Did You Know?

Twenty-three men and no women have

been executed in the United States in 2017.

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of November 19-25, 2017, is 2 Peter, 1:20-2:3.  The recipients of this letter from Peter are no longer known.  However, it does not matter because the teachings and warnings in this letter apply just as much today as they did then, to whomever received the letter.

 

But understand this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of or comes from one’s own [personal or special] interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

 

But [in those days] false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will subtly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways, and because of them the way of truth will be maligned. And in their greed they will exploit you with false arguments and twisted doctrine. Their sentence [of condemnation which God has decreed] from a time long ago is not idle [but is still in force], and their destruction and deepening misery is not asleep [but is on its way].  (2 Peter 1:20-2:3, AMP)

 

Are we so different from the ancient Israelites?  They received warning after warning about false prophets, yet most of the nation was only too happy to follow the directions of the false prophets.  Why?  Because it sounded better.  It was easier than listening and doing as the true prophets instructed.  Today, we do not often hear of prophets, false or otherwise.  But we do listen to teachers, pastors, priests, elders, and other influential leaders.  How carefully do you compare what they say, everything they say, to God’s word?  Are you constantly on the watch for false teachers?  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon the verses for the week, evaluate the teachings of those in you life.  Are you being led astray?

The Bible passage for prayer, meditation, and reflection for the week of November 12-18, 2017, is 1 Peter 4:1-5.  As you read this passage, keep in mind that the author, Peter, witnessed Jesus’ life and His suffering.

 

So, since Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God], so that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living by [his] human appetites and desires, but [he lives] for what God wills. For the time that is past already suffices for doing what the Gentiles like to do—living [as you have done] in shameless, insolent wantonness, in lustful desires, drunkenness, reveling, drinking bouts and abominable, lawless idolatries. They are astonished and think it very queer that you do not now run hand in hand with them in the same excesses of dissipation, and they abuse [you]. But they will have to give an account to Him Who is ready to judge and pass sentence on the living and the dead.  (1 Peter 4:1-5, AMP)

  

Are you sure this was written by Peter nearly 2,000 years ago?!  Are you sure?!  Peter’s words are just as applicable today as they were then.  As a fairly recent college graduate, Peter seems to be describing the college scene perfectly.  Unfortunately such behavior is not limited to colleges.  Its beginning earlier and earlier and often such behavior is continued once graduated.  Christian ideas and values are smirked at and called old-fashioned, but we are not to concern ourselves with what other’s think.  We need only consider the Lord.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, consider your life.  With what is it filled?

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of November 5-11, 2017, is Psalm 129:1-4.  Psalm 129 is a song of ascent, sung on the way to Jerusalem, where the Israelites would celebrate and feast before the Lord.  On their journey to Jerusalem, they are reminded of their struggles and trials, and how they overcame them.

 

Many a time and much have they afflicted me from my youth up—let Israel now say—Many a time and much have they afflicted me from my youth up, yet they have not prevailed against me. The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows. The Lord is [uncompromisingly] righteous; He has cut asunder the thick cords by which the wicked [enslaved us].  (Psalm 129:1-4, AMP)

 

Like the author of this psalm, we have all experienced times of trial and affliction.  We have all been beaten down, yet we must also rise, remembering that the Lord is always with us.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, consider the trials you have faced.  How have you succeeded?  What trials are you facing now?  How can the Lord help?

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of October 29-November 4, 2017, is James 4:1-3.  James, rather bluntly, shows the problem many of us have with our pray life.  We cling to the promise that all our prayers will be answered, yet we are not satisfied until they are answered in the way that we want them to be answered.

 

What leads to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members? You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask. [Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures.  (James 4:1-3, AMP)

 

We have become a generation who expects to get what we want, when we want, simply because we want.  But that is not God’s way.  Sometimes, God requires that we wait for Him to answer our pray in the way that we want, and, sometimes, God will not give us the answer we want.  Our example for prayer should come from Jesus.  Jesus did not want to die on the cross.  He asked that the burden be lifted from Him, however, He also acknowledged that God’s will, not His, should be done.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, consider your daily prayer life.  For what are you praying?  God’s will or yours?

The Bible passage for mediation, prayer, and reflection for the week of October 22-28, 2017, is Deuteronomy 6:4-8.  The Israelites are preparing to enter into the Promised Land, but Moses will not be going with them.  This week’s passage is part of his final instructions to the Israelites.

 

Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord [the only Lord]. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might. And these words which I am commanding you this day shall be [first] in your [own] minds and hearts; [then] you shall whet and sharpen them so as to make them penetrate, and teach and impress them diligently upon the [minds and] hearts of your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets (forehead bands) between your eyes.  (Deuteronomy 6:4-8, AMP)

 

What is the greatest commandment?  When asked this question, Jesus referred back to this passage.  Some things never change!  This passage should be written on your heart, engraved in your life, saturated in your actions.  Loving the Lord with all your heart and mind.  Nothing is more important.  We are to share this love with our children, our family, our friends, our coworkers, and our enemies.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s passage, consider how your love for the Lord affects your daily life.  What changes do you need to make?

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