Archive for the month “July, 2011”

Pondering the Passages: 1 Peter 1:13-16

This Week’s Passage and Memory Verse (in red): 13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”  

Peter uses two word pictures here to convey his point:

1) “Prepare your minds for action” – Literally in the Greek language this says “gird up the loins of your mind”. The picture is of a man gathering up his long main garment and tucking it into his belt so as to leave his limbs free for action.

2) “be self -controlled” – literally this is “be sober”.  So Peter is saying here that he we need to be intentional about what we think about. And that we can’t afford to let our minds get muddied up with stuff that will disorient us and confuse reality. Evidently this was as much a problem back then as it is now. So how do we do this? Here are a few ideas that I’ve come up with. I’d love for you to add to these.

  • Ponder passages – now that we are half way through the year it may be time to go back to the beginning and get a refresher course in how to do this. The tendency is toward doing what comes easy. I may be wrong, but I would guess that some of you reading this now have gotten in the habit of letting me do the work for you – you haven’t invested time in actually pondering the passages for yourselves.
  • Memorize and meditate on Scripture – This takes time and this takes work – but the dividends are great. So have you been paying attention to the memory verses each week?
  • Read a great book – Great books stimulate the mind to think. Been doing any reading lately of great books? Need a few ideas? Maybe try one of these that I mentioned in a post back in February. Here are a few more to add to that list:

Don’t Call It A Comeback – Kevin DeYoung

Radical Together – David Platt

The Gospel Driven Life – Michael Horton

It – Craig Groeschel

Desiring God – John Piper

Death by Love – Mark Driscoll

Counterfeit Gods – Tim Keller

  • Have a serious conversation – Have you noticed that we are really good about sitting around and talking about nothing. Maybe it’s time to sit around and talk about something that matters.
  • Write/Journal – I have found that one of the great benefits of doing this blog every week is that it forces me to think. Perhaps as a part of your pondering Scripture or reading great books you could take the time to write and reflect on the things that capture your attention.

So that’s enough for one week. Didn’t even get to the last part of the passage but I have confidence you can handle it on your own. I’m in Boston this week with our team from church working here with Jon Chasteen and Redemption Hill Church.  Now would be a good time to stop and pray for us.

I’m just sayin’!

Next Week’s Passage: Revelation 21:1-8
Next Week’s Memory Verse: Revelation 21:4

Pondering the Passages: Colossians 3:15-17

This Week’s Passage and Memory Verse (in red): 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

My thoughts… such as they are:

Let the peace of Christ rule – So it would seem that we have a choice as to what we allow to rule in our hearts. Many allow worry to rule. Many allow hatred to rule. Many allow jealousy to rule. Many allow greed to rule. Given the choice, peace is a much better option. Don’t you think? But how do you get there?

since as members of one body you were called to peace. – When we really get the fact that at one time we were enemies of God but that through Christ and the cross we have been reconciled to Him – that is that Christ has made peace between us and God – then we have a chance of letting peace rule in our hearts. In other words, until we grasp the gospel it will be impossible to experience true peace.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly – That’s what this pondering passages thing is all about – letting the Word dwell in us. It’s way to easy to let Scripture go in one ear and out the other. By spending a week on each passage we have the chance to let it sink in and take root.

The thing about this passage that immediately caught my attention was the emphasis on being thankful. Each of the 3 verses mention this. Why would Paul seem to harp on this? Perhaps because even back then people lived as if they deserved to be blessed, deserved to have happiness, deserved to have good things happen to them. Not much has really changed in that regard. We live in a culture that feels deserving. When what we really deserve is for the wrath of God to poured down upon us. What we need is to develop an attitude of gratitude that permeates our lives. Living a life that oozes thankfulness in everything remedies the selfishness that so easily creeps in and makes us creeps.

So if you run into me this week how about stopping me and telling me something that you are thankful for – and I will do the same. And maybe, just maybe, together we can learn what it means give thanks in all things to the Father.

I’m just sayin’!

Next Week’s Passage: 1 Peter 1: 13-16
Next Week’s Memory Verse: 1 Peter 1:15-16

Romans 6:1-14

This Week’s Passage and Memory Verse (in red): What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,  that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

So I’m at the beach this week – being really lazy. Reading, sleeping, watching movies, napping, eating, napping some more. So you get a treat instead of my ponderings – which take a lot of thinking. I’m gonna give you some quotes from a book I’ve been reading – The Gospel for Real Life – by Jerry Bridges, which correlate to this passage. Enjoy.

“Our situation was so desperate that only the death of His own Son on a cruel and shameful cross was sufficient to resolve the problem. Many people erroneously think that God can just forgive our sins because He is a loving God. Nothing could be further from the truth.The cross speaks to us not only about our sin but about God’s holiness.” p.28

“The cross is an expression of God’s wrath toward sin as well as His love to us. It expresses His holiness in His determination to punish sin, even at the cost of His Son. And it expresses His love in sending His SOn to bear the punishment we so justly deserved.” p.29

“But we may ask, why is God so angry because of our sin? it is because our sin, regardless of how small or insignificant to us, is essentially an assault on the infinite majesty and sovereign authorithy of God.” p. 50

“Indwelling sin is like a disease that we can’t begin to deal with until we acknowledge its presence. But in the case of sin,we must also count on the fact that, though it still resides in us, it no longer has dominion over us.” p.161

I’m just sayin’!

Next Week’s Passage: Colossians 3:15-17
Next Week’s Memory Verse: Colossians 3:17

Pondering the Passages: Ephesians 2:1-10

This Week’s Passage and Memory Verse (in red): 1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

One of the great great passages in the NT. If I were to encourage you to memorize one entire passage this year then this would be it. This past Sunday I talked about preaching the gospel to yourself everyday – well here it is. I talked about the battle that we have with the unseen forces of darkness – that’s mentioned here as well.  There is so much treasure in this passage – I hope you have pondered it for all it’s worth.

There are a few things that Paul says here that believers need to understand if they are going to understand the gospel at all.

1) We were dead! – Spiritually speaking, as far as our relationship with God was concerned, we were dead. There was no life in us. Nada. Zilch. When you begin to grasp this then you begin to understand the tremendous triumph of grace. There was NOTHING that we did to be made alive in Christ. NOTHING! There was nothing that we could do. We were dead. This is why God’s grace is so amazing.  He made dead people alive. “God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

2) We were objects of wrath! – You have probably heard somewhere before that “God hates the sin but loves the sinner”.  Not true. God is not going to just punish sin, He is going to punish sinners. He will demonstrate His righteous wrath upon all those who defame His Name and who have turned away from His grace and mercy to seek life on their own terms. We at one time deserved His wrath. But at the cross he demonstrated His loving kindness to us and offered us  the free gift of salvation in Christ. Those who repent and turn to Him in faith will find Life. Those who reject His offer of life will forever experience His wrath and justice.

When you get these two things then the gospel makes sense – and you understand why the gospel is such Good News.

And then we come to verse 10. The phrase that captures my attention here is “which God has prepared in advance for us to do.” So it would seem that part of the adventure in this life is to discover what it is that God has prepared  in advance for us to do. Maybe you already know the answer to that question for your own life. Maybe you don’t. If you love adventure like I do then here is a great one for you. A lifetime of discovering all the good that God wants to wring out of your life. He didn’t just save us to sit. He saved us to serve. So have fun adventurizing!

I’m just sayin’!

Next Week’s Passage: Romans 6:1-14
Next Week’s Memory Verse: Romans 6:13a

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