Let’s dive right into our journey in 2nd Peter. As we read through the letter we may wonder why Peter seems so worked up about false-teachers. He’s warned his readers in 2:1-3, proclaimed that God will judge false-teachers in 2:4-11, and now launches into something that reads like an angry diatribe. The answer to why Peter is so concerned is found in today’s verses and in a story he references from the Old Testament. Peter said, “But these (false-teachers), like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their decepti
I don’t recall ever using a wax seal to secure an envelope. Before envelopes could be sealed with glue or wet-able adhesive the only way to secure its contents was with a wax seal. These seals served three purposes. A seal secured the contents with a simple mechanism to keep the flap shut. A broken seal indicated that an envelope had been opened. And the seal was not just a blob of wax but it held an impression declaring ownership. It was a positive indicator that the sender was authentic. Come to think of it, email doesn’t do any of those things. So, what does the Bible mean when it says we’ve been sealed with the Holy Spirit? For instance, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, w
Betty and I enjoy hiking through the woods. We often plan our vacations around those hikes. Since we seek out those trails rated as moderate to rugged it not unusual for us to cross a bridgeless stream using stepping stones. Sometimes those stones are placed and maintained by the Park Service. Sometimes they’re the natural stones and logs that make up the stream bed. Care is taken as we test the surety of each stone, a hiking stick at the ready to provide additional support. Our next steps in the Walk Through 2nd Peter is like crossing a broad stream on stepping stones. Please read 2 Peter 2:4-11. For the sake of space, I won’t reprint it here. In order to continue Peter’s flow, we must reach back for a moment to verse 3. “Their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruct
Sometimes I’m surprised by the meaning of words. Even common everyday words can mean something different than our typical usage of them. I’m not talking about slang terms although there’s always a few surprises there as well. Who would have thought that chill means something other than chill? Take the everyday word “ought.” Most of the time we use it as a kind of suggestion. “You ought to change your oil.” I was surprised to discover that “ought” is more powerful than a simple suggestion. Consider this verse. John said, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16, NASB95) In my normal everyday usage, “ought” sounds like a pleasant suggestion. “Yep, we ought to love each other. It would be a really nice
Regardless of the country we live in we’ll find warning signs. Consider road signs warning of some danger. Tight curve ahead. Slippery when wet. No passing zone. Road construction ahead. Warning – bridge closed. Those assuming the warnings are merely suggestions for someone else will probably have results ranging from embarrassing to fatal. Our next step in our walk through 2nd Peter reveals some warning signs concerning our walk with Jesus. Peter warns the flock, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be mal
I have these rules for life. Some of them are learned, some overheard. This particular rule I’d label as “not there yet.” Call it an aspirational rule. An acknowledgment of a simple yet hard to implement truth. The fifth rule goes like this – Patience can untie the impossible knot. I’m not sure if everyone is like this or not. What I see in myself regarding patience is a hodge-podge of inconstancy. I can be both patient and incredibly impatient at the same time. The difference seems to be driven by other factors. How urgent is the matter on the other side of the knot? The level of desire for something to happen? Do I have a measure of control over the situation or is it totally out of my hands? The answers mix together in weird ways to impact my level of patience. How about you?
“Benjamin Zook Carter! Put the tablet away and get down here right now!” a harried black mother called from the kitchen. “Breakfast is on the table and we have to go in five minutes!” Ben knew how far to push it and mom had just activated the panic button by using his full name. A name he hated. He bounded downstairs and began shoveling his mom’s pancakes into his mouth. Between his fourth and fifth forkful he said, “Mom, can I ask you something?” Without pausing, “How come you called me Benjamin Zook and not something cool like Kayne or Keshan?” “How old are you? Eight?” Mom asked. “Come on Mom, you know I’ll be ten next week.” “Ten, well I guess it’s time you ask your granddaddy about your name. How about we go see him next Saturday for your birthday?” “Fun!” Ben replied a
I begin this step in our Walk Through 2nd Peter knowing that it’s going to make almost everyone angry, upset, or conflicted. The words themselves seem innocuous, a harmless reminder that writers moved by the Holy Spirit conveyed God’s words. That truth is understood and accepted by those following Jesus. But when we consider Peter’s warning it challenges all of our assumptions, presumptions, prejudices, traditions, and preferences. Looking closely at what Peter meant sets off a nuclear explosion of life-altering proportions. Peter writes, “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is
I recall our first color television set. Our giant RCA black and white was moved upstairs while our new color console from Sears took its place. No remote and only three channels but it was a marvel. Bugs Bunny was so much better in color. One day I looked closely at the picture tube when mom wasn’t watching. She was always telling us to back up from the screen worried that close exposure would hurt our eyes. With my trusty magnifying glass, I examined the tube while Gilligan was inadvertently causing problems. What I discovered where small dots of only three colors, red, green and blue. The principle at work in that old TV is also at work in computer screens, big wall mounted flat panels, and giant electronic billboards. Three simple colors blended to create a multitude of hues and shades
Have you ever been startled when something you're reading ends up in an unexpected place? Perhaps even saying, "I didn't see that coming." In some genres, the twist is expected and we're disappointed when it doesn't happen, is too predictable, or is simply lame. There are other kinds of writing where a twist is unexpected, startling, and causes us to puzzle its meaning. The next step in our walk through 2nd Peter contains an unexpected twist. Peter begins, "For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty." (2 Peter 1:16, NASB95) What cleverly devised tales did Peter have in mind? He doesn't specify or even hint. They could have been the myth stories of the Greek and Roman gods a...
Somewhere in our early school years, we learned about simple machines. The ever-present inclined plane, pulley, wheel and axle, and lever. Simple machines which make the difficult or impossible possible. That ancient Greek inventor Archimedes said something along the lines of “Give me a lever and I will move the world.” But the lever without a fulcrum, a pivot point, is nothing more than a long pole. It’s the pivot point that bears the weight of the lever and demonstrates an important lesson about making judgments. Even if you haven’t read the Bible or walked with Jesus for long you may have heard “judge not lest you be judged.” Or something to that effect. Jesus actually said something a bit more frightening, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as
Imagine for a moment being stuck on a raft in the middle of the ocean. No oar or sail, just a slave subject to the whims of wind and current. Assuming you had food, water, and shelter what is the one thing you'd want? I'd wish for a means of propulsion, preferably a well fueled outboard motor. It's in this comparison between a drifting raft and a motorboat that we find Peter's main point in our next Walk Through 2nd Peter. Peter wrote, "Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Chr...