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Make Changes with Something that Doesn’t Change

New Year’s Eve

All men are like grass, all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall.”  New Year’s resolution books and programs and articles make a lot of money off that Bible verse.  Peter quotes from the prophet Isaiah and reminds us that all people are like grass or flowers of the field.  We all wither and die.  If you want evidence of sin in this world and the consequence of death, there is no better time to see this than at New Year’s.

Every year we do the same thing.  We review the previous calendar year.  We look at the things we have done, how our lives have changed, how we have aged.  And with this review we quickly look to make changes for the new year because ever year we see the same sorts of things.  I’ve gotten older this year and more out of shape and more flabby.  I didn’t keep my resolutions for last year.  Some of them fell miserably short.  Some of the resolutions I made I didn’t even start on. Read the rest of this entry

Daily Devotion on 1 Peter 1:16-21

Text:  1 Peter 1:16-21

“I’ll believe it when I see it.”

That’s the American way! We want proof. We want evidence. We want empirical data. Even photos or video footage aren’t good enough. Those can be doctored up and edited. Thus, we won’t believe anything until we see it first!

We can understand why the lessons for this coming Sunday are so important. They all revolve on trusting in things we haven’t seen. Abraham believed promises from God that seemed impossible. Thomas didn’t believe his disciple buddies had seen the risen Savior Jesus. And in the present, we face a similar challenge: We haven’t ever seen our Savior and our God Jesus Christ!

Peter gives us great encouragement today. The words of Scripture aren’t made up like Harry Potter playing Quidditch. This isn’t the Hunger Games. Peter and the other apostles were eye witnesses and ear witnesses of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. We can be sure that Scripture is true and that Jesus is truly our Savior because these are real things that real people saw and heard. Ever wonder why there are four gospel accounts? We would call that today  in our culture corroborating evidence!

Even more, Peter continues to assure us about the veracity and validity of Scripture by informing us that these weren’t made up or embellished stories, either. Rather, the prophets and apostles spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. God inspired and helped write every single word–every single letter even–of his Holy Word.

We weren’t around when the Bible was written. We have never seen Jesus. But yet we still trust. This is called “faith.” What a blessing to have this gift of faith given to us by God to believe what we have never seen which such sure confidence!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I have never seen you. I have never heard your voice. Yet continue to give me a sure and certain faith that sees and hears you through the pages of Scripture. Give me a confident trust that you are my Savior and that your words in Scripture are true. Erase my doubts and strength my belief. In your name I pray, AMEN.

Love and Believe What You Cannot See

2nd Sunday of Easter

Love and Believe What You Cannot See  (because Jesus gives)

1. Hope
2. An Inheritance
3. Joy

Text:  1 Peter 1:3-9

Intro      

I go to church every single Sunday.  I was there on Easter when we had the massive crowd last week.  I attend every Bible study.  I read my Bible on my own.  I pray as much as I can.  I try my hardest to live according to my faith.  I do all of those things . . . but still nothing.  I haven’t seen any results.  I haven’t seen life get any easier.  I haven’t seen anything get better.  And I certainly haven’t seen Jesus.

What if this religion stuff is just made up?  What if God is just a placebo—something fake people use to make them feel better psychologically?  I want to believe in God.  I want to believe the Bible.  But where’s my proof?  When is my life going to get better?  When am I going to see some signs from God?  When is God going to talk to me?

These are tough questions for Christians.  Our faith could be so strong.  But then life happens.  Problems occur.  Sicknesses and sorrows plague our hearts.  Suddenly what we thought was a sure foundation seems to be sinking sand.  So we start to ask questions.  We wonder.  We doubt, just like Thomas in the gospel today.

Peter wrote to encourage Christians like us.  His encouraging words are in verses 3-9 of 1 Peter 1.  This morning Peter tells us why we can Love and Believe What We Cannot See. Read the rest of this entry

Sermon on 1 Peter 1:22-25

New Year’s Eve

The Changeless Word Will Change You This Year

Intro

“This year I’m going to do it.”  How many times have you said that before?  “This year I’m going to lose the weight.”  “This year I’m going to quit.”  “This year I’m going to be more patient and less snippy and snappy.”  “This year I’m going to read the whole Bible in one year.  I’m really going to do it this time.”  “This year I’m going to go to church and Bible study more.”  “This year I’m going to get more involved.”

Some call them promises.  Some call them vows.  Most call them New Year’s resolutions.  Whatever you call them, we’ve all made them.  There’s something nice and fresh about being able to start over.  It’s an ideal thought that we can try again and try harder this time.  “A new year, a new me,” we tell ourselves.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  For planning purposes, why not start a new resolution or a new rededication with a new calendar year?

The problem is, many of our resolutions don’t make it past the third college bowl game on New Year’s Day.  Others might make it into spring.  If we’re lucky we make it to summer.  Rarely do we really change the way we want to change.  Rarely do we truly hold to our resolutions and change our lives.

So we get frustrated.  We get down on ourselves.  We get angry.  Why can’t I do this?  Why can’t I ever keep my promises?  Why can’t I change?  Ho hum.  2011.  Just another year.  No changes.  Nothing different.  Nothing better. Read the rest of this entry