2 Peter 1:1-4 – Growing Your Faith

Read 2 Peter 1:1-4

You’ll soon realize that 2 Peter is much different from 1 Peter in language, style, setting, and even theological development. Take in Peter’s final testament of his firsthand witness from Jesus himself and being in Jesus’ inner circle. As you read, remember Peter saw the transfigured Jesus, watched Jesus ascend, and spent all the moments in between being shown what truth in human form was all about.

Having faith in that truth, in Jesus, is what our life focus should be all about. The text says, “This faith was given to you.” What went through your mind when you read these words? At first, I wondered why I was special, why I had been chosen by God to receive faith. Then, I simply marveled at the gift my faith is in my life. The bond of faith is what Peter shared with his audience, too.

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1 Peter 5:8-9 – You Are Not Alone

Read 1 Peter 5:8-9

Too often we let ourselves be blinded to the work of the enemy among us. We stop being vigilant. In these final words of Peter, he is talking about that “elephant in the room” we all try to ignore. Evil. The more we ignore the evil one or look the other way, the more he takes a grip on our lives.

“Stay alert!” is Peter’s cry. I’ve been amazed at how when watching a television program or movie produced within the last couple years how many things I see as contradictory to the Christian life and God’s word. Decades ago, people were upset when swearing became commonplace in these entertainment mediums. Today, we can become immune to hearing that kind of language. That’s only a small fraction of what we should be appalled by. Peter told us to “stay alert,” to not forget about God’s desire for us.

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Luke 20:1-19 – Jesus Teaches Us

Read Luke 20:1-19

Jesus final days were spent teaching in the Temple. There were so many lessons left to share; Jesus had to be wondering how he could fit them all in. These teachable moments were often interrupted by confrontation.

Today we see how the religious leaders were trying to trip up Jesus and interrupt the flow of his teaching. Because they were so offended by his popularity, they had to know who had given Jesus the authority to speak and preach as he had been. What other motives may they have had? We see how brilliantly Jesus turns the inquisition around so the leaders are left speechless. But they didn’t walk away. They stayed and listened.

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James 2:14-26 – Living Out Your Faith

Read James 2:14-26

James introduces this section by suggesting a problem he must have observed. “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions?” Certainly we’d all agree that faith should show itself through deeds of loving service.

In a recent Bible study discussion, I marveled at my pastor husband, David’s comment about this text. He posed an interesting scenario of observing a discussion about faith between our author here, James, and the apostle Paul. We’d see two very faithful men with two very different perspectives. Is that a bad thing? After all, the gospels all talk about Jesus’ life and ministry from different viewpoints. When it comes to understanding our faith, these differences can be confusing.

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Hebrews 13:7-17 – Is Accepting Grace Hard For You?

Read Hebrews 13:7-17

Did you notice how this text begins and ends with a reference to our faith leaders? Who comes to mind for you as that person who first shared their faith with you and taught you the truth of Scripture? Maybe it was a favorite Sunday School teacher. Maybe it was a friend in your college dorm. Maybe it was Jesus revealing himself to you! Isn’t Jesus the best teacher of all?

When earthly leaders fail or get distracted, we can always trust Jesus. One of the gems in this text packs a powerful promise. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” We can rely on Jesus as the truth for our lives. All sorts of new age, spiritual type teachings pop up every day. The Preacher warns us to be careful of that.

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