The Lord Wants ALL to Repent!

II Peter 3:9. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Lord:

from BlueLetterBible.com:
  1. He to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord
    1. the possessor and disposer of a thing
      1. the owner; one who has control of the person, the master
      2. in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor
    2. is a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master
    3. this title is given to God, the Messiah

God is sovereign. The word Lord is from the Greek kuros, which is the root of kyrios; it means He Who is sovereign.

His promise: This word comes from epangelía, an announcement of a divine good or blessing.

It is all too easy for us to forget this underlying principle of exactly Who God is. Things seem to be going so badly in almost every area these days: Politically, morally, spiritually, there is a trend away from God, away from His supreme authority over everything. I suspect that even believers are guilty of thinking that God is surely taking His sweet time to put things right!

If we would focus more on the right of ownership that He has over everything, perhaps we could be more patient in waiting for Him to show Himself as the immortal, invisible, God only wise. We could be less impatient and worried about the future if we would accept that He is not bound by our schedules!

The truth is that He is not slow. It is WE who are slow in understanding that He waits patiently for ALL to come to repentance. His desire is that no one should perish for eternity in hell, but that all should turn to Him in repentance and humility to seek His forgiveness of our sinful nature.

Sunday Morning Coffee: My Newsfeed, Continued

If you read my Saturday Soliloquy yesterday, you know I’m on a crusade to clean up my newsfeed. I’m spending way too much time on it every single day.

As you know, there is something to appeal to every single interest you may have. It would be way too easy to spend ALL day, every day, glued to a screen. Surely there’s more to real life than to just observe other people doing things you’re interested in.

So–I’ve made a start. Yesterday I eliminated several groups that I haven’t looked at in months. It’s harder than you may think! FB doesn’t make it easy to delete groups, but I finally figured it out. I especially zeroed in on groups I was invited to join and did so only to avoid offending a friend. If I never looked at it after I joined, then it’s gone!

Second, and this will take longer, I’m eliminating pages or websites that I did not solicit, but that are cluttering up my newsfeed. They aren’t harmful. They are usually just for fun, but they make it harder to just zip through my feed and be done with it. I’ve allowed myself 10 minutes each day to clean up those posts. And yes, I set a timer. Otherwise I’d get lost in the fog and time would slip away.

What next? Not sure, but it will come to me. This just has to stop! Cleaning it all up will give me more time to spend on more important reading. I’m even getting rid of some political things that occupy way too much of my time. It’s important to stay informed, but not at the expense of hours and hours of time I could use better in other pursuits. Maybe I’ll settle on just ONE news source, and eliminate the rest. Don’t know yet.

At the same time I’m cleaning up my FB, I’m also being ruthless at chopping junk out of my email. If there is no “unsubscribe” option, mail I don’t want gets sent to my spam folder. Just a quick click, and I’ll never see it again 🙂

The strangest thing is that I have this ridiculous sense of guilt for eliminating junk. Maybe I’ll want that information some day. Maybe whoever I’m deleting will feel bad. Maybe. . . . maybe. . . I’m losing my mind? These things are sent out robotically and will not create unease in anyone at all! Honestly. I’m not always sure how I end up on some massive mailing list, but I do not choose to remain a target for unsolicited sales pitches.

Another thing I’m ignoring is click bait. You know, the little adds that show up on something you’ve been reading, luring you to check out what is always a come-on for some outlandish claim or product you don’t want, or need. Infomercials. Junk. I haven’t followed many of these things, but from now on, NO MORE, period! No matter how curious I may be.

All of this kind of housecleaning makes me feel quite virtuous. I just have to remember that removing something leaves a hole, and holes tend to want to be refilled. It is up to me to choose what to put into those holes, if anything, or to choose to simply ignore them.

One thing for sure, I can fill up lots of space with prayer time, or more time in the Bible. Or I can practice piano more, or read more edifying material than click bait. I can work on my mats for the homeless; I can plan for my upcoming fall semester teaching in our homeschool co-op; I can get serious about sending cards of sympathy, encouragement, and recognition of birthdays. On days when I’m feeling up to it, I can extend my cleaning to my drawers, cabinets, and cupboards. It’s shocking how fast STUFF accumulates! At this stage in my life, I need to de-clutter, not accumulate.

And that’s all for today.

Saturday Soliloquy: My Newsfeed

Good grief. I’ve just spent an entire hour or more catching up with all my notifications on FB, and browsing my newsfeed.

Big Brother is Watching You!

That’s ridiculous. A waste of time which I’ve just promised the Lord I won’t repeat. There are very few posts there that required my time and attention. From now on, I’m stopping only on the posts from my friends; or things of a political nature that I truly need in order to stay informed; or posts of a spiritual nature; or posts just for fun. . . . . .wait a minute. I’m going to need a better system, that’s plain to see.

How did we spend our time before the internet?

It’s pretty clear to me that I’m going to need to clean up all the stuff I get without having asked for it. For instance, I really like to crochet. I joined ONE group. Just one. And now I’m getting tons of posts from many other crochet groups. Need to clean that up.

It seems that if you respond to just one, you are targeting yourself for dozens of others.

The thing is, I have a wide variety of interests. Since I started taking piano lessons, and joined the group through which I met my teacher, I’m getting all sorts of solicitations from other online piano groups, music sites, videos, etc. Those are hard for me to resist.

I read a lot. Since my back has begun to crumble, there is less I’m able to do that involves physical movement. I have a Kindle, and I get all sorts of fishing expeditions related to it. Those are going to get the axe.

I write this Bible study blog, therefore I get a lot of “suggested sites you may like” related to the Bible. It’s both good and not so good that there are literally hundreds of other Bible-oriented sites out there, but I just don’t have that kind of time.

I’m a history nut. I love knitting. I like recipes. And health-related information, and. . . . . well, it’s an endless list.
Do you have an Alexa? Did you know she’s a lot like Santa Claus? She knows when you’ve been sleeping and she knows when you’re awake! I’ve learned to turn her off anytime a discussion takes place that is going to trigger her to make music or book recommendations. I really like her for a lot things, but she shouldn’t be a part of EVERY SINGLE conversation that takes place in my living room!

Do you remember the children’s Sunday school song “O be careful little eyes what you see?” I thought about that a lot when I was growing up. God sees. He knows. He knows what’s in our hearts and minds as well as what is obvious to anyone else. Understanding that was enough to keep me on the straight and narrow! He also sees what we do digitally. We may not be doing anything immoral or sinful, but we can waste a great deal of time on the internet.

Be careful.

He is Timeless

II Peter 3:8. “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

God is not limited by time. He does not live by clocks and calendars.

The concept of time is so ingrained in us that it is impossible to imagine existence without the boundaries of time. Our lives are recorded in time from the moment we are born until we die. We live by the clock, by schedules and plans. There’s nothing wrong with that, and a lot right with it! Imagine, wives and moms, if you prepared meals only when you felt hungry. Your poor family would never know when they could expect to eat. Imagine having no time by which you need to be at work, or going to a medical appointment with no specific time that is scheduled for you. Let your imaginations run wild, thinking about a world in which time does not exist. For us, here on earth, it would be utter chaos! No schedules for flights, or trains, or anything!

God is not bound by time, but He established order when He created the world. There are seasons; there is light and dark, day and night, weeks and months and years. He knew we would need order and organization, and He supplied that for us.

He is the timeless One. He has never not existed–another concept that goes beyond our understanding.

Some would point to today’s verse as proof that Creation did not necessarily happen in six specific days–it could have been at least 6,000 years or more. That makes no sense when compared to Genesis 1:5, which clearly states that the evening and the morning were the first day. The truth is that God didn’t need thousands of years to complete His creation. He could have done it all in a fraction of a second, but part of His plan was to create order for us, a time to work, to eat, to sleep, and to fellowship with Him.

I Corinthians 14:40 tells us to do all things decently and in order. This was spoken by Paul to the church, but application can be made to each of us in our personal routines and practices.

Part of maturity is learning to honor commitments that are made for a specific time and place. If we don’t learn this, and we are always late or absent, we are inconveniencing others as well as ourselves. God is not a God of chaos, but of order.

Willingly Ignorant

II Peter 3:5-7.

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same Word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

They in v. 5 refers to the false teachers in the previous passage. They are “willingly ignorant” concerning creation itself. Peter wastes no time defending the biblical account of creation, knowing that those who are willingly ignorant won’t be persuaded. If they were to acknowledge God’s supremacy, doing so would interfere with their purpose and destroy their income flow.

What Peter does make clear is that God destroyed that earth and all its people because of their insolence and complete rejection of Him. He doesn’t spend time pointing out that all who perished were given plenty of time to heed the warning and the preaching of Noah while the ark was being built. The scoffers continued to scoff even as the animals miraculously converged on the ark and walked on board, or crawled, or slithered–that must have been a sight to see!

God promised that He would not destroy the entire earth by flood again. He did NOT promise, though, that He wouldn’t use another way to do so.

Peter’s point is that things on this earth have not always continued the way they are now. The earth was different when God first created it and then it was different again after the flood. Therefore no one should scoff at God’s promise that He will make it different once again, judging it not with water but with fire. The same word of God that created all matter and judged the world in the flood will one day bring a judgment of fire upon the earth.

i. “The lesson taught by the flood was that this is a moral universe, that sin will not for ever go unpunished; and Jesus Himself used the flood to point to this moral (Matthew 24:37-39). But these men chose to neglect it.” (Green)(BlueLetterBible.com, Guzik)

Uniformitarianism is the theory that all changes in the earth’s crust during geological history have resulted from the action of continuous and uniform processes, and will always continue to do so. This theory leaves no room for a sovereign God Who spoke the heavens and the earth and all they contain into existence; and that He can end all that He made when He so chooses.

Willing ignorance.

Scoffers

II Peter 3:3-4.

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Peter desired his readers to be mindful of false prophets. As they have always existed, they will continue to exist. They will proliferate as the end times approach, because more and more people will be drawn to the puffed up promises of these false teachers. The people who follow false teachers will be a huge money source for the unbiblical “prophets” who follow their teaching.

Peter says these false teachers walk after their own lusts. That is, they follow the path of least resistance to gain their own selfish desires. Those desires can cover every aspect of human desire and depravity, all under the guise of their great, spiritually empty but cleverly disguised promises of health, wealth and happiness.

The scoffers will question the truth of the biblical prophesies of the return of Jesus. They will say, “So, where is He? Nothing has changed in this world. He still hasn’t returned to establish His kingdom, and it’s been SUCH a long time! Look how His followers have suffered over the centuries! And still nothing has really changed. He promised to come back, right? Well, WHEN? Look, you can wait for the rest of your lives, but the only way things are going to improve is if you take control of your own lives. Just send me a gift to support this ministry, and I’ll send you a book with step-by-step instructions for living a free and happy life! Send your gift today! Don’t wait one more minute to begin your journey to a better life!”

If. you fall for that pitch, you may as well be sending in cereal box tops for that wonderful plastic decoder ring you coveted as a child. It probably had as much value as the empty claims of wealth, health and happiness that come from false teachers.

Reminders

II Peter 3: 1-2.

This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

Peter refers to his first epistle as well as this second one that he is writing to the Christians in Asia. His purpose, clearly stated, is to stimulate their thinking by reminding them of the words of the prophets, the other apostles, and of the Lord, Himself, concerning the dangers always lurking, trying to persuade them that their faith is vain.

There really is nothing new under the sun, is there? Since the beginning, Satan has worked hard to deceive us and to bend the truth. Sometimes he succeeds. Consider Eve. The Genesis account tells us that she was deceived (Gen. 3:13; I Tim. 2:14). She was persuaded by lies and promises of being just like God.

Our best defense against Satan’s lies is the Word of God. When we are completely familiar with truth, we are far less likely to fall into deceptive traps that are shrouded with a thin layer of truth. I have used the example before of how new tellers at a bank are trained to recognize counterfeit money. They learn to recognize the false by being thoroughly exposed to the real thing. When we are diligent in reading and studying God’s Word, we are far less likely to be deceived by the perversion of His Word.

Peter says here that he wants to stimulate their “pure minds” with reminders of God’s truth. This is exactly the reason I started this blog over ten years ago, and have been writing ever since. There is no way to exhaust the truth of God’s Word. Studying the Bible in order to teach it is, for me, one of the best ways to truly learn and understand it.

Why did Peter emphasize “pure” minds? It is because we do have the old sin nature in us that would lead us to believe the cleverly disguised lies of Satan. The best way to keep that purity of mind is to faithfully be in His Word. Just as we need daily food and water to stay physically healthy, so our minds need daily feeding on the riches of the Word of God.

No Excuses!

II Peter 2:21-22.

For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

God’s words at the end of this chapter, coming to us through Peter, are harsh. Some people would like to erase such words from scripture, keeping only the words of love, grace, and mercy.

We forget that God is holy, and cannot even look on sin. It is an abomination to His character, not to be tolerated.

If you have ever owned a dog, you know the truth that when a dog vomits, he will go back and eat it up again. And pigs like to stay cool, so no matter how clean they may be, they will find a nice, cool mud puddle in which to relax. These are not pretty pictures, but they are truth.

In verse 21, Peter wrote that it would be better for a person never to have known truth than to know it and turn away from it, going back to that which is untrue and even evil.

We are responsible to God for our choices. There will be no arguing or debating at the time of judgment. Those who have known truth and chosen to turn away from it will pay the penalty for doing so. No excuses. The time of grace and mercy, for them, will be gone. Forever. No turning back.

(Late) Sunday Morning Coffee: Home Alone

No, this is not about the movie.

I don’t know what happened, but I woke up early this morning with pretty severe back pain and knew I couldn’t deal with the long drive to church, nor sitting through two services and then the drive back home. It feels a little better now, thanks to good medication.

This could easily be Terry and me. Together, glad to be together, but not talking. After 53 years together, conversation is not always necessary. Quietness is valued.

So, right now, I have a quiet moment alone until everyone else gets home. I love quiet moments alone. Solitude is good for my soul. Some people replenish and renew by being around a lot of people, talking and enjoying companionship. I’m just the opposite. Give me quiet, solitude, music, and a good book and I’ll be ready to face the world again. According to some definitions I’ve heard, my love of solitude makes me an introvert. Those who feel replenished with lots of people and conversation are extroverts.

I don’t know for sure about all that. I just know I treasure “alone time,” and always have done so.

Jesus was the most balanced Man who ever lived. Luke 2:52 covers Jesus’ growing up years: He increased in wisdom (discernment, understanding, learning); stature (physical strength and development); favor with God (spiritual maturity); and favor with man (social, personality development). He was both an introvert and an extrovert. He occasionally removed Himself from the crowds, needing rest and solitude. He always ministered to the crowds, teaching and preaching and touching their physical needs. His final act at the end of Passion Week was to give of Himself utterly, completely, without holding anything back.

Here is a list of 25 verses that teach us the importance of becoming more like Christ:

https://reformedwiki.com/verses/becoming-more-like-christ/kjv

Of course, He was wholly God as well as wholly man. We, being wholly human, are at something of a disadvantage in being Christlike. However, we can remind ourselves that doing so is a process, not an event. It takes a lifetime, however long that may be, for us to reach the final goal of becoming as He is when we reach heaven.

In the meantime, when you feel the need to renew and recharge, enjoy the process–whatever it may be that works for you!