We Are Surrounded!

“As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy spirit sent from heaven–things into which angels longed to look.”

1 Peter 1:10-12 NASB

This is an awesome concept! The prophets of long ago, (Old Testament), prophesied of the grace we are now enjoying in our Lord Jesus, and they sought diligently to know timing. They wanted to know when the Christ would come, suffer and then bring the glories we enjoy. Our present “end-time” folk remind me of them. I think it is good, always, to search His Word. We discover what we have missed, and then the Spirit of the Lord begins to unveil Scripture to us in ways that we have not understood. I think it interesting that then and now, it was timing that they wanted to know. There is much to know, but I am not certain timing is one of them. What the prophets of old were shown is that they were not prophesing for themselves, but for generations that would follow. Us. 

I am reminded of this passage in Hebrews 11. After sharing the “Faith’s Hall of Fame” with us, the author then says this: 

“And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect. Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith….” Hebrews 11:39-12:2b NASB

Heaven is very concerned with us. This cloud of witnesses (what a marvelous way to describe a group of spirits) does not just look down and observe, they are surrounding us, right now. That causes my spirit to jump inside. The old prophets were told that they were serving a people yet to be, and now we know that those who choose Christ are that group of people. So we do not walk alone. The Trinity embraces us and the cloud surrounds us. That is awesome! Thank you, Lord Jesus!

We are one with them, through Jesus. He lives in our bodies in the Spirit and we live in His Spirit in His body at the right hand of the Majesty on High. We co-dwell with our Lord just like we are co-inheritors. So the purpose of the prophecies of old was for you and for me. Be blessed today!

“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 NASB 

 

Precious, Valued, Loved, Enriched!

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The season is changing here in Central New York, but some plants are still blooming and bringing great joy. This one is a special gift. I am so blessed by it – have been all summer. If you look closely you can see some tree leaves that have fallen into its leaves. Still so lovely. 

“And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture: ‘Behold I lay in Zion a Choice Stone, a precious corner stone, and He who believes in Him will not be disappointed.’ This precious value, then , is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone,’ ‘A Stone of stumbline and a Rock of offense’; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. But you ar a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a Holy Nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:4-10

I really had not planned to put so many verses in that quote, but there was no way to break it up without doing an injustice to its thought patterning. It says so much. Verses 4-5 were covered in a previous post, but had to be included for context sake. 

I AM A PRECIOUS, VALUED, PROVIDED FOR PERSON IN THE SIGHT OF MY FATHER! There is no other way to say this scripture in a few words. Each one of us who have answered His call in our hearts, are this valued, precious and provided for in all ways. Jesus Christ, Son and Treasure of the Living God, came voluntarily, and under the covenant of the Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit to live, work, and die as a human infused with God. So all of us could become empowered by that same Holy Spirit to live as He did in this world and to inherit with Him all that is God’s. THERE IS NO WAY TO ADEQUATELY EXPRESS YOUR VALUE! The price paid for us was so much more than any treasure we can comprehend and was done in such overwhelming love, that we will do well, to begin to receive it as truth. 

Living in that light, we truly become light and begin to enter into the relationship so longed for in our Father’s heart. Humility, true humility, is accepting what He has done for us as truth. Continuing to dwell in our “unworthy” state is a denial of His work. May we begin to accept and believe what is written.

We are to be those who proclaim His excellencies in every aspect of our lives. Our speech, our life-style, our thoughts – all to be renewed by this word in order to allow the transformation of our lives by this light into this light. 

No guilt – only invitation and empowerment in being. Yes, Lord, we choose to come, be and receive!

The House of His Dreams

Image  “And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4-5 NASB

(The photo attached is a very special fall gift for our front steps from one of our marvelous neighbors. We are so blessed to be so included in a neighborhood. Who would have thought – a busy street in a Central New York city. God is awesome!)

This passage will change our lives if we will really mediate on it and allow it to sink into our being. It is about us. God’s choosing and God’s loving us. We come to Him and find that He has been waiting all along to receive, to bless and to allow us to experience His heart. Here He calls us “living stones.” You see, God has been building a house all along. We find illusions to it all through the Old Covenant. Let me quote a book I am reading.

“The Bible’s story begins by telling us about the world where the story takes place. In the Bible, the world is the real world that we live in, the world that God created. But the Bible describes the world in a particular way. In some places, the Bible describes it as a house. Talking to Job from the whirlwind, Yahweh asks: ‘Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth! Tell me, if you know understanding, Who set its measurements, since you know? Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy? [Job 33:4-7]  Earth and especially mountains, are set on ‘foundations’ (Deuteronomy 32:32; 2 Samuel 22:8, 16; Psalm 104:5) just like the foundations that hold up a house. Blue sky is stretched out above like a ‘tent curtain’ (Isaiah 40:22). Pillars support the earth (Job 9:6) and heaven (Job 26:11). When God first appears in the Bible, He is building a house.” A House For My Nameby Peter J. Leithart, pp. 43-44

In the New Covenant in Ephesians and Hebrews, statements made are also about His house. Then there are the ones in 1 Corinthians 3 & 6 about us being  the temple of the Holy Spirit. Now here in 1 Peter – more of the same. 

You, my precious believing friend, are the house of His dreams. He is not after a house of brick and mortar, but the heart and spirit of the one He created to “being with” – you and me. We are the “living stones” that are being built up as a “spiritual house” for this holy priesthood that offers the living sacrifice of life, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 

Such a high calling. Such a marvelous concept to grasp and to ponder. Such a gift of love and empowerment in becoming. Truly our God is awesome!

Time To Grow Up

“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” 1 Peter 2:1-3 NASB

This thought is continued from the last passage in chapter 1 where Peter begins to instruct the people to participate in their salvation. Faith is participation. Participation in the work of the Lord is our call and our “spiritual service of worship.” (Romans 12:1)  My thoughts go to John 5:19, “Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” Jesus was to participate in what the Father was doing. So He “saw” that and went for it. It looked to all observing, that it was Jesus doing it. However, He states He was only doing what the Father was doing. So His action of faith was simply doing what the Father was already busy doing. 

There are several ways to move further with this thought, but I want to continue here with the Scripture above. He is telling them to “grow up” into their salvation, but getting rid of some things that are natural to a mere human yet spiritually toxic. We are no longer merely human. We are God-infused humanity in Jesus Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Father refers to us as His sons. So in that placement, it is time that we begin to lay aside, or cease participation in some things which are not according to this new birth from the imperishable, incorruptible, eternal seed of the Word. 

The first item is “malice” in this translation. This is also translated “wickedness” (“Kakia” – Greek transliteration) . If you know as a human that an action or thought or motive is “wicked,” then get rid of it. Pretty simple. The next “deceit” (“dolos” – Gk.) is something done with another motive. In other words, what you see is not what you get. The next is similar in meaning, “hypocrisy” (hupokrisis”- Gk) or literally “play acting” or being two-faced we would say. The next item is “envy” (phthonos” – Gk) or jealousy. I once tried to study “envy” but did not want to study “jealousy.” I became very frustrated – because they essentially are the same emotion. The last “slander” (“katalalia” – Gk) means to speak evil about someone. 

All these items are in our own control. We can, with the power of grace, rid our thoughts and therefore our feelings of these spiritually toxic items. 

As we do that, our longing (hunger etc…) grows for the genuine milk of the word. A longing that is that of a new-born. Nothing, but nothing will satisfy when that hunger sets into a new-born. They begin to fuss, yell and make a scene – because they are hungry. We are to long intensely like that for the Word. 

The passage continues, “…so that by it (the Word) you may grow in respect to salvation….” The “in respect to” here is actually one word in the Greek text – “eis” – whose primary meaning is “into.” So to translate it clearly, “…so that by the Word you may grow into salvation.” Now we all know that salvation is an instant kind of thing. However, “growing up” into it is to take it seriously and begin to lay aside the spiritually toxic items in our behavior, and allow the truth of the Word through the power of the Holy Spirit to form our beings into “God-Son.”

Peter then puts an “if” on it all. “…if you have tasted the kindness (or goodness) of the Lord.” All this is dependent on your “tasting” His goodness. It is not a legal thing, but a relational thing. He is the Word, and He tastes good – much like milk to a new-born. He just tastes good and we end up wanting more. 

Those who seldom read or study the Word, or study and read only what makes them feel good, have not yet seen and tasted this goodness. For His kindness simply makes us want more and we get more by and through Him in His Word. The Word is alive and breathes with the breath that I need to be “God-Son” . 

Draw near and He draws near. He feeds, we eat – then we want more. May His grace abound upon us as we drink and become this salvation He has so graciously given. 

Purify Yourselves

“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. ‘For all flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the word of the lord endures forever.’ And this is the word which was preached to you.” 1 Peter 1:22-25 NASB

Because of all we have previously read and studied together, and because of your hope in Him, “you have in obedience purified your souls….” Notice as the emphasis changes in this section and in this part of the sentence to what they have done. Much of what is written here is about the marvelous things the LORD has done and completed for us and given to us as pure gift. Now the sense and emphasis changes to what they have done and what we are to do. 

They have “in obedience to the truth purified their souls for a sincere love of the brethren…” They have done the purifying. There is always His part and then our part. This same thing is found in 1 John 3:3 “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” Once again this is speaking in context to a life-style change. 

Faith is action anchored in trust based in confidence. Faith is not just mentally agreeing with something and then “wishing” it were so. “If I just keep thinking about it and speaking it, then it will happen.” That is often what people mean when they say they are trusting God by faith. Faith is not that at all. It is confident action anchored in His word. So when we are truly born-from-above, everything about us begins to come into alignment with Him.  We begin the purification business in our love center. We begin to love very differently – in every relationship, but especially in relationship to those in our God-Family. 

In this passage in 1 Peter, this alignment is in reference to our loving those who are also born-from-above in the family of God. It is to be a sincere, fervent love for one another from the heart, or from the core of our being. A casual, non-caring and not attached “feeling” is not what He is talking about. 

The reason we are to love this way is because of the “seed” of our birth. We were all born from God though the breath of His Word, His seed. Just like we were born in the natural by our parent’s seed, so in the spiritual we were born by spiritual seed – The Father’s through His Word. 

Now we are called to begin to align every feeling, every thought and every action with the family’s heritage – the Word. Then the passage/thought is anchored in a quote from Isaiah 40:6-8. The one thing that will never change in our world – the word of the Lord endures forever. That means even when we cross the threshold into His arms, the word is still there.

How do we do this? Through that same word and through His power in the grace empowerment given. It is and always will be a walk in Him. It can get exciting – let’s let Him lead and then align ourselves as He leads. Such is faith. 

All for Me!!!

“For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” 1 Peter 1:20-21 NASB

After explaining that our conduct (the way we think, feel and live) is to conform to the price paid for us, the blood of the Lord Jesus, Peter now adds some information for us about our Christ. 

He was foreknown (to know beforehand; foreknew; foreknown etc…) before the foundation of the world. Since he is a part of the three-in-one, then of course, He was foreknown. Forever before known – before the foundation (a laying down; conceive) of the world. Before the world (cosmos) was even conceived – He was foreknown. This “foundation” word is the same one used in Ephesians 1:4, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.” (So as He was known we were known in Him in a life of holiness and blamelessness. This is when and how deeply we have been chosen). 

“He has appeared in these last times for the sake of you (us) who are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory,….” For our benefit, dear ones, for us He appeared (became visible, was revealed, manifested). It has been for you and for me that this cosmic event of His coming, living, dying and ascending has occurred. 

This produces in us, (when mediated on and allowed to permeate our thoughts) a deep sense of peace, comfort and “knowing” that we belong and are deeply loved. He has not done all this so we would sink in the middle of some crisis of circumstance, but has provided fully for all we need. 

“…so that your faith and hope (expectation) are in God.” We so often expect others to do for us what the Lord alone can either do by Himself, or what He will do through others for our benefit. He leads others to benefit us. Just like He leads us to benefit others. So as we listen and enjoy the journey of doing and being Him in our world, so we can rest in His doing for us in His ways what is needed – emotionally, physically, spiritually — in every way.

“Pour out your before Him.” (Psalm 62:8) and then rest in its accomplished fact. That is faith. Faith sees what is not yet seen in the natural. We rejoice in faith, rest in His choosing and live as He demonstrates in His power.  What a marvelous Lord!

Released to Live!

Just a bit of personal sharing to begin our post today. I am praying and working toward being able to blog four times a week. I ask my followers to join with me for that. I recognize this blog as a very legitimate media expression through which to teach and share what I believe the Lord would have me share. Therefore, diligence and time are needed to be effective. My daily schedule varies, so I am working to be consistent on the days where blogging is possible. Thank you for understanding, and if you follow me by clicking on the “follow me” button, then the blog will be delivered into your email in-box and you will not have to check the blog to see if something has come in. Thank you all for reading and praying. Now to the Word! 

“If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” 1 Peter 1:17-19

The Holy Spirit, through Peter, is addressing life-style – not salvation. If you will take a few moments and read the entirety of the chapter, you will see he is already assured these folk were born-from-above and now need to be encouraged in the life-style of their time on the earth. If we get confused on this point we will misunderstand the passage.

There are two things in this passage that are extremely important to note. Peter is addressing people who have been redeemed (bought back – a slave term in the 1st century. We could just as easily translate it “purchased.”) by blood – not silver nor gold. Not with things that will perish along with the earth as we know it to be, but with the eternal blood of the son of God. 

Now God, our Father is Spirit (John 4:24), but when Jesus became man – that is a permanent position for Him. He is ascended, indeed, but he remains the God/man. Jesus could only have blood if he entered into our reality and became human for His is the only blood in heaven. Blood is needful for life here, but not there. Now that divinely infused, life-filled blood is what has made it possible for us to be His. This is a mystery which defies all logic and reason. One cannot reason it out, but can receive it by simply trusting Him that it is so. It is not a mind thing, but a spirit thing to enter into this reality. Now we are not only human, but also products of divine infused blood so now we are God/man also for we are as He is in our world. (1 John 4:17c) 

That being so, we are now His children and have every right to call Almighty God our Father. He is our parent and we are His children. These are spiritual realities. In the natural we honor our parents, care for them and treasure them. The way I keep our home is a reflection on how my Mother kept her home. I am so like her in so many ways. I am definitely like my Dad when I get a Bible in my hand and I preach much like he did. Yet, the parentage of God in me (and all of us) far surpasses the human parentage. I am Almighty God’s daughter, not by silver nor gold, but by blood – the precious, unmeasurable valuable, blood of Christ. 

That being so, my life-style is called to reflect that parentage and that price in every dimension. Peter first addresses our attitude – one of “fear.” We have trouble with this in our world for it brings up all kinds of negative thoughts. Let’s get rid of those and look at the reality of this word. It does mean “fear,” “respect,” “reverence,” but the best translation is “fear.” He is trying to get us to take this very seriously. We are to reflect Him — much more than any earthly source or origin. Father God is the reason we are living — period. That being so, we are to be very aware of our heritage in every aspect of our life. 

This is not a thing of legalism. It is the supernatural outcome of a supernatural parentage and a supernatural birthing avenue – the blood of Christ. Our actions will be judged – not our souls. Paul writes “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

It is a matter of stewardship. How are we using the gifted time of life here? Is it reflecting the grace, mercy and goodness of our Father? This is His call and encouragement. In His empowering and ability, our lives radiate His kindness and love. Our words encourage and ignite hope and freedom in others. We become as He is. In this reality, we are released to live!

A high call for a lowly life-style. Yet, empowered, gifted and released to become. Yes, Lord and thank you!