Sunday, May 31, 2015

Revelation 2:12-17 Letter to Pergamum and You

Revelation 2:12-17 NIV
The letter to the church in Pergamum promises that to the one who is victorious, God will give some of the hidden manna and a white stone with a new name written on it. What this means, I, honestly, cannot tell you for sure.

What I know is that God gave the Israelites manna to eat when they were wandering in the wilderness hungry. The manna would be found and gathered in the morning and then was made into a cake-like bread for the nourishment of their bodies.

Jesus is the bread of life. He is our spiritual nourishment. As, we wander through the wilderness, God has given us this spiritual nourishment that we might not only survive through the world's trials and temptations; but, thrive in His Holy Kingdom for all eternity.

This white stone with a new name that is promised is a puzzle. I can tell you that Jesus is the stone which the builders rejected. (Acts 4:10-12) is the "rock of our salvation" (Psalm 18:2) and "that at the name of  Jesus every knee will bow." (Philippians 2:10-11)

Do not seek to please the world; rather, seek to do what will please God. Balaam was willing to give in to the enticements of Balak to curse Israel. But, God intervened for His people. He will intervene. He will feed all of His children with the bread of life.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Revelation 2:8-11 Synagogue of Satan

Revelation 2:8-11 NIV
There were "fake" Jews in the church in Smyrna even as there are "fake" Christians in the church today. In John's vision, Jesus warned the church in Smyrna about them. There were some within the church who said they were  Jews; but, were not. They belonged to the synagogue of Satan. Oh, no, they probably did not worship Satan outright. Simply "pretending" to worship God makes them followers of Satan. Either you are for Jesus or you are not. There is no in between.

Be aware of those who say they are Christian and are not. They will slander the name of Jesus and all who follow in his way. They will cause much dissension and make every attempt to distract the faithful from proclaiming the gospel. But, they will not prevail.

Even though we are persecuted for his name's sake, we have assurance that all who are faithful, even to the point of death, will be victorious and not suffer at all by the second death.

May God grant that we will always be faithful to Him.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Friday, May 29, 2015

Revelation 2:1-7 Remember Your First Love

Revelation 2:1-7 NIV
Bishop Frederic Baraga, missionary to the Ojibwa, during the 1800's, often reminded the people to "remember their first love." In his vision, St. John was instructed to warn the church at Ephesus about their falling away from their first love, who is Jesus the Christ.

Whenever we put anything or anyone before our God, we are committing idolatry. God must always come first and everything else will fall into it's proper place. How often we neglect to put God first in our lives! It is so very disheartening to see those who profess to be Christians putting so many other things of this world before worship and service to God.

The message to the people of Ephesus is an excellent example of both law and gospel. Jesus, in John's vision, commends the church for their hard work and perseverance; for the fact that they cannot tolerate wicked people; and have confronted those who claim to be apostles and are not. Even as they are being commended for their faithfulness in these areas; they and we are being warned against idolatry. Remember your first love. Remember him and keep him first in your life.

"Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God." (vs 7)

God's Peace - Pr. J

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Revelation 1:1-20 Do Not Be Afraid

Revelation 1:1-20 NIV
“Do not be afraid." (vs 17)

In his vision, St. John sees Jesus. The vision of Jesus was so absolutely awesome that John fell at his feet as thought. It would strike a bit of fear into anyone's heart. But, Jesus tells him, "Do not be afraid."

Entering into the presence of our Lord can be a terrifying thing. He is the one with the two-edged sword coming out of his mouth. This sword is the word of God. It cuts to the heart of the matter. One side for convicting us; the other for healing our wounds.

His presence is awesome; but, do not be afraid. He loves you so much that he was willing to die for you. Believe that he is for you and live for him and in him.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Revelation 1:4-8 Believe or Not; Every Eye Will See

Revelation 1:4-8 NIV
Every Eye Shall See
Every eye will see him. I was recently told (again) by someone I know and care about that they do not believe like I do. I was told, "When you're dead you're dead. There is nothing more." It is heartbreaking to hear someone that has been taught the truth; deny Jesus the Christ.

He is "the One who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." (vs 8) It does not matter whether one believes or not. The day will come when every eye will see him; every knee will bow; even those who pierced him; even those who denied him.

Be careful with your words. Do not deny the one who died for you. Jesus said, "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." (Matt 10:33 KJV)

He is, he was, and he will come again. He is the Almighty God who created you and would save you from yourself.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Revelation 1:1-3 Revealed to John

Revelation 1:1-3 NIV
St. John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, while exiled for his faith on the isle of Patmos, had a vision from God. It was a rather long vision or a series of long visions as recorded in the book of Revelation. As we begin this book, let us remember that it is just that: a vision with much symbolism to be interpreted. We need also to be careful to understand and remember that no one can know the exact time and the place that many of these visions will take place. We cannot know if we will even still be in the flesh when the day of the Lord comes. And... we are to be careful about pointing the finger at others saying they are the anti-christ or there is Babylon.

Before we begin this final book of Holy Scripture, I would direct your attention to verse 3: "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near." As we journey through Revelation, read the scripture aloud. "... faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ." (Rom 10:17) Read Revelation aloud so that you might hear it and have a better understanding of what it's message really is. Read it and all scripture aloud that in hearing your faith might grow.

May God help us to have a better understanding of this vision of John as we begin to read through it daily.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Monday, May 25, 2015

Jude 1 - Warning! Danger!

Jude 1 NIV

As I read the one and only chapter of Jude this morning I was reminded of the television show "Lost In Space," from the mid-1960's. About the only thing that I can truly recall from the series is the robot's warning: "Warning, warning! Danger, Will Robinson!"

Jude's letter is a warning to those who are lost and to those who are in danger of become lost. Make no mistake, Jude warns, ungodly people have slipped in among us. They are those pervert the grace of God into a license for immorality. They will use the grace of God to do whatever it is they choose and then say things like: "But, Jesus died for me. I can do anything I want. I am forgiven." But, even as the Israelites were saved from Egypt, many were unable to see the promised land because of their unbelief so shall those who do not believe be destroyed. They will not enter into the Kingdom of God.

We must heed the warning and be careful not to follow in the ways of the scoffers. There many attempts to divide us are a diversion to turn our focus to anything and everything other than worshipping and serving the Lord, our God, who gave Himself for us. We must cling tightly to the faith that was taught to us.

"But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life." (vs 20-21)

Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Sunday, May 24, 2015

3 John 1 - Joy

3 John 1 NIV

I get so excited when I hear about the faithfulness of members of our Christian community here in Baraga County. It does not matter; old or young, they have become like my own children. With St. John, I can say that "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." (vs 4)

Today is Pentecost Sunday. Four of our young people are affirming their baptisms through the Rite of Confirmation this morning. All four of them have caused me much joy as I've taught and watched them walking in the truth; by putting their faith into action over the years. Their faith is clearly evidenced by the love and concern that they have for God and for others.

Following worship, I will meet with another couple to discuss the baptism of their baby. I look forward to discussing the baptism of their child (our child) into the Body of Christ. I look forward, with joy, to seeing this little girl at worship and Sunday School as she grows.

May God grant all of our children, young and old, the gift of the Holy Spirit; the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in His presence, now and forevermore.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Saturday, May 23, 2015

2 John 1 - What is Truth?

2 John 1 NIV
Live in the truth! What is truth?

There are many ways to distort the truth so that it becomes a lie. Today, the "truth," who is Jesus the Christ, is often co-mingled with fables and fairy tales so that the "truth" becomes a lie. Philosophy and spiritism and all sorts of other fabrications of the mind add or subtract from the word that we have read and heard in the scriptures in order to justify our own sinful lifestyles. Stay away from these stories. Continue living in the truth. Continue living in his love.

In his letter to a woman chosen by God, St. John commends her and her children for knowing and living in the truth even while he warns her to stay away from those who deny the truth. We are warned to stay away from those who do not acknowledge that Jesus the Christ has come in the flesh. Stay away. Do not let their deceitful teachings infiltrate your thoughts; your life.

"Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work." (vss 9-11)

May the grace, mercy and peace of God the Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ, be with you in truth and love, now and forevermore.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Friday, May 22, 2015

1 John 5 - Love Does God's Will

1 John 5 NIV
Wow! I find it absolutely unbelievable how some who claim to be Christian can absolutely disregard our Father's will for them and for all of humankind. St. John wrote: "This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands." (vs 2) I understand that our human nature is difficult at times. There are many times that we slip and we aren't even really aware we're slipping until we are caught. But, those who love the Lord will at least attempt to not be stealing or lying about or in any way disrespecting their brothers and sisters in Christ.

We are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts and souls and minds. We show this love by loving and respecting His children.

The world throws temptation after temptation at us. The world would tell us we have to look out for ourselves first. "Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God." (vss 5-6)

May God bless us with faith and a desire to do His will; loving and respecting Him and all of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Thursday, May 21, 2015

1 John 4:7-21 Love

1 John 4:7-21
It can be quite frustrating to love someone and not be loved in return. You can give your life for
someone and have that love and you treated like it was nothing. But, the one who loves does not stop loving. They will continue to love even as they ache inside. Most of us probably have probably known the feeling of loving someone and not being loved in return.

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." (vs 9-10)

Our Father in heaven loves us so much He was willing to have His one and only Son suffer and die for us. His Son, Jesus the Christ, loves us so much he was willing to do his Father's will for us. What will our response be? Will we love because he first loved us? Or will we turn our backs on genuine love and seek the earthly desires of our hearts?

God's Peace - Pr. J

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

1 John 4:1-6 From God

1 John 4:1-6
God has sent His children into the world to proclaim Jesus the Christ who has come in the flesh. Those who would listen to the good news of Jesus Christ are also from God. But, those who do not listen and spread false rumors are not from God. Do not share in their lies.

Our reading today instantly made me think of that History Channel, that is more like the Science Fiction Channel. I've seen more junk on that channel; things like trying to disprove the virgin birth and that Jesus was an alien and that earth was populated because beings from other planets came and started a whole colony of people with their DNA. Some of the stuff seen on that channel has no basis in either faith or science. It is all conjecture aimed at proving that the Holy Scriptures are false. Have nothing to do with these lies.

"Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (vs 1)

God's Peace - Pr. J

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

1 John 3 Children of God

1 John 3 NIV
Are you a child of God? St. John reminds all of God's children to not let anyone lead us astray. We have the Spirit of Christ abiding in us. We know the difference between right and wrong by the indwelling Spirit.

It is easy to be led astray. The world does not know the love of God. The world will despise the children of God. But, we want to be accepted. We want to be loved by the people around us so we might find ourselves following in the footsteps of those who are not the children of God; of those who do not know Him.

No one wants to be an outsider. No one wants to be persecuted. But, in order to follow in the path of Jesus both will most likely occur. The world will not have it otherwise. If God's only begotten Son was persecuted; so shall be all who are adopted into His family through the blood of Jesus the Christ.

May God help us to live as children of our Most High God.

God's Peace - Pr. Judy

Monday, May 18, 2015

1 John 2:12-29 Who is the antichrist?

1 John 2:12-29 NIV
So, exactly who is the antichrist? According to St. John the antichrist is anyone who would deny
that Jesus is the Christ. Whoever denies the Son also denies the Father. Whoever denies either is a liar and the antichrist.

Next question: How does one deny that Jesus is the Christ? Response: By trusting in our own good works for our salvation. When we trust the world, ourselves, anything or anyone before Jesus the Christ we are denying him; we are denying his power and authority to save us.

The antichrist is not some mythical being. Generations have looked for this one and pointed their fingers at various political or religious leaders saying, "he is the antichrist; these are the last days." Pointing the finger at one person only distracts us from looking within ourselves to see who it is that actually abides in us. Is it Jesus the Christ or the antichrist?

May the Word of God abide in us and we in him. May God help us to trust Him above all others.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Sunday, May 17, 2015

1 John 2:3-11 First Comes Like

1 John 2:3-11 NIV

In any relationship, for us to believe and trust someone, we must get to know about someone. Recently, I saw a commercial that I actually like. It was a Zoosk commercial "Love does not comes first. First comes like."  I liked it because I know more than a few teen-agers (and at leas a few adults) who should really pay attention to this. Before genuine enduring love occurs, we must first get to know one another and actually learn to like each other despite all those little things we might not appreciate so much. Genuine love grows as we get to know about each other. There might be a whole lot less break-ups and divorces if we spent more time learning to like each other before we commit ourselves to loving and living with someone forever.

Our relationship with God is not so very different. In order to say that we truly love Him, we first must get to know Him. When we get to know about Him, love will come in the getting to know Him and what He has done for us. We do that by reading His word in the Holy Scriptures; gathering together to hear His Word in fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ; by receiving Jesus in the Sacraments; and by spending time talking with Him in prayer.

Get to know God our Father; walk with God the Son; take the time to listen to the Holy Spirit and then your love will be made complete.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Saturday, May 16, 2015

1 John 2:1-2 Strive Not To Sin

1 John 2:1-2 NIV
We would hope that it is not true. But, it is reality that while we are in these mortal bodies we will continue to sin. Our intent may be to put our Father in heaven above all things and to love our neighbors as ourselves; but, we often find ourselves falling short.

St. John encourages those whom he considers his spiritual children to strive not to sin even while he reminds them and us that Jesus, the only Righteous One, is our advocate in heaven. Because of his sacrifice for us, we can be confident that our sins are forgiven. The debt has been paid. And... because he paid it for us, we respond with love and a sincere desire to walk with him in his light, avoiding the dark path of sin.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Friday, May 15, 2015

1 John 1 - Empty the Trash

1 John 1 NIV
Every Sunday, we are reminded during confession that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. Then following confession, we hear that our sins are forgiven. We are cleansed of our sins by the blood of Jesus Christ. Christians are well aware that we are "simul justus et peccator," both saint and sinner. We do not always do what we know we ought to be doing. But, we also know as we confess our sins that we are forgiven.

It is truly frustrating for me to hear someone's confession and the confession ends up sounding more like they are confessing for someone else. There are some who simply cannot 'fess up. They are always right and everyone else is wrong. They will not confess their own sins. Rather, they end up confessing the sins of others. I'm not sure how they think this is working for them. There are times when I long to be back working within the correctional system again. There they have already been convicted of their sins and many are eager to be absolved of their sins. But, within the community of those baptized into the church, I often see attempts to cover sins committed by blaming someone else or flat out lying about what one did or didn't do. If we truly want to be cleansed of our sins, we first have to admit that we are sinners.

My granddaughter helped me clean the house yesterday. Trash cans were washed. But, before one can be washed; you first have to take out the trash.

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us." (vss 8-10)

Help us, Lord, to recognize our sin that we might repent; turn to You.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Thursday, May 14, 2015

2 Peter 3 Scoffers Abound

2 Peter 3 NIV
Scoffers abound! Peter wrote: "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." (vs 10) The disciples expected an almost immediate return of the Lord. 2000 years later, we are still waiting and watching for the final judgment on the world. It's a fairy-tale, a fable, a myth, I am told. Just because you do not believe; that does not make it an untruth. "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. 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." (vss 8-9)

Scoffers abound! I'm not sure if people have forgotten that the Lord will come again or maybe they just don't believe. The world lives as though they have eternity to live for their own pleasure. Some might even live under the delusion that they can repent on their death beds and they will be saved. That is true, if one truly turns to the Lord. But, one never knows when our final moments will come. It would be wise to be prepared before that day comes. He will come like a thief, without warning, except for the word which we already have.

Be prepared and be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of the lawless. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to the glory of God.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

2 Peter 2 Not Everyone is Saved

2 Peter 2 NIV
Peter is pretty straightforward in his warning to the people to beware of and not follow false teachers They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done." (vs 13) that come among us. They are ungodly people; people who secretly introduce heresies and blaspheme in matters they do not understand; following the corrupt desires of the flesh; and despise authority. "

Do not follow them on the road to destruction. Do not fall into their trap. God will take care of them. Justice will be meted out. Not by our hands; but, by the hand of God. Just as God did not spare the people of Noah's time (except for Noah's family) or the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (except for Lot and his family), He will visit justice upon those who would teach others to follow in ways that they should not go even as He will uphold those who love and trust in him on the day of judgment.

So many would consider this warning a judgment in itself. It is not. It is a reminder and a warning that God is the judge and he will indeed judge all people. There is time to change (although, we do not know how long). Jesus died so that all who believe in him might be saved and enter into the Kingdom where he reigns. We are saved by faith in Christ alone and faith inspires us to do God's will, not our own. Faith directs us to build up the Body of Christ, which is the Kingdom of God.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

2 Peter 1:12-21 Warnings and Promises

2 Peter 1:12-21 NIV
So long as we live in the tents of our bodies we will always remind you of The Way in which we are to follow. It is our desire that all should be saved and will continue to remind and warn others who have chosen to follow after false gods; after desires of their hearts that will lead to their destruction.

These warnings and promises do not come from us; but have been carried through the generations by the Holy Spirit. Hear Him and listen; follow in His Way for the sake of your salvation.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Monday, May 11, 2015

2 Peter 1:1-11 Faith, Perseverance, Patience

2 Peter 1:1-11 NIV
Plowing fields around the Ring of Kerry took patience,
perseverance with much faith.
I have to admit that there are definitely days that my self-control and perseverance are lacking. They are more present today than they were twenty or thirty years ago. But, I do still fall short. I fall short because there are times when I get so wrapped up in getting things done that I forget that God is with me and do things the way others (or I) would prefer that they be done. Not doing God's will; but, instead doing what pleases a few people usually ends up in a disaster. And... disasters can mightily challenge our self-control and perseverance.

So I pray that God would grant us all faith and that in faith; goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love might follow.

God Peace - Pr. J

Sunday, May 10, 2015

1 Peter 5 Resist the Devil

1 Peter 5
It is not easy being a Christian. The Way in which we are to follow is not the way of the world and the world will neither understand or appreciate you. You will be subjected to all sorts of attempts to humiliate you. But, you must be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Do not let him devour you. Resist him. Stand firm in the faith knowing that the family of believers throughout the whole world is undergoing similar sufferings.
Elders in the church are to support and be shepherds to the flock under their care. Those who are younger are to submit themselves to their elders. Everyone is to clothe themselves with humility for God opposes the proud and shows favor to the humble.
Therefore, put aside the pride of the world and in humility serve the Lord with gladness in all things. Resist the devil and follow in the Way of the Lord.
God's peace to all of you who are in Christ. - Pr. J

Saturday, May 9, 2015

1 Peter 4 - Losing Friends For Living With Christ

1 Peter 4
Do good! Do what is right! "For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry." (vs 3) No, you won't be too popular if you leave behind those things; but, you will be much more at peace with yourself as you begin to live in Christ.

As a former substance abuse counselor, one of the toughest things to deal with is that when someone finally decides to trust their higher power (God) for their recovery they lose most, if not all, of their old friends. It can be a lonely time. It takes a bit of work to realize that the only reason they hung with you was because your substance abuse justified theirs. Once that is gone, they are out of there. "They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you." (vs 4)

But, new friends will come with time. Friends that will share in the joy of living as a member of the Body of Christ with you. In Christ you are a new creation. "So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good." (vs 19)

May the peace of the Lord be with you always! Live in his peace and ignore the drama this world would throw at you.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Friday, May 8, 2015

1 Peter 3:8-22 Turn To Him; He Died For You

1 Peter 3:8-22
All who sin (and we all do) are called to repentance. "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him." (vss. 17-22)

Christ died so that all who reject their sinful ways and turn to him are born again into the Kingdom of God, where he reigns. Everyone has this opportunity. None have been excluded. Turn to him and receive this gift of salvation. 

God's Peace - Pr. J

Thursday, May 7, 2015

1 Peter 3:1-7 Beauty

1 Peter 3:1-7 NIV
Beauty comes not from name brand clothes and jewelry; but,
from what you do and who you really are.
Each succeeding generation of women seems to pick up fashion trends that they think will make them more attractive to men. I've lived a for a few of these generations and I'm thinking that hasn't been working well. Take a look back at photos of when you were a teen. Would you really adorn yourself like that today? Fashion trends change just about every year. They will be eaten by moths or rust away. But, the love of a caring woman with integrity will last a lifetime.

St. Peter suggests that real beauty comes from within and is expressed by our behavior and not by what we wear.

God's Peace - Pr. J 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

1 Peter 2:4-25 Holy Nation

1 Peter 2:4-25 NIV
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (vs 9)

I dislike having to check the box for my race as is required on so many forms. I especially dislike having to check a box if it is related to something within the church. That may be partly due to the fact that I am a "mutt." But, more than that is that no matter how many tribes or nations I may have inherited through family; my first nation is the one I was adopted into by the blood of Jesus. If there is a blank line for other, I usually write in "Holy Nation."

Each race has it's own culture and even within specific ethnic groups the culture may vary depending on the geographical region. That is also true for the people of a "Holy Nation." There may be variances in the way we live and worship; but, together we make up one truly awesome spiritual house. The differences really make no difference. What is important to understand is that we belong to the spiritual house built on the precious cornerstone, who is Jesus the Christ; the one who gave himself for us.

Since, we are members of this spiritual house, this Holy Nation, we ought also live as members of the holy priesthood, living in reverence and loving service to the King of all kings. According to St. Peter that means to live in loving service to one another. It's not about us. It's about all of us together living in reverence to God our Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

1 Peter 2:1-3 Crave Spiritual Milk

1 Peter 2:1-3

Arlene and Joe have fed multitudes with spiritual
milk for years with word, song, and deeds....
Babies can be pretty focused on getting what they want. When they are hungry they cry until they get the milk that they desire and which will nourish them. There is very little that can stop their yearning. We might rock them and they might quiet down for a bit; but, it won't be long before they once again let us know that they are hungry.

Christians should be so focused in our desire for spiritual milk. Give yourself a break and desire that which is good for your soul setting set aside malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander, which will lead you to waste away.

Drink the spiritual milk that the Lord has provided and see that the Lord is good.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Monday, May 4, 2015

1 Peter 1:13-25 Set Your Hope In the One Who Is Hope

1 Peter 1:13-25
No matter how many times we are reminded not to worship the false gods of this world, there is a
multitude that set their hopes on things of this world; on silver and gold. They will turn away from God seeking an illusory happiness of this world. They will be happy when they have this or that thing; happy when they have power over this or that person; happy when they get to do whatever it is that they desire no matter whether it is right or wrong, no matter who it might hurt. But, true joy comes from knowing the Lord; walking with him. Real joy comes with living in a reverent relationship with the Lord and respecting our Father's will.

I pray that you will not conform to the evil desires of those who live in ignorance. Rather, "with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming." (vs 13) If your heart is aching and your life feels like a total disaster; then turn your heart toward the Christ for you were redeemed by his precious blood. You were born again, not of perishable things of this world; but, of the imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

Pr. J

Sunday, May 3, 2015

1 Peter 1:1-12 Grace and Peace Be Yours In Abundance

1 Peter 1:1-12
I was recently asked to think about the most awesome thing that has ever happened to me. I will tell you. It happened about 30 years ago. It was the day that I met the Holy Spirit. On that day I got to know the Spirit as a living reality. Previously, I had known about the Holy Spirit; but, did not know the Spirit. That day, kneeling beside my bed praying, I came to know the Spirit. No man laid his hands on me. God did. By God's grace I came to know and experience life in and with the Spirit of Christ. Words cannot even begin to describe the joy and peace that I experienced that day and since. Nothing in this world can compare to being in relationship with God the Father; God the Son; and God the Holy Spirit. If you are looking for joy and peace in this world give up that search. It is not here. These things come living in relationship with the living God, not by possessions in this world. As children of Almighty God, we have an inheritance much more precious than any silver or gold.

God had been preparing me for things to come; for immediately following this introduction, I was tested tremendously. But, I persevered (not just persevered; but grew in Christ) because God was with me. Listen to the words of St. Peter: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials." (vs 3-6)

In Christ, you have been born again. There will be trials; but, in the midst of these trials God is with all His children. Persevere in faith and you will know joy and peace even in the times of trials.

May grace and peace be yours in abundance, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Pr. J.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

James 5:12-20 Prayer of Faith

James 5:12-20 NIV
"The prayer of the righteous person is powerful and effective." (vs 16)

God hears our prayers and the prayers of faith are answered. Sometimes the answer is not as we would expect them. Sometimes there's a but of upside down stuff going on before we get to see God's good response to the prayer. When God answers prayers for the good of His children, sometimes we see not so happy endings for those who would harm His children.

When the prophet  Elijah prayed earnestly that it would not rain, it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. When he prayed for the rain, the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. (vs 17-18) Sometimes drought is prayed for so that the people will appreciate and thank God for the rain when God gives it.

I spend many hours a week in prayer. The devil likes to come in and steal some of my time with God. Sometimes, things like my alarm not going off will cause me to lose some of this precious time with God. Sometimes, others will have a need or a crisis. Without prayer though; these crises cannot be handled well. Things get a little chaotic when I don't have the time with God. I can do nothing without Him. The most powerful answer to any crisis begins with prayer.

If there is a need; pray. If someone is sick; pray. If someone has wandered away from the flock and is lost; pray. The prayers of faith are powerful and effective. Let us pray and sing praises always to God who is Almighty; to God our Father who listens and answers.

God's Peace - Pr. J

Friday, May 1, 2015

James 5:7-12 Yes or No; But, No Swearing

James 5:7-12 NIV
"Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned."

After a very long yesterday, this hits today's reading like a nail on the head of a hammer. People are going to disagree with me. I get that. What I don't get is why they would think that filling their disagreement with words that I cannot repeat is going to be helpful to their cause. You're not going to bully me into changing my mind. If you disagree with me, you don't have to attack me with language that is so filthy that it should not be found within your mouth. A simply yes or no will do. Anything more and you will bring suspicion and ultimately condemnation upon yourself.

Be patient then and do not swear even if it is someone else's swearing that is trying your patients.

God's Peace - Pr. J