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Living Proof

Imagine that you work for a PR firm. You have been assigned the task of rebranding a group with a questionable background. In the past, they have been accused of cannibalism, immorality & incest, atheism, political disloyalty, arson, splitting families, destroying the economy, and inciting rebellion among workers. What would you do to change their image?

When Plato was told that certain individual was making slanderous charges against him, Plato’s response was: “I will live in such a way that no one will believe what he says.”

Plato’s response is similar to the advice given by the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 2:11-12. He was well aware that Christians were accused of many things, including those charges mentioned in the first paragraph. Peter’s advice to the first century believers and to us as well is to live in such a way that unbelievers will be convinced and God will be glorified.

These two verse serve as a bridge between the opening section of the book on salvation (1:1-2:12) and the following section on submission (2:13-3:12). Not only do these verses describe the mission of the church, but they help us to understand how we are to submit as individuals to God’s plan. Verse 11 presents the instruction negatively while verse 12 states it positively.

Live like a Foreigner (11a). Rather than issue a command, Peter appeals to our sense of what is right. He comes alongside as a friend rather than as an apostle. He reminds us that since this world is not our true home, we must resist the temptation to “go native.” We must travel light and not adopt the values of the culture in which we find ourselves.

Live a Disciplined Life (11b). Like Odysseus, we must resist the siren song of the world. The world encourages us to pursue pleasure, nurse grudges, be materialistic, harbor jealousy, champion individualism, become cynical and critical, pursue selfish ambition, and follow the gods of sex, money, and power. We must remember that we are in a spiritual battle and these desires wage war and attack our souls. We must stand firm and resist.

Live a “Good” Life (12a). Keep in mind that unsaved people are constantly watching to see how we live and respond to the events of life. A “good life” is composed of good deeds. Do you have a solid marriage? Are your children respectful? Are you a good employee? Do you pay your bills on time? Do you act honestly? Are you a good neighbor? These questions help to define what excellent, honorable behavior looks like.

Live Convincingly (12b). We must realize that our lives are an advertisement for Christianity. While we may be accused of wrongdoing, we should live in such a way that unbelievers will be convinced and God will be glorified. The “day of visitation” could refer to a time when God brings judgment on the wicked or when he brings mercy and salvation to his people. In terms of good works, serve your neighbors, organize a block watch, be a tutor at a local school, serve as a sports coach, help out at a crisis pregnancy care center or a homeless shelter, or become a volunteer at a senior center.

Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf was a leader of the Protestant mission movement in the 18th Century. He established the Order of the Mustard Seed with the following guiding principles: (1) Be kind to all people. (2) Seek their welfare. (3) Win them to Christ.

Live a godly life in order to prove your salvation is real.

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on May 27, 2018. It is part of a series of sermons on 1 Peter. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 
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Unanswered prayer

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2018 in Prayer, Quotes, Tim Challies

 
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Don’t get too comfortable

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2018 in 1 Peter, Scripture

 

Farewell, Mittens

This morning, Carol and I said “Goodbye” to our beloved cat, Mittens. She came to my mom in 2003 as a kitten. When mom passed away in 2005, we joked that Mittens was part of “the estate.” We had her for the past 13 years. She traveled up & down the west coast twice and cross country once. Once small enough to fit in a bathroom sink, she grew into a large cat. She even made her appearance in the annual family Christmas photo. Though much loved, she declined physically in the past month to where we had to make the difficult decision to say “Goodbye.” Mittens was much loved and will be much missed.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2018 in Family & Friends, Photos

 

Fearful and wonderful

Psalm 139:14 makes a significant statement about the wonder of our human bodies.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

As I continue to recover from a broken leg/hip, I can attest to the truth of this verse. I am amazed at how God designed our bodies to knit themselves back together after an injury or surgery. Medical science certainly plays a helpful hand, but how bones can regrow together and become stronger and how a wound can close itself up is a testament to a sovereign, creative God.

After six and a half months, I am now starting to fly solo. I’ve been using the cane outside and walking without it inside. This week, I left it at home and decided to go without. My muscles still complain and are sore, but they are getting stronger. I’ve been able to mow the lawn, which takes me just under two hours. I’m able to walk longer and farther. I still tend to limp a bit, but my gait is improving.

My recovery causes me to praise God for his creative genius and to give thanks for answered prayer. My soul knows the truth of what God has done!

 
 

My dinosaur is my service animal

Pretty funny video with the characters from Jurassic World parodying people who claim various animals as “service animals.” I found the video to be very timely after seeing a service dog wearing a diaper sitting in business class on my recent flight from Amsterdam to Boston.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2018 in Fun, Videos

 

Rockport Rush Hour

On Monday, Carol and I headed for the North Shore to have lunch in Rockport at the Blue Lobster Grille. It was a beautiful day.

 

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2018 in Massachusetts, Photos