II Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare…14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation…17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. [NIV]
History records the action of evil we remember of “yesterday.” It’s over and done with and we emerged still standing. “Today” feels like it’s a heads-up time. There are a lot of signs Satan is working hard to destroy our world ahead of time and that makes it especially important for each of us to consider just what it is we are “looking forward” to and begin to let that impact our own daily life.
Here’s what I know: Jesus wins. I intend to invest my time, my behavior and my efforts to “to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” I’m looking forward to a new heaven and earth: a kingdom of Grace. I’m not looking forward to the destruction of the heavens disappearing, or the elements being destroyed by fire and the earth being laid bare even though I trust God’s word all that is somewhere between today and tomorrow.
“Today” is teaching me how important it is to read Scripture, to stay informed and most of all to pray. Those three things are the heads-up for me. My prayers in the midst of “today” aren’t targeted, eloquent or lengthy. They are dependent on the sovereign power of God: “Be present here Lord. Watch over this world you created and protect us. Raise up your people and give me the courage to trust that you are. Amen, Amen and Amen again!
2 Peter 3:8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance…
18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
Time and opportunity are God’s gift to keep us aware “he is patient…not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” We focus on that gift because it’s personal but it’s interesting to consider it’s about so much more than us. The “more” is based on these words from John Piper in Desiring God: “God has the right and power to do whatever makes Him happy.” Think about that for a minute before you read the rest of the quote.
“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115: 3). That is what it means to say that God is sovereign… Just as our joy is based on the promise that God is strong enough and wise enough to make all things work together for our good, so God’s joy is based on that same sovereign control: He makes all things work together for His glory.”
It’s good to acknowledge the impact of God’s gifts on our happiness but it’s a blessing of humility to realize God has a vested interest in our happiness for himself; his own glory. When we “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” it’s evidence of His glory and that makes him happy.
2 Peter 3:1 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
“We are so often in the position of men whose need is not so much to be taught as to be reminded of what we already know.” William Barclay
One of the snags of being devoted to reading the Word of truth over and over again and blogging about it is feeling you need to come up with something new. But you know what? When the time comes to hit “publish” and all your hours of thought, writing and rewriting don’t even make sense to you it’s time to hit “delete” first. The Word that remains is that stand-alone scripture of last Wednesday from Isaiah “so that you [I] may know and believe me [the Lord] and understand that I am he.” That’s the first lesson of faith.
That, my internet friends, has become part of what I call a custom designed object lesson. I share it because I know Christ lives in me. That one thing is so important that if I never learned anything else that would be enough for God. But…I need these daily reminders so I can live what I already know. Today that lesson is completed and confirmed by the Apostle and Barclay.
The object of what I read is to…
* stimulate you [me] to wholesome thinking
* recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior
– be reminded of what I already know
2 Peter 3:3 Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. 4 They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.” 5 They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water.
My life has been bookmarked by a long span of relative security and safety. There’s been the comfort of stability that I’ve been able to depend on. I like that. It’s no wonder I’m shocked to discover “that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires”…but God can even use the distress of current events for good. He can still change hearts, even mine. I’m beginning to see how important praying “thy kingdom come, thy will be done” really is.
Peter’s words have reminded me those “last days” probably began way back on that 8th day after creation. God has chosen to fill every “last day” of all that time between then and now with opportunity for his creation: a new day, a new beginning. The keywords of Peter’s message are “they deliberately forget.” They “deliberately forget” it’s God who’s created this kingdom we’re living in “by the word of his command.” It’s God who’s given them the privilege of every one of these “last days” and longs for them to come to their senses and remember his voice.
“Most importantly” all of us who live by faith need to “deliberately” remember when we pray “thy kingdom come, thy will be done” it’s much more than just words or wishes. We are agreeing with God’s longing for the hearts and minds of those scoffers to recognize his truly secure, safe and stable kingdom IS NOT of their own making.
2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—
9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.
17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.
19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”
Once again our nation has been rocked by the violence that happened in Charlottesville, VA. Last Sunday our pastor gave us this heartbreaking reminder; “hate is LOUD and love, by it’s very nature is soft. We’ve come to be a society that responds more to rebellion and violence than we do to the Good News of the Gospel.” His words were not a condemnation for others but a challenge to us that we need to love loudly.
That made it hard to read this chapter about the destruction of those who’s doctrine is hate and deception and discover my hope was for the judgment God has reserved for them. Hate IS loud. But…I swear by God’s name, rather than enjoy Peter’s words that God will wipe them off the face of the earth, I will not let the circumstances of broken people in a broken world make my faith unproductive and ineffective!
I am going to follow Jesus’ teaching from Luke 11. “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.”
“Shameless udacity” in prayer is the only way I can LOVE LOUDLY.
JESUS, DEAR FRIEND, GIVE THESE HATEFUL, DECEPTIVE PEOPLE BREAD THAT CAN CHANGE THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS SO THEY CAN BE SAVED AND BE BLESSED…too! Can you hear me Lord?
2 Peter 1:1-12 Read these verses first in your favorite Bible. Today’s post is from the [SCV] Shirle’s Condensed Version. “Quotes” are from the NIV.
FYI: You have received a faith as precious as that of a disciple. It came with a core of knowledge about God and Jesus that promises abundant grace and peace as you learn to live it daily. What you’ve already received is everything needed for a godly life but there’s more to learn of Jesus’ glory and goodness that will protect you from “corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith” these qualities: goodness, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and finally love. Your faith doesn’t need anything more but these qualities help you learn to live what you know about Jesus and make you effective and productive, right here and now. Don’t be nearsighted, remember how your past sins have been wiped away? How you live your life of faith confirms that.
Live to learn all that God has yet to teach you even though you’re “firmly established in the truth you now have.” That’s what ties every day of this life to the “rich welcome” of the forever ahead.
2 Peter 1:12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.
I had to stop and remind myself to pay attention to what comes after verse 12 because that verse is such an important thought for me. I believe it with all my heart. I can be devout, I can be faithful…but…I am only “established in the truth [I] now have. I am still a learner.
There are so many controversies that rage in the world of faith; devout people blowing up abortion clinics, devout muslims killing themselves and others in the name of holiness. Devout Christians with polar opposite views on the very same subject. Christians, like me, wanting so much to do the right thing and have the right position on any topic. In the name of God, the temptation becomes picking a side to follow…rather than picking a Savior to follow.
That’s the Truth I need to be reminded of.