Monday, October 31, 2016

The Bible ... God's Inspiration (2 Peter 1:19-21)

Today’s scripture: 2 Peter 1:19-21

These verses are full of richness and affirmation and explanation.

First, Peter reminds us that we can be assured the “prophetic word” in God’s word is “sure.” It is a “lamp shining in a dark place.”

Next, he asserts that any prophecy in God’s word is God’s. Not men’s. Each and every word in the Bible was inspired by God. They were written down by men, yes, but they were “moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

Many skeptics assert that the Bible is full of contradictions or that so many translations or interpretations have diluted its original meaning. But I believe that, just as the Spirit wrote through the pens of men, He worked through the pens of those who faithfully copied each word. And He continues to work through interpreters or translators today.

We can be assured that God’s is truth. We read His words. And through those words, we learn about Him and His will. We learn about His heart and love for His children.

What an amazing gift with which we've been blessed!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Eye-Witness (2 Peter 1:16-18)

Today’s scripture: 2 Peter 1:16-18

I love these verses! I know I write that a lot, but there’s so much to love about God’s word!

Peter tells us truth. Everything he writes is truth. He’s not relating folklore or fairy tales. He’s sharing what he himself witnessed.

He was with Jesus during His earthly ministry. He was with Jesus, and watched Him heal and bring life from death. He was with Jesus when He taught kingdom truths.

He was with Jesus when the soldiers arrested Him. And with heart breaking, Peter remembered denying knowing Jesus. And not being with his Master during the horrific trial and execution.

But he experienced forgiveness, and he was with Jesus during His last days on earth. He was with Jesus when the Father blessed the Son. He was there when Jesus ascended into heaven.

Peter was with Jesus. So everything he wrote was truth, based on fact. Based on his own experience. Based on his eye-witness. We can trust what he writes. We can learn from his words. Because it’s truth.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

This Earthly Dwelling (2 Peter 1:13-15)

Today’s scripture: 2 Peter 1:13-15

“… as long as I am in this earthly dwelling …”

Our Lord God knows the number of our days. He alone knows how long we’ll be in our “earthly dwelling.” Some of us will live into our 8th or 9th decades as my grandparents all did. Some of us will go to heaven much younger.

The important thing to remember is as long as we’re here, as long as God keeps us on earth, we need to be diligent in pursuing God’s call on our lives, purposeful in using our God-given gifts, and bold in sharing our faith.

And we can be confident that—however many days God has planned for us—if we focus on Him and make Him our priority, we’ll stand before Him and hear “well done, my faithful child.”

Isn’t that what you want to hear? Don’t you want to know that while in your “earthly dwelling” you delighted your Father? The only way to do so is to be all those things Peter mentioned in verses 5-7.

Or at least prayerfully attempt to be.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Senior Moments (2 Peter 1:12)

Today’s scripture: 2 Peter 1:12

Had any “senior moments” lately? That’s what my mother-in-law used to call those moments when you can’t remember a very familiar name or why you walked from the kitchen to the living room. I get them all the time.

Even though I know something, I can sometimes forget. Sometimes I need a reminder—or two or three.

Sometimes we need reminders of why we believe what we believe or how we know what we know. And that’s why it’s so important to spend time in God’s word and time with His people. When we focus on God and His word, we’re able to speak of our faith more easily. We’re ready with a logical answer for our beliefs.

Peter continues to remind us of what we already know. And we can do the same with our brothers and sisters. We can remind them of what they already know and help them to grow in faith. They can do the same for us.

So when you have a senior moment, when you can’t remember a verse or a biblical principle, go back to the source. Let God’s word jog your memory. Let other believers help remind you of what you already know to be true.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Practice. Practice. Practice. (2 Peter 1:10-11)

Today’s scripture: 2 Peter 1:10-11

You have been called and chosen to serve God. He has uniquely designed you to work for His kingdom in a way no one else can. Whatever you’re doing—teaching Sunday school, volunteering at the local shelter, singing on the worship team, sweeping up the church lobby—God has invited you to join Him in His plan.

You may feel like anyone could do what you do … but they can’t. Not the way God has called and gifted you. You’ll always perform whatever task or service you do in your unique way.

But Peter has given us a very important key: It’s when we practice all those things he talked about—self-control, kindness, brotherly love—that we’re able to accomplish all God has called us to do. Practice these things.

Have you ever acted in a play? You have rehearsal after rehearsal after rehearsal. You practice. And it’s only by practicing you are able to become your character. In the same way, if you practice godly things, you’ll develop godly character.

And the reward for all this practice? You’ll be more and more like Christ on earth, and then you’ll have the “entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Eternity with our Lord and Savior!

So practice, practice, practice. Play your role, whatever it might be, with diligence. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Never Forget (2 Peter 1:8-9)

Today’s scripture: 2 Peter 1:8-9

The exhortation continues …

Not only should we have all the qualities we talked about Friday, but they should also be increasing in us. But look at the outcome: We will be useful and fruitful. Our knowledge of Christ, our perseverance, our brotherly love can be used by God to build His kingdom.

What a gift!

I have the privilege of speaking at women’s groups throughout each year. I am so blessed when women tell me how God has inspired them and encouraged them through His words. It’s amazing to me God chooses to use the broken and flawed to fulfill His purpose. Each time I have the wonderful gift of speaking, I’m humbly grateful. He’s made me fruitful.

But Peter doesn’t stop there. And this is the heartbreaking part of these verses. If we “lack these qualities,” we are blind. We have “forgotten [our] purification from … former sins.”

Oh, may that never be true! May we never forget what Christ has done for us! May our remembering His sacrifice on our behalf create in us an urgency to be all those things: loving, patient, kind, growing in knowledge.

It’s the least we can do to show our gratitude.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Inadequate ... Yet Adequate (2 Peter 1:5-7)

Today’s scripture: 2 Peter 1:5-7

Wow. I don’t know about you, but there are sometimes (many times) when I read the Bible, and I think, “There’s no way I can do this. I’m just too weak (or prideful or stubborn or weary).” I read today’s verses, and I think, “There’s no way I can do this. I’m just too inadequate.”

I mean really. Read those verses again. Peter exhorts us to moral excellence. To knowledge. To self-control … perseverance … godliness … brotherly kindness … love.

Oh my goodness. Seriously? Now, there are a couple of these attributes that I pray I manifest regularly. I pray I’m kind to my brothers and sisters. I genuinely love others. I strive to grow in knowledge of my Lord. But self-control? Moral excellence? Perseverance?

I really am inadequate. But guess what? I don’t have to do this on my own. The Holy Spirit is in me to help me. When I struggle with impatience, I can ask for patience. When I’m tempted to sin, I can ask for the strength to withstand that temptation. When I just want to give up, I can ask for stamina to accomplish what God has called me to do.

Yes, the Bible often convicts me, and I often feel I’m incapable. And I am. On my own, that is. Praise my Lord God, I’m not alone.

And neither are you.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

This Amazing Creation (2 Peter 1:4)

Today’s scripture: 2 Peter 1:4

Oh, what an amazingly gracious and loving God we serve! He, knowing the choice Adam and Eve would make, still created them. He, knowing the choices we’d make, still created us. He gave us a beautiful world. He made trees and flowers, seas and mountains. So much to bring us joy. He loves us that much.

My husband and I love to explore our beautiful nation. In 2010, we drove up the California coast through the Redwoods up in to Oregon and then down through Yosemite. The towering, majestic trees. The roaring ocean. The magnificent, awe-inspiring mountain peaks. And then in 2011, we visited Zion and Bryce National Parks in southern Utah. And since we moved to East Tennessee, we’ve been able to see more of God’s amazing creation.

Words just can’t describe …

Such beauty. Created just for me. Just for you.

But creating this beautiful world isn’t the most amazing thing. Instead of giving us what we deserve—divine punishment—He gives us what we don’t deserve—His divine nature.

He loves us so much He wants to make us more and more like Jesus Christ, God the Son. He gives us His written word. He gives us brothers and sisters in Him. And He molds and refines us daily to be “partakers of the divine nature.”


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pen to Paper (2 Peter 1:1-3)

Today’s scripture: 2 Peter 1:1-3

Letter writing is a lost art. And that’s kind of sad. We live in a world of email, texts, and instant messages. Nothing is being written down any more. Our children—and their children—won’t find a stack of letters wrapped in ribbon chronicling their parents’ courtship. Generations to come won’t read of friendships from a distance.

And it is sad. Think about it. What if Paul or Peter or John didn’t write letters? What if they’d lived in a time of IMs? What a loss that would be.

Today we start digging into 2 Peter, and from the first few verses, we are immediately encouraged. Read through these verses again. Peter prays for multiplied grace and peace. Overwhelming, abundant grace. Soul-soothing peace. And how are these multiplied? Through the “knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” Knowing God—Father, Son, and Spirit—more and more intimately day by day.

And why should we desire that knowledge? Because He loves us and “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness …” Our glorified, excellent Father God grants us life. He provides for our needs. And He grows us daily to be more godly, more like Christ. But we must seek to know Him more. And that means spending time in His word. Time communing with Him in prayer. Time worshipping with other believers.

And maybe time writing down what God has done in our lives. Maybe writing a letter? With a pen? On paper? Just a thought.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

True Grace of God (1 Peter 5:10-14)

Today’s scripture: 1 Peter 5:10-14

How sad … We leave 1 Peter today. I don’t know about you, but this little book has been encouraging, affirming, convicting … sometimes all at once!

What an appropriate closing, though. Yes, we will suffer “for a little while” as we inhabit these earthly bodies during our temporary stay on earth. While we’re here, God will “perfect, strengthen, and establish” us. Every day we’re on earth, we must strive to be more like Christ, knowing our ultimate reward is spending eternity with our Lord.

So as Peter wrote two thousand years ago: “… this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!”

Monday, October 17, 2016

It's a Battle ... Every Day ... (1 Peter 5:8-9)

Today’s scripture: 1 Peter 5:8-9

You do know you’re in a battle, right? If you follow Jesus, then the enemy of our souls, the devil, wants nothing more than to hinder your walk. He’s going to try to win a battle or two. He’s going to try to keep you from doing what God has created you to do.

He’ll whisper lies in your ear. He’ll send his minions to put roadblocks in your way. He’ll use your own areas of weakness to bring you down.

But guess what, my friend. We can resist him. We can bind him in the name of Jesus.

The key? We must be alert. We must be prepared to combat his lies with the truth of God’s Word. Just as our Lord Jesus did, when the enemy comes and tells us those lies, we can use the words of the Scriptures to counter them. That’s why it’s so very, very important that we know the Bible.

I know I’ve written about this many, many times, but it’s only because I know from personal experience just how critical it is to spend time every single day with the Lord. I can’t encourage you enough to make time to read, study, and meditate on God’s word—every single day. Pray without ceasing. Spend time of quiet solitude, just listening to God’s voice.

Every single day.

And then you’ll be ready to fight the battle.

Oh, and remember one last very important thing: Yes, the devil is doing his best to win battles—and he may indeed win sometimes. But we know, beyond doubt, Who wins the war.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Cast Your Cares (1 Peter 5:5-7)

Today’s scripture: 1 Peter 5:5-7

These verses begin with Peter’s exhortation to younger men respecting elders, but the real truth is mutual humility. As children of God, we should always “esteem others better than” ourselves (Philippians 2:3). None of us is greater than another in the eyes of God. Some may have more notoriety or fame in the world’s eyes, but to God, we’re each one of His precious children.

God loves humble hearts because, with humility, we take our focus off of ourselves and on to Him, the Sovereign Creator, the Almighty God.

Then Peter throws in this little gem. In our humility, we can trust God. Where does it say that, you ask? Read the very last part: We can confidently cast every anxiety (the NKJV says “care”) at the foot of the throne. And why? Because God cares for us. He loves us unconditionally with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). We can trust Him with every single circumstance, good or bad.

I’ll leave you this morning with The Message paraphrase of verse 7: “Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.”

Be blessed this day!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

For the "Elders" (1 Peter 5:1-4)

Today’s scripture: 1 Peter 5:1-4

We live in a society that worships youth. And we spend a lot of money trying to look as young as possible. We’re bombarded with ads about miracle lotions that tighten skin, makeup that erases wrinkles, dyes that cover gray … And don’t get me started about plastic surgery. It’s nuts!

I have to admit, I use some products that supposedly camouflage some signs of aging, and I do try to hide the gray. And there are definitely some aspects of growing older that kind of … well, suck! Aches and pains. Short-term memory problems. Keeping reading glasses throughout my house so I can see …

But the Bible reminds us that being older is a blessing. We who are older should be eager examples to those younger than we are. God has given us stories to tell, wisdom to share, shoulders to offer. I love being part of a faith-based community theater, but what I love most is being able to spend time with young women, being an honorary “mama” and friend to them. I pray I’m being an example of a godly woman.

We who are older are given the privilege of mentoring and teaching younger people. But that privilege requires our being true examples of our Lord. As I’ve written many times, we need to be grounded in faith. We need to know God’s word. We need to pursue His will and live according to His commandments.

Only then can we be “shepherds” to those younger than we—either in age or in faith. Are you prepared to shepherd well? 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

It's Urgent! (1 Peter 4:17-19)

Today’s scripture: 1 Peter 4:17-19

Today’s verses hurt my heart. Peter asks, “… what will become of the godless man and the sinner?” The answer is, he’ll be eternally separated from God.

We all know people who aren’t followers of Christ (my greatest burden on earth far above health issues is my sweet husband’s lack of faith), and verses like these should urge us to share the wonderful truth of salvation with them, as lovingly as we can. They will face judgment. They will spend eternity apart from Creator God.

We need to pray for softened hearts—every day. We need to reflect Christ by being loving, patient, peaceful, gentle, kind. We need to remember that we could very well be the only example of Christ they see.

Wow. I don’t know about you, but that makes the preceding verses even more convicting. We need to obey God. We need to live according to His commandments. We need to consistently spend time with Him, learning more, becoming more whom He created us to be.

Yes, the bottom line is it’s between our unbelieving friends and God. We cannot save them. But we can be salt and light to a dark world, especially to those closest to us.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Obey God ... Be Blessed (1 Peter 4:14-16)

Today’s scripture: 1 Peter 4:14-16

It’s pretty simple. Obey God, and be blessed. Disobey God, and be cursed. Even though I’ve read them many times, I’m always struck by verses like Deuteronomy 28:1-2. God tells the people of Israel, if they “diligently obey” Him and are “careful to do all His commandments,” He promised overly-abundant blessings, which will “come upon … and overtake” them.

Can you imagine being “overtaken” by God’s blessings? How awesome is that?!

Now not everything that was written in the books of the law pertains to us. Many of the commandments were for a specific time and place. But I do know this: Obeying God is for all times and all places.

If I love God, if I want to follow Him, I’ll obey His commandments. That’s what I learn over and over in the Old Testament. Then I learn something more in the New Testament: Many won’t like my following God’s commandments. Many will revile me or persecute me because of my faith.

I can expect this, but I can also know God will bless me as I obey Him. I don’t have to be—I must not be—ashamed if I “suffer as a Christian.” Instead, I can—and must—glorify my Lord God and know He’ll bless me as I do. 

Friday, October 07, 2016

Rejoice ... In Suffering? (1 Peter 4:12-13)

Today’s scripture: 1 Peter 4:12-13

I’ve written about this before (in fact just a week or so ago …), and I’m sure I’ll write about it again. We should expect trials. We should expect suffering. Christ Himself told us we’d suffer as He suffered. We’d be persecuted as He was persecuted.

Why is it then so many of us complain or whine when we face adversity? I’m not saying we can’t cry out to God in our suffering. The psalmists certainly did. I’m not saying we can’t ask “why?” Job certainly did.

We don’t have to understand. We don’t even have to like it. But we shouldn’t be surprised.

We should rejoice. I know it’s an oxymoron: Joyful suffering. But in Christ, we can rejoice even through trials and tribulations. We can know, with certainty, God will use every situation—good and bad—for our ultimate good and His ultimate glory (Rom. 8:28).

And we can give glory to God … at all times and in all ways.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Use Those Gifts (1 Peter 4:10-11)

Today’s scripture: 1 Peter 4:10-11

God is so good. He is loving and gracious and merciful. He provides and protects. He blesses us so far beyond our expectations.

And He invites us to work with Him to fulfill His plans. That just blows my mind.

The Sovereign Creator, the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving God of the universe invites us—you and me—to help fulfill His plans. I often say He could certainly do it better without me, but He chooses to bless me by allowing me to participate.

He’s given His children gifts to use to serve Him and others. And everything we do with those gifts must be done for His glory, and His glory alone. God has given me the gift of encouragement, and He uses that gift as I speak, write, sing, act or provide a shoulder to a hurting friend. And I pray every time I’m blessed to use my God-given gift that I do give glory to Him. I remind myself regularly that anything I’m able to do—everything I’m able to do—is only because of God’s amazing love and grace for me.

You’re gifted as well. Do you know how God has gifted you? If you don’t, find out. And then joyfully use your gift to serve others and glorify God.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

The End of All Things (1 Peter 4:7-9)

Today’s scripture: 1 Peter 4:7-9

A couple of millennia ago, Peter wrote that the “end of all things is near.” Two thousand years later, we’re still waiting for that end, waiting for Christ’s return. And frankly, I echo the words of John after he heard Jesus say, “Surely I am coming quickly”: “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).

But for reasons we can’t understand, Jesus delays. Perhaps it’s because He’s still waiting for those He loves to choose to follow Him because, as Peter wrote in his second epistle, “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” (3:9).

In any case, while we’re on this earth, we need to represent Christ well, and Peter gives us some great exhortation:

We’re to be of sound judgment. Are we thinking about how our actions might appear to an unbeliever? Do they see something different in us? Are we making wise choices?

We’re to be of sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. This doesn’t mean we’re to be doom and gloom “Eeyores.” No. God loves to see His children joyful. What this does mean is we’re to take prayer very seriously. We’re not to treat prayer as a last-ditch effort or something we do just before meals. We’re to come to God’s throne humbly—remembering how undeserving we are—and gratefully—remembering everything God has done for us.

We’re to fervently love one another. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines fervent as “exhibiting or marked by great intensity of feeling.” Love is a verb, not a noun. It is an action. What do you do to love others? Do you know what’s really important to them? Do you treat them with respect and dignity?

Finally, we’re to be hospitable to one another without complaint. Going back to Webster’s, hospitable means “given to generous and cordial reception of guests.” We’re to be willing to open our homes and our hearts to serve others. But did you notice that last little command? Without complaint? Everything Peter calls us to do should be done with full and sincere hearts.

What if all of us who follow Christ did these things? Maybe the world would finally see the light of Christ in us. And maybe many would come to know Him in a personal way.

And maybe, the “end of all things” would come … quickly ...

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Hard Truth ... (1 Peter 4:1-6)

Today’s scripture: 1 Peter 4:1-6

A few days ago, I wrote that we should expect persecution because of our faith. Today’s verses return to that thought. If we are “armed” with the purpose of sharing the truth of the gospel, we’ll be in God’s will.

These verses also give us an assurance that those who persecute us on earth will face judgment. God is well aware of what we face, what we endure as His children. And I believe His heart breaks as He sees our pain and suffering, whatever the cause.

Now, I do want to caution us all: We shouldn’t hope for that judgment. What I mean is, we should continually pray for our “enemies,” for those who hurt us. We should pray they’ll find salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for all—even for those who hurt us.

Our hope should be that everyone comes to know Jesus. We can, however, be confident that God is in loving control. He will judge or reward according to the choices we make. And really, when it comes down to it, our focus should always be on what we’re doing for God’s Kingdom—not on what others may be doing to us.

Monday, October 03, 2016

The Best Gift! (1 Peter 3:18-22)

Today’s scripture: 1 Peter 3:18-22

Peter’s two short epistles contain a lot of richness and incredible wisdom. Today’s verses are no exception, but I want to focus this morning on the true gospel message in verse 18.

Jesus “died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God.” I often speak at women’s events, and each and every time, I’m privileged to share the amazing truth that Jesus, God the Son, paid our penalty for sin. We do not in any way deserve God’s grace and mercy, but we get it anyway. All we have to do is except God’s free gift.

It’s available to anyone. Everyone. No matter what you’ve done. No matter where you come from. No matter what. If you accept Jesus’ sacrifice on your behalf—on your behalf—you will be brought to God the Father.

Throughout history—and even today—many people have believed that what they do brings salvation. If they do that certain ritual or keep a particular tradition, they’ll be saved. If they live a good life, they’ll go to heaven.

But it has nothing to do with us. It’s only because of God’s love for us. His grace. His mercy.

Have you accepted that gift? Have you stopped trying to make it on your own? If you haven’t, send me an email (, and I’ll share with you how you can meet Jesus. Today.