the Pope, this week when addressing a crowd of thousands, said, “It is not right to kill a human being, regardless of how small it is, to solve a problem.  It is like hiring a hit man to solve a problem.”
Well, according to the talk show host, the reaction of some to the Popes statement was pure anger!

So, today, I am praying for the Pope.  I pray that he can “rejoice” in the suffering he will endure for taking a stand to defend life.  I pray that he feels “the spirit of glory and of God “resting on him” (4:14)

I pray the same for you and me today as we boldly “commit (ourselves) to our faithful creator and continue to do good.” (4:19)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

1 Peter 1-3 ~ We are in the "last days"~ Day 102

Peter said something in todays reading that was very similar to what the Hebrew writer said.  Since we just got finished Hebrews, a little bit ago, it was fresh in my mind.

Today we read Peter saying “He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” (1:20) 

The Hebrew writer says, “But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son..” (1:2) and “But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (9:26)

I have heard some people say that the disciples were waiting for Jesus to come back in their life time so that is why they talked the way they did, that the return of Jesus was eminent.  I don’t necesarily agree with that way of thinking because, Peter was present when Jesus was taking about “the end”.  He heard Jesus himself say that a lot of things “must happen, but the end is still to come.” (Matt 24:6)  Yet, Peter still writes that we are in the “last times”; meaning, after this period of time, Christ will return “with power and great glory (Matt 24:30) and judgment will be immediate (Luke 18:8, 1 Cor. 4:5, Rev.1:7).

On a side note, praise the Lord, believers have no fear of that judgement because “through faith (we) are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:5)

So, if we are in the “last times” now, then what Paul says to Timothy is meant for us now. “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.” (2 Tim 3:1)  It is obvious by the context, that Paul too, thought “last days” (in his life time and ours) are the last days prior to Chris’s coming and then His immediate judgement.
In addition, we find in Acts, Peter quoting the prophet Joel, “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy..” (Acts 2:17)

So, the forefathers of our faith, including Old Testament prophets (Peter, the writer of James, Paul, Timothy, Joel) all believed that the time after Jesus was crucified, raised and now reigning at the right hand of God (Eph. 1:20-22, Col. 3:1 & Heb. 1:3) are “the last days” prior to his return. 

So, I gotta ask, for those of you who have read Revelation before, doesn’t that sound like, right now, we are then in the figurative 1000 year reign (meaning a long period of time) of Christ, mentioned in Rev. 20?  Hmmmm….just some food for thought…..🤔😉☺️

Here are some interesting thoughts on the subject if you feel like diving in further on the topic of the 1000 year reign: