Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Peter’

I have heard it said that everything we need—we have, in order to accomplish what is needed to fulfill God’s destiny. This is so easy to say but so hard to live, to believe. If anything, I see myself (and those around me) always looking for more and still more, thinking that will make the difference.

II Peter 1:3
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

I remember during the season of the “Toronto Blessing” when a great outpouring of delights and miracles seemed to be endless at the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church of the mid-nineties. In addition to a variety of phenomenon from laughing to falling out in the Spirit to shaking, a buzz word of that time was “soaking” in the Spirit and asking for “more.” More, Lord, more.

In hindsight, this call seems self-indulgent. It feels too much like more Edmund in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe who, under the influence of the evil White Witch, could not get enough of Turkish Delight. When she asked what he liked the best, this was the first thing that came to mind, this sickly sweet candy. And then, he was driven by his desire for it, excluding all else.

Do we really want more? Do we really want Divine Power? Would we know how to wield it if had hold of it consciously? Would we merely laugh and shake and cry? Or worse, be like Bruce Almighty, who uses this temporary power for personal gain.

Or, do we want “more” power because we have our own vision of what we want to do or be?

God’s divine power is available to us for one purpose, to live a godly life. And what is a godly life: to love others, to serve those less fortunate that we are, to worship and adore God.

And out of that, comes, on occasion, an opportunity to make a difference.

Read Full Post »

Want to experience authentic Christ followership? It’s the opposite of everything imaginable: love enemies, serve to lead, sit to stand, humbleness for glory, just to name a few. The key to all faith paradoxes is trust and confidence in the God who operates outside of natural laws, basics, like gravity.

I Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Grace is a paradox too.

I’ve been captivated by paradox within my faith for the last three years. I can’t seem to get away from it, as though this one understanding is waiting to be fully embraced, as though I am on the precipice of really “getting it.” Something inside me keeps saying, “once this truth is broken apart, I will be stepping into the deepest places where faith, trust, hope, and love are the norm.

It would be a spiritual Sadie Hawkins life when those seemingly opposite behaviors would be natural. Expectations would no longer drive my emotional responses; disappointment wouldn’t overpower faith; fear would be a memory; anger wouldn’t be a useful tool to get my way; and controlling words would be unfamiliar.

If I could “cast my anxieties” on Christ, there would be nothing to carry.

Read Full Post »

A popular teaching among Christians emphasizes a person’s weaknesses and God’s ability to work with them to create strength [2nd Corinthians 12:9] and I don’t necessarily disagree. But perhaps we have lost sight of the importance of gifted strengths.

I Peter 4:10
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
[NIV 1984] or As each of you has received a gift (a particular spiritual talent, a gracious divine endowment), employ it for one another as [befits] good trustees of God’s many-sided grace [faithful stewards of the extremely diverse powers and gifts granted to Christians by unmerited favor]. [Amplified]

I have given a number of workshops on problem solving and the core usually revolves around some type of brainstorming, a wild explosion of crazy ideas tossed onto the table without concern for viability or ridiculousness. It’s a tool for tackling that worn-out saying, “think outside the box.” It’s a tool for generating creativity.

But many people will shy away from this term, creativity, saying they don’t have it. I disagree. I believe everyone is creative to one degree or another. Most people put some energy into selecting clothes in the morning, making a meal, purchasing an item, planning a party or other event, etc. These decisions are made out of that creative place within. It’s directing oneself toward an end. It’s seeing beforehand, it’s dreaming and imagining.

Divine gifts: some people nurture their creativity and as a result, it is more accessible to them. But everyone has it, because God is creative. And we are extensions of God’s mind. And it’s a definite strength, foundational to human, unique and elastic.

But we must also remember that gifts are a personal responsibility. Like the parable of the talents [Mathew 25:14-30], we have to administer the gifts entrusted to us: we have to use them, not exercise false modesty saying, “Oh, I couldn’t do that.” Baloney.

I understand there are concerns about working our talents and, as a result, getting prideful or self-absorbed. But it’s not the gift that’s the problem, it’s the motive.

It’s the same misunderstanding many people have about money, thinking that money is evil, when it’s the “love of money” that strangles the soul [I Timothy 6:10].

Perhaps we should all try this: create a resume for serving God and others.

Read Full Post »

Above All–Love

I think about the number of times I have written about love in this three year series and yet, it keeps coming up: gospel after gospel, epistle after epistle. And yet, we are so accustomed to the word, it seems to have lost its power in our day to day lives.

I Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

So, a little reminder. This is not the love of flutterings in the heart or sweet whispers in the ear. This is the love of acceptance and challenges, trust and risk, out of the comfort zone and into the chaos of human mistakes. This love takes courage. This love is conscious. This love is on purpose.

This love is not easy because you may not get love back.

This love takes practice. This love is about process not results; persistence not signposts; and honesty. People who are hard to love must be loved authentically. Fake love or actions that only “look” like love have no power.

I’ll say it again. The power of love is in its authenticity. Anything else is Cupid.

Read Full Post »

If there’s anyone out there who seeks suffering, raise your hand. That’s what I thought. The view of suffering put forth so strongly by Peter is one of the reasons “suffering” has been elevated, in some circles, to holiness. I can’t line up with this completely.

I Peter 4:1
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], . . . [Amplified]

I believe, for those who are suffering now, today, these words are a comfort. There is hope, then, in suffering, there can even be a purpose and reward, in some space/time. The people of Peter’s time were suffering deeply, whether by poverty or by persecution. Times such as those must be endured with a respect for their existence–an acceptance of what is.

There is no doubt in my mind, that a person of faith who has gone through agony of the body, has little energy for anything else. Like the “refiner’s fire,” it will remove every useless thing, every useless thought. Endurance is an energy suck. Hope is the best fuel for sustaining oneself in a flood of pain.

I understand all of this.

But the greater part of me wants to fight suffering, not my own, but that of others. I want healing for them. I want renewal and restoration. I want “manifested hope” through wholeness.

As long as I am strong and healthy, then I have a job to do on behalf of those who are not. I must have the courage of Abraham who negotiated the release of the faithful from Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:33pp). I must be bold like Elijah who believed the rain would come (I Kings 18:45) and then later, believed the fire would come (II Kings 1:10), because God is faithful. I must be persistent like the parable of the widow and the judge (Luke 8:1-8).

Because I believe we are called to partner with the Christ to materialize heaven on earth, then wholeness is part of that equation. Can I bear it? Can I believe in the face of pain and sorrow, loss and despair? I must.

Read Full Post »

Water baptism is controversial among various denominations, from dunking to sprinkling, from adults to infants, required or not required, and so on. But, according to Peter, it can be symbolic, it can be a moment in time when the person says, “Yes, from this day forth . . . ”

I Peter 1:21a
. . . 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.

I suppose then, if parents want to mark a day for their babies (at Christenings and dedications and such), is that a bad thing? Does the infant have an unclear conscience, not really. Is the day meaningful for the child, no. But it can be important for the parents on behalf of the child and whatever has gone before that child’s birth. Perhaps they need to mark a moment in time to let go of former circumstances or negative thoughts about the child, this bundle of life that has changed their lives forever. Perhaps they need to make a pledge that day, to move forward and not look back. I like the idea although I doubt it’s a concept shared with young parents. Wish it were.

Now, as to adults and baptism . . .

When I made the decision, some thirty years ago, to become a follower of Christ, I was “all in” except for the church thing. It took me several months before I could go through any of those motions or rituals. My childhood experiences with people of the church and its liturgies had been discouraging. Eventually, I did attend a church in Manhattan, an anachronism to say the least (beehive hairdo’s, long black dresses on the women, knee thumping gospel, etc.). But after some weekly exposure to the Pentecostal teaching, I was drawn to being water baptized as an adult.

Even then, with little understanding of Christian norms, I knew it was a symbol; it was a personal gesture; it was an act of submission to God; it was an agreement between us; it was my pledge to let go of everything that had gone before and to move forward with God and Christ. It was a “yes.”

Do I believe I could be a Christ follower without the dunking pool? I do. Did it seem odd and a little ridiculous at the time? It did. Was I self-conscious of its process? I was.

But I am not sorry I did it. And in a way, I’m thinking water baptism should be considered as an act that can be done more often, much like communion, as an expression of intent, an agreement, a promise.

This, too, then is a “start-over.” It makes a lot more sense when we re-examine the baptisms that John the Baptist ran before Jesus had even started his ministry. It was a gesture of hope back then too.

Read Full Post »

Remade by Spirit

Painting "Easter Mom" by He Qi

Jesus was remade by the Holy Spirit. Can I be too? Here is faith and submission of the highest order. Not so much facing death and believing in that resurrection into a life after death; that cannot be known or understood. But in this life, now. Restoration. Renewal. Recovery.

I Peter 3:18b
He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

This is really what it’s all about, this life. It’s about discovery of “aliveness” in its totality, integrated with the Holy Spirit, rebound then to God, fully Human.

Why are we waiting until death for this discovery?

We wonder about the miracles. Did they happen? Were they real? Of course they were “real” because they transcended 3D. Christ lived in both worlds and more, in time and out of time.

This was the mystery uncovered. Reboot.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: