Monday, September 01, 2014

Marsha's Musings: What Will Last? (1 Peter 1:24-25 KJV)



For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. (1 Peter 1:24-25 KJV)

This says it plainly.  All the accomplishments and glory man achieves will one day fade.  The only thing that matters and that will endure forever is the word of God, the promises of God set forth in the Gospel.

Does this mean we should not bother trying to achieve and do well since it will all fade away? Why bother?  Here is the answer to "why bother?".  

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 KJV)

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. (Ecclesiastes 9:10 KJV)

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 KJV)

We need to remember one thing. We work hard because God has saved us.  We do not work to get God to save us.

Ultimately the only thing that lasts on this earth is the word of God. Since nothing we do from a man centered view will last we need to do all that we do with a conscience toward God for His glory.  Work done with a conscience toward Him will have lasting value.

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15 KJV)


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Love for the Brethren (1 Peter 1:22-23 KJV)



Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Peter 1:22-23 KJV)

Loving one another should be the result of having had our souls purified by obedience to the truth of God's word through the work of the Holy Spirit, having been born again by the incorruptible seed of the word of God.  Love for other Christians is one of the signs of God's work in the heart.

How is this evident in my own life?  In what ways do I fail to love others as I should?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Marsha's Musings: that your faith and hope might be in God (1 Peter 1:17-21 KJV)



And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. (1 Peter 1:17-21 KJV)

If you take the beginning of this passage alone without the whole of Scripture, you could come up with a doctrine of salvation by works.  But we know from other Scriptures that this is not what the Bible teaches. 

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5 KJV)

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)

The verse must be taken in the context of where it is found as well in the context of Scripture as a whole.  Our pastor says that God judges all men by works. The unsaved are judged by their works of self righteousness and because they fall short of God's standard will be rewarded in Hell.  The elect are judged according to the work of Christ on their behalf and because Christ's work meets God's perfect standard, they are rewarded in Heaven.

I love the second half of this:

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 

There is a lot of doctrine right there!

* Our salvation is not secured with things that can be corrupted
* Our salvation is secured by the precious blood of Christ
    >without blemish or spot
    >foreordained before the foundation of the world
    >manifest for us
* Our Part
   >believe in God 
     ~raised Christ from the dead
     ~gave him glory
    >faith and hope in God alone (His works alone, not our works)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Key to Holiness (1 Peter 1:14-16 KJV)

Snowflake Photo credit: Sarah Iddings


As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:14-16 KJV)

Think about what was or is important to you when you were or are living according to your own ideas and rules.  All of us slip from time to time and that is why I stated that last sentence with  past and present tense. During those times how do you think?  Are you thinking more about what would benefit you than what God would have you to do?  Do you think more about how you want things to be for your comfort or do you think about what would bring glory to God? Are you more concerned during those times about climbing the ladder of success instead of defining success from God's point of view?

I think this is what Peter is driving at. Obedient children of God fashion themselves according to God's purpose...holiness, not according to their own fleshly desires. That's not to say we attain perfection by any means, but we should simply live with a conscience toward God and He will sanctify us and make us holy, fit vessels for His use. 



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Problem Solving Chart


This is a problem solving chart. I thought it was helpful. The original chart that I got from a book was designed for kids with autism spectrum disorders.  I took that chart and expanded on it so it would work for the Christian person.  It's a great tool no matter if a person has autism or other mental disorders or if one is neurotypical.  It brings clarity to a problem by helping you figure out just what your options are.

I copy the whole chart into an app on my iPad called My Script. Then I can use the hand writing feature cross off options, write solutions or problems associated with potential solutions.  It clarifies the whole situation and gives direction.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Three Preparations to Avoid Being Broadsided by Life's Disappointments, Disasters and Devilry (1 Peter 1:13 NASB)

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13 NASB)

This is a verse full of action commands. 

*Prepare your minds for action.

The Christian life is a life of mental action. You can't just sit idly by not engaging your mind for action. The Devil's workshop is an idle mind.  If you do not prepare your mind for action then you leave yourself open to all sorts of temptation and sin.  

*Keep sober in spirit.

A mind prepared for action will by default be sober.  This doesn't mean we can't enjoy life and have fun. But it does mean that we are alert to what is going on around us and that we are serious about honoring God in what we do.

*Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

What is my hope fixed on?  There are so many temporal things I can fix my hope on. But if my hope is in any of these things I will be disappointed at some point. My hope must be fixed completely on the grace of Jesus Christ. It's the only thing that will not disappoint.

If I do these three things, I won't be broadsided by life's disappointments, disasters and devilry.



Saturday, August 23, 2014

Marsha's Musings: One Package Deal (1 Peter 1:10-12 KJV)


Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. (1 Peter 1:10-12 KJV)

Here I see that the Old Testament and the New Testament are intertwined.  This passage makes me think of Hebrews 1:1. 

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (Hebrews 1:1-2 KJV)

The Old Testament prophets and the children of Israel had the types and shadows of the Saviour to come, His suffering and sacrifice on our behalf for our sin.  They had the tabernacle and the sacrifices and rituals which all pointed to Christ. They accepted by faith that there was a coming Saviour. Hebrews 11 attests to their faith.

They looked forward in faith to Christ's sacrifice while we look back in faith to His atoning sacrifice. We are all saved by faith in Christ's atoning sacrifice on our behalf. To throw out the Old Testament as being obsolete is a huge mistake that some make. We need the whole of both sections of the Bible or we miss out on a lot. It is one package deal that shouldn't be separated.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Blind Faith? (1 Peter 1:8-9 KJV)


Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9 KJV)

This verse refers to verse 7 and is speaking of Jesus Christ.  Some would read this verse above and claim that Christians have a blind faith.  Do we?  

It is interesting that we all make certain assumptions in life.  For example, in the photo above, we made the assumption that the ferry boat would hold us up out of the water and get us to our destination.  We had no guarantee that that would happen.  The boat could have sunk in the middle of the trip!  But we had faith the boat would get us there.  People do this all the time.  They make decisions on faith that certain things will happen, yet they have no guarantee if those things will happen.

Yet, when it comes to the claims of Scripture and faith in God, somehow they can't bring themselves to do that.  Somehow this is "blind faith" to them.  We have the promises of the God of the universe that have stood the test of time, archaeological discoveries that show the Bible is not some made up fairy tale, and lives that are changed by the grace of God all around us, yet it's blind faith in their book. Why can they make leaps of blind faith in so many areas of their lives, but balk at a faith that is reasonable and sure?

Praise God in times of sorrow and heaviness that we can still rejoice with unspeakable joy and full of glory that the end of our faith is the salvation of our souls!  We sorrow not as the unbeliever does with no hope.  We have hope beyond the grave!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Green tea

I don't know about you, but I love a cup of green tea in the morning. There is just something calming about it and I don't feel like my day has started right unlessI have it. Here is an interesting link to a video about the benefits of green tea.

http://www.webmd.com/diet/video/truth-about-tea

Green tea is full of antioxidants that help to keep your body healthy.  Experts say it may help stave off diabetes and heart disease.

It has a small amount of caffeine to give me a little boost in the morning.  And it seems to have a calming effect on my mind so my day starts out well.

A little sweetener makes it taste just right.  I like to use stevia.  My favorite brand is Kirkland Signature.


Marsha's Musings: The Trial of Your Faith (1 Peter 1:7-9 KJV)



That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:7-9 KJV)


This verse refers to the last one that talks about being in heaviness through manifold temptations.  These trials that we go through have a purpose.  What are they trying?  They are trying our faith.  The purpose of these trials is to refine our faith, that it might praise and honor and glorify Christ at His appearing.

The reference to gold and being tried with fire is a reference to the refining of gold.  The gold is put into a big melting pot over a fire.  It heated until it liquefies.  When this happens the impurities rise to the top where they can be skimmed off.  The refiner sits by the fire and keeps the temperature at just the right place so as not to ruin the gold, but high enough to cause these impurities to rise up so he can skim them off.  When the refiner can see his own reflection in the gold, then he has finished refining it.

This is Peter telling us that our faith is much more precious than gold and these trials are the fire by which it is tried.  The goal is that Jesus Christ, the Refiner, would see His own reflection in us at His appearing and that our lives would reflect the praise, honor and glory due to His name.

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)

I can't help but wonder if Peter was around at the time Hebrews was written.  These two verses remind me so much of Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 KJV)

Faith and hope are intertwined. Remember 1 Peter 1:3?  We have been begotten unto a lively hope!  Verses 8-9 are referring that hope mentioned in verse 3.  Even though we might be weighed down with heaviness in our spirits, we can still rejoice because we know that we will be saved from this world at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Marsha's Musings: If Need Be, You Are In Heaviness (Depression) (1Peter 1:6 KJV)




Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: (1 Peter 1:6 KJV)

This scripture is so relevant to me today!  Yes, I rejoice in the inheritance of verse four!

 "To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you," (1 Peter 1:4 KJV)

The reality, however, of life in a fallen world is that we have many trials and temptations to deal with down here.  Sometimes that gets us down and we feel heavy and discouraged.  Sometimes our bodies get sick and sometimes our minds/brains get sick too.  Christians can and do get depressed sometimes.

I, like many other Christians, thought depression was a matter of just "getting over it" and moving on.  Mind over matter.  I was particularly harsh in my thinking that they were just being self centered to get attention or sympathy.  It never really occurred to me that the brain is a physical part of the human body and it can be affected by illness too as much as the heart, lungs or any other part of the body.  Depression can be the result of actual chemical imbalances in the brain, and can be symptoms of other underlying issues. But for some odd reason, many Christians look down on a Christian who is in the deeps of depression.

I love the story of Charles Spurgeon on this:

If Spurgeon was acquainted with depression before, following the Surrey Hall disaster, it became a more frequent and perverse companion. In October 1858 he had his first episode of incapacitating illness since coming to London. Having been absent from his pulpit for three Sundays, when he returned he preached on 1 Peter 1:6: “Wherein ye greatly rejoice though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.” In the sermon, entitled “The Christian’s Heaviness and Rejoicing,” Spurgeon said that during his illness, when “my spirits were sunken so low that I could weep by the hour like a child, and yet I knew not what I wept for ... a kind friend was telling me of some poor old soul living near, who was suffering very great pain, and yet she was full of joy and rejoicing. I was so distressed by the hearing of that story, and felt so ashamed of myself.... ” While he was struggling with the contrast between his depression and the joy evinced by this woman who was afflicted with cancer, “this text flashed upon my mind, with its real meaning ... that sometimes the Christian should not endure his sufferings with a gallant and a joyous heart” but “that sometimes his spirits should sink within him, and that he should become even as a little child smitten beneath the hand of God.”~Darrel Amundson

We need to be merciful to the Christian who is depressed under a load of heaviness. It is no help to tell them that if they have enough faith God will heal them of this.  What if that is not God's will?  Then when the sought after relief does not come they are cast deeper into depression for they feel that they do not have enough faith or that their faith is not good enough.  We must not act as if depression should never be a part of the Christian's life.  Look at Job, David, and Elijah. These experienced periods of depression. 

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. (Psalms 42:5 KJV)

Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beer–sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. (1 Kings 19:2-4 KJV)

We need to encourage our Christian brothers and sisters who suffer depression without unwittingly saying things that only add to their dispair.  Sometimes, as in Job's case, we just need to be present with them but say nothing.

So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great. (Job 2:13 KJV)

If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, remember, that God loves you enough to have included stories in the Bible about those who also have struggled with it.  You are not alone.  Depression is the great imposter.  It twists your thinking so that you feel all alone and that everything is going against you.  Be aware of these feelings and get help if you need it or if your loved one needs it, because depression can be a killer.  See the verse above in 1 Kings 19:2-4.  Elijah wanted to die because he thought life was not worth living. He felt like a failure.  This is the lie of depression. 

Yes, we may be in heaviness through many temptations and trials, but we have much to rejoice about coming in eternity!  Encourage yourself and your downcast friends and family members in this truth. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Look What is Ahead! (1 Peter 1:3-5 KJV)



Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5 KJV)

Were it not for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we would not have a lively hope for the future.  Just look at what we have to look forward to!  We have an inheritance that cannot be corrupted, is undefiled and will not fade away.  This doesn't compare in anyway to earlthly inheritances.  What's more it's reserved in heaven for us.

Even better, those of us whom God has saved will perseve and will recieve that inheritance because we are kept by the power of God through faith.

There is one more thing I see here. The sentence structure is a little confusing, but I can take it two ways.  We are kept by the power to God through faith unto salvation and we will be ready to be revealed in the last time.  Or, we can take it that salvation will be ready to be revealed in the last time.  Either way works.

If it is talking about us being revealed in the last time, it indicates to me that God will complete His work in me so that I will be ready and fit for heaven.  Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: (Philippians 1:6 KJV)

If it is talking about salvation being ready to be revealed in the last time, this also works because salvation has a past, present and future aspect to it.  We are saved (justified).  We are being saved (sanctification).  We will be saved (resurrected to heaven). Another way to look at it, Christ saved us by his death, burial & resurrection (past).  The Holy Spirit is saving us through sanctificaiton (present).  And God will save us when He takes us home to heaven (future).

However you look at this verse, it is full of encouragement!  This world isn't all there is.  There is so much more to come! Take heart when things get tough...keep your eyes on the goal and know that this isn't all there is down here.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Introduction to 1 Peter (1 Peter 1:1-2 KJV)



Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (1 Peter 1:1-2 KJV)

Peter authored this book and it is assumed Silvanus wrote it down (1 Peter 5:12).  In reading this book it appears that Peter's audience are Christians who are being persecuted (1 Peter 4:12-14) for their faith.  Whether they are scattered throughout the regions mentioned because of persecution or just because they lived throughout a wide area, I'm not sure.

Peter says these Christians are elect according to the foreknowledge of God. To help understand the meaning of this, see Acts 2:23: 

Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 

We can see that foreknowledge means more than God just looking ahead and acting in accordance with what He sees man will do, but rather it is God carrying out His predetermined planned. 

We are elect by His predetermined plan and His foreknowledge. This shows that He is sovereign over all.  

What are we elected to?  Sanctification, obedience and to the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus.  It is through His death, burial and resurrection that we are saved. We are saved to be sanctified and to obey Him.

It is through Him we have peace and grace to endure the trials that life brings to us.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Worry






Alright, I'll admit it. Worry comes all to easy for me. Anxiety is worry ramped up and can and does cause physical illnesses.  So I am working on this worry issue. When I saw this photo posted on Facebook, I thought, this is really helpful.  I turned it into my lock screen on my iPad so I will see it everytime I turn my device on.  I love this prayer because it acknowledges God's sovereign control over all things and helps me to take a deep breath, relax and rest in His will.

Marsha's Musings: Sharing the Gospel (James 5:19-20 KJV)

Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20 KJV)

Here is motivation to share the Gospel with others!  But a caution is in order here. The Bible does not contradict itself, so what are we to make of this verse in comparison to these below that show that God is the one who chooses people and saves people, when this verse in James makes it sound like we are able to convert people?

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.  -John 15:16


But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: -2 Thessalonians 2:13


But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: -John 1:12Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. -John 1:13


Given the whole of Scripture, I have to say that what this verse is driving at is that we are the means for taking the truth to others.  God uses means and we are supposed to tell others about Him and about His truth. It is the truth of God's word that changes people.  God is the one who does the converting, but we have a part in it by participating and obeying God by telling others the Gospel.

I was once a member of a church that had this messed up. They apparently believed they were the ones doing the converting of men's souls. Every Thursday evening they went out "soul winning".  Now I admire their zeal, but their method was deplorable. They would knock on a door and proceed to lay out the Gospel to whoever answered the door if they were polite enough to not send them packing.  Rather than allow God to work in the person's heart in His timing, they would stay on the doorstep and press the person to make a decision for Christ right then and there, refusing to leave until the person had prayed the sinner's prayer with them.

I watched in horror week after week as they hammered people over the head with the Gospel 2 x 4, refusing to leave the doorstep until the sinner's prayer was prayed.  Each Sunday they added the numbers of souls that were saved to a banner up front.  I found it sad that for all the numbers of souls they claimed to save each week only two of them showed up to church and they didn't keep coming. It was apparent to me that they thought they were the ones "saving souls". 

We need to be sure that when we share the Gospel, we remember that God is the one who saves. Our job is to plant the seeds and water it. God's job is to give the increase.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Marsha's Musings: On Being Open About Our Faults (‭James‬ ‭5‬:‭16-18‬ KJV)

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. (‭James‬ ‭5‬:‭16-18‬ KJV)

As the body of Christ, we need healing.  Many physical illnesses stem from stress associated with strained relationships.  When we make ourselves open to others and confess our faults so others can pray for us it has the effect of lifting a big burden from our shoulders. It brings a measure of healing to our souls as well as easing the strain of stress that tears at us physically.