Look Alike

As we continue in our new teaching series, Standing Firm, this week we’re talking about what to do once we have set ourselves firmly on the foundation of our hope in Christ. If we are going to claim such a foundation for ourselves, there should be some pretty profound implications that has for our life. What those implications are is what Peter explores in the next section of his letter. Thanks for joining me in thinking through these.

Look Alike

I am sitting down right now. What’s wrong with that statement? Well, perhaps most notably…it’s not true. My words and my actions don’t line up. We naturally expect there to be a connection—a rather direct one at that—between what someone says and what someone does. In fact, the whole of human society is rooted in that belief. When there is a disconnect here, everything is more difficult than it otherwise would be. For instance, think about what might happen if you went to the store and didn’t believe there was a connection between the words of the manager expressed in the price tags on various items and the action of the items’ actual cost. What would you do? It’s easy to simply say you wouldn’t buy it, but what if this was a jug of milk and you had a hungry little one at home? Now things are more complicated. You might try and barter the manager down to the price you believe it should really have. But what if the manager doesn’t believe there is a connection between your words regarding the amount of money you are able and willing to pay and what you will actually give him when the time comes? Now you’re thinking about how you can steal the milk because you have a baby to feed and he’s thinking about how he can protect his product. We’re starting to have a real mess on our hands, aren’t we?

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Mark 13:9, 12-13

“But you, be on your guard! They will hand you over to local courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues. You will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a witness to them. . . .Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of my name, but the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I had the opportunity to hear last night from a missionary serving with a ministry called The Rock of Ages ministry. Justin and his family do prison evangelism. His was a pretty powerful testimony of God getting ahold of someone who was pretty thoroughly embittered by a much more difficult childhood than anyone should have to experience and had been exposed to just enough religion during it all to hate it. He spent many years consumed by alcohol and drugs, and had seen a bit of the inside of the prison system himself. Now God has called him to proclaim the Gospel to prisoners. Justin had a number of great observations to share, but one thing really stood out to me that I had not considered before. Prisoners who become followers of Jesus gain two things: eternal life and a target on their back. Other prisoners now know that their behavior is going to change to be more like Jesus’ behavior. This will serve them well outside the walls of the prison, but on the inside it means they can’t defend themselves. Their embrace of Jesus is like a green light to the unsaved prisoners to persecute them. Christians experiencing persecution is nothing new. It’s been happening since the very beginning. It is a tough topic to tackle, but fortunately, it is not one for which Jesus left us unprepared.

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Morning Musing: 2 Samuel 3:6

“While there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner was making himself strong in the house of Saul.”  (ESV – Read the chapter) ‬‬

In what follows here we see an almost Game of Thrones style transition of power from Saul to David. The two houses are at war, there’s trouble within one house, jealousy leads to accusations that may or may not be false but which lead to permanent rifts, there are sides being swapped, old wounds being nursed, long-simmering hatreds being acted upon, and the list goes on from there. The question it leads me to ask is what on earth is this kind of stuff doing in the Bible?!? Read the rest…

Morning Musing: 1 Samuel 21:2

“David answered the priest Ahimelech, “The king gave me a mission, but he told me, ‘Don’t let anyone know anything about the mission I’m sending you on or what I have ordered you to do.’ I have stationed my young men at a certain place.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

David flat-out lies to Ahimelech here. What’s more, when he finally leaves Israel, he goes to the Philistines for refugee—the very people he had spent the last several years decimating in battle. Things aren’t looking good for our hero. Read the rest…

Morning Musing: 1 Samuel 19:6

“Saul listened to Jonathan’s advice and swore an oath: ‘As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be killed.'”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

When sin is loosed in a situation, the hold on the truth of the various parties to it becomes one of the first casualties. As this chapter unfolds, we see various different individuals lying in one way or another. It’s all part of one big mess which ultimately lies at the feet of Saul. Read the rest…