My Wordspace

A dumpster full of various musings over life, God, scripture, and any random thought that may fly by meanwhile. Comments welcome.

Finally Posting

Posted by Iszi on June 29, 2004

Good evening, Readers.

Yeah, I know the calendar says Tuesday, but this is really Monday’s blog. This is partially due to my natural proclivity towards nocturnalism (Okay, so I woke up probably about 1600-ish), and the fact that I think this world just does not want me to blog for some reason today. First time I went to hit the “New Post” button was probably about 1800, if not a bit earlier. The minute my mouse hit it, the power in our house blinked. (Gotta love Central Florida, lightning capital of the world.) By the time my machine came back up, I was distracted to something else outside, or just jumped into something else online, I forget which.

So, not much later I had to leave for cell group, which lasted about 3 hours instead of the usual 1.5, but I won’t complain since it’s not like I had anything to really rush back to anyway, and the fellowship with my brothers is always enjoyable. Got home around 2200, hopped online and got myself up to date on all my Massive Assault Network games, as well as the few webcomics I keep up with. (I’ll get links for everything in the left side of this page as soon as I figure out how.) Then went and surfed around some other blogs I had noticed on my Dashboard this past week, and bookmarked. (Here’s one entry I found interesting today.) Once I’d had my fill of that, not too long ago, I hopped over to my Blogger Dashboard, and hit “New Post” again, and… nothing. At the same time, I noticed all my Trillian connections going dead. Tried a ping to Google, and sure enough came up with nothing.

After a quick call to our ISP, we found that (oops!) the bill had gone 2 days past due, so we’d been cut. Got that took care of, everything back up and going, and no sooner do I start typing my first sentence, than do I hear my daughter start to cry in her crib next to me. Fortunately, it was just one little short whine and she just rolled over and went back to sleep. Close call, though.

So, I’m here now and actually have something to write about, although I’m not sure how much or little it will be just yet. This past week, as part of our cell group’s bible study, we were supposed to read 1 Peter, Chapter 4, and we were planning on going over it tonight in our meeting. I didn’t quite take the opportunity to read it myself until just before leaving, I looked it up on Bible Gateway. (I’d use a real Bible, but I lost mine somewhere about a month ago, and my wife’s is just a bit too “girly”. – She’s got a Mother’s Devotional Bible.) I kinda just blinked through it enough to get the general idea of the passage, so I could be at least somewhat prepared to have comment on it when it came up. At the actual cell group meeting however, various distractions came up and we never quite made it around to the Bible study part of the meeting, although we did discuss other church-related issues. So, I decided to take the opportunity to dive into it on my own tonight and just post anything that comes to mind here. In order to attempt to fully grasp the meaning behind these words, I read it three times through. First time, I read the NIV translation, second time in NLT, and thirdly KJV. So, I may reference any of these three, if I include quotes below.

In the NIV and NLT versions, the Chapter is divided under two headers. The first, Verses 1-11, is headed with the title “Living for God”. The second, Verses 12-19, is entitled “Suffering for Being a Christian”. The entire Chapter (as with the rest of 1 Peter so far) is essentially speaking about persistence in keeping faith in God, and doing what He has for us to do, despite ridicule or suffering, and in each section I hear two distinctly familiar voices speaking to me.

As I read the first section, I heard the familiar words of my mother, as she would advise me on issues of peer pressure and/or dealing with bullies as I was growing up. An excerpt from Verses 1-4 in the New Living Translation follows:

“… For if you are willing to suffer for Christ, you have decided to stop sinning. And you won’t spend the rest of your life chasing after evil desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy … Of course, your former friends are very surprised when you no longer join them in the wicked things they do, and they say evil things about you.”

These verses remind us that now that we’ve found our faith in God, and we want to do His work instead of sin and wickedness, our friends who are not believers will be confused, because they do not understand the will of God as we do. They will think there’s something wrong with us, since we no longer participate in things with them that we used to enjoy, because it is sin. And, since they think there is something wrong with us, some will find this to be reason to insult us for it, and use those insults to either bring us down, or talk us into joining with them for fear of being further insulted by them. Even people whom we do not consider “former friends” will do this, as we continue to grow in Christ and therefore stand further out in “the crowd”. This especially applies to adolescents who are still in school and dealing with the immaturity that many other young adults carry with them. That’s one thing I’ve come to notice, in retrospect. Christian adolescents, in general, seem to have a slightly better air of maturity about them than other people in the same age group who are non-believers and/or were not raised in a Christian home. Why? Because they were either raised on, and/or are currently learning from the Bible, a great deal of which teaches maturity.

This leads us on to Verse 5 (NLT):

“But just remember that they will have to face God, who will judge everyone, both the living and the dead.”

Put Verse 5 together with the preceeding Verses, and it essentially tells us the same thing our parents have told us time and time again through our “growing up” years. (I’m sure you all remember those “If everyone else jumped off a bridge” lectures. – Now you know where they got it from, eh?) This reminds us that, while we may be ridiculed for not “joining the crowd”, we should remain strong in our position because if we were to just follow the peer pressure, then not only would we be joining in the “fun”, but we would also be joining them in receiving their judgement in the final days of this world, when we all must face God. Later in the Chapter, Peter draws from Proverbs to remind us further of the judgement that awaits.

1 Peter 4:18, NIV:
“And, ‘If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?'”

At the same time we are being commanded to persist in resisting peer pressure, Peter still commands us not to leave our friends hanging out to dry, despite their continuance in their own sin for this time.

Verses 8-10, NLT:
“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you.”

There we are told that it is of utmost importance for us to love one another. This is also made clear in 1 John 4:7, probably a more familiar verse to most of us in the King James Version:

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”

So, although our friends may continue in their sin for this time, and we should avoid joining them in doing so, we should still at the same time continue to show God’s love, generosity, and grace to them so that at some point they may come to know the salvation that awaits them in Jesus Christ. Also, love itself will keep you from a number of sins on its own. Just going down the list of the Ten Commandments, we can see this.

Your love for God should make the first 4 simple enough.

1.) I am the Lord your God… You shall have no other gods before me.
2.) You shall not worship false idols, for I am a jealous God.
3.) You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
4.) Remember the Sabbath by keeping it holy.

Love for your mother and father will keep you to the 5th.

5.) Honor your father and your mother.

Love (and its partner, respect) for your “neighbor” will help you keep 6 through 10, and love for your spouse should reinforce your adherance to 7 and 10

6.) You shall not murder.
7.) You shall not commit adultery.
8.) You shall not steal.
9.) You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
10.) You shall not covet … your neighbor’s wife … or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

(The Ten Commandments, as stated above, are roughly quoted from Exodus Chapter 20, NIV.)

Moving along to the second part (I’ll try to be brief with this, as I’ve taken longer than originally intended as it is), the next voice I hear is that of my pastors, who are always reminding us in various sermons that if life is getting rough on us while we’re keeping our faith in God, “it’s not because we’re doing something wrong, it’s because we’re doing something right!”. The last 8 verses are well-summed up in Verse 19 (KJV):

“So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you.”

When you’re doing God’s work, the Devil isn’t going to like you very much, obviously. So, of course he is going to do anything he can to stop you or dissuade you from doing God’s work. One of the tools he uses is pressure from your peers through their insults. Other tools include all kinds of general torments in life to distract you or discourage you, such as job loss, car accidents, or death of family or friends. But, if you keep your faith in God through all this, and keep doing the work He has for you to do, then He will not fail you in supporting you through these troubled times, and He will reward you when your time has come, with rewards that far outweigh any suffering you have endured.

Song of the moment: Matthew West – More

Good night, and God bless.

– Iszi


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