Established in the Truth

from Lynda Lindsey

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence…

II Peter 1:3

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. II Peter 1:10-11

Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder…  II Peter 1:12-13

Something deemed precious or dear is considered to be an asset of incalculable value, a resource worthy of being cherished and revered, not something to be wasted or treated carelessly. Peter understands, and wants us to understand, the incalculable value of knowing Christ personally and appropriating and applying Christ’s precious promises to our life. In Christ we are partakers of the divine nature and have been given all things that pertain to life and godliness; once we begin to live by God’s Spirit, the perishable, worldly things that once were valuable to us begin to lose their luster. 

Faith, not works, saves us; we begin, and continue, the Christian life by faith. Once saved, however, it’s our responsibility to work out our salvation by developing our Spirit given gifts and to cooperate with His purpose of conforming us to Jesus’ image. As a fire is stirred to keep the flame hot, Peter stirs up believers that we might be firmly established in truth and become fruitful and effective kingdom citizens able to withstanding false teaching. Peter urges us to diligently confirm our calling by being doers of the Word, constantly practicing, and continually adding, godly character traits. 

Peter reminds us that his words are trustworthy, for he personally witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration; Peter heard God proclaim Jesus to be God’s beloved Son. Soon to face martyrdom, Peter spurs us on to faithfulness: grow strong in love, in knowledge of the Lord, and in His truth. Don’t stumble; don’t fall. Be steadfast, thereby receiving the promised heavenly reward, eternal life with Jesus and all the saints. Jesus is precious  and dear; His worth is incalculable. Jesus is truth. The question remains: Is Jesus your truth? Are you established in Him? Jesus welcomes  seekers; seek Him now! 

But This I Call To Mind; Therefore I Have Hope

from Lynda Lindsey

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.” Lamentations 3:21-24

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:25-26

I called on Your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit; You heard my plea, ‘Do not close Your ear to my cry for help!’ You came near when I called on You; You said, ‘Do not fear!’ You have taken up my cause, O Lord; You have redeemed my life. Lamentations 3:55-58

God’s people continually refused to repent; they spurned God’s overtures for forgiveness until God allowed Judah to be carried into Babylonian captivity. Jerusalem, once busy with God-worshipers, became a lonely devastated place, the temple stripped of all beauty, and the land spoiled by war, pestilence, and famine. The Lord’s promised judgment had come, His law no longer went forth from His temple, and His prophets had no new visions. It was a time of deep grief, wailing, and sorrow, a time for arising in the night to pour out one’s heart like water before God.

God’s punishing fires are carefully controlled avenues to bring us to repentance and restoration; they are never meant to totally annihilate us. Brought low by sin and experiencing desperate affliction, it’s imperative to call on the Lord for forgiveness, to recount His goodness, to reflect on His steadfast, unceasing love, and to remember His never-ending mercies. The Lord allowed Judah seventy years to call all His goodness to mind, to recall that He alone is God, Judah’s portion and hope, her satisfier and source of every good and necessary thing for life and peace.

Just as the Lord divided the Promised Land into tribal allotments that perfectly fit the needs of each tribe, so He is our allotment, our portion and inheritance. He perfectly provides for us, satisfying our every need, whether in this life or in the life to come. He is good to those who seek Him, to those who quietly, prayerfully, expectantly wait for Him; to those who humbly wait in hushed, hopeful silence for His sure and certain salvation. God hears our plaintive cries, comes near, takes up our cause and redeems our life from the pit. Call Him to mind, remember His goodness, and have hope!

New Life, New Ways, New Hope

from Lynda Lindsey

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct… I Peter 1:13-15(a)

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.  I Peter 2:11-12

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit…I Peter 3:18

Christ followers can courageously persevere in the face of opposition, adversity, and persecution, not because we grit our teeth and tough it out, but because we’ve  already died to the things of this world and have been born again into a living hope. Joined together with Christ, made alive through God’s Spirit, given new life in the power of His resurrection, freed from our earthly focus, we can persevere faithfully in suffering, in hope, and in holy, godly conduct, for He who calls us is holy and He equips us for holiness. 

We rejoice, if necessary, in trials that test the genuineness of our faith, for God’s power guards us and keeps our salvation and faith secure. Once we lived to serve our own passions; now we live to serve Christ. Once we walked in ungodliness; now we walk in righteousness. Once we knew no mercy, now we have received mercy. Once our conduct was dishonest and dishonorable; now our good deeds glorify God. Once we walked in darkness, now we walk in His light, proclaiming His excellencies. Once we were rebellious toward God; now we submit to His authority as stewards of His grace.

New life, new conduct, new ways of thinking, living, and acting grow us into mature kingdom citizens. By enduring fiery trials we learn ways to encourage fellow pilgrims to withstand their trials. We grow strong by showing love and compassion to the needy; we learn self-control by keeping lips and tongues from speaking evil and deceit. We learn to love one another earnestly by serving others with the strength God provides. Call on the Lord for new life, new ways, new hope. His eyes see, HIs ears hear. He answers our prayers and enables us to persevere in this new life! Seek Him earnestly! 

Fulfilled

from Lynda Lindsey

The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising His words and scoffing at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against His people, until there was no remedy. II Chronicles 36:15-16

Therefore He brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans…  II Chronicles 36:17(a)

He took into exile in Babylon those who had escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and to his sons until the establishment of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days that it lay desolate it kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years. II Chronicles 36:20-21

A task or job fulfilled is a task brought to completion; what was promised has become a finished reality. All God’s words will be fulfilled; He does what He has planned and decreed from eternity past. Jeremiah saw a vision at his commissioning; God’s response after Jeremiah described the vision was, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it.” Jeremiah, a faithful servant of the Lord, obediently proclaimed all the words the Lord put in his mouth; God watched over and brought His words to completion.  

God, full of compassion, persistently warned His people: turn away from vile, evil practices, return, repent, acknowledge God. Persistently God’s rebellious people scoffed, mocked, and despised God, spurning His gracious overtures of reconciliation. There was no remedy. God fulfilled His promise. Jerusalem and the temple were looted, burned, and left desolate. God’s people were carried away into Babylonian captivity. God fulfilled His word. Seventy years passed. The land enjoyed seventy Sabbaths of exile. God’s promised words were brought to completion.

God fulfills all His promises: His steadfast love would never depart from His people, David’s house and kingdom would be made sure forever, a remnant would return from exile. Persia’s King Cyrus proclaimed the Lord’s charge to build God’s house in Jerusalem and invited the exiles to return to rebuild their temple. God’s promises continue. There is a remedy for sin. God made Jesus, who had no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. Accept Jesus, for only in Him, our Sabbath rest, will we find peace and fulfillment, now and for eternity.

Seek God’s Favor, Not Man’s

from Lynda Lindsey

Thus says the Lord: He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, but he who goes out to the Chaldeans shall live. He shall have his life as a prize of war, and live… This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and be taken. Jeremiah 38:2-3

Ebed-melech, the Ethiopian servant to the king of Judah: “My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they did to Jeremiah the prophet by casting him into the cistern, and he will die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city.” Jeremiah 38:9

God’s word to the Ethiopian servant through Jeremiah: Behold, I will fulfill My words against this city for harm and not for good, and they shall be accomplished before you on that day. But I will deliver you on that day, declares the Lord, and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid. For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword, but you shall have your life as a prize of war, because you have put your trust in Me, declares the Lord.  Jeremiah 39:16-18

Jeremiah, refusing to compromise God’s word, was often out of favor with his countrymen, his king, and the king’s advisors. Jeremiah’s words were thought to undermine the country’s war effort to resist the Babylonians, an effort God, through Jeremiah, counseled against. Jeremiah faithfully preached God’s word: death by sword, famine, or pestilence was a certainty to anyone attempting to resist the Babylonian invasion by staying in Jerusalem. Those who allowed themselves to be taken into exile would live, their life being returned to them as a war-prize.

Jeremiah, released from prison in the palace dungeon only to be later left for dead in a muddy cistern, was rescued by a bold Ethiopian eunuch serving in the king’s household; the eunuch risked his life to address the wrong-doing of Judah’s king. The eunuch petitioned for Jeremiah’s life, even while calling attention to the evil injustice committed against Jeremiah by the king’s own allowance! Jeremiah’s life was spared due to the courageous actions of the Ethiopian; the Lord protected and saved both men, granting each of them their life as a prize of war. 

The Lord sent Jeremiah to the Ethiopian with words of deliverance, “I will deliver you…and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid. For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword…because you have put your trust in Me.” Jeremiah, regardless of his circumstances, put his trust in God and proclaimed God’s truth. Even when speaking the truth could have rendered Jeremiah and the eunuch a death verdict, the men spoke truth. We are saved by trusting God, not man, seeking God’s favor, not man’s. Whose favor is it you seek?

Grace in the Wilderness

from Lynda Lindsey

Thus says the Lord: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued My faithfulness to you. Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel.” Jeremiah 31:2-4(a)

“For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” Jeremiah 31:25

“I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of Me in their hearts, that they may not turn from Me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all My heart and all My soul.” Jeremiah 32:39-41

God comforts and sustains the weary, languishing, uprooted exiles with words of hope: God’s surviving remnant will find grace in the wilderness! God, whose love is everlasting, is always faithful and His arm is never too short to save; God will find, rescue, and bring His lost ones home. God will replenish every weary and languishing soul and will heal, restore, and rebuild what sin destroyed until, once again, God’s land and people will be filled with music, singing, dancing and merriment! God, always near to us, delights in revealing Himself to us when we seek Him.

God made an everlasting covenant with us, a covenant made in Jesus’ blood; this covenant unites believers in one heart, with one mind, so that we may love God and fear Him forever. Jesus, Messiah, the one way of salvation, is our peace and rest. Drawn by Jesus’ grace and kindness, led by His Spirit, we walk together with the Lord and in company with all the saints, on God’s Highway of Holiness. He removes obstacles and leads us as tenderly and carefully, like a loving shepherd leads and cares for his sheep; we flourish under His care like a well watered garden.

The Lord keeps His promises. He delights to rescue and save, to give us a new heart that wants what He wants. The Lord rejoices over His beloved children with singing. Are you lost, wandering in sin’s wilderness? Grace is available, grace is amazing, and grace is ours merely for the asking! Seek His grace, for He is our shield and portion forever. As John Newton’s hymn, states, “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed.” Let this be your hour to believe; receive grace in the wilderness!

John Newton, Amazing Grace, 1779