Thursday, October 23, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Reward for Faithful Pastors (1 Peter 5:4 KJV)

        
          
And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (1 Peter 5:4 KJV)

Yesterday Peter talked about the job of the pastor.  His job is to feed the flock willingly and not lord his authority over them.

Today's verse shows what reward faithful pastor's will recieve.  Sadly, there are many pastor's today who will be sorely disappointed on that day, because they did not feed the flock but instead spent their time in marketing strategies, watering down their sermons, and being purpose driven to bring in the unsaved.  They did not have time to tend the flock because they were too busy trying to please and attract the goats.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Elders and the Flock of God. (1 Peter 5:1-3 KJV)


        


The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:1-3 KJV)

Feed the flock of God, taking the oversight thereof.  This is the job of the pastor.  Feed the flock. His job is not CEO.  His job is not entertainment organizer.  His job is not choir director.  His job is not AWANA commander.  His job is not any of a whole host of other possible titles.  His job is to feed the flock of God and oversee the other teachers who help in that.  All these other positions, if the people think they need them, then they should do those jobs.  The pastor needs his time to study and prepare spiritual food for the flock.  Too many churches allow their pastor's to wear too many hats and before long he is exhausted and discouraged and then his sermons begin to suffer.

Some other job descriptions for the pastor include these:
He is not to serve unwillingly.  Money should not be his motivation, although churches should pay him a living wage.  He should not let his leadership position go to his head, lording it over those under his care, ruling with a heavy hand. Instead, he is to be an example to the flock in his life and conduct.

What is the balance in your church?  Do you have an overcommitted pastor and an under-committed congregation?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Judgement Begins With The Church (1 Peter 4:17-18 KJV)

                    
    

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (1 Peter 4:17-18 KJV)

Judgment has begun at the house of God.  Take a look at Houston,Texas right now.  The mayor is trying to subpoena all the pastor's sermons, text messages, emails and anything else they might send out to or preach to your congregations, so she can censor them.  Persecution of the church is judgment and it is going to purge the church of those who are not true believers and sanctify those who are.  

If believers are going to endure judgment here on earth, just think of what the ungodly will go through on judgment day when they stand before God.  

Those who are standing in Christ's righteousness will be saved on that day.  Only the righteousness of Christ apart from any works will save us from that demise.  We can not point to all our good works, religious rituals or anything else except the righteousness of Christ to save us on that day.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Busybodies

                        
    

But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. (1 Peter 4:15-16 KJV)

Peter is not saying a murderer, their, evildoer or busybody should get out of suffering for their wrongdoing. He is simply saying, "Don't do these things!"

I think it is significant that he lists being a busybody right up there with murder, thievery and evil doing. Wow.  And somehow we tend to be more guilty of this than anybody. Perhaps one reason he puts it right along with these other sins is because it's a form of killing. It's character assassination....killing someone's reputation. Why else would someone care to snoop on someone else except to get dirt on them so they can pass it along to their friends?

No, Peter says we should not do these things!  And if we suffer for doing these things, we deserve it. There is nothing to glorify God about in that.  Rather, we should such that if we suffer, we suffer because of our Christian Faith.  We have no reason to be ashamed of that and we can glorify God because of that.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Marsha's Musings: The Spirit of God Rests on The Reproached. (1 Peter 4:14 KJV)

                                          



If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. (1 Peter 4:14 KJV)

I think of the lady in Oregon who has lost her business and is now looking at $150,000 in damages simply because she chose to honor God and declined to make a wedding cake for a same sex marriage. She is reproached for the name of Christ, but the spirit of glory and of God rests upon her for the choice she made. God will reward her one day in heaven for persevering in her faith.

I think of Pastor Saeed suffering in a prison in Iraq because of his faith in Jesus Christ. The spirit of glory and of God rests upon him. He is glorifying God in that prison.

I think of Christians being tortured and killed for their faith right now in the Middle East, China, North Korea, Russia and all over the globe.  We have been protected here in America for a long time, but the pendulum is swinging the other way now and the day is fast approaching when we will be called to stand for Christ and suffer...maybe even unto death.  Will I persevere if it comes to my door?  Will the spirit of glory and of God rest on me then?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Marsha's Musings: The Joy in Suffering. (1 Peter 4:12-13 KJV)

                     
    
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:12-13 KJV)

In light of what this verse has to say, I have to laugh at those who preach a health and wealth gospel.  They must skip over the book of 1 Peter because it is all about suffering and they don't believe Christians should suffer.

This verse says we are going to suffer.  In light of that fact, we are to rejoice as partakers of Christ's sufferings.  Did you notice that our suffering will make our joy even more joyful at Christ's return?  It makes us ready and looking forward to heaven!  Our pastor says suffering weans us off the world.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Marsha's Musings: How Does Your Church Measure Up? (1 Peter 4:11 KJV)

                        
       

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11 KJV)

Peter focuses on two offices of the church.  That of teaching (speaking the oracles of God), and that of ministering to the physical and spiritual needs of the church members.  He emphasises the fact that in everything that is done God should be glorified and praised.

This is a good standard to judge a church by.  Is God glorified in all things in the church or are the people glorifying and praising each other and themselves?

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Hospitality: Serving Others (1 Peter 4:9 KJV)


Use hospitality one to another without grudging. (1 Peter 4:9 KJV)

In the last verse, we were commanded to have charity toward one another.  Of all the qualities of charity, in this verse, Peter chooses hospitality.  Many think of hospitality as inviting people into your home.  That is a big part of hospitality, but there is more to it than that.

Hospitality can be greeting new comers to church and making them feel welcomed.  Hospitality can be  cleaning the church building or in our case, setting up the meeting room for church.  

I often think of Judy, our dear departed pianist.  Her husband was an unbeliever and mentally ill.  She loved to serve people and wanted to be hospitable by bringing people into her home, but she was not able to because of her circumstances.  So she brought flowers and tasty treats from home to share with everyone at church during the coffee break.  

Hospitality is serving others, and Judy was a great example of that.  She  did it enthusiastically. 

One of the biggest deterrents to hospitality is disorganization.  I have a huge problem with this.  There are so many distractions that get in the way and before I know it another week has come and gone and I have not done anything to serve other in the way of hospitality except for my own family.  Perhaps that is why Peter honed in on hospitality over all the other qualities of charity.  Perhaps he knew it was far too easy to become self absorbed and distracted with other things and neglect serving others.  Oh how I need to do better in this area!!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Love Covers a Multitude of Sins (1 Peter 4:8 KJV)



And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8 KJV)

Let's face it, we all have our shortcomings...areas in which we sin, whether by omission or by comission.  In the church there are all kids of different Christians.  Some with rough personalities, and others who are more refined.  All too often I have seen those who should have been more mature by reason of how long they have been a Christian, become greatly offended with another in the church who might not be quite as refined as they.  It has gotten so ugly at times the pastor has gotten dragged into to referee.  Sometimes it all results in a church split as each side tries to gather followers to their side.  These things ought not to be in the church!

We are commanded to have charity among ourselves and in so doing a multitude of sins can be covered over.  So what if so and so said something that offended you?  You have three choices.  You can either put the best construction on it and let it go, talk to them privately, or you can nurse your wounds and complain to others, starting a gossip chain through the church. What it comes down to is this: We are each responsible before God for our actions.  When someone offends me, what do I do with it?  Are the actions I'm thinking of taking pleasing to God or not?  Am I assassinating the other person's character by what I am doing and saying?  Having charity with one another helps to smooth over these areas of friction and helps us in the church to be at peace with one another.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Approach the End with Prayer Not Terror. (1 Peter 4:7 KJV)



But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. (1 Peter 4:7 KJV)

Peter wrote this a long time ago, making me wonder if he was speaking about the persecutions Christians were enduring and the fact that the end of their lives were near.  If you look further down in the context, verse 11  speaks of "the fiery trial which is to try you".  Because of the context, I don't think Peter is referring to the end of the world or to the rapture. 

At this moment, in our nation, most Christians are not suffering for their fath to the point of death as they were at the time of Peter or as they are in the Middle East right now.  However, it very well could come to us in the near or distant future.  Therefore, we are to be sober and watch with prayer.

It's my first inclination, when I see or hear about the atrocities and threats are happening in the Middle East, is to tremble in my boots with fear. But that's not what we are to do.  Be sober.  This isn't just referring to not being drunk.  It has to do with thinking rationally.  A person who is fearful is not thinking soberly about what God's purposes might be and about His soveriegnty in these circumstances. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  We are to approach these things with prayer, not terror.



Thursday, October 02, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Giving An Account. 1 Peter 4:3-6




For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. (1 Peter 4:3-6 KJV)

This shows me that Christians are supposed to be different.  The world is supposed to look at us as strange because we do not join them in their wild parties, excesses and so forth.  We should keep our dying day in view, knowing that one day we will give an account to God for how we conducted ourselves.  Will that day be marked with joy or sorrow?  The good news is that after the accounting, God will wipe away all tears, but do I want to have tears that need to be wiped away?  Sobering thought.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (Revelation 21:4-5 KJV)

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Ceasing From Sin (1 Peter 4:1-2 KJV)



Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. (1 Peter 4:1-2 KJV)

I am to have the mind of Christ so that I will be sanctified and live according to the will of God and not the will of the flesh.

Some would read this and say that we can reach sinless perfection in this life.  No, we know from other scriptures that the Bible does not teach sinless perfection in this life.  Why would the Apostle Paul lament that the things he should do he doesn't do and the things he shouldn't do he does?  

For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. -Romans 7:19
Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. -Romans 7:20
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? -Romans 7:24

I believe what Peter is saying here is that when we suffer in the flesh for sin committed, we learn a lesson and we cease from committing that sin again, or at least we try harder to avoid it the next time.  Our desire is to do the will of God and so we cease from willful sin and learn from sin we commit unwillfully so that we can cease from doing that thing again.

Marsha's Musings: Who Has the Power? (1 Peter 3:22 KJV)




Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. (1 Peter 3:22 KJV)

This is speaking of Jesus and the Father. Here we have two persons of the Trinity represented.  God the Son and God the Father. 

Who has the power to make angels, authorities and powers subject to Him? Only God does.  This is comforting to know.  In a day when everything around the world is running amuck, God is in control. He can stop it if He chooses. If He doesn't, He has a plan and reason for it.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Purgatory and Baptismal regeneration?? (1 Peter 3:18-21 KJV)




For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: (1 Peter 3:18-21 KJV)

I have always wondered about this passage that talks about Jesus preaching to the disobedient spirits in prison.  Some like to say this proves there is a second chance...a purgatory of sorts. After some research, it made more sense.

You have to take the verse within the whole context of the section talking about the days of Noah. Christ preached by the Holy Spirit through Noah to the spirits of disobedient people of that time.  They did not repent and they are now "in prison" (Hell). This passage is not saying Christ went to prison and preached to them but rather stating that He preached to them who are now in prison. During the time Noah took to build the ark, God was longsuffering with them, waiting, giving them a chance to repent, preaching to them by the Spirit through Noah. 

We know from the Bible message as a whole that once a person dies without Christ, there are no second chances.  So it makes no sense that Christ would go to "prison" and preach to those who have rejected Him. For what purpose?  

The other error that is often made with this passage is baptismal regeneration...the idea that baptism saves us.  People who put that spin on this are ignoring the fact that it says, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:"

Baptism is a figure symbolizing our salvation just like the ark symbolizes salvation.  We must not read more in to Scripture than what is already there.

The main and most important point of the whole passage is that Christ suffered ONCE for our sins to bring us to God, and that baptism is the answer of a good conscience toward God.  Everything we do should be done with a good conscience toward God.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Marsha's Musings: When You Suffer For Doing Right (1 Peter 3:17-18 KJV)

 


For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1 Peter 3:17-18 KJV)

I heard this letter read by Pastor Saeed's wife on the radio today. It illustrates this passage related to suffering for well doing.   His letter is so encouraging!  

My Dearest Rebekka Grace,
HAPPY 8th BIRTHDAY! 
You are growing so fast and becoming more beautiful every day. I praise God for His 
faithfulness to me every day as I watch from a distance through the prison walls and
see pictures and hear stories of how you are growing both spiritually and physically. 
Oh how I long to see you.
I know that you question why you have prayed so many times for my return and yet
I am not home yet. Now there is a big WHY In your mind you are asking: WHY Jesus 
isn’t answering your prayers and the prayers of all of the people around the world 
praying for my release and for me to be home with you and our family. 
The answer to the WHY is WHO. WHO is control? LORD JESUS CHRIST is in control.
I desire for you to learn important lessons during these trying times. Lessons that 
you carry now and for the rest of your life. The answer to the WHY is WHO. The 
confusion of “WHY has all of this happened?” and “WHY your prayers are not 
answered yet” is resolved with understanding WHO is in control…LORD JESUS 
CHRIST, our GOD!
God is in control of the whole world and everything that is happening in it is for His 
good purpose, for His glory, and will be worked out for our good (Romans 8:28).
Jesus allows me to be kept here for His glory. He is doing something inside each of 
us and also outside in the world. People die and suffer for their Christian faith all 
over the world and some may wonder why? But you should know the answer of 
WHY is WHO. It is for Jesus. He is worth the price. And He has a plan to be glorified 
through our lives.
I want you to read the book of Habakkuk. He had the same question as you. But see
that the Lord answered him in Habakkuk 2:3, “the vision comes and doesn’t delay on 
time, wait for it.” Mommy and I always had big desires to serve Jesus and had great 
vision to be used for His Kingdom and for His Glory. So today we pay a cost because 
God, who created us, called us to that. 
And so I want you to know that the answer to all of your prayers is that God is in 
control, and He knows better than us what He is doing in our lives and all around 
the world. 
Therefore declare as Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego did
in Daniel 3: 17-18! 
17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the 
burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will 
we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
And learn and declare as Habakkuk did that even if we do not get the result that we 
are looking for, God is still good and we WILL praise His Holy Name. 
Habakkuk 3:17-19 
17 Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though 
the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock 
may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—
18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He 
will make me walk on my high hills.
Then my dear beloved daughter Rebekka Grace, I pray God will bring me back home 
soon. But if not, we will still sing together as Habakkuk did HALLELUJAH, either 
separated by prison walls or together at home.
So, let Daddy hear you sing a loud Hallelujah that I can hear all the way here in the 
prison! 
I am so proud of you my sweet courageous daughter. 
Glory to God forever, Amen. 
Kisses and Blessings,
Daddy
* Written on or around September 10, 2014 – Pastor Saeed wrote this letter to his 
daughter for her 8th Birthday, which was on September 12, 2014. Though in the letter 
Pastor Saeed expresses his fondness for his daughter Rebekka, he has also continually 
expressed the depth of his longing to return home to his wife, Naghmeh, and his sixyear-old
son, Jacob. This is the third birthday of Rebekka’s Pastor Saeed has missed 
while he languishes in an Iranian prison for his faith.