Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December 19, 2012 … A Walk in the Park!

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 354

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Timothy 1-6 To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passages: 1st Peter 1: 7; 23-25 : [NLT] … {Please use the link above to read this letter, written by the Apostle Peter at about the time Paul was writing to Timothy and Titus. It was likely written from Rome where Peter, like other Christians, was being oppressed, threatened, and tortured under the reign of Nero. Peter wrote this to churches in Asia Minor who were likewise under horrible oppression. In Chapter 1, Peter reminds Christians of their (our) blessing of salvation in Christ and charges oppressed believers to stand firm in the faith, … that the oppression will refine their (our) faith. And Peter issues a call to holy, Christlike, living no matter the circumstances in which we find ourselves.} …  
7 These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So, if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. … 
23 For you have been born again. Your new life did not come from your earthly parents because the life they gave you will end in death. But this new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 24 As the prophet says, “People are like grass that dies away; their beauty fades as quickly as the beauty of wildflowers. The grass withers, and the flowers fall away. 25But the word of the Lord will last forever.” [quoting Isaiah 40: 6-8]And that word is the Good News that was preached to you. 

Highlight Passages: 1st Peter 2: 11-12 : [NLT] … {In Chapter 2 Paul repeatedly reminds Christians that we need to build our lives in/through obedience to Christ, also reminding them (us) that Christians are not permanent residents of this world, but only sojourners, heading home to heaven. Hence, in preparation for our home going we need to live as Christ-like lights in a very dark world.} …  
11 Dear brothers and sisters, you are foreigners and aliens here. So I warn you to keep away from evil desires because they fight against your very souls. 12 Be careful how you live among your unbelieving neighbors. Even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will believe and give honor to God when he comes to judge the world.

Highlight Passages: 1st Peter 3: 8-9; 13-15 : [NLT] … {Chapter 3 hammers home the “What Would Jesus Do?” campaign theme, hitting again the exhortation to Christ-like living. Peter, like Paul, knew that Christians, especially in the days of Nero, were being oppressed to deny their faith and worship Caesar; but he is reminding believers of their allegiance to Christ. And in that faith we need to be ready, even under oppression, to give an answer for our faith.} …  
8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it. … 
13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t be afraid and don’t worry. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.  

Highlight Passages: 1st Peter 4: 1-3; 19 : [NLT] … {Chapter 4 is an example of the adage, “Redundancy teaches!” Peter keeps hammering home the principle of living for/in Christ NO MATTER WHAT! … Are we getting the message?!!} …  
1 So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you are willing to suffer for Christ, you have decided to stop sinning. 2And you won’t spend the rest of your life chasing after evil desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. 3 You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols. … 
19 So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you.  

Highlight Passages: 1st Peter 5: 5-7 : [NLT] … {Chapter 5 bring some practical ways for the body of oppressed Christians (and us) to live in community and commitment to Christ in the church setting. And the essence of these teachings referred to individual and corporate HUMILITY – in other words, CHRISTLIKENESS – for all Christians in the body of Christ, … yes, for all in the Church, but especially the leaders.} …  
5 You younger men, accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for “God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.” [quoting from Prov. 3: 34] …  6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. 

My Journal for Today: Today in our Christian circles we feel like the world is at war with Christianity … with retailers trying to eliminate “Christ” from their holiday marketing. And we see atheists aggressively trying to use law and judicial activism to support ungodliness like abortion on demand or pornography available even to kiddies. Then, there are horrors occurring … like of a bunch of children being gunned down by a madman in an elementary school.

And we say, “What is the world coming to?”

But my fellow Christians reading along with me, what we’re going through is a walk-in-the-park with the flowers blooming in the spring compared with the oppression and horrors which were going on when Paul wrote his letters to his protégés, Timothy or Titus, or when Peter wrote this letter we’re reading today to Christians up in Asia Minor who were being slaughtered and oppressed under the campaign of the Roman Emperor, Nero, who was trying to eradicate Christianity from the face of the earth.

Sure, ... there is increased oppression in our world by the secularists and the liberal media to downplay and even put down Christian moral values … and then, to go on trying to erase the concepts of “God” or “Christ” from the culture. However, the oppression we face now is child’s-play compared with what Christians in Nero’s day were undergoing.

 And Peter wrote his first letter to address Christian living in the face of oppression. And if I read and interpret Scripture correctly, the oppression we’re now facing is going to get much worse before Jesus returns; and so the letter Peter wrote to Christians in Nero’s day is going to become more and more relevant to Christians now, both individually and collectively for the Church. So, I hope you’ve read and meditated on the truths in this letter, as well as a few of my comments above, to help us to see that we must KEEP ON, KEEPING ON in our persistence to stand fast in our faith and to live, as much as we can, in Christlikeness..

 My Prayer Today: … Lord, help me to humbly follow Your anointed Christian leaders into battle in our times daily and to humbly lead others as You would call me to do so in my life. Amen

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