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Author Topic: Christ's Ways
Sa:ji:sdo:de
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431) Jas 2:1 . . My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ-- the Lord of glory --with respect of persons.

The koiné Greek word for "respect of persons" is prosopolepsia (pros-o-pol-ape-see’-ah) which means: partiality.

Webster’s defines "partiality" as: partisan, prejudiced, biased, and/or granting one person more value as a human being than another in regards to particulars like age, race, gender, looks, size, education, intellect, bank account, career, clothing, popularity, neighborhood, and social status.

†. Jas 2:2-4 . . For instance, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in flashy clothing and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is low-income and dressed in shabby clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, "You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor" --well, doesn’t this kind of discrimination show that you are guided by wrong motives?

When I first began attending church as an adult back in the decade of the 1970's, my wardrobe consisted entirely of shirts and trousers that I bought on the cheap at Value Village-- a popular second hand store on the west coast the same as Salvation Army and Goodwill.

I never told anybody where I shopped, although I've no doubt that some of the folk I encountered in church could tell that my fashions were a tad out of date because there were some upper income people attending that looked a whole lot nicer than me; but I figured: what the hay; I had as much right to attend in my previously-owned clothing as they did in their untainted high-end threads. Some of them had gold watches too while I sported a simple Timex with an imitation leather strap; and I drove an aging 1968 VW Beetle that needed paint. You know, looking back on that era, I sometimes wonder how many people avoided me without my knowing it because of all that.

432) Jas 2:12 . . So speak and so act, as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.

The "law of liberty" includes, but isn't limited to, loving your Christian brother as Christ loves him (John 15:12). So then, treating a low income believer with less regard than a high income believer fails to fulfill the law of liberty.

†. Php 2:3-4 . . Do not be conceited, nor regard yourself as better than others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than you.

There were these four 20-something girls in the singles group at the church where I met my wife, who were a little clique of fashion-conscious females that never associated with anyone but themselves. One of the guys, disgusted with their elitist attitudes, named them the Holy Four. (chuckle) That label was certainly apropos. Those four girls were so into themselves that they were of no earthly use to anyone; and I never saw one of them with a boy; no doubt because nobody was good enough for them. It was kind of ironic in a way. All the normal girls were popular with the boys while the boys kept their distance from the four stuck-up fashion mavens. I never once saw them in mixed company.

One evening, as I walked down the aisle in church to find myself a seat, I attempted to cordially greet one of the Holy Four walking past me in the opposite direction. Ms. Fashion Statement didn't even so much as look in my direction or utter a single sound. All she did was reach up to one of her shoulders, the one that was towards me, and execute a brushing gesture with her fingers. Can you imagine somebody in a church that represents Christ practicing that kind of snobbery? Unthinkable. (cf. Luke 7:36-47)

Leafing through the September 2009 issue of
VOGUE, I couldn't help but notice that the photographers posed many of their models with the most assertive, arrogant, confrontational, and indifferent expressions and postures imaginable. What in God's name is with that industry anyway? Some of the VOGUE models reminded me of the hostile extras in the INXS 1988 rock video of "The Devil Inside". The Holy Four no doubt regarded VOGUE as their Bible. Well, that was over thirty-two years ago as of this writing. All four of those snob-ettes are now old enough to be grandmas. I can't help but wonder if they aren't still trying to fit into fashions appropriate for 20-somethings. (chuckle) They say time and tide wait for no man. Well, neither does the aging process.

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433) Jas 3:1 . . Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you realize that we will be judged more strictly.

Most internet Christian forums encourage discussion, but people oftentimes use the forums not for discussion; but as a pulpit for preaching and teaching: apparently not realizing that when they preach and teach on a world-wide venue, they have appointed themselves to speak for God. Well; that's risky because should their preaching and teaching misrepresent God, and many do, they'll have to answer for it.

I've seen people actually boast of leading a Sunday school class; as if the position were an achievement. Let me warn you about something. If you accept a position to teach Sunday school for the prestige, your heart is definitely in the wrong place; nor are you fully aware of just how frightening a responsibility it is to stand in for Christ.

434) Jas 3:13-18 . .Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter rivalry and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where rivalry and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of compassion and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

The "seed whose fruit is righteousness" is oftentimes not sown in peace on internet forums; nor is it sown on internet forums by people who make peace. It's sown by flaming, competitive, assertive, confrontational people-- toxic, impulsive, mean-spirited personalities given to rejoinders, demeaning comments, recriminations and fault finding. And if there's a problem, it's never them; no, you are the problem, and for them; turning the other cheek is no longer in vogue.

Those kinds of people do not like to be wrong, nor can they even think of themselves as wrong, nor are they likely to admit when they're wrong because they're really not all that interested in the truth; but only in defending their version of the truth; viz: their truth is far more important to them than even the God's truth; and should you not accept their truth, then it's because you have no understanding and need to come to your senses. These people are neither wise nor gentle. They'll ride rough-shod over your feelings like a skate-boarder barreling through Autumn leaves on the sidewalk. It's just awful how little they care for the injuries their attitude and their choice of words cause others.

People who take it upon themselves to teach, preach, and/or discuss the Bible on internet forums have to be sensible, and they have to exemplify the Gospel. They can't be doing it for the prestige, showing off, impressing their friends, and/or competing with a rival. They have to be honest and forthright. They have to have a heart, they have to be dedicated and reliable: they cannot be vacillating, they have to practice what they preach, and they cannot be sarcastic, obtuse, difficult, contrary, quarrelsome, snobby, pretentious, demeaning, domineering, despotic, assertive, confrontational, stubborn, pernicious, or pugnacious. Internet soap-boxers have to be someone people can trust, and someone with whom they may speak their minds without fear of reprisals instead of someone in whose presence everybody has to walk on egg shells all the time.

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435) Jas 4:7 . . So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will shun you.

The Devil has the tactical advantage of being completely invisible, and no more solid than the vacuum of space. So the human eye not only cannot see the Devil, but human touch cannot feel him either. The Devil can't be bumped into, he gives off no odor; he makes no sound, he takes up no space.

The Devil rules in the world of men primarily by punching human nature's buttons. There's your first clue in how to resist the Devil.

†. Gal 5:16-17 . . So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the inclinations of the flesh.

Living by the Spirit isn't mysterious. All it really means is doing as God wishes rather than permitting yourself to be manipulated by the impulses, proclivities, predilections, and propensities of human nature. You can't stop those forces of human nature from doing their thing any more than you can stop your lungs from demanding you take breaths. But they can be suppressed if one puts their mind to it.

†. 1Pet 5:9 . .Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith.

The Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania live in the midst of lion country. They are not afraid to hunt the lions. As a result, the beasts have learned down through the ages that the Maasai are not easy meat; but rather, a threat to their survival. Every once in a while a rogue lion will attack a lone Maasai, but as a rule, the lions pretty much keep their distance. Most animals are terrified of lions, but not the Maasai; no, they fight back, with weapons, and usually win. The lions know this and so shun the Maasai as potential prey.

The point is: since you can't fight the Devil on his own terms, then the best defense against his predation is to submit to God. Up to this point, I've listed 400+ Christian commandments that, if complied with, will go a long ways towards frustrating the Devil and causing him to keep his distance.

436) Jas 4:8-10 . . Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites. Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor.

In other words: Walk with God, and He will walk with you.

†. 1John 1:6 . . If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.

Failure to walk with God renders a believer out alone after dark, and subsequently vulnerable to Satanic predation; which means they will be manipulated by the flesh rather than by the Spirit; which could ultimately lead to an untimely death. (e.g. Acts 5:1-11, 1Cor 11:17-30, Rom 8:13, 1John 5:16)

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437) Jas 4:11a . . Do not speak evil of one another, brethren.

The koiné Greek word for "speak evil" is katalaleo (kat-al-al-eh'-o) which means: a traducer, a slanderer.

Webster's defines "slander" as: the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and/or damage another's reputation and/or a false and defamatory oral statement about a person; viz: libel.

Webster's defines "libel" as: 1) a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression, and 2) a statement or representation published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt.

According to Webster's, a statement (or a photograph) need not be untrue to qualify as libel. If the statement, and/or the photograph, is unnecessarily denigrating and/or embarrassing to someone, though it be 100% true, then it qualifies as libel.

For example: When Donald Trump was in the process of procuring land in Scotland for a golf course, there was a low-income man living on the land in a ratty hovel. Trump ran that man into the ground for living like that and even took a camera crew out to the man's home to film it. Afterwards, in a news conference, he said: "I'm only telling the truth". Yes, the place was a rat's nest; but was it really necessary to expose that poor man to public humiliation? No. President Trump wasn't being honest, he was being cruel; and that's exactly the kind of evil speaking that Jas 4:11 prohibits.

Is Jas 4:11 saying that I cannot criticize someone? No; it isn't saying that at all. I mean, after all, the Lord was, and is, very critical. The important thing is (1) to make very sure that the statements are true, and (2) that they really matter; or otherwise, keep it to yourself.

What I'm talking about here is "tact" which Webster's defines as: a keen sense of what to do or say in order to maintain good relations with others or avoid offense.

There are some things we could say about others that, though true, aren't necessary. For example, if you were to inadvertently see one of the ladies in the office scratching an itch on her derriere; is it really necessary to go blabbing about it all over the office? No; and in point of fact, to do so would be libelous, not to mention possibly in violation of local labor laws banning the fomentation of a hostile workplace. If that lady ever found out you were blabbing about her derriere she might be so mortified as to make it difficult for her to show up for work.

One evening, at a single's group meeting, I overheard a friend seated behind me comment that a certain woman in the group was very attractive; and I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was seriously considering making a move on her. Well, having had personal contact with that woman, I told my friend that he could do better because that particular lady was conceited, cruel, insensitive, and mean-spirited; in other words she was somewhat psychopathic; which Webster's defines as: a mental disorder marked by egocentric and antisocial activity.

Was I wrong for saying what I did about that lady? No. I knew for my own self that woman was bad news and it was my honest intention to spare my friend the emotional pain he was sure to endure by approaching her. In that particular case, the ugly truth about someone mattered.

Some years ago when I was working as a welder/ship fitter in a family-owned boatyard on Shelter Island in San Diego, one of the boss' adolescent sons came out on a skiff I was helping to construct. He remarked to one of the men standing there, in my hearing, that I looked stupid.

Do I look stupid? Yes, I do. It's been a curse my entire life. If you were to meet me, your first impression would be that I'm a lummox. Some people look intelligent, and some people look just the opposite. I'm among the ones who look just the opposite; and I was looking low-brow way before Weird Al Yankovic came out with a rock parody in 1985 titled: "Dare To Be Stupid."

So then, what the boss' son said was true. But was it necessary? No; it was thoroughly unnecessary, and in point of fact his thoughtless remark cut me deeply; but what could I do? He was the boss' son. Anon, that boy grew up to become one of worst cases of male vanity it has been my misfortune to encounter in life. Though he came of a good family, the boss' son had the nature of a churl; through and through.

Words are weapons,
Sharper than knives.

The Devil Inside
Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence
INXS


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438) Jas 4:11b-12 . . He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?

Someone is sure to jump to the conclusion that James is referring to Matt 7:1-5 but this has nothing to do with that. What we’re talking about here is a kangaroo court which Webster’s defines as: (1) a mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted, (2) a court characterized by irresponsible, unauthorized, or irregular status or procedures, and (3) judgment or punishment given outside of legal procedure.

One way to speak evil of the law, and judge the law, is to misrepresent the law by construing it to mean things it doesn't say in writing; in other words: to overrule it and/or criticize the law as out of date.

When a group of beer buddies, and/or a coffee clutch of girl friends, get together and rake somebody over the coals behind their back, those buddies and girl friends are conducting a kangaroo court in which the evidence presented is typically hear-say, feelings, thoughts, and impressions. I believe the common colloquialism for that activity is "character assassination."

Typically the accused is never informed of the trial, nor given an opportunity to confront their accusers, nor are they granted the right to an appeal. Sadly, yet all to commonly, once kangaroo courts reach a consensus, the condemned person’s reputation among those kinds of “judges” is ruined forever with no chance of repair.

439) Jas 4:13-16 . . Come now, you who say: Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit. Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say: If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that. But as it is, you vaunt your braggadocio; all such vaunting is evil.

What’s wrong with prosperity? Nothing. The problem here is not prosperity; the problem is selfish ambition. According to John 15:16, the Lord informed his followers that he selected them for three purposes : (1) to go, (2) to bring forth fruit, and (3) to associate with his Father--not to wander off and do as they please.

†. Eph 2:10 . . For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I think some of the more ambitious believers sometimes forget that the Lord is a monarch with ideas of his own for their lives.

†. Php 2:5-8 . . Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus . . . who, being found in appearance as a man, humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

†. Matt 10:38-39 . . Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Even Christ was subject to another's agenda.

†. John 5:30 . . I seek not to please myself, but rather, Him who sent me.

†. John 6:38 . . I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me.

Christians sometimes forget just how fragile human life really is. At any moment, they can be terminated by health, crime, or accident. It's the brevity of life that makes it so essential that people not squander it on selfish ambition. If at all possible, bloom where you're planted instead of arbitrarily running off to greener pastures.

†. Eph 5:15-17 . .Therefore be intelligent in how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

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440) Jas 5:1-3 . . Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days.

Gold doesn't react with oxygen so it won't rust. However, under certain conditions gold will tarnish, e.g. long-term storage in boxes, bins, and or environments containing organic sulfur compounds. In other words; James condemns the rich for stockpiling their gold and never putting any of it to a use beneficial to their fellow man.

The worst case scenario is the hoarding of gold that rightfully belonged to laborers who worked to earn it.

†. Jas 5:4 . . Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.

James' final comment actually accuses unfair labor practices of murder because they deprive the working man of a living wage; and of course most of the world's working men do not challenge unfair labor practices in court because they simply cannot afford to; and in some countries, they would risk severe political reprisals if they dared.

†. Jas 5:6 . .You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.

The "righteous man" in this context refers to people putting in an honest day's work and not being fairly compensated for it and/or employers contriving tricky ways to short change them by deducting trumped up expenses from their pay. There's a lot of that goes on in the garment industry.

It's still true even in our day that only the rich and powerful can afford justice. However; there's a day coming when that imbalance will all come to an end.

†. Ps 72:4 . . He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor.

†. Isa 11:4 . . But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth;

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441) Jas 5:7-8 . . Persevere, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; be strong, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

The koiné Greek word for "at hand" is eggizo (eng-id'-zo) which means: to make near; viz: approach

So then, "at hand" doesn’t necessarily mean the Lord is poised to drop in any second now, but rather, his arrival is approaching and getting nearer by the minute.

Although James' encouragement no doubt applies to all believers, it especially applies to his Jewish countrymen. They have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for God to fulfill the promises He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and to restore David's kingdom as per the voices of the prophets. I'm told that many have given up hope of the promises and the predictions ever coming to pass. But James says don't give up; God is reliable; and He and the kingdom are both worth waiting for no matter how long it takes.

The problem is: according to 2Pet 3:9, the Lord is actually reluctant to return; primarily because an awful lot of people are going to lose their lives when He does.

Take for example Rev 16:18-19 where there's predicted a world-wide earthquake preceding the Lord's return so severe on the Richter scale that cities all over the world will collapse at once. Something like 2,829 lost their lives when the World Trade Center was demolished by a terrorist attack in 2001. Well that was only a small portion of New York City. Just imagine the body count when all of Manhattan comes down at once. along with other major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Mexico City, Paris, Moscow, Beijing, Tokyo, et al. The carnage will be beyond belief. Surely nobody in a right mind is in a rush to see all of that start happening.

442) Jas 5:9 . . Do not complain against one another, brethren, that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

Although watching porn, quarrelling with a spouse, mistreating the kids, road rage, J-walking, coasting through a stop sign, spray-painting graffiti on a subway car, or cussing the neighbor’s dog, is bad enough; kangaroo-courting is even worse.

If there’s a personality clash between you and a fellow believer; God forbid you should drag other people into the middle of it! And keep in mind that God is an eavesdropper. He hears and sees everything we do, think, or say. Don't let Him catch you maliciously shredding a fellow believer's reputation, assassinating their character and/or running them into the ground behind their back.

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443) Jas 5:10 . . For an example of suffering and patience, brethren; take the prophets who spoke in the Lord's name.

In rock music, role models are called influences. But whatever your preference, role models and/or influences are handy for providing a pattern for the kinds of people we wish to be and/or the kinds of people we think we ought to be.

One of my favorite prophets was Noah. Can you just imagine the mockery, and the cruel remarks that poor man must have endured while he was constructing the ark? And the feelings of futility? He was a preacher of righteousness for 120 years (2Pet 2:5) and the only converts Noah won were his own wife, his three sons, and their wives. When the ark embarked, there was only a paltry eight human beings aboard.

According to Gen 6:1-2, there were other holy men on earth during Noah's days but they sold their souls for sex and subsequently died in the Flood right along with everybody else.

Noah was an oak; he never caved to the pressures of his era’s social customs nor duplicated their spiritual hypocrisy. Noah held his ground, remained true to his God; and as a result, survived the Flood totally unharmed. He’s listed in the Bible as one of the most righteous men who ever lived.

†. Ezek 14:13-14 . . Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it. Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness: testifies Yhvh God.

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444) Jas 5:12 . . Above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but let your yes be yes, and your no be no; so that you may not fall under judgment.

Does this mean Christians shouldn’t even take an oath in court to tell the truth? No, it doesn’t mean that at all; I mean, after all, Christ took an oath in court. (Matt 26:62-64, Mark 14:61-62)

God takes oaths. (Gen 22:15-18, Heb 6:13-18, Heb 7:20-21)

Angels swear (Rev 10:5-6)

Paul swore. (Rom 1:9)

Israel's covenanted law, which Christ came to defend (Matt 5:17-19) requires oaths on special occasions. (e.g. Ex 22:10-11, Lev 5:1, Num 5:19, Deut 29:10-15)

So then, not all oaths are wrong.

The problem is, people are too careless with their oaths. They’re wont to say “I swear to God” and/or "Hand to God" for just about everything. And they make promises sealed with the same words. Those promises are a snare because like Jesus said “you cannot make one hair white or black”. Sure enough, when you seal a promise with an oath, the forces of heaven and hell, the stars in their courses, dumb luck, brute force, circumstances beyond your control, and the neighbor's dog are going to make it impossible for you to keep that promise. Will God grant you an excuse? No. In order to grant you an excuse, He would have to compromise not only His integrity; but also the dignity of the name by which you swore; and that He will never do.

Some years ago I cosigned a loan for a fellow welder who was down on his luck. Sure enough, he fell behind on a payment and the finance company telephoned me. I went down and made good on the payment (and all the rest after that one too) because my name was on that contract; ergo: my credit reputation was at stake. The co-worker was thunderstruck and protested that he intended to make the payment: it would just be a little late; that’s all. (sigh) Dead-beats just don’t get it.

It’s one thing to break your word, or default on a loan, or breech a contract; but it is a whole other thing to break an oath; so if at all possible; don’t swear with God’s name.

Quite a few municipalities have taken God's name out of their oaths and simply require the testifier to swear in court to tell the truth; and leave out the "so help me God" part. An oath like that goes on record just as binding as one's signature on a legal document. But if your courts require you to include "so help me God" during the swearing-in process, do it because that's for keeps rather than a chit-chat bull session.

The US President is not required by the Constitution to include the phrase "so help me God" in the oath of office; so when one is sworn in, it's his prerogative to leave it out.

Considering the gravity of an oath taken with God's name in it, I would be scared to death to accept an office that requires any such oath; especially an appointment to the US Supreme Court. Though all nine members are supposedly experts in Constitutional law; they seldom, if ever, are unanimous on anything. That means somebody on that court is dishonoring God and they will one day be called into account for it. Those judges might be the highest court in the land, but they are not higher than the God of their oath of office. But Supreme Court appointees are typically not interested in God's feelings about anything; they're only interested in the appointment; and these days, an appointee need not be an expert at law at all since they're only required to render opinions rather than absolutes. No, their politics need only be in line with the President who appointed them in order to qualify for recommendation.

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445) Jas 5:13 . . Is anyone among you undergoing hardship? Let him pray.

446) Jas 5:13-14 . . Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises.

Never ask the ones undergoing hardship to sing. They're really not in the mood. They should pray while the cheerful sing.

447) Jas 5:14 . . Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord

It's all too common for religious fanatics to allow their underage children to die from treatable medical conditions on the basis of that verse. Where do we draw the line with the so-called "freedom of religion" guaranteed in the US Constitution's first amendment? Answer: We draw the line at the child's inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; which, according to America's Declaration of Independence; are not only God-given rights, but also a self evident truth that men were created with those rights.

The DOI goes on to say that all men are created equal. It doesn't say grown-up men; it says all men, which means that women and children have just as much right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as anybody else. Parents who deny the truth of those rights are nothing in the world but wicked despots; and in point of fact the very kinds of twisted monarchs the DOI targets.

Christ addressed this issue indirectly by means of his teachings on the seventh day Sabbath; which, in a nutshell, says that the seventh day was made for man, not the other way around. (Mark 2:27)

†. Matt 12:11-12 . . And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do good on the sabbath days.

The sanctity of human life trumps the sanctity of the Sabbath. So then, hospitals, doctors, nurses, firemen, law enforcement, soup kitchens, rescue missions, Red Cross, Haiti emergency workers, etc. who are busy on the Sabbath do not sin. Do they break the Sabbath? Yes; but the sanctity of the Sabbath is secondary to the sanctity of human life.

So then, I would have to say, in accordance with Matt 12:11-12, that people who deny their children adequate medical care in the name of religion regard the value of their own flesh and blood as something less than that of a beast.

It's okay to have elders pray for your child, and it's okay to anoint them with oil as per James 5:14. But after that, parents really should take their children to a doctor because the sanctity of human life is far more important than strict observance of one's religious rituals.

There used to be an old saying going around in Christian circles that went something like this: When a farmer prays for a crop, he should say amen with a hoe. In other words, don't just sit back and wait for a miracle when it's in your power to take some action; and if you don't, then in my opinion, you deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law when a child in your care dies from a treatable condition.

†. 1Tim 5:8 . . If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Children aside; the real purpose of summoning elders is not so much to conduct a healing service, but rather, for a discussion of the possible reasons behind a church member's ailment (Jas 5:15). A believer's infirmity may be just the normal round of human existence, but then again, maybe the Lord is trying to get their attention. Well-trained, experienced elders can sleuth that out and assist a fallen brother (or sister) to rectify their association with the Lord if perchance that's the case. (cf. 1Cor 11:17-30, Gal 6:1, 1John 5:16)

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448) Jas 5:16 . . Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.

The word "sins" is an arbitrary editorial insertion rather than a translation; viz: it isn't in the Greek manuscripts so somebody penciled it in. So we could safely re-translate that verse to read "Confess to one another".

There's quite a number of key words in the Bible that sometimes trigger a knee-jerk-reflex in people's minds and "confess" is one of them. It would seem to me that James isn't commanding Christians to confess their sins to one another as Father Confessors for the purpose of absolution; but rather: to simply man-up and admit when they're wrong. (cf. Matt 18:15-17).

The prayer for healing is for the ones whose ego is so big and bloated that they cannot bring themselves to admit when they're wrong even if their very lives were to depend on it.

449) Jas 5:19-20 . . My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.

Not all sins are worthy of death (1John 5:16-17). And a sin that's fatal for one believer may not be lethal for another. I mean, look at David; he committed the awful sins of premeditated murder and adultery, yet God allowed him to live (2Sam 11:1-2Sam 12:14). But when Ananias and his wife Sapphira lied about the proceeds from the sale of their property, they were summarily executed. (Acts 5:1-10). And in Corinth, the health of only some was struck after desecrating the Lord's supper; while others were executed for the same reason (1Cor 11:17-30).

This indicates that the Lord disciplines His loved ones on an individual basis rather than an indiscriminate, class-action basis. Some kids are easily corrected simply by a cross glare and a stern scolding; while other kids require a stronger hand. The outside world can't understand this kind of disparity because they cannot relate to Christianity's God as an intelligent parent; they can only see Him as a dispassionate judge; which is appropriate for their status as fugitives.

I once heard a cute story of a man who used to whack his mule upside the head with a wooden stake prior to getting up on the seat of his buckboard. Someone asked him why he hit the animal. The man replied: That was to get his attention, otherwise he won't budge when I snap the reins and yell giddyup.

†. Ps 32:8-9 . . I wish to instruct you, and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Don't be like the horse or the mule, which have no discernment, but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not obey you.

For some believers, a whack up alongside the head is all it takes to motivate them to straighten up and fly right. Others are so incorrigible that only a brush with death finally convinces them that God is serious.

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450) 1Pet 1:13-18 . . Gird up your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

The koiné Greek word for "gird up" is anazonnumi (an-ad-zone'-noo-mee) which means: to gird afresh; viz: re-gird. Webster's defines gird as: to encircle or bind with a flexible band (as a belt).

The re-girding Peter is talking about is sort of like a man putting his pants on in the morning and tightening his belt to hold them up. He does that every day before he goes out the door for the day. But here we're putting on pants in one's mind; viz: it's a daily attitude adjustment.

A purposeful life is a life with an objective; and the one objective that every believer should keep in their mind's sights is that this life is only a stop-over. Their permanent destination is yet to come (cf. Heb 11:8-16). So they shouldn't get too attached to this life; rather, get themselves attached to the next; and the next is a world ruled by a monarch who has very different ideas than the world's in regards to good citizenship.

There used to be a popular term going around in Christian circles regarding the "purposeful life". It's a good term, and quite the opposite of a drifter's life; which is a life that has no purpose. Webster's defines a drifter as one that travels and/or moves about aimlessly. In other words, a drifter is a vagabond, which Webster's defines as somebody who leads an unsettled, irresponsible, or disreputable life. Though believers inhabit the current earth as pilgrims (1Pet 2:11) they're not to do so as vagabonds and/or drifters.

I have, on occasion in the past, recommended that unbelievers take a time-out to consider the possibility of their going to hell, and begin using what time they have remaining to prepare themselves for the worst when they pass on. Well; believers would be wise to take a time-out to consider just the opposite; viz: their going to heaven, and begin using what time they have remaining to prepare themselves for it when they pass on.

451) 1Pet 1:14-16 . . As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy.

"conformed" is speaking of habits. Take for example alcoholism. The popular diagnosis these days is that it's a disease. Well; it if is, then it's the only disease I know of practiced by fools.

†. Prov 20:1 . . Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

Alcoholism isn't a disease; it's a habit, and one of the habits that Christ's believing followers are commanded to make a habit of avoiding.

†. Eph 5:18 . . Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation,

452) 1Pet 1:17-18 . . And if you address as "Father" the one who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in reverential fear during the time of your stay upon earth

I once heard of a preacher complain that he wished his congregation were as afraid of the Devil as they are of holiness. (chuckle). Well, obviously his congregation lacked purpose; their attitude was that of drifters and vagabonds. They were all believers; they had that much going for them. They just needed somebody to throw cold water in their faces and wake them up to getting their eyes off the ground and getting their eyes up on the brass ring.

†. Col 3:1-4 . . So then, since you have been resurrected with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then will you also appear with him in glory.

People in heaven no doubt make a habit of treating God with reverential fear; that is: they respect both Him and His wishes. Down here, people make a habit of insolence and rebellion; even some of the people wearing a Christian ID tag.

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453a) 1Pet 1:22a . . Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit

The grammatical tense of the words "have purified" is past rather than future. So it isn't "when" you purify your souls. In other words, the souls of the Christians to whom Peter penned his epistle were already purified before it arrived; and they did it not by means of a denominational affiliation; but rather, by obeying the truth; and their obedience was "through the Spirit" rather than through human artifice.

Q: What is soul?

A: The Greek word for "soul" is very similar in meaning to the Greek word for "spirit" except that "soul" refers a tad more to one's creature existence. In other words: soul speaks of humanity's creation from the dust of the earth; and into whose body God aspirated the breath of life as per Gen 2:7).

The Hebrew word for "soul" is nephesh (neh'-fesh) which isn't limited to human life. Several varieties of created life are categorized as nephesh in the book of Genesis; and in point of fact, all life that was aboard Noah's ark, including human life, is categorized as nephesh.

In reality: human souls are little more than primates whose minds are produced by a 3-pound lump of flabby organic tissue housed within their bony little skulls-- and not even all three of those pounds are devoted to cognitive processes.

The Greek word for "purified" in 1Pet 1:21a is hagnizo (hag-nid'-zo) which speaks of a peculiar kind of physical hygiene; for example:

†. John 15:3 . . Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

†. Heb 10:22 . . Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

In other words: people whose organic human bodies have not yet undergone the peculiar kind of physical hygiene about which Christ spoke in John 15:3, and about which the author of Hebrews wrote at Heb 10:22; are too unsanitary to associate with God on a personal basis.

Of course that peculiar hygiene is only a temporary expedient for Christ's believing followers seeing as how they're in line for an intrinsically super clean human body similar in all respects to his own glorious human body. (Php 3:21)

Bottom line: There will be no human bodies in the heaven depicted in the 21st chapter of Revelation whose origin is the dust of the earth as per Gen 2:7.

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453b) 1Pet 1:22b . . unto sincere love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently

The koiné Greek word for "pure" in this case is katharos (kath-ar-os') which means: lacking impurities; which can be illustrated by tap water versus distilled water. Tap water contains impurities like chlorine and various metallic and non metallic elements; whereas distilled water consists of nothing but hydrogen and oxygen; viz: H2O.

I think what Peter is saying that believers be on guard against hypocrisy; viz: one's lips mouthing love for their fellow believers while in their hearts actually thinking very little of them.

For example; my wife and I were once invited over to the home of a fellow Sunday school couple for dinner. When we arrived, guess what? An AMWAY manager was all set up and waiting for us. The dinner invitation was a bait and switch to conceal the Sunday school couple's scheme to lure us into signing on with AMWAY.

That was not an exhibition of pure, fervent love; but rather an exhibition of dishonesty, deceit, and ulterior motives. That couple was friendly and cordial enough alright in Sunday school, but away from church they were covert and predatory; taking advantage of the good nature of their fellow Christians to snare them in a commercial venture.

†. Matt 5:8 . . Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

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454) 1Pet 2:1-3 . .Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking; as newborn infants, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.

Oftentimes it's a good idea to read the Bible with a dictionary at hand because words like malice, deceit, hypocrisy, and envy tend to fly right past our eyes without giving them much thought.

Anyway, in order to be successful with item #453b --which commands to love one's fellow believers fervently with a pure heart-- it's necessary to comply with item #454. Things like malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and defamatory remarks are not love; no, they're cruel and mean-spirited.

Here in 1Pet 2:1-3 those toxic behaviors are categorized as junk food, which is not the kind of nourishment one should be feeding a growing child; as if they could even digest it. So then, believers who neglect to study the Bible --and learn what is and what is not appropriate behavior for a believer --are certain to end up stunting the spiritual growth of the new self they obtained via their second birth as per Jesus' testimony at John 3:3-8.

An especially ugly behavior Peter listed is envy; which Webster's defines as: painful, or resentful, awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another, coupled with a desire to possess the same advantage. In other words, envy is the root of rivalry which is one of the most destructive human passions there is. Cain killed his brother Abel out of a spirit of rivalry.

†. 1John 3:12 . . Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.

It was a spirit of rivalry that led to the Lord's crucifixion.

†. Matt 27:16-18 . . And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them: Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ? For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy.

Webster's defines "rivalry" as: 1) to be in competition with and, 2) to strive to equal or excel.

Envy not only breeds rivalry, but other toxins too like spite; which Webster's defines as: petty ill will, malice, or hatred coupled with the disposition to irritate, annoy, or thwart; which is defined as: to defeat the hopes and aspirations of another. In other words, thwart's intent is to discourage someone, to break their spirit and make them lose heat and/t lose respect for themselves. Needless to say, a spiteful person is a person so bitter that they're unable to feel pity, compassion, or sympathy; which is a bad thing because pity, compassion, and sympathy are highly blessing-worthy.

†. Matt 5:7 . . Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

People prone to envy share a very common denominator: they simply must be either equal to, or better than, others. It's that simple. And if they cannot be equal to, or better than others, then nothing would make them happier than to see those others dead, maimed, silenced, disfigured, dishonored, disgraced, humiliated, and/or handicapped for life.

The singles group I attended prior to meeting my wife played volleyball on Sunday afternoons. One day, I sustained a pretty good elbow to the temple and had to step out of the game for a moment or two till I got my senses back and the pain subsided enough that I could return to the game.

Nobody stopped playing even long enough to ask me if I was alright; not one person; and every one of us all knew each other. What does that tell you about the spiritual condition of the Christians playing volleyball with me that day? Well, if you haven't guessed it yet, I'll tell you. They were infected with a spirit of envy; which is a hard-hearted spirit-- thoughtless, cruel, and insensitive.

What made them that way? Well, some of them were out of work, while I had a good job as a professional welder in a boatyard on beautiful Shelter Island in San Diego. Some of them were divorced, while I was never married. Some of them were single parents, while I had no children burdening my life. Some of them were paying alimony and/or child support, while all the money I earned was mine to do as I pleased. Some of them had gotten laid too soon in life, while I was still a virgin. Some of them were rank and file pew warmers, while I sang bass in a church choir of 90 voices in a church with 4,000 members on the books.

You see, many of those Christians playing volleyball with me that day were losers while I was a winner-- their lives were a mess, while mine was promising. It's pretty easy to see why no one felt the slightest concern for my safety when I got elbowed in the temple; isn't it?

Yes, envy is a very, very ugly beast: there's no love in envy, only hatred mingled with malicious feelings and imaginations. Where's the Good Samaritan in that? A cute fable. Where's turning the other cheek? Out of vogue. Where's the golden rule? A cliché.

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455) 1Pet 2:11 . . Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.

The words "fleshly lusts" are derived from 1) sarkikos (sar-kee-kos') which pertains to the base nature, and, 2) from epithumia (ep-ee-thoo-mee'-ah) which means: a longing.

What Peter is talking about there is giving in to whatever comes natural: viz: doing what's instinctive and reactive as opposed to one's better judgment.

Webster's defines instinct as: 1) a natural or inherent aptitude, impulse, or capacity, 2) a largely inheritable and unalterable tendency of an organism to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason, and 3) behavior that is mediated by reactions below the conscious level.

Fleshly lusts are not what you might call "reasonable behavior" because they are basically gut passions that require no thinking. When people fly off the handle, sleep with somebody on the first date, utter an epithet, make a smart-aleck remark, and/or act on impulse and such; they are only doing what comes natural to the beast residing within themselves. People are, in the final analysis, little more than human wildlife; just naked apes ruled by the nature of an ape; and I've a sneaking suspicion that's what God meant at Gen 6:3 when He said "Man is flesh".

456) 1Pet 2:12 . . Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as malefactors, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

The koiné Greek word for "visitation" is episkope (ep-is-kop-ay') which is an ambiguous word that means, among other things, inspection and/or evaluation.

Webster’s defines "inspection" as a checking or testing of an individual against established standards; for example: the avoirdupois ounce is a standard, the meter is a standard, and the inch is a standard.

In the old days, merchants used a balance to count out monies like gold and silver. They would put a "standard" weight in one of the balance's pans and then begin placing gold and/or silver in the other pan until the pans balanced; viz: until the pans were at the same elevation on either side of the scales' fulcrum point. Justice is often depicted as a blindfolded woman holding a balance in one hand, and a sword in the other. The law is in one pan, and the defendant's conduct is in the other; for example:

†. Dan 5:27 . .You have been weighed on the balances; and came up short.

If it turns out that the criticism that the lost hurled at believers was unjustified, then they will have to pay. In so doing, how will they glorify God? Well, the slanderers themselves may not pay their respects to God, but their retribution will certainly honor His standards.

457) 1Pet 2:13-15 . . Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake : whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

Every ordinance of man pertains to all manner of citizenship, including civil disobedience; which is defined as the active, professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government, or of an occupying international power, e.g. protests, tax revolts, draft card burning, anti-war movements, occupancy, demonstrations, blockades, etc. Civil disobedience typically has to do with rebellion against State, Local, and Federal policies.

Every ordinance of man of course includes traffic laws like J-walking, unsafe lane changes, drifting through stop signs, tailgating, road rage, exceeding speed limits, feeding parking meters, crossing streets against the light, blocking driveways, failure to yield the right of way, illegal U-turns; etc.

People who disregard the ordinances of man are described by the apostle Peter as ignorant and foolish. God forbid that any of Christ's followers fall into that category!

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458) 1Pet 2:16a . . Live as free men

Some of Christ's believing followers in the Roman empire were slaves; so it was legally impossible for them to live as free men without risking severe consequences. I think what we're looking at here is that Peter is encouraging the Christians to whom he wrote to voluntarily accept their status as slaves instead of resenting it. In other words: free men have choices; and even though some of the Christians were slaves against their will, they were free to choose to make the best of it or let it get to them.

A pretty cool platitude that I once heard goes like this: "Bloom where you're planted". So; if you should find yourself planted in adverse circumstances; make up your mind to make the best of it. This is something wherein you have a choice; even though you have no choice about being stuck. It's really all about attitude adjustment.

459) 1Pet 2:16b . . Do not use your freedom as a cloak for evil; live as servants of God.

The koiné Greek word for "cloak" is epikaluma (ep-ee-kal'-oo-mah) which means: a covering, i.e. (figuratively) pretext

Webster’s defines "pretext" as a purpose, a reason, or motive alleged, or an appearance assumed, in order to cloak the real intention or state of affairs; viz: a pretense.

Webster’s defines "pretense" as: a professed, rather than the real intention or purpose

Pretense is one of those behaviors that nobody has to be taught how to do; no, even little kids can do it because pretense is a natural behavior-- a basic instinct.

†. Ps 58:3 . . Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies.

Christ is known for honesty.

†. John 1:17 . . grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

†. John 8:45 . . I tell you the truth

†. John 14:6 . . I am the truth

†. 1Pet 2:22 . . Neither was guile found in his mouth

Therefore, those who live as servants of the Bible's God really ought to be honest too.

†. Eph 5:1 . . Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

†. Eph 4:25 . .Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

Dishonesty, in any form, is not only conduct unbecoming for God's servants; but it's also hell-worthy.

†. Rev 21:7-8 . . All liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

†. Rev 21:27 . . No one who practices lying, shall ever come into the holy city, the new Jerusalem.

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460) 1Pet 2:17a . . Honor all men.

The word "men" is not actually in that verse. It was added by translators presumably to clarify the text. So it should read: Honor all.

The koiné Greek word for "honor" is timao (tim-ah'-o) which means: to prize, i.e. fix a valuation upon; by implication, to revere.

Human nature tends to honor the people it admires, and marginalize the ones it doesn't. That's another of those characteristics of the base nature. However, favoritism is not a divine characteristic, no, it's the nature of human wildlife.

I flunked Civics class in my senior year of High School and had to make it up in summer school in order to graduate. There was no bus service for summer school so I had to find my own way and I had no car. A rich kid in my class passed within 60 feet of the country store in my town on his way to school so I'd walk the two miles from my home to the store and bum a ride with him every day in his spiffy new four-speed, Chevrolet Monza: one of the first cars to come out with a rear mounted pancake engine.

All went well for a week or two until one day the rich kid was running late. Subsequently I was running late too since the rich kid's Monza was my transportation. He came roaring by without stopping, and in point of fact, didn't even look in my direction nor even bother to wave.

When I finally got to school, I asked him why he didn't stop and pick me up like usual. His reason? HE was running late. Blimy!! I couldn't believe his excuse! He would have lost at most a mere 30 seconds pulling over to pick me up; but no, HE was running late.

It so happened that rich kid was a musician who played rhythm guitar in a rock & roll band. I just have to wonder if he would have left Chuck Berry stranded had it been him who needed to get to school that day. No, of course not. That rich kid would have stopped for Chuck Berry; but not for me because in his mind I was a nobody who didn't matter.

1Pet 2:17a is a difficult command to obey. It’s easy to honor achievers, aristocrats, dignitaries, sports figures, federal heads, the sexiest man in Hollywood, Ms Americas, fashion gurus, television stars, and celebrities, et al; but it is very difficult to revere geeks, creeps, freaks, ugly people, handicapped people, nobodies, dummies, weirdoes, odd balls, rank and file pew warmers, and the very aged. (I don’t know how many times I’ve seen aged people spoken to by younger people as if they were retarded children. That is so demeaning.)

†. Rom 12:16 . . Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Webster's definitions of "condescend" are actually contradictory. One says it means to descend to a less formal or dignified level; viz: to waive the privileges of rank. The other says it means to assume an air of superiority.

The koiné Greek word for "condescend" is sunapago (soon-ap-ag'-o) which means: to leave together and/or travel together; viz; to associate with people.

The koiné Greek word for "low estate" is tapeinos (tap-i-nos') which means: depressed; viz: pushed down, humiliated or humbled (in circumstances or disposition)

In a church group I once attended there was an LGBT guy. He was leaving just as I was arriving so we stopped to chat for a bit before I went on in. While we chatted, another group member arrived whom we both knew personally by name. I greeted the new arrival with a friendly hello; but you know what that person did? He looked at me sideways with wariness and suspicion like I was Charles Manson or something and neither stopped to say hello, nor responded with a single word; and I am positive it was solely because I was seen in the company of a gay man.

You know what I am going to really like in Heaven? There are no cliques, no prejudice, no bias, and no disparity. Total strangers will greet me, and accept me, as if they’ve known me all their lives. That will be very nice.

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461) 1Pet 2:17b . . love the brotherhood

The koine Greek word for "brotherhood" is adelphotes (ad-el-fot'-ace) which is pretty much restricted to Christ's believing followers and excludes the outside world because in order to qualify for Christ's family circle; it's necessary to undergo a special birth in order to obtain the right to identify one's self as his kin.

†. John 1:12-13 . .To all who received him; to those who believed in his name; he gave the right to become children of God-- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision, nor a husband's desire; but born of God.

1Pet 2:17b is impossible for a snob to obey since the degree of love that must be felt for one’s Christian siblings has to be on the same plane as the love that Christ feels for them.

The command to "love thy neighbor as thyself" is widely thought to be one of Christ's commandments; but it isn't. He got it from the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Lev 19:18 and Lev 19:34.

Christ's commandment goes beyond the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God. He says: As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34 and John 15:12)

Bottom line is: the covenant demands humane love, while Christ demands divine love; which is a much harder love to produce than humane love because only people blessed with a divinity's nature can produce divine love. Good luck with that.

462) 1Pet 2:17c . . fear God, honor the king.

Some things in life are inseparable; like it’s just about impossible to go swimming in a pool that has no water in it. Well, fearing God and honoring a king are like that; in other words: Christian scofflaws, by their civil disobedience, actually dishonor the very God whom they profess to revere.

†. Rom 13:1-2 . . Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

Christians need to be cognizant of Rom 13:1-2 whenever they're tempted to drift through a STOP sign, feed parking meters, Jay-walk, lie to their state's Employment Department, obtain food stamps under false pretenses, or cheat on their taxes.

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463) 1Pet 2:18-19 . . Servants, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the grief of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.

The koiné Greek word for "servants" in that verse is oiketes (oy-ket'-ace) which means: a fellow resident, viz: a menial domestic.

Menial domestics are in the same category as the household staff in the Hollywood movie Remains Of The Day; in which a master butler supervises everyone in service, including the under-butlers, and all the women. The home owner typically communicates with his staff by means of the master butler rather than doing so personally. So the “masters” of 1Pet 2:18 probably correspond to the master butler; viz: a supervisor.

Master butlers are like a ship's first officer, who, as far as the crew is concerned, is God to them when all hands are on board and the vessel under way. First officers can't be expected to be sweet little diplomats all the time in the performance of their duties and responsibilities. It has to be expected that they are going to become curt, cross, imperious, and demanding on occasion. And then again, some supervisors are just naturally rude. They're that way with everybody. Though they might be very competent in the performance of their duties and responsibilities, some are imbalanced; viz: they're somewhat lacking in social skills. In other words; it could be said of some: The man is a pig.

Some employees chafe under the supervision of abusive supervisors; and there are certain labor laws on the books that permit employees to pursue grievances. However that may be, it is far better for a Christian to take advantage of a disagreeable situation to prove himself because Peter says it is “commendable” to bear up under unjust suffering.

The koiné Greek word for "commendable" is surprising. It’s charis (khar' ece) which is commonly translated "grace". In other words, bearing up under abuse-- while in the performance of one's duty as a service person (employee) --is the conduct of a gracious Christian as opposed to one that's ill-bred; viz: the belly-achers and the thin skinned cry-babies have some growing up to do.

†. Heb 12:28 . .Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

The gracious Christians are the ones serving God acceptably. The rest, no matter how lofty their goals, and no matter what they attempt to do for God, are just spinning their wheels because they are "ungracious" which Webster’s defines as: disagreeable; viz: lacking propriety.

For Christians who're compliant by nature, 1Pet 2:18-19 is very easy to obey. But for those who are proud, arrogant, conceited, overly indignant and/or easily insulted; I can only say you have my sympathy because this is something you're going to have to work at. Why? Because this is not optional; no, it's a "calling"

†. 1 Pet 2:21-24 . . For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps . . who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously

The koiné Greek word for "reviled" is loidoreo (loy-dor-eh'-o) which means: to reproach; viz: vilify.

Webster’s defines vilify as: 1) to lower in estimation or importance; viz: demean, and 2) to utter slanderous and abusive statements against; viz: defame; denigrate.

"Reviling in return" (e.g. retorts, rejoinders, and recriminations) is a common knee-jerk reflex; a natural reaction of the base nature (the flesh) and contrary to one of the Lord's fundamental teachings in the Sermon On The Mount.

†. Luke 6:29 . . And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek, offer also the other.

In this day and age of assertiveness, Luke 6:29 is very unpopular with some Christians. Oh, they'll vote for turning the other cheek alright and agree it's good Christian character. But you know, good Christian character is sort of like the Classics: everybody says we ought to have the Classics in our libraries, but who really reads them? I have to chuckle sometimes at Christians when one says: The Sermon On The Mount is all the religion I need. Okay, fine; so when did you plan on beginning to exemplify its principles?

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464) 1Pet 3:1-2 . . In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.

Peter began his command with the words “in the same way” meaning that he's instructing Christian wives to be submissive and respectful even with a husband they despise rather than just with a husband that deserves their respect. Here's the model:

†. 1Pet 2:18-19 . . Servants, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.

A Christian woman who refuses to be submissive and respectful of her husband is also refusing to be submissive and respectful of her creator's wishes. Good Lord! that is an awful thing to be guilty of by someone passing themselves off as a follower of the Bible's Christ. It's nothing in the world but hypocrisy.

†. 1Cor 11:3 . . But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

†. Eph 5:23-24 . . For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

Would you, as a Christian wife, be submissive and respectful of Christ? Then be submissive and respectful of your husband; even if you feel he doesn't deserve it. The object here isn't your husband anyway: it's Christ. So respect your husband out of respect for Christ.

I once overheard a conversation between a caller and Dr. Laura on radio that went something like this:

Caller: My husband doesn't deserve my respect; he hasn't earned it.

Laura: Have you earned your husband's love?

Caller: I shouldn't have to earn his love. It's a husband's place to love his wife unconditionally.

Laura: Aren't you being a bit unfair? You expect your husband to love you unconditionally, while refusing to respect him unconditionally? Isn't that a double standard? No wonder you two drifted apart!

(chuckle) Apparently Dr. Laura's caller was somehow under the impression that wives not only have the right to lay down the law in marriage, but also the right to exempt themselves from any and all laws their husbands might have in mind.


NOTE: This a piece of advice to young single guys from an old man who's been married to the same woman going on 37 years at the time of this writing. When you exchange vows with your bride, avoid promising to make her happy. Scheming women are not above using that promise to manipulate their husbands.

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465) 1Pet 3:3-5 . . And let not your adornment be merely external-- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses --but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

Some of the more ascetic Christians have attempted to use that passage to insist it's wrong for women to wear cosmetics. An interpretation of that nature would mean putting on dresses is wrong too and thereby Christian women would be in danger of being arrested for indecent exposure whenever they went out. No, he's only reflecting an old Portuguese proverb that goes something like this: A beleza não ajusta a tabela. (Beauty doesn't set the table) which simply means a pretty girl might be amazing in the bedroom but quite useless as a homemaker.

Hollywood movies often portray "spirited" women as somehow desirable. No, they aren't desirable; they're feral, they attack men and make them miserable. Hollywood also commonly portrays women slapping men in the face and getting away with it. That is NOT what Peter means by a "gentle and quiet spirit" and besides, slapping is the criminal act of assault and battery-- not what I would call setting a good example for growing girls.

†. Matt 5:3 . . Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

†. Matt 5:9 . . Blessed are the peaceable: for they shall be known as God's kin.

An assertive, confrontational woman is neither peaceable nor poor in spirit; no, in point of fact she's quite militant, obnoxious, chafing, critical, temperamental, impudent, and arrogant. Those might be desirable characteristics for strong females in television and movie roles but clearly not desirable in a Christian wife.

When a Christian wife gets all dressed up to her nines, but yet lacks a "gentle and quiet spirit" then her ensemble is incomplete. In point of fact, an assertive, confrontational wife is, in reality, nothing less than a barnyard animal.

†. Prv 11:22 . . As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.

So then, by all means Christian women should continue to shop at Sephora, but at the same time make an effort to be agreeable too.

†. 1Pet 3:5-6 . .That is the way the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and were subordinate to their husbands. For instance : Sarah submitted to her husband, Abraham, when she called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.

Sarah, as you might recall, was a stunning girl not only in her youth, but even later on after menopause. But from what I gather from their association, Sarah's physical attributes are not why Abraham chose to live with her, and in point of fact, I really don't think Abraham paid all that much attention to Sarah's looks at all. No, Sarah was special in other ways; and even when she couldn't bear Abraham a child, he stuck with her; though in that day, he didn't have to.

What is it that a Christian wife might fear from her husband? Well, that's pretty easy. No doubt her biggest concern is that he might take advantage of her affable personality. Well, that's insufficient grounds to stop a Christian woman from being the kind of woman that Christ can approve. If it's any comfort; we're all in the same boat. People are naturally predatory, and can't help but take advantage of Christianity's good nature. What can I say: it comes with the turf.

†. Php 1:29 . . For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.

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466) 1Pet 3:7a . . Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge

The koiné Greek word for "knowledge" is gnosis (gno'-sis) which means : knowing (as information) in other words: facts and/or ideas acquired by study, investigation, observation, or experience.

Gnosis is different than "intuition" which Webster's defines as: the power, or faculty, of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference.

Gnosis is different than "instinct" too, which Webster's defines as: (1) a natural or inherent aptitude, impulse, or capacity, (2) a largely inheritable and unalterable tendency of an organism to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason, and (3) behavior that is mediated by reactions below the conscious level; viz : a mental and/or emotional knee-jerk reflex.

So then, what Peter is talking about is a husband applying his learned knowledge of Christian conduct to his marriage. It should go without saying that studying the Bible is merely the satisfaction of one's curiosity when somebody never applies its instructions to real life.

†. Jas 1:22-25 . . And keep in mind that it's a message to apply, not just to listen to. If you don't apply it, you are only fooling yourself. For if you just listen, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you keep looking steadily into God's perfect law-- the law that sets you free --and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

Anyway, the word "likewise" points us back to the principle below.

†. 1Pet 2:18-19 . . Servants, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.

In other words, Christian husbands are called to be consistent with Christian conduct even with a difficult wife, and a portion of what Peter instructed wives, also applies to husbands.

†. 1Pet 3:1-2 . . so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.

The koiné Greek word for "chaste" is hagnos (hag-nos') which has no direct reference to sexual conduct but just simply means innocent, decent, civil, modest, and/or perfect. (e.g. 2Cor 7:11, Php 4:8, 1Tim 5:22, Jas 3:17, and 1John 3:3)

There are young boys being brought up by macho fathers teaching their sons to "control their women". Well, that might be an acceptable marriage philosophy in the home of a Muslim fundamentalist and/or a club-toting Neanderthal, but not in the home of a man passing himself off as one of Christ's followers. In a Christian home, husbands are neither required nor expected to tame their wives seeing as how the onus is upon the wives themselves to exercise self control.

†. Eph 4:30-32 . . And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

It's tragic when Christian couples practice neither Christian conduct nor Christian principles in their own home-- in point of fact that's not a home at all; that's a perpetual cold war.


NOTE: It's required of Christ's followers to love their enemies but it's not required of Christs followers to like their enemies nor is it required to always have a good opinion about them. However, though Christian love need not include the element of fondness; Christian love does need to include the element of diplomacy; which Webster's defines as skill in handling affairs without arousing hostility.

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467) 1Pet 3:7b . . giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel,

The koiné Greek word for "honor" is time (tee-may') which means: a value, i.e. money paid.

The word for "weaker" is asthenes (as-then-ace') which means: having no strength, i.e. fragile.

And the word for "vessel" is skeuos (skyoo'-os) which can indicate anything from a soup bowl to a file cabinet or a cardboard box; in other words: a container.

Peter isn't saying women are physically weaker than men; but that Christian husbands should exercise the same care with their wives as they would a fragile antique worth thousands of dollars like, say, a Ming vase. Nobody in their right mind handles a Ming vase like a farmer handles a 5-gallon bucket. Not that some women couldn't take that kind of handling; it's just that its unbecoming for a Christian man to lack sensitivity for his wife's feelings.

This Ming-vase value isn't an intrinsic value, nor is it a deserved value either; but rather, it's a gratuitous value. In other words: Christ commands Christian husbands to categorize their wives up there with Dresden china even if she's as tough as a female cop and/or a UFC mixed martial artist the likes of Rhonda Rousey-- and this is not a choice; no, it's not a choice; it's an order.

Christian husbands who treat their Skil saws and their tomato plants with more care and concern than they treat their wives can just forget about associating with God on any meaningful level.

†. 1Pet 3:7c . . as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Note the word "together" which is quite the opposite of autonomy and/or independence.

Couples sometimes assert themselves with words like "What I do is between me and the Lord." No; not when you're married. Marriage changes everything between one's self and the Lord because people become one flesh in marriage: no longer two.

468) 1Pet 3:8a . . Finally, all of you be of one mind,

Peter’s not talking about the nerve center of a Borg-hive collective. The koiné Greek word for "one mind" is h.phron (hom-of'-rone) which means: harmonious; and this is the only place in the entire New Testament where that word appears.

Webster’s defines "harmonious" as: 1) musically concordant, 2) having the parts agreeably related; viz: congruous, and 3) marked by accord in sentiment or action.

Peter's directive emphasizes the third element-- "marked by accord in sentiment or action". Head-strong Christians, domineering Christians, those for whom every disagreement is either an affront or an act of war to win at any cost-- those for whom the word diplomacy has no meaning --of course have trouble complying with 1Pet 3:8a; that is: if they even consider it worthy of their notice.

469) 1Pet 3:8b-9 . . having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous; not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing.

"compassion" is from the koiné Greek word sumpathes (soom-path-ace') which means: having a fellow-feeling; viz: sympathetic, i.e. (by implication) mutually commiserative.

One of the meanings of commiserate is condole: like when we share someone's grief at the passing of a loved one, or their job has been outsourced to cheap labor in India, or they've lost their entire retirement fund to an unscrupulous corporation like ENRON, or their life savings to a crooked Ponzi schemer like Bernie Madoff, or when there's news from their doctor they have to begin chemo-therapy for a recently detected advanced cancer, or when the car of a single mom with limited income needs expensive repairs. That is no time to be thoughtless. People in those predicaments are in sore need of condolences, and they are in no mood for philosophical platitudes.

The Greek word for "railing" is loidoria (loy-dor-ee'-ah) which means slander or vituperation; which Webster's defines as 1) to abuse or censure severely or abusively; viz: berate, and 2) to use harsh condemnatory language.

Rejoinders fall into that category; which are defined as a usually rude or angry reply to something written or said; viz: insensitive come-backs deliberately meant to hurt people's feelings; viz: tit for tat. That kind of behavior doesn't go unnoticed.

†. Matt 12:36-37 . . I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.

470) 1Pet 3:10-11 . . Let him who means to love life and see good days refrain his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile. And let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.

Webster's defines guile as "duplicity" which is defined as: contradictory doubleness of thought, speech, or action; especially in the belying of one's true intentions by deceptive words or action; in other words, speaking with a forked tongue and/or saying one thing while meaning another.

You know, it's ironic; but if we were to take guile out of the political process, nobody would get elected. I simply cannot imagine an America with forthright politicians either in Congress, or the Senate, or the White House.

My father-in-law, who retired from Safeco Title as a senior vice president and general counsel, once remarked that advertising is the art of deception. You know what that says to me? It says that Madison Avenue's Mad Men really have gone mad after all.


FYI: To seek peace and pursue it is blessing-worthy.

†. Matt 5:9 . . Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

If it's true that only peaceable kinds of people qualify to wear the label "children of God" then the opposite is just as true: difficult Christians are unworthy of the distinction.

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471) 1Pet 3:14a . . If you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed.

Peter isn't talking about one's religious beliefs per se, but about one's personal righteousness; in other words, one's personal conduct, and their convictions about what's right and what's wrong.

The koiné Greek word for "righteousness" in that passage is dikaiosune (dik-ah-yos-oo'-nay) which means: equity (of character or act). Webster's defines equity as: justice according to natural law or right; specifically freedom from bias or favoritism.

When Adam and his wife indulged in the forbidden fruit, they became their own Gods with their own opinions about what's right and what's wrong.

†. Gen 3:22 . . And Yhvh God said: The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.

To give an idea of just how much this situation effects everyday life: the US Supreme Court not too long ago voted 5-4 on an important firearms issue. What does that tell me? It tells me that there are justices on that Court whose opinions are unrighteous because if the justices were all righteous, then the vote, whichever way it went, would have been unanimous.

The effects of humanistic righteousness are evident in mainstream Christianity too. Some time ago, a Presbyterian General Assembly voted whether or not to allow gay clergy. The measure passed by the slimmest of margins: 51%. What does that tell me? It tells me that fully half of that Presbyterian General Assembly is not listening to God because had they all been listening, the vote would have been unanimous one way or the other rather than two opposing opinions.


NOTE: There should be no question that a gay clergy is wrong.

†. 1Tim 3:7 . . He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the Devil's trap.

A gay Christian church elder would be seen by the world as a bona fide hypocrite; which can be roughly defined as somebody who should be standing for the Bible but at heart does not care to live by it. With a Christian church officer like that; it's reasonable to suspect that the congregation is compromised in other areas of faith and practices.

472) 1Pet 3:14b . . And do not fear their intimidation, nor be shaken,

Peer pressure, mob rule, cultural influences, group-think, survival, and customs are always at work seeking to manipulate people.

Take for example the current wave of suicide bombings and acts of terrorism perpetrated by Islamic extremists. In their own sick estimation, the murders and destruction of private property they cause are justifiable; but any unbiased person can easily see that what they are committing are crimes against humanity.

The extremists no doubt see themselves as martyrs and patriots, but the unbiased world only sees them as criminals; which, in the grand scheme of things; is exactly what they are. Meanwhile, the extremists are exerting peer pressure on peaceable Muslims all over the world to join their cause. When peaceable Muslims refuse, then they too become targets just as if they were devils rather than followers of Mohammad. In other words, the extremists are insinuating that unless Islamists commit murder and destruction of private property, they aren't true Muslims. That's a pretty extreme example of how peer pressure, mob rule, cultural influences, group-think, survival, and customs cause people to do unrighteous things.

In this current world, if you side with God in matters of right and wrong, you become a target for intimidation; which Webster's defines as: inducing fear and/or a sense of inferiority. Intimidation need not be a threat of violence to be effective. Peer pressure and ostracism are powerful tools of intimidation. Human beings are herd animals; we all want to fit in and belong. If you follow the herd, you will be accepted; but if you dare to buck the tide; you will find yourself unpopular in a very short time. It's ironic. Here in America we idolize the concept of rugged individuality. But the truth is; we despise people who do their own thinking; and Americans really despise individuals who dare to side with God.

I was reading an article in the newspaper recently that said in the past, it was wise for candidates for Federal office take sides with religion, but nowadays, in an increasingly irreligious American society, it's becoming best not to if they hope to win enough votes to get elected.

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473) 1Pet 3:15a . . Dedicate your hearts to the Lord God

The essence of that command goes all the way back to the days of Cain in the book of Genesis.

†. Gen 4:7 . . . If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?

In order to do what is right, it is first necessary to know what constitutes right; and in order to know what constitutes right, Christians have to devote themselves to conscientious Bible study.

†. Rom 12:1-2 . . I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Now, I think it's safe to assume that Cain knew what was right back then, but paid it no mind and did as he pleased. In other words: instead of letting God be his guide, Cain let human nature be his guide; and you can see where that path took him.

†. Heb 5:14 . . Solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

A training regimen, though it be the best, is quite useless unless people devote themselves to it. That's just common sense. For example: Yoga will improve your balance; but you've got to make Yoga a regular part of your life in order for it to work. A little Yoga here, and a little Yoga there, is not exactly the ideal way to go about it.

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474) 1Pet 3:15b . . Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you.

The koiné Greek word for "hope" in that passage, and in others (e.g. Rom 8:23-25) is elpis (el-pece') which means expectation; viz: elpis isn't wishful thinking, nor crossing your fingers, nor is it a blend of longing, insecurity, and doubt; no, elpis is a confident kind of hope that looks forward to something that it fully expects to obtain; ergo: elpis is an anticipating hope; viz: it doesn't pray for the best, while in the back of its mind dreading the worst.

The Bible says that elpis is a "calling"

†. Eph 4:5 . .you were called to one hope when you were called

When people aren't 110% sure what the afterlife has in store for them-- if there is even the slightest possibility of disappointment --they can't possibly comply with Peter's instructions for the simple reason that the hope that is in them, if any, is the wrong kind of hope.

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475) 1Pet 4:1-2 . .Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

The koiné Greek word for flesh is sarx (sarx); which basically indicates the meaty parts of either man or beast. The meat of the human body would of course include the 3-pound lump of flabby organic tissue housed within its bony little skull sufficing for a mind.

The apostle Paul said "in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me." --indicating that the human body itself is the source of the "lusts of men" spoken of in 1Pet 4:1-2 which aren't limited to a percentage of men, rather, common to all men; including Christ.

†. 1Cor 10:13 . . No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man

The koiné Greek word for "lusts" is epithumia (ep-ee-thoo-mee'-ah) which means: a longing.

We like to label our longings as "needs" when really what they are is wants. But not all wants are bad, many are benign, e.g. food, water, shelter, comforts, safety, companions, peace, love, understanding, acceptance, freedom, peace, stability, significance, validation, information, belonging; etc. The danger of course is in letting our wants rule us to the point of acting contrary to good scruples and/or our better judgement especially when it comes to making God frown upon our conduct as unbecoming, i.e. inappropriate for His son's followers.

It surprises, and even sometimes offends, Christians to think that Christ was so fully h.sapiens that he had to cope with human longings, wants, and needs just like everybody else. They truly believe Christ should have been above all that; he wasn't.

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476) 1Pet 4:7 . . The culmination of all things is approaching; therefore be serious, and watchful in your prayers.

The koiné Greek word for "watchful" is nepho (nay'-fo) which means: to be discreet; viz: exercise discretion-- caution in speech, prudence, and care taken to consider all circumstances and possible consequences.

nepho prayer implies being realistic and avoiding flowery bombast, rhetoric, and rote chanting. After all, there's a high priest in heaven representing his fellow men who speaks your language and knows for himself how people think and how people feel; so get down to business with God and tell Him what's on your mind without beating around the bush about it.

477) 1Pet 4:8 . . Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love hides a large number of sins.

A person easily provoked is not a loving person.

One Saturday morning I and another man at church were moving some furniture from one place to another inside the main building where, completely unknown to us, a wedding rehearsal was being conducted. The woman in charge of organizing the wedding came out into the hall and began scolding us for talking and making noise. When I pointed out that there were no posted signs in the hallway indicating a function in progress on the other side of the door, she became sullen, and tightened her lips and narrowed her eyes in anger. Had that lady exemplified the love about which Peter wrote, she would have handled her inconvenience with a little more tact and sensitivity.

†. Matt 5:9 . . Blessed are the peacemakers : for they shall be known as God's kin.


BTW: That same lady was also in the choir, and sang doxologies in front of about 2,000 people every Sunday morning. She was good at musical harmony, but obviously in sore need of some training in the civil kind.

478) 1Pet 4:10 . .As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

The koiné Greek word for "manifold" is poikilos (poy-kee'-los) which means: motley, i.e. varied in character. All that’s really saying is that the gifts of God are multifarious; viz: having a number of different aspects or characteristics. (cf. Rom 12:5-8, 1Cor 12:1-11)

Unfortunately, people with natural aptitudes generally make up the majority of those serving in church capacities for which is supposed to be required a spiritual gift from God. They may look like they're "on fire" for the Lord, but really all they are is ambitious.

†. 1 Pet 4:11b . . Whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Hardly anybody seems to care much about that anymore, nor would anybody probably know the difference anyway. It’s been my observation that the truly spiritually-gifted Christians are mostly invisible, and go about their business right under the noses of the stars in church, whose own spiritual decadence is oftentimes very embarrassing to Christianity.

Point being; those that do have genuine spiritual gifts need to make very sure that when they exercise those gifts in church; they do so for the benefit of the Lord’s sheep rather than for their own ends.

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479) 1Pet 4:11a . . If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.

The koiné Greek word for "oracles" is logion (log'-ee-on) which means something spoken as opposed to something in writing.

Peter doesn't say to speak the oracles of God, but to speak as the oracles of God; viz: to speak as God and for God. If speakers can't to do that-- if they don't sincerely believe themselves infallible and speaking as God and for God ex cathedra --then they really ought to do us all a favor and sit down and shut up!

480) 1Pet 4:12-13 . . Beloved, don't be perplexed by the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad-- because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world.

It's easy to think of Christ's sufferings as only those that occurred on the cross and the night of his arrest. But it's important to remember that Christ lived on this earth for about 30 years prior to his public appearances; and during those years, he did not lead a sheltered life; in point of fact, during those 30 years he underwent a sort of boot camp.

†. Heb 5:7-9 . . During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

It's a piece of cake for the Word of John 1:1 to comply with God's wishes because the Word himself is God too. But when the Word took on the nature of a human being; that's when he found out just how difficult it is for flesh and blood to comply with God's wishes; hence the prayers and loud cries and tears. The incarnate Word had a mission; and left on his own, Jesus would have surely failed. But God was onboard to insure he didn't.

†. John 3:34 . . God's Spirit is upon him without measure or limit.

However, Jesus didn't take the Spirit for granted but kept up a barrage of prayers for assistance. You won't see much of that in the Gospels. The place to look for Jesus' prayers is the Psalms where David did quite of a bit of ghost writing for him. (cf. Luke 24:44-45)

The koiné Greek word for "partners" is koinoneo (koy-no-neh'-o) which means: to share with another; viz: to participate. In other words, football fans are not on the team, no they're up in the safety of the stands either cheering, hissing, or booing. In order to "participate" in a game, you have to be down on the gridiron in harm's way getting some bruises.

The Bible says there is no trial taken you but such as is common to the entire human race (1Cor 10:13). Jesus wasn't shielded from any of those. The Word not only came as a man, but he also lived as a man.

†. Heb 2:17-18 . . It was necessary for Jesus to be in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. He then could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and temptation, he is qualified to help us when we are being tempted.

†. Heb 4:15-16 . . This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will obtain mercy, and find grace to help us when we need it.

For a good many millennia, the Word's compassion for Man was pretty much limited to empathy rather than sympathy. In other words, until John 1:14, the Word could understand your pain, and he could pity your pain; but he could not feel it because the Word had zero experience at being human.

So then, when I meet with Christ around the table in God's home, I don't expect to meet a stranger to my way of life; no, I fully expect to meet a man who's been around the block a time or two. Not only will he be able to relate to my stories, but I in return will be able to relate to his. Sharing in Christ's glory would have the nature of an entourage if not for the fact that I will have the satisfaction of knowing that Christ, in a manner of speaking, came from the same neighborhood as I to get to where he is today.

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481) 1Pet 4:15-16 . . But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's affairs. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

The koiné Greek word for "Christian" is christianos (khris-tee-an-os') which means: a follower of Christ. That word appears in only 3 places in the entire New Testament. The other two are Acts 11:26 and Acts 26:28. Peter’s is the only epistle where it appears; and it’s nowhere in any of the four gospels.

Not everyone pledging their allegiance to Christ actually follows him.

†. Luke 6:46 . .Why do you call me Lord and Master and do not what I say?

†. Matt 7:22-23 . . Many will say to me in that day; Lord, Master, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them; I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.

A good example of glorifying God in the midst of one's troubles is Mr. Job.

†. Job 1:20-22 . . At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. In all this, Job did not sin by accusing God with wrongdoing.

†. Job 2:9-10 . . His wife said to him: Are you still clinging to your integrity? Curse God and die! Job replied: You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

Jas 5:11 speaks of the "patience" Job; which is illustrated by the fact that in all his trouble, Job remained loyal to God and never once lost his confidence that God is blameless in all that He does.

Christians ought not to think of themselves as bullet proof, but actually as meat on the hoof.

†. Rom 8:35-36 . .Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written: For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; we are considered as sheep for the slaughter.

Sometimes people complain by asking: Why me? Well; why not you? Welcome to the human race. Man is born into trouble just as naturally as the embers from a fire go up instead of down. (Job 5:7)

482) 1Pet 4:19 . .Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

In the world of business, it’s sometimes necessary to take a concern to court in order to force venders of goods and services to honor their commitments. Well, the Bible’s God is not like that; no, the Bible's God is not a slimy weasel: He's a person of real integrity.

†. 2Tim 2:13 . . If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny himself.

Q: What is meant by souls?

A: According to Gen 1:20-21, Gen 1:24, and Gen 2:7, soul essentially refers to consciousness and individuality; i.e. persons, either in the form of fauna life or human life.

Peter emphasized that human soul was created rather than produced by a mysterious interaction of time, space, and matter. In other words: human consciousness had both a beginning and a beginner; viz: human consciousness would not exist at all had not a higher consciousness willed it into existence.

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483) 1Pet 5:1-3 . .Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.

First off; Peter assures church officers that his proximity to Christ says very clearly, and without ambiguity, that he knows what he's talking about so they really ought to listen to what he has to say about managing a church.

The New Testament doesn't record Peter as being present at Christ's crucifixion, but that obviously doesn't eo ipso preclude his attendance somewhere in the audience that day, or observing everything from a respectable distance. (cf. Matt 26:58, Matt 27:55)

The conjunction "therefore" refers to one of Peter's previous statements; specifically this one:

"For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God" (1Pet 4:17)

That's an echo of 1Cor 3:4-23 and 1Cor 4:2-5 where Paul revealed that people "serving Christ" are facing a possibly very unpleasant evaluation.

Church is no country for achievers, nor is it a career track, nor is it a country for control freaks and power-hungry imperious despots, nor for people who love to bask in limelight and crave admiration and the center of attention; no, serving in a church is for shepherds; and if you're not sure what shepherding entails; then next time you're at a county fair strike up a conversation with some of the 4H kids and they'll be only too glad to tell you just what a thankless, man-killing, drudgery-ridden, time consuming, smelly, expensive, inconvenient, filthy, and sometimes dangerous line of work that animal husbandry really is.

So why do 4H kids do it? Because they love their animals; and if a luminary in church doesn't feel a genuine affection for those under their supervision, then that luminary will utterly fail to exercise oversight according to the will of God. Self-seeking luminaries are depicted as poor sources of water. (2Pet 2:17)

You know what a professional church officer is? They're a hireling; and according to God's son, a hireling cannot be depended upon to protect the sheep when a wolf is at the door.

†. John 10:11-13 . . I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is an hireling, and not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and abandons the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep.

A paid church officer might be willing to sacrifice himself for the benefit of The Lord's sheep; but will he sacrifice his wife who has cancer, and/or his two daughters' future whom he has to put through college, and/or the mortgage on his home and/or his health insurance? No, the best interests of The Lord's sheep will be very low on the hireling's list of priorities because his primary interest is in keeping his job, protecting his income, his health benefits, and his wife and children. The hireling will circle the wagons when the wolf comes; yes, but not around the sheep; no, around himself. So be very cautious in putting too much trust in a church officer; you just might end up disillusioned and very disappointed.

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484) 1Pet 5:5a . .You younger, likewise, be subject to your elders

The elders in this instance are church elders; not just any nondescript person of age that happens to be in the area; and the inference is that the inexperienced Christians should not think of themselves as know-it-alls, but rather, respect the mature Christians as mentors who genuinely know a thing or two.

Peter's command isn't optional; no, it's mandatory, and it's very serious.

†. Heb 13:17 . . Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

If you should find yourself in a church whose elders you don't trust and/or simply cannot respect, then it's time to move on and find a church whose elders are worth their salt.

485) 1Pet 5:5b . . and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

The koiné Greek word for "humble" is tapeinophrosune (tap-i-nof-ros-oo'-nay) which means lowliness of mind; viz: modesty, which Webster's defines as freedom from conceit or vanity. Lowliness of mind is to be greatly desired for its blessing.

†. Matt 5:3 . . Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Humility is very rare on internet forums. Active members are typically easily insulted and infected with vanity; plus imperious, domineering, despotic, assertive, confrontational, arrogant, conceited, reactive, thin-skinned, self-righteous, emotional, critical, and defensive. Those are not what I would call good Christian attributes. They also have a propensity to jump to conclusions, get the wrong impression, and fly off the handle. Those aren't good Christian attributes either; in point of fact; none of those attributes are blessing-worthy.

"Grace" is one of those ambiguous abstract nouns that nobody seems to agree upon. Noah found grace in God's eyes (Gen 6:8) which in his case, regarded providence; which can be defined as kindly patronage. It was by God's providence that Noah and his family survived the Flood while the sons of God and their harems didn't. Let that sink in. Just because people label themselves a Christian, and profess a belief in Christ, is no guarantee they'll escape the horrors of the book of Revelation. Noah was a righteous man, and perfect in his generation; too many of today's card-carrying Christians are neither.

The koiné Greek word for "proud" is huperephanos (hoop-er-ay'-fan-os) which means appearing above others, viz: haughty. Those kinds of people typically regard others with contempt, i.e. underserving of respect or even so much as common courtesy. Haughty people are typically cruel, thoughtless, insensitive, and badly infected with a superiority complex, which goes hand in hand with arrogance: defined as an exaggerated sense of one's importance, sometimes manifested in an overbearing manner.

Arrogant people can be intolerably pushy and assertive at times; standing up to them usually always provokes an indignant reaction and a call to arms, so to speak, because these folk regard any and all disagreements with their way of thinking as demeaning attacks upon their core values and their distorted sense of self worth. These people have very little interest in harmony; they're stand-up fighters whose primary interest is winning.

Seeing as how Heaven is reputed a place of peace, then the arrogant, the haughty, and the proud cannot be allowed to go there with their unholy personalities. For sure they'd just end up making things very uncomfortable for Heaven's normally mild-mannered, affable society

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486) 1Pet 5:6 . . Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time

The role model for this kind of humility is The Lord himself; who obeyed his master with the mindset of a for-life indentured servant.

†. Ps 40:6-8 . . Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened : burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come : in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God : yea, thy law is within my heart.

The opening of one's ears is related to the law of Ex 21:2-6 that stipulates piercing an indentured servant's ear who wishes to serve his master permanently.

†. Php 2:8 . . And being found in fashion as a human being, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death.

†. John 4:34 . . My food— said Jesus —is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish his work.

†. John 5:30 . . I seek not to please myself, but rather, Him who sent me.

†. John 6:38 . . I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me.

Paul instructed Christians to adopt The Lord's mindset.

†. Php 2:5 . . Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus

Christians unwilling to pierce their ears to further God's agenda, are unworthy to identify themselves one of Christ's followers.

†. Matt 10:38-39 . . Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

When people identify themselves as a Christian, their attitude is supposed to exemplify the two aspects below:

†. Matt 6:10 . . Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

†. 2Cor 12:15 . . So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have; and expend myself as well.

487) 1Pet 5:7 . . casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He is concerned about you.

That command is very difficult for a person afflicted with Reactive Attachment Disorder; which is basically the inability to believe that even one person in the whole universe cares a whit about your welfare. RAD is characterized by the inability to trust. For example: when a RAD victim reads 1Pet 5:7, they instinctively believe it may be true for others, but has absolutely no application to themselves. RAD is a very effective faith-inhibitor.

However, even just vocalizing your anxieties can be very therapeutic; while holding it all in can be destructive to your nerves. I think I'd rather talk to an imaginary playmate than to no one at all.

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488) 1Pet 5:8-9 . . Be discreet, stay alert. Your adversary, the Devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour; whom resist, steadfast in the faith

"the faith" isn't only a collection of beliefs, but includes a collection of practices; since according to James, faith without practices is a half-baked faith.

†. Jas 1:22-25 . . And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don't obey, you are only fooling yourself. For if you just listen and don't obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you keep looking steadily into God's perfect law-- the law that sets you free --and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

The word "discreet" is translated from the Greek word nepho (nay'-fo) which basically means to abstain from wine. Well; you know the first thing to go when too much alcohol gets in your system is judgment; especially what's known as better judgment; viz: there are things that people do when under the influence that they would never do when sober. Alcohol loosens people up, slackens their inhibitions, makes them let their guard down, makes them careless, clumsy, inefficient, and certainly less intelligent even when their normal IQ is in the hundreds.

Lest someone get the wrong idea; Peter isn't forbidding drink; rather, getting tipsy. If you're one of those rare people with good self control, alcohol poses no threat to your spiritual condition, But if you're one of the many with an unbreakable habit of always exceeding their limit; then I'd have to say that, relative to God's favor vs satanic predation, total abstinence is really your only option.

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489) 2Pet 1:5-7 . . Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

This is yet another place where The Lord says to make "every" effort. He didn't say a half baked effort or a half-hearted effort; but every effort; viz : a whole-hearted effort; for example :

†. Rom 12:11 . . Never be half-hearted in your work, but serve The Lord enthusiastically.

†. Eph 6:5-8 . . Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to The Lord, and not to men

†. Rev 3:15-16 . . I know your works, that you art neither cold nor hot : I would you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will expectorate you out of my mouth.

The koine Greek word for "goodness" is arete (ar-et'-ay) which means: manliness (valor).

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has a book on the market titled: Dare To Be A Man. Well, I haven't read his book but I have read his public life and according to Mr. Jackson's public life, real men apparently father children out of wedlock.

The word for "knowledge" is gnosis (gno'-sis) which means: the act of knowing; viz: being educated and/or informed. In other words; one cannot please God without first knowing what displeases Him.

†. Rom 12:2 . . Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.

The word for "self-control" is egkrateia (eng-krat'-i-ah) which means: continence. The opposite of continence is incontinence; which is the condition where a person cannot restrain their natural impulses.

The word for "perseverance" is hupomone (hoop-om-on-ay') which means: cheerful (or hopeful) endurance and/or constancy. A hupomone person always keeps looking for the light that they know is at the end of the tunnel; and even if they can't see it for now; they fully expect to.

The word for "godliness" is eusebeia (yoo-seb'-i-ah) which means: piety; which Webster's defines as: dutifulness in religion; viz: devoutness.

Devoutness corresponds to sanctified; which just simply means to be dedicated and/or committed. (e.g. John 8:29)

The word for "brotherly kindness" is philadelphia (fil-ad-el-fee'-ah) which means: fraternal affection. In these days of dysfunctional homes in the USA, fraternal affection has no point of reference in the thinking of some people because they've never seen it, nor ever experienced it. Is it any wonder then that so many homes in America are producing sociopaths, and kids with Reactive Attachment Disorder?

Fraternal affection was a sorely missing element in my three years of service in the US Army from 1961 to 1964. The men hated each other; and the men hated the officers and non-coms; and they in turn hated the men. Everybody mistrusted each other and each guy had at the most only a couple of guys in my whole 200-man unit he could lean on. That lack of fraternal affection had an impact on unit cohesiveness and made America's enemies seem more like friends than foes.

I, for one, really appreciate Charlie Sheen's line towards the end of the Hollywood movie Platoon. It goes something like this: "I think now, looking back, we did not fight the enemy-- we fought ourselves . . . and the enemy was in us." That line is profound; and an excellent companion to a line in Terminator 2, Judgment Day when Arnold Schwarzenegger commented to the young John Connor: "It is in your nature to destroy yourselves."

Peter put "love" last on the progression of graces; yet love is where most Christians put the emphasis rather than the others; in other words; they typically start at the finish and work back towards the beginning. That's sort of like a six year-old kid beginning the twelve-year educational process as a senior in high school and gradually working his way towards graduation in kindergarten.

The word for "love" is agape (ag-ah'-pay) which is not just acts of love and feelings of affection and/or benevolence; but actually a love feast; viz: an all-you-can-eat buffet. Agape love is a guardian kind of love with a sense of duty and responsibility that never burns out; whereas romantic love, and brotherly love are both vulnerable to one's moods and emotions.

If love could be quantified; and packaged in a container, how much love would God's container hold? Since God's love knows no bounds; then it cannot be quantified. See what I mean by an all-you-can-eat buffet? No matter how much love you consume from God's container, it will never be exhausted; sort of like the cosmos; it's infinite.

What most Christians don't seem to realize is that it's God's all-you-can-eat kind of love that they are supposed to add to brotherly kindness rather not just ordinary human love. (John 13:34)

See now why love comes last on the list? It's said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Well that single step for Christians is goodness; without which they cannot obtain more knowledge, nor more perseverance, nor more self control, nor more godliness, nor more brotherly kindness, nor any degree of agape whatsoever. Christians not yet accomplished in the primary graces might just as well forget about the advanced grace of agape for now.

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490) 2Pet 3:1-2 . . Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of The Lord and Savior.

I just don't know why so many professing Christians insist that it's unnecessary for believers to study the Old Testament when Peter insisted just the opposite. The koiné Greek word for "mindful" is mimnesko (mim-nace'-ko) which means: to recall to mind; viz: to keep in mind; to never dismiss, discard, nor forget.

†. Luke 24:44-45 . . And he said unto them: These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.

The "scriptures" to which Jesus referred are those of the Old Testament since there was as yet none for the New.

†. 1Cor 10:11 . . These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.

The "things that happened to them" refer to the adventures of Yhvh's people during their forty years in the wilderness prior to entering the promised land; which consists of the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Those are things that Paul says believers should know. (1Cor 10:1)

†. 2Tim 3:13-17 . . But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God; and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Paul's instructions to his friend Timothy targeted pastors; of whom Paul says are ill equipped to do their jobs if they don't study the Old Testament.

†. Rom 15:4 . . For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through patience, and the counseling of the scriptures, we might have hope.

The koiné Greek word for "hope" in that passage is elpis (el-pece') which doesn't mean to cross your fingers and hope for the best. It means to expect; viz: to anticipate, usually with pleasure. The world's hope is nothing but wistful thinking, while the believer's hope is in the bag and that's why he can look forward to it rather than wish for it.

According to Paul, elpis hope is reinforced by studying the Old Testament so that believers who neglect the Old Testament are more likely to suffer doubts about their future than a believer who studies the Old just as diligently as he studies the New. And besides, the Old and New are not two separate Bibles; no, there is only one Bible. and it is a continuous revelation from front to back; ergo: people who choose the New Testament as their Bible are working with an incomplete revelation.

But back to Peter's statement: "the commandment of us, the apostles of The Lord and Savior." Too many Christians regard the apostles' writings in the epistles as merely information rather than divine edicts that Christ expects to be obeyed just as much as he expects his own personal words to be obeyed. Failure to obey the apostles' writings in the epistles is a domino effect of insubordination all the way to the top.

†. Luke 10:16 . .Whoever listens to you; listens to me. Whoever rejects you; rejects me. And whoever rejects me; rejects the one who sent me.

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491) 2Pet 3:8-10 . . Beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with The Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of The Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Humans have but a short time in the grand scheme of things to accomplish their ambitions before death catches up with them and puts a cap to all their hopes and dreams.

†. Ps 145:4 . .Who, breathing his last, returns to the earth; that day all his planning comes to nothing.

But God is under no such time constraints. He exists in eternity; viz: God always was, He always is, and He always will be. As such, God is at liberty to take as much time as He pleases to work things out.

It's theorized by a number of scientists and laymen alike that a big bang initiated the cosmos. Well for sure a big bang will end it; and that's not a theory: that's a divine prediction.

The Bible says The Lord's return will be of a sudden (Luke 17:24, Rev 22:20) but sudden is not the same as soon.

†. 2Pet 3:11-12 . . Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

I've noticed that some people endeavor to leave themselves a legacy in the form of all sorts of man-made structures like highways, buildings, libraries, museums, stadiums, bridges, dams, etc. Those structures are neither permanent nor eternal. One day; they'll all disappear in a great roaring fire ball.

492) 2Pet 3:14 . .Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless

Some of the brethren haven't a clue what it is to be in peace; their temperaments won't permit. But that's something they really need to work on because temperamental behavior will not be permitted in the new cosmos.

The koiné Greek word for "looking forward" is prosdokao (pros-dok-ah'-o) which means: to anticipate; viz: to await; for example:

When I was a small boy living in Santee California back in the late 1940's, I used to climb one of the olive trees in the front yard so I could see down the road in the direction that my dad came home every evening in a black 1933 Model A Ford. I always climbed the tree ahead of time so I could begin watching for my dad and spot him coming a long ways off, and then I'd get down and sprint out to the end of our dirt driveway and jump on the running board of that old Ford and ride it back to the house with my dad.

Prosdokao is like that. It fully expects the arrival of a future event; and the future event Peter spoke of in previous verses is not only The Lord's return; but also the utter annihilation of the current cosmos to be replaced by one in which only righteousness exists. Today, righteousness and unrighteousness exist side by side, but in the future, it won't be like that.

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493) 2Pet 3:17 . .You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness,

What might be the error of unprincipled men? Well, they are utterly mindless of the impending termination of the cosmos. It doesn't concern them in the slightest; nor does any other portion of the Day Of The Lord; which begins with the rapture, followed by three and a half years of fragile world peace and prosperity, followed by three and a half years of horrific events and conditions the likes of which the world has never seen or experienced, followed by The Lord's personal return to rule the world for a millennium, followed by the utter annihilation of the current cosmos, followed by the Great White Throne event depicted at Rev 20:11-15, and followed by the creation of a brand new cosmos where only righteousness is permitted to exist.

Christ's believing followers need to keep in mind at all times that they are merely pilgrims on this earth rather than permanent residents. We're passing through the current cosmos on our way to a land far and away better than the one we inhabit now. So don't get too attached to this world, nor diverted by its distractions; because the current earth's days are numbered and we've much bigger fish to fry.

494) 2Pet 3:18 . . But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The above quote from the apostle Peter's second epistle isn't addressed to just any John Q and Jane Doe looky-loo. It's specifically addressed to Christ's believing followers. (2Pet 1:1)

The two pursuits that the apostle Peter ordered are worthwhile for Christ's believing followers because whatever growth in grace they obtain is a permanent growth; and whatever knowledge of God they gain, they keep too: throughout eternity.

Why become more and more gracious? Because the people in heaven are gracious. Yes; they are nothing like the churlish race of cruel hominids infesting the world that you and I live in. If you should perchance go to heaven as an ungracious churl yourself; then you will be in for culture shock because people in heaven are truly civilized and would make even Emily Post seem as rough-hewn as a third-generation Oregon logger.

It's for that very reason that I sincerely believe every new arrival in heaven has to first attend a sort of finishing school where they are forged into decent human beings before being permitted to associate with the others. We pick up a lot of bad, anti-social habits down here on the planet and those habits have to be broken because God's home is a place of peace. It isn't conducive to peace to have thoughtless morons running loose annoying people and committing senseless acts of unkindness.

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495) 1John 2:24 . . Let that therefore abide in you, which you have heard from the beginning. If that which you have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, you also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

Within the context of John's letter, "the beginning" is Jesus Christ.

†. 1John 1:1-2 . .That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-- this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.

Jesus Christ identified himself as the beginning.

†. Rev 1:8 . . I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith The Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come: The Almighty.

†. Rev 3:14 . .These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God

†. Rev 21:6 . . And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.

†. Rev 22:13 . . I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

The koiné Greek word for "beginning" is somewhat ambiguous and doesn't strictly mean the first item to roll off an assembly line. The word is arche (ar-khay') which means: (1) a commencement, and/or (2) chief (in order, time, place, or rank).

So then, Jesus Christ isn't the beginning of the creation of God as if he were its first thing created; but rather, he is the one who got the ball rolling; viz: Christ is both the creation's senior officer and its construction supervisor.

†. John 1:3 . . All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.

†. Col 1:16 . . For by him were all things created; that are in heaven, and that are in earth

†. Heb 3:1-6 . . Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; who was faithful to Him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all His house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honor than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.

Now; the trick to abiding in Jesus Christ is to first off have at your disposal the correct way to go about it. Well; that is not so easy sans the possession of a special anointing.

†. 1John 2:26-27 . .These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. And as for you, the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

So then, we may conclude from 1John 2:26-27 that people lacking the anointing:

1• are susceptible to deception

2• have very possibly bought into a lie and don't know it, because that's the nature of deception: it's stealthy

3• do not have in their possession the information one needs to abide in him

4• are not abiding in him

That pretty much describes the spiritual condition of every Watch Tower Society missionary who comes to your door because they will quite candidly admit they do not have the anointing nor do they ever expect to have it.

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496) 1John 2:28 . . And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

That directive is meant only for "little children" which is a category identifying an elite group of Christ's believing followers who have undergone a supernatural birth.

†. John 1:12-13 . .To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

Within the scope of John's first epistle, the little children have two salient features in common-- features which they do not have in common with ordinary rank and file pew warmers.

1• They all have eternal life right now-- no delay and no waiting period. Note the grammatical tense of John's "have" verb. It's in the present tense; not future.

†. 1John 5:13 . .These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life

2• They all have God's son by virtue of their possession of eternal life.

†. 1John 5:11-12 . . And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in His son. So whoever has God's son has the life; whoever does not have the life, does not have His son.

If God's testimony is true, then we may safely conclude that Christians lacking eternal life are quite christless; and that is not a good thing.

†. Rom 8:9 . . And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

Christians lacking eternal life are not only quite christless, but they also abide in death, and grave danger of the wrath of God.

†. John 5:24 . . I assure you: those who listen to my message, and believe in God who sent me, have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.

Christ's statement reveals why a number of Christians lack eternal life.

1• They do not listen to his message

2• They do not believe in God

When Christians fail to believe in God, they insinuate that He's a dishonest person of marginal integrity who can't be trusted to tell the truth.

†. 1John 5:9-10 . .We accept human testimony; but God's testimony carries more weight because it's the testimony of God, which He has given about His son. He who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.

The little epistle of 1John is really handy for differentiating between Christ's believing followers and his make-believe followers. Try it sometime. Ask your Christian contacts if they're going to heaven. I'll bet you that the majority will answer: I don't know, but I hope so. And some will even go so far as to say: Nobody knows things like that. Those kinds of answers reveal a profound ignorance of Christ's message; not to mention a shameful lack of trust in God's integrity.

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497) 1John 3:6-8 . .Whoever abides in him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen him nor known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who sins is of the Devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.

John started off by saying: "whoever abides in him does not sin".

This is tricky because according to 1John 1:8-10 even the apostle John sinned; and surely no one would suggest that John didn't abide in Christ; nor dare say that he had neither seen Christ nor known him.

In a nutshell: "He who sins is of the Devil" refers to people whose religion and/or whose spiritual ideology is something other than Christianity. Those outside of Christianity are practicing unrighteousness; while those inside Christianity are practicing righteousness. Bottom line: the practice of Christianity is the right thing to do while the practice of all other religions and/or spiritual ideologies is the wrong thing to do.

498) 1John 2:28-29 . . And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from him in shame at his coming.

The koiné Greek word for "shame" is aischunomai (ahee-skhoo'-nom-ahee) which means disgrace.

Here's a concise nose count of the kinds of non Christians, as of mid 2014, who will be deeply, and painfully, confused and humiliated by Christ's return to the earth.

50,000 Scientologists
1,500,000 Mormons
8,200,000 Jehovah's Witnesses
7,794,000 Baha'i
515,951,000 Buddhists
451,292,000 Chinese Folk Religionists
8,424,000 Confucianists
974,597,000 Hindus
5,567,000 Jains
14,142,000 Jews
1,673,590 Muslims
2,819,000 Shintoists
24,918,000 Sikhs
14,183,000 Spiritists
8,660,000 Taoists
196,000 Zoroastrians
828,594,000 Nonreligious
692,111,000 Agnostics and
136,483,000 Atheists.

The grand total of just those categories alone is 5,369,071,000

If those figures are in the ball park, and if classical Christianity is the truth; then a minimum of at least 72% of the earth's current population of 7.436 billion people are practicing unrighteousness; and would be painfully confused and humiliated were Christ to return this very day.

†. John 15:4-11 . . Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me.

. . . I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

. . . If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.

. . . Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

Christ's commandments consist of a whole lot more material than just do's and don'ts. His commandments consist of "my words", i.e. everything he ever taught, stood for, and/or discussed with his disciples; i.e. his doctrine.


NOTE: Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons are Christians, yes, but not in the traditional sense.

Joseph Smith's movement is a spin-off; in other words: there's some Christianity in Mormonism, but Christianity comprises only a portion of Mormonism. The rest of it is extreme, to say the least.

Neither do Jehovah's Witnesses qualify as Christians in the traditional sense. Charles Taze Russell's movement is a spin-off too. There's some Christianity in the Watchtower Society's doctrines, but Christianity comprises only a portion of Russell's doctrines; and his slant on it is very peculiar.

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