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Archive for November, 2011

“So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books” (2 Peter 1:5-9 The Message).

Peter gives you a list of seven characteristics that measure growth in your spiritual life.  All seven of these qualities grow as we mature in each grace.  Like the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), these virtues grow from living a vital love relationship with Jesus.  The first quality is called “virtue” or good character.  In the Greek it means moral excellence which fulfills your ultimate purpose in life.  Faith helps you to develop this virtue which helps you to develop knowledge that is growing in spiritual understanding.  This knowledge is not automatic it is connected to your complete obedience to the will of God for your life.  You add to this knowledge, self-control which is the alert discipline of an athlete who prepares to win the prize.  Added to this self-control is patience which is the ability to endure difficult circumstances.  As you walk through trials, the reverent wonder of godliness helps you to become like God.  Added to this godliness is warm friendliness of brotherly kindness.  The seventh virtue is agape love which is generous and sacrificial.

It is impossible for you to manufacture these seven qualities in your own strength and effort.  God will produce the beautiful character of His son in your life as you cling to His precious promises in faith.  As you diligently cooperate with the purposes of God for your life, you will be fruitful as His vision for your life is fulfilled. He makes your life complete in Him.

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“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10 NKJV).

You are a part of a chosen generation.  You have been chosen by His love and grace to be set apart by God to share the praises of God to the world.  You are called to be united to His body and live as one family of God.  You are a living stone in a living temple.  You have been called out darkness as a messenger of heaven’s light.  Today, remember who you are and what you have been called to.  You are not alone, you are joined together as a kingdom of priests, set apart for His glory.

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“What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole” (1 Peter 1:3-5 The Message).

Your living hope is grounded in the living Word of God.  Jesus who lived and died for you gave you an eternal inheritance.  You are included in His last will and testament.  You are being shielded, protected, and kept safe for your eternal home.  It is the power of God who guards and guides you. So no matter how difficult your journey is now, you are not alone!  Your life today is schooling for your eternal life with Him.  Your present trials are a textbook for your eternal hope where your life will be healed and whole.

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“You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow His directions, doing your best to find Him. That’s right—you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road He set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now You expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course You set; Then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with Your counsel.  I thank you for speaking straight from Your heart; I learn the pattern of Your righteous ways. I’m going to do what You tell me to do; don’t ever walk off and leave me” (Psalm 119:1-8 The Message).

The road revealed by God is a path of obedience that leads to wholehearted relationship with Him.  The Word leads you to know Him better as you learn to follow His directions.  As you feed on His Word, you will hunger for His presence. He will never leave you.  So if you ever get off the path, run back to the road revealed by God. Set your expectations on staying on the course that God has set for your life.  He will encourage your heart and walk with you all the way.

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“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor” (James 4:7-10 NLT).

We are at war with the world, the flesh and the devil.  When we submit to God, we are getting into our proper rank in God’s army and we are able to resist the devil through the power of humility.  Unconditional surrender to God’s word, will and way is the only strategy that will overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil.  So draw near to God and stay near to Him.  Humble yourself and He will lift you up.

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“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere” (James 3:13-17 NLT).

Wisdom that comes from God is willing to yield, it is pure, peaceable, full of mercy and bears good fruit. Wisdom that comes from below promotes envy, strife, pride, deceit and confusion. Worldly wisdom steals God’s glory and promotes man’s futile accomplishments.  God’s wisdom lasts forever and produces eternal fruit.

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“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong,[c] and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession” (James 1:12-18 NLT).

You are God’s prized possession.  God does not tempt you.  Temptation is your opportunity from the enemy to accomplish something, out of the will of God.  You may see sin as an act, but God sees it as a process.  James describes this process of sin where you are tempted by desire, dragged into deception then disobedience and finally into death.  It may take years for the process of sin to mature, but it’s ultimate destination is death to every plan and purpose that God has for your life.  In contrast to this, consider the goodness of God. God’s will and way is good and it does not change.  He has given His divine nature to us to live the fullest potential of life in Him. Today,  receive His way of life and reject the enemy’s way of death. Choose to believe that you are His prized possession.

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