Tag Archives: 2 Peter

maranatha, precision, Day 22

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“Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘seven’s, and sixty-two ‘sevens’… After the sixty-two ‘sevens’, the Anointed one will be put to death and will have nothing. “ Dan 9.25-26

I’m not at home right now (and more importantly, I’m away from my study Bible), so I can’t go into much detail in explaining the “sevens”, but the important thing here is this: God revealed to Daniel the precise timing of the Messiah’s (the Anointed One’s) arrival. Down to the precise year.

My favorite analogy for clarifying prophecy was given to me by my Bible Professor/Pastor in Florida. A prophet is given a vision from God, and he records what he sees. If I were to stand near the top of a mountain peak and look straight ahead, I might see what looks like a singular peak, but is in fact multiple mountaintops together. From my vantage point I cannot see any of the valleys in between, merely many mountaintops in one perception. It’s a similar situation in Daniel 9. Without transition, Daniel begins by speaking of Jesus’ coming years down the road, and within the same verse starts to proclaim the end of the world (v. 26b-27).

You can get into some pretty deep holes if you spend too much time tearing apart and stapling down end times prophecies, and I don’t think that’s the ultimate point here. The point is to realize that God knows, exactly. He knew before the world was created that we would rebel and require His intervention and salvation. He knew exactly when Jesus would enter time as a man to intercede for us. And He knows precisely when this world as we know it will be finished.

“You must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” 2 Peter 3.8-9

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Patience, round 2

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Yesterday, I was given an opportunity to speak in front of 10-15 sets of parents during the half-time period of a local church’s basketball ministry. In this time segment, while the coaches are advising their teams, the parents there to support their kids are left sitting, watching the clock run down until the game resumes. The leaders of this church decided to take advantage of the awkward-wait time to share the Gospel with these parents, as kids from throughout the community come to play on these teams. And I was asked to speak at two of the afternoon’s half-times. After praying about it, I decided to share about Hesed and patience, so these lessons God taught me have been on my mind recently…..

Tonight we did communion again with Grace Church, and, once again, God used the testimony of someone else to teach me something. A man spoke about a friend of his finally surrendering his life to Jesus on his deathbed after being prayed over for 30+ years, and this man quoted 2 Peter 3:9 :

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

And this verse brought back the picture God gave me regarding “hupo meno”, the greek word literally meaning “to remain under”, which we translate as “patience”. But this time, instead of picturing a man on a bench press, I pictured Jesus in Heaven (cheesy, I know, but bear with me.) His “burden” is the sin and pain of this world; He bears it, “remains under” it, by allowing another day to pass because His desire for repentant hearts is stronger than the pain this patience brings Him. And that really humbled me….. In no way whatsoever is God pleased with the pain and sin so rampant in this world. In fact, it hurts Him more than it ever would hurt us, for it is a blatant assault against His very nature. But, rather than eradicate the source of His pain, He is patient with it. He is meek.

A dear woman-friend of mine who mentored me years ago defined meekness in a way I’ll never forget. Meekness = strength restrained. Meekness is the father holding his newborn daughter for the first time, his every movement careful and measured so as not to wake his precious child. Meekness is the artist steadying her painting hand, her every stroke methodical and precise. Meekness….. is Jesus hanging on the cross, His every breath a decision to suffer for me, for us, instead of easily removing Himself from His excruciating pain and humiliation. Meekness is God’s patience in 2 Peter 3. It’s God allowing one more day of sin and pain, because He values that soul who surrenders to Him more than He wants to be free of the insult of sin. Not that He won’t eventually put an end to sin; the day is coming when all will be made right (hallelujah!). But until then, God is meek. God is patient.

Thank You, Jesus.

“Fixing” Mirrors

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So this morning I decided that I was just going to do it. There’s no way to start unless you just start….

God’s been convicting me on our relationship; I’ve let my time in the Word in class and homework take the place of my personal time with Him. And, not that it’s some legalistic sin, but I can tell the difference. I’ve still been learning like crazy, and God has been convicting/speaking/guiding me, but the intimacy that I know I’ve been designed for is lacking. So, I’ve decided to do something about it. Nothing magical, no instant fix. I’m just going to, by His grace, get back into spending time daily with Him, reading His word. I’ve decided to read through 2 Peter, and then hit the Christmas story (fitting for the season.)

So, this morning I cracked open Peter’s second book, only to make it 9 verses in, and then my whole day changed….

“Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.”

The Holy Spirit took hold of me with that last verse: “…. short-sighted and blind…” That’s what I’ve become: short-sighted. I’ve lost sight of the big picture, I’ve become content with “ok”, forgetting both who God really is and who He’s called (purified) me to be.

And it kept coming. During the first service in church this morning, Pastor Randy spoke from Exodus 20:18-21, the Israelites’ response to God revealing the Law to Moses.

“18 All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. 19 Then they said to Moses, “Speakto us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.” 21 So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.”

In classic Randy style, he pulled all kinds of principles from those four verses, but the first one was enough for me. See, God’s show of power and holiness was supposed to inspire fear into the Isrealites (“so that [they] may not sin”), but they weren’t supposed to stay there. They were supposed to move from terror into awe and submission. But they stayed in the first position, because they based their decisions on what they saw. This hit me like round two; again, with the sight thing. What is the Biblical definition of faith? Seeing things the way God says they are, not how my eyes natually see them. The Israelites here did not have faith. In hearing thunder and lightening, they saw danger and “trembled and stood at a distance”. God challenged me that I am called to live a life of faith, and I can’t possibly live as He wants me to if I base my decisions solely on what I see. I can’t be short-sighted.

But it’s not over yet. Bring on round three. During second service, I’ve been helping with Youth Group Sunday School, where we’ve been going through Francis Chan’s “BASIC” series. He’s put together a DVD series of videos and discussion questions based on the basic fundamentals of the Christian life. Today’s was on…. living/walking in the Holy Spirit. So we spent a whole hour discussing how the Holy Spirit leads us, and what walking in His guidance looks like practically.

As the day progressed, I realized that I have placed mirrors in front of my eyes. I have made myself the center of my sight, falling deeper and deeper into pride and complacency. And with my own image reflecting back to me, my vision’s scope had shortened dramatically. Short-sighted.

Father, take down my mirrors. Help me “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles [me], and let [me] run with endurance the race that is set before [me], fixing [my] eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:1-2.