Friday, July 27, 2007

Freiday Devotional

I have decided to try something new. I have decided to send out a devotional on Fridays. Ideally, this will take place every week, however, as the new semester approaches this may not be feasible every week. In that case, I will try to send something out as consistently as possible as time, marriage, and assignments allow. This idea came about as my desire to read God's word has increased, and my realization that my desire was not being met (mostly because of apathy). So, I figured if I were to share my studies with family and friends, then that would force me to get into God's Word and create an excitement within me to share my findings with others. I hope and pray that through this my faith, love, and knowledge of God would increase and your's too.

I will start this experiment off in 1 Peter. I have picked this letter mainly because we will be going through it in our Sunday School class. I figured I could kill two birds with one stone this way, since I will be teaching portions of this letter during our Sunday hour over the next couple of months. Without further ado, lets dive in!

1 Peter

Background: As many of us know, Peter was an apostle of Jesus. He was among one of the twelve disciples, and within that group was one of the three in the inner-group. In the Gospels we get a picture of Peter as one that was hot tempered and a little on the slow side (but most of the disciples are portrayed that way). However, in this letter and in 2 Peter we see a different side of him. Here we get a glimpse of a more thoughtful and caring Peter. One that is concnered with Christians throughout the world (at that time the Roman Empire). We get to see that the crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus have made a mark on Peter. This letter reflects his theological contemplation, which undoubtedly came from a sincere love and appreciation for his Saviour. The letter is eschatologically focused, that is, it looks towards the end times. It is not necessarily stating what will happen, but calling on Christians to persevere and remain in the faith until the Day of the Lord comes.
This letter was most likely written in the A.D. 60's. There is dispute concerning the timing of Peter's death, but most scholars place it around A.D. 64. Peter was in Rome at this time awaiting martyrdom under the reign of Nero. As tradition tells us, Peter was crucified upside down because he was not worthy to die in the same manner as his Lord.

1 Peter 1:1-2: Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

Exposition: Peter establishes his authority right from the beginning by claiming to be "an apostle of Jesus Christ." It is under this authority that he writes the letter to the aliens residing in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (these states comprise what is known as Asia Minor). The term "aliens" refers to their sojourning status. They are not originally residents of those areas as most of them are diaspora Jewish Christians. They were forced out of Jersusalem, and Israel at large, by the Romans. Despite their current position in foreign lands, these aliens can take solace in knowing that they are "chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." They are now part of God's community. They may be aliens in the world, but as we will see later, they have a place of their own in God's Kingdom.

"Sanctifying" refers to setting something or someone apart. These Christians were being set apart by the Spirit. They were distinct from the surrounding pagans due to the Spirits work in their lives. As the chosen ones, these Christians were to obey Jesus Christ and his teachings. The phrase, "sprinkled with His blood," most likely alludes to the Jewish ritual of sprinkling blood on people and objects in order to consecrate them for God's use. The sprinkling language, also, ties into the New Coventant which has come about by the blood of Christ. One who is figuratively sprinkled with the blood of Jesus receives cleansing and the same benefits that the priests and royal families receieved under the Old Covenant.

*Note that verse 2 points to the doctrine of the Trinity. All three persons of the Trinity( Father, Son, and Spirit) are present and each one appears to be equal in God-ness and yet distinct in function. *

Due to his recipients' condition (persecution), Peter prays that God would pour out His grace and especially His peace upon these Christians. They needed the "fullest measure" possible, which we will see why in the proceeding verses.

Application: In what ways do you feel like an alien in a foreign land? How can you show God that you are thankful for His choosing you to be apart of His family? In what areas of your life are you not obeying Christ? How can we as fellow believers help you in that area? How are you working against the sanctifying work of the Spirit?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your saving grace. Thank you that we are able to approach you through the work of your Son and by your Spirit. God look on us with favor and give us peace. We ask these things in the name of Jesus and by the Spirit. Amen.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Free Healthcare...Ha!

Piggy-backing off of the last article, here are two articles concerning national health care which would be worth your time reading. One is by John Stossel about an interview he did with Michael Moore in preparation for a 20/20 segment. The other article is about Wisconsin's democratic plan for a state version of national health care. Take a read and be informed:

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Two Bad Ideas

I saw an article the other day that said Hillary, Obama, and Edwards are pushing for national healthcare that would cover abortion procedures. I can't say that I'm surprised, but this does upset me for two reasons. One, I'm not for national healthcare. Yes, I think we do need to make changes to our health system, but I don't think higher taxes is the route to take. And second, with a system like they are proposing that would cover abortions, I can only see the number of abortions rising. That would not be a good thing.

I also don't think teaching kindergartners sex-ed is a benificial idea either, as Obama has claimed to be in favor of. I may be long removed from my days in kindergarten, but I do remember not having a clue about sex, and I was o.k. with that. What happened to the days that girls had coodies? And boys were gross? I personally think we need less government in the family, and allow families to do the education, especially when it comes to the "birds and the bees." Plus, I don't think kindergartners are mentally ready for their first dose of sex talk. There was a reason why Jewish families did not allow their sons and/or daughters to read the book Song of Solomon (also known as Song of Songs) until they were a certain age, and it's in the Bible! Now, I don't want our kids to be naive when it comes to sex, but lets leave that at least until they start hitting puberty.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Amazed by what?

"AMAZED" by Lincoln Brewster

You dance over me while I am unaware
You sing all around but I never hear the sound

Lord I'm amazed by You
Lord I'm amazed by You
Lord I'm amazed by You
And how You love me

You paint the morning sky with miracles in mind
My hope will always stand
For You hold me in Your hand

How deep, how wide
How great is Your love for me

This song was sung today during our church service. It is a catchy tune, but I find it quite contradictory, at least in the first verse: how can one be amazed if they can't see one dancing or hear one singing? I don't mean any disrespect to Mr. Brewster, but seriously it makes no sense. It seems to me that our "evangelical" worship music has become too watered down. We are too focused on bringing people into the church with our upbeat tempos and guitars that we've forgotten the deep meaningful lyrics. It reminds me of the old commercial with the geriatric lady when she says, "Where's the beef?" There is none!

I don't think we're loving God with our music as He has commanded us: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Matt 22:37). Where's the mind in today's contemporary worship music? Has it gone out to pasture? The point is we need to start focusing on what we say and less on how we say it. The heart and soul are present, so let's bring back the mind and actually think about who we're praising, worshipping, discribing, loving, lifting up, blessing, etc.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Beginning

Nothing of substance yet, but hopefully in the future something will come about.