Thursday, October 24, 2019

Scripture study: 1 Peter 1

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. (1 Peter 1)

QUESTIONS FOR STUDY:
What does it mean to be "obedient children"?

What does it mean to "fashion yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance"? Ignorance of what?

What does it mean to be holy "as he which hath called you is holy"? Who is calling you?

Peter says "the Father" "judgeth according to every man's work" "without respect of persons". What does this mean?

Gold is purified by subjecting it to fire until the impurities are burned out. Peter uses this analogy to describe the process of refinement believers must undergo here in order to inherit heaven hereafter. Why doesn't he just say that we have to admit we are sinners and claim to believe in Jesus if that is all that is required? Why does he instead say that we have to purify our souls through obedience? "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren...."

What does Peter describe as the "grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ?"

Why is it "grace" for the Lord to resurrect people? How can it be "grace" if obtaining an "inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you" depends on the individual passing the "trial of your faith" by being "obedient children"?

Why does Peter say that only those who "have purified your souls in obeying the truth" are "born again"?

Why does Peter say that being "born again" means to be founded on "the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." What does Peter say the word of God is (verse 25)? Why is anything else like "grass" that "withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away?"

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Scripture study: 2 John 1

1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

2 For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.

3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.

13 The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR STUDY:
1. What does it mean to love someone in the truth? Why will that love be with those who have known the truth forever?
2. What does John mean when he says "Grace be with you"? How would John define grace?
3. What does John mean when he describes these people as "walking in truth"?
4. What does it mean to "walk after his [God's] commandments"?
5. Why does John explain that loving one another means to "walk after his [God's] commandments"?
6. Why does John equate "confess[ing] not that Jesus is come in the flesh" and walking not after his commandments?
7. What does John indicate would cause these believers to lose "those things which we have wrought"?
8. What is a "full reward"?
9. What is required to receive a "full reward"?
10. What does it mean to "hath not God"?
11. What does it mean to transgress?
12. What does it mean to abide not in the doctrine of Christ?
13. What does it mean to have "both the Father and the Son"?
14. What would it indicate if you have neither the Father nor the Son?
15. Why do you think John cautions the believers strongly against associating with those who teach things contrary to the doctrines he lays out here?

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The (free) audiobook of "The Glory of God is Intelligence" is out

1. The audiobook is available. There is a link in the right sidebar of the blog to where you can download the files.

2. The preparation of the audiobook resulted in a few edits to the text. Most of these were grammatical. I'm not aware of significant content changes off the top of my head. Still, I've updated the print, pdf, and kindle versions of the book.

Enjoy!

Note 1: Please join me in offering prayers of thanks to Cindy, who spent an ENORMOUS amount of time carefully voicing, recording, editing, and re-recording this audiobook, in addition to all the professional equipment she used to do so. She did this without accepting a cent, and in doing so has  provided a huge service for all of us.

Note 2: This book is easily one of the most important ever written, and certainly the most important to be written in a long time. If you haven't read it, you are insisting on walking through life blind when a light has been provided to guide your way. I am not saying this to pat myself on the back, but as a way of testifying that a dispensation of God's mercy has been given in this book. I solemnly say that where much is given much is expected. If you haven't read it, I hope you will at least listen to it. It isn't meant to be processed all at once, but read through, then re-read from time to time.


Monday, October 7, 2019

Music has a strange power to articulate deep emotional knowledge

Almost without exception, I prefer to avoid "worship music." This is because, like religious art, I find that most media is devoid of the depth of emotional connection I feel in my spirit life. In other words, when I see a picture of the Lord or listen to a "Christian song", it fails to get deep enough to resonate with the level of emotions I feel. To me, it almost feels like mockery.

I profoundly enjoy music, though. One reason for this is that I find music that is worshipful to me in unlikely places. What do I mean by "to me"? I mean when I listen to it, it connects to segments of those very deep emotional pangs that exist in me, but that normally evade articulation and for which I find almost no connection in "real life." I know from experience that the things I think and feel are very different from those around me. That's ok. It is how it is meant to be. But it does make me feel either like the only crazy person on this earth, or the only sane one. Either way, it's a lonely road.

These songs provide me companionship by stirring my spiritual memory of a higher plane of existence, and they bring me great joy.

These songs draw me to Jesus, because they celebrate and expand on some aspect of his character and some aspect of our interaction with him in that regard.

Some of these songs are empowering, and make me feel like a warrior general riding into battle to free the oppressed.

Some of these songs resonate with my love for all mankind, stirring my soul away from waxing cold, and calling me to just keep going, no matter the opposition.

Some of these songs remind me that there is a great deal of beauty, even in this fallen world.

Some of these songs focus my attention on the goodness and trustworthiness of God--that he truly is the anchor that roots all those who are willing to lose their lives to find life in him.

Some of these songs remind me of the permanent, indescribable satisfaction that one realizes upon finishing this mortal life having toiled with all their heart, might, mind, and strength for the benefit of others.

I wish we had more musicians who had not only musical talent, but the spiritual experience (knowledge?) that they could translate into sounds and words.