1 Peter Chapter 2:
“1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
As a believer in Christ you are given a new life and a living hope, which we spoke about in chapter one. Due to the fact that we are given this new life, there is a certain expectations that a believer will begin to exhibit and follow as you grow. In this verse we are asked to put away all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander. That means that you are allowing your relationship with Christ to create positive habits in your actions. In order to do that we need to excommunicate our bad habits that have developed over the years.
When we give up the negative habits, God is allowed to work in our lives and is allowed to guide us toward maturity in our salvation. Through God’s work, we will become mature believers in Christ and that allows us to better develop our community.
The verse continues by encouraging us to long for spiritual milk. In other words, we are spiritual being at our core, therefore we connect with Jesus on a spiritual level. So, when we develop our spiritual connection with Jesus we become stronger, more mature Christians. As we put away the deceit and the negative habits, we begin to desire God’s spiritual guidance as we grow. It is through our spiritual desire to be connected to Jesus that we grow in stronger in our faith.
“4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
In this next section, we are shown that often when people turn to Jesus, often times they are broken and hopeless. These are the people that are often trying to define who they are by the value that others place on them. This passage shows that in those cases, the individual is often rejected by those that they are trying to impress.
While the world sees the broken-hearted as worthless and common-day outcasts, Jesus sees them as chosen and precious. That means that when we feel rejected, hurt and hopeless, Jesus shows us love and grace. You are not alone! You are loved by God!
COME TO JESUS!
The next segment of the passage shows that God uses our broken hearts and our hopelessness to create a community that shows God’s love to the community around them. When we give our brokenness to Jesus, He can use that to build a community that He then calls “ The Church!”
We see that God loves those that no body loves and no body cares for and God uses our brokenness to create a church that is being used to reveal or to show off how amazing and how excellent God is.
When the world sees what Jesus has done to create a church of love and compassion, the people of the world will then turn to God and give him the glory.
“3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,”
God has given an amazing gift when Jesus chose to die for our sins. Through this extraordinary act, we are given a new life. Along with this new life, we are given a living hope. Notice: this is not just hope, it is a living hope. This means that regardless of what you are going through or the situation that you are currently in, Jesus is the hope that keeps you going. Jesus is the hope that brings you to life. In other words, when you realize that in your hopeless state you are dealing with death, addiction, brokenness and despair, leaning on Jesus reinvigorates that hope that you carry within you.
When you are gifted living hope through the resurrection of Jesus, you are also gifted a heavenly inheritance. A inheritance that will not perish, it will not spoil and it will not fade over time. This is extremely important because too often our human nature is to collect an inheritance that will eventually be worthless and decay. Yet, what Jesus has offered us remains more valuable because it will not decay and its worth will forever be valued and treasured. This inheritance brings us peace, joy and happiness that will never loose value.
In the times of our darkest moments, we need a hope that we can hold to in order to remain strong and we need an highly valued inheritance that we can then look forward to for the future; that is what the resurrection of Christ provides us in our new life.
“7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
It is in our darkest, most difficult situations that we create and prove the genuineness of our faith. It is in those challenging moments we hold on to Jesus’ promises for own lives and what steps we can take to be closer to Jesus and closer to the living hope that is offered. Yes, there are times that we look at our situations and we are struggling to see Jesus working and we will question whether God is even there. It is in those times that we re-fine our faith and stand strong, knowing that we will experience a joy that is inexpressible when we experience the salvation of our souls in heaven.
Therefore, remain strong in Jesus; remain encouraged through the darkest situations. Know that Jesus has given us something far more valuable than anything that we can accomplish in our lives; we are given a living hope that lifts us from the hardest situations. We are also given an inheritance that we can look forward to as we grow closer to Christ and grow to be more like Christ.
Hi everyone! Welcome back to Beautiful Feet Entertainment!
This summer, you may have noticed some buzz about our close friend, the Moon! T
shirts, books, even water bottles and jacket patches are popping up at retailers near you. The
moon is taking center stage because July 20th marks the 50th anniversary of the moon
Summer of 1969 was a pretty happen’ time, I would think. The world watched as we
sent men into space! I think that it is so fun to commemorate this achievement! Space is a
fascinating place, and having grown up watching Star Trek, it is the final frontier!
The moon has long held significance for humanity. Some of our first calendars were
lunar calendars, meaning that they followed the phases of the moon to mark the passage of
time. The full moon in the fall is sometimes known as the Harvest Moon. This is because it was
brighter and more prominent. I will have to research this further, but it may have even given
farmers extra light to work by at night, allowing more time to harvest.
In our family, my mom and I love to take time to look at the full moon each month. We
drive to parks and other areas where the buildings do not block it. Looking towards the moon’s
beautiful surface is a nice moment to pause and reflect on God’s creation.
I am greatly looking forward to the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing! I have looked
at images on NASA. I even purchased the grey sweatshirt with NASA logo earlier this year. A
former co - worker even asked me if I had been to NASA! Be on the lookout for special events
around your city or town, and mark July 20th, 2019 on your calendar. Next time you have a
chance, take a glance at the moon and appreciate our beautiful neighbor.
Time capsules serve purposes: one, an individual reminiscing about an earlier time in their life. They get the opportunity to relive their childhood or another enjoyable time in their lives. Second, the time capsule can be used to teach future generations about the past; how they lived, what they created, and the impact they made to the culture around them. When a capsule is uncovered it teaches us a lot about a previous time, whether it be for personal growth or societal growth.
What is often forgotten is that time capsules are often made without even realizing it. Time capsules could be shared or hidden in secret. Today’s examples of time capsules could be videos and statuses posted on social media, letters to a friend or family member, a personal journal or diary, or merchandise that we own.
Have we ever considered what is thought when these long-term time capsules are found? What do they tell us about the previous time that we once lived? These are the exact questions I found myself rolling through my mind when I read an article (linked below) about two women who found a jar with three letters in it from two high school students and a teacher from Clayton, Indiana. the letters were dated September 10, 2001.
While these three letters did not come from New York, nor did they come from survivors of the 9/11 tragedy, but this is still very fascinating. This is fascinating because it shows the livelihood and interests of the regular teenager in 2001. Everything from regular and mundane to the ultimately interesting.
At the time, I'm sure that these letters would have been mundane and ordinary, yet so many years later it gets the audience thinking about a major time in our history and the changes that have happened since September 11th, 2001.
These three letter writers had no idea that their letters would be found in such a time, nor did they know that the tragic events would happen the next day. They just created something new and sent it into the world.
Let’s look at today:
Time capsules are vital in learning from the past and moving into the future. Therefore, we should all try to leave our mark on the world, whether small or large, we need them all. Whether your talent is still developing or whether your talent is professional level.
Let's find our passion and leave our time capsule through our art so that future generations can learn from it, giving them a further step in leaving their mark on the world.
I was recently sitting in the church seats awaiting the start of the service, when I looked at the top of the program that was handed to me as I walked into the building. On the top of the program it stays: Anger. I was shocked. I knew that this service was meant for me in such a time as this.
Without knowing it, I realized that this service would speak to the core of my un-forgiveness for my father. Without realizing it, this service would dig into the anger that I’ve carried throughout my life for my father. All I knew was I needed to hear this and I needed to take it seriously.
As I listened to the sermon, I scratched notes fervently on the program, allowing my heart to soak up the wise words of the pastor. I knew that I’d look back at the notes and the scriptures and I would be putting meat to the skeleton of my un-forgiveness and bitterness.
Throughout the sermon, the pastor highlighted Ephesians 4:26-27 where it says, “…Do not let the sun go down when you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
Here’s the truth, often when we are hurting due to the words or the actions we tend to burry that pain into our hearts and we carry it. When the Apostle Paul wrote the words “…Do not let the sun go down when you are still angry…..” it seems that Paul is encouraging us to deal with the pain that has rested in our hearts. Do not carry this anger around from the different seasons of our lives.
Hearing these words, I realized that I’ve been carrying bitterness for my father from season to season: from my childhood to my adolescence to my adulthood. I’ve been carrying this bitterness around too long! I need to let it go!
Now, that’s easier said than done. I’ve told myself for years that I needed to forgive my father, yet I still hold bitterness so close. The question is: How do I deal with it once and for all?
Listening to the sermon, the pastor described three steps that helps lead to healing and forgiveness.
We are asked to observe communion not only as a remembrance of Christ forgiving us, but in remembrance of us forgiving those that offended us. For me, that is my father. After church Jessica and I returned to her mother’s house where we discussed the sermon and the idea of forgiveness. She spoke about the pain that she continued to carry and I spoke earnestly about my desire to forgive my father.
After speaking earnestly about our bitterness and our need to forgive, we opened our sealed communion cups. Holding each other’s hands, we approached the Lord in prayer. I prayed specifically for Jessica and she prayed specifically for me.
We took communion together.
I can finally say that I’ve forgiven my father for the pain that I’ve carried over the last three decades. I will no longer blame him for my jagged edges; I will thank him for his provision. I will no longer allow the enemy to control my emotions toward my father; instead I will choose to forgive. I will choose to gift forgiveness to my father.
I am going to trust that God will heal my heart and allow me to rebuild a relationship with my father that have never had before. I am going to trust God throughout this process so that create a better future for my fiancée and my future children.
I will trust in God as Christ forgives me and I will pray that my father also seek forgiveness from a Holy and perfect God.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” –Ephesians 4:31-32.
While I am working on the condition of forgiveness on my heart, one of the questions that I was faced to ask myself was: Why has God placed this burden on my heart?
The obvious observer would easily be able to answer this: We are called to forgive those that have hurt us in the same way that we ask God to forgive us. Yet, I think there’s a deeper, more personal reason to God placing forgiveness on my heart.
The truth is I am growing in my faith, which means that I need to grow as a man. I can no longer hold on to the pain of my adolescence. The thick burden of guilt on my spirit cannot remain, it needs to be lifted from my shoulders, especially since I am getting married and I am about to start my own family.
Since I am beginning my own family, I know that I cannot carry the burdens of un-forgiveness of my childhood into my adulthood, if I do, then I will be inevitably infecting my new marriage and my future family with the same insecurities that have plagued me all of these years.
Working through the Past
Since it is imperative that I begin to heal these years old hurts, I need to go back to the three sources of my pain that I wrote about in part one and I need to begin to see God’s view of my insecurities. That means I need to allow my identity to transform me by the words of Christ in relation to the insecurities that I labeled.
Through a few late nights of thinking through these issues, I realize that I am not alone in these feelings. None of us are alone! I honestly believe that many of those who maybe reading these words may also suffer from these insecurities. Too often they feel insignificant, they may feel insecure, or they may feel inferior. The truth is God never desired us to feel these insecurities. It is because of these insecurities, we never truly encounter God’s purpose for our life. I know that’s what I was feeling throughout my childhood and my teenage years. I believed that I had no purpose in life. I believed that I was a mistake or that my family’s lives would have been better if I were not involved.
That was not God’s truth…….
If you are reading these words and you have ever felt any of these insecurities, just know that you are not alone. You may be trying to let go of things from your past that is keeping you from fully knowing your identity in Christ, but that doesn’t mean that you are facing your obstacles alone.
Everything that we are facing can be common for many others. That means that we are part of a community. Even though the enemy tries to convince us that we walk these difficult paths alone, we are actually part of an in-depth community where we can work through our insecurities and our broken pasts together. So, while the enemy believes that he is isolating us, he is actually building a community that God can use overtake the enemy’s attempts to destroy the body of Christ.
At the end of the day we have the opportunity to hand our pain and our insecurities to our Heavenly Father. As I am going through a time of healing from my past, I am able to feel the freedom that God has delivered through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Can we be honest, forgiveness is one of the most difficult things that we are asked to do. Whether we are asked to forgive a family member who has hurt us, or we are asked to forgive a friend or former friend due to an offense that was caused.
If we were truly being honest with ourselves, we would never forgive the person that hurt or offended us. We would ignore the problem. We would never truthfully discuss the offense; it would only be buried in an internal graveyard where we keep all of our personal demons and skeletons at bay.
I can say that this is all too real for me. In recent months God has placed one person on my heart: my father. Let’s face the facts, my father and I have not always had the best relationship over the years. From missing large chunks of my childhood to not being able to relate to me throughout my teen years extending to my adult life, my father and I just never truly connected.
Due to these major events, I have developed animosity and anger towards my father, which has been burning in my chest for many years. Just when I thought these issues were healed wounds and I had moved on, I have had to come to the agreement that the wound is still agape and yet to be healed.
The time for healing is now….
In order to fully heal these wounds and forgive my father, I need to hand the pain that I’ve carried for so long over to my God. Through that, healing will be evident.
Consider the source
Here’s what I’ve realized, you can’t heal from your past until you take the time to truly understand your pain. I’m not talking about just being able to discuss your shortcomings, but digging deep into the wound, discovering the root of the issue of the shortcoming.
This is what I’ve had to do. For every issue that I carry, for every layer of unforgiving thick skin, I need to be able to identify the source in order to allow healing to occur. As I searched my heart, I found three major topics that I discovered that require work in order to fully forgive my father and heal my heart.
My Christian Call
At the age of nineteen I gave my life to Christ. I accepted that through the blood of Jesus, I was given a new life. Over the last eleven years, I have grown into a better man. I have been given the opportunity to share my faith with friends, family members, and even strangers. I have walked away from my relationship with God and I found my way back to Jesus.
Over the years God has challenged me to step out in faith in many ways; yet, forgiving my father has been the most challenging. First of all, God spoke to my heart about this situation years ago. To be honest, I thought I had dealt with the bitterness that I carried. I thought I had forgiven my father. I guess I was wrong.
Here I am again, the Holy Spirit urging me to forgive my father for his shortcomings and mistakes. This time I will do it properly and fully. I will pray for my father daily, asking God to transform my heart, to see my father as a man who works hard to provide for his children, a man who needs Jesus just as much as I do.
Have you ever had a moment where you were given the perfect message at the perfect time for the current stage of your life? Now, I imagine that before you even finished reading the question, you already formulated the answer:
“Well, of course! God’s word always gives me exactly what I need whenever I read it.”
Yes, that is true. Whenever we read the Bible with an open heart to hear God speak, we will always been given exactly what we need from the Holy Spirit to lead us through the various stages in life, but what I’m actually asking is: have you ever had the perfect message given to you at the perfect time from a source besides the Bible?
Recently, I’ve had a real message penetrate my heart from a very unlikely source: a fortune cookie. When most of us think of fortune cookies, we think of cute “good luck” sayings that we read, mentally digest and forget about soon enough. Yet, I found a fortune cookie fortune that will be sticking around for a long, long time.
“Be brave enough to live creatively.”
These are the words that I read from the crumbles of a table top fortune cookie and they instantly reached to the root of my heart. I love creating. I love the process of brainstorming ideas, crafting a draft and going through the process of perfecting my art. Yet, I must ask myself: am I brave enough to LIVE creatively?
In order to fully understand the message from the fortune cookie, I need to consider the meaning of the fortune. What does it mean to live creatively? Also, in the process of living creatively, how would my life change? Lastly, what result would I expect to experience while living creatively?
Well, let’s take this one thought at a time.
While I’m contemplating these questions, I am left with a choice: am I going to take this live creatively challenge? Yes! I realize that I need a change. I need God’s best for my life and I am unable to achieve this goal without guidance and wisdom from God. As I look through my favorite men and women from the Bible, I see a pattern: they all place their trust in the LORD and they choose to live creatively, meaning, they are willing to take risks to enhance their lives and their faith.
The truth is, Jesus wants us to live the best life that we can and in most ways that doesn’t allow us to live in a safety bubble. We need to be creative in the way we live. In the right times and in the right moments, we need to take risks to enhance our lives and more importantly to enhance the reach of the Gospel.
In John 10:10, Jesus speaks, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
In all honesty, fear is a tool of the enemy and through that fear; the enemy steals our potential and our strength. When we lose our potential, we submit to a zombie-like existence that destroys our creativity and our passion, leaving dead inside. Yet, Jesus came to us to give us life and through our passion and creative lifestyle; we are able to achieve an abundant lifestyle that enhances the Gospel of Christ.
Now is the time to live creatively. Now is the time to live passionately. I will live to love Christ and I will use my gifts and talents to reach my audience with the Gospel. I am going to use my writing talents to exalt the LORD that has freed my life of sin and brokenness.
Here are the steps I take to achieve this goal:
Now is the time to follow the LORD. Now it’s time to live creatively. Let the journey begin.
What do you think when you hear the word, “Marriage Counseling”? Too often couples believe the lie that going through couple’s counseling is a bad thing. The belief is that if a couple is going through counseling; they’re relationship is in trouble or too damaged to be repaired.
Jessica and I recently decided to go through pre-marital counseling before we get married. This is not a curse on our relationship! In actuality, we believe, it will provide us with the tools to have difficult discussions through our marriage.
Our first session went really well. We had great discussions that should lead to further discussions in the sessions to come. In this video we discuss our first counseling session. We discuss the tools that we have already been given through counseling.
“Worship the Lord your God and His blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you.”
Areas to look at:
They had a feast or famine attitude. Moses was taking the people from the wilderness into the promise land; from slavery and oppression to a land flowing with milk and honey.
What does this promise mean for us Christians, living in the contemporary world? To answer this question, this author has broken down the passage into five sections:
“Freedom can be ours when we call His name.” (Song lyric)
God has designed us to be in community with one another. The perfect journey from anxiety into his perfect peace is not one that we will ever have to make alone. God will strengthen you by His Holy Spirit. Your church family contains within it mentors in the faith. These mentors are there to guide and encourage us.
So that when anxiety strikes, we can remember that God is in control of every situation. He, through Christ, cares for us; so that we can come to Him, laying our burdens down at the feet of Jesus. Then, we can truly be more than conquers!
Love and Peace through Christ Jesus,
Anthony K. Giesick
Actions are taken everyday that help make this world better and I just want to share them with you.