Living Stones

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.(4) As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— (5) you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ
1 Peter 2:1-5

The term “living stones” in 1 Peter 2:5 is used as a metaphor to illustrate the secure and intimate relationship believers have with Jesus who, in turn, is described in the previous verse as the “living Stone” (1 Peter 2:4). Together, verse four and five vividly picture how Christ and His followers are a building being built by God Himself:

The foundation of God’s building is His Son, Jesus Christ, the “living Stone.”

The “living stones,” in turn, are believers who come to Jesus and place their lives upon this foundation. One of the striking things we learn in this passage is that God not only chose this Stone who is eternal, but there were men who rejected the Stone because they wanted to build the building of their lives the way they wanted, not God’s way.

The stone the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
Psalm 118:22

As a result, these men cast this living Stone aside, not caring that Jesus is the only true foundation upon which man can build his eternal life.

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:10-11

Elsewhere, Jesus is also described as the chief cornerstone upon which is built the Church, a unified body of believers, both Jew and Gentile (non-Jew)

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Ephesians 2:19-22

Peter referenced Jesus as the cornerstone in Acts 4:11-12, stating that “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” God accepts no one who refuses to become a part of His building. And God is just like all builders—He has a foundation upon which all workers must lay the stones of their lives

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
Matthew 7:24-27

Believers, then, are the “living stones” of the church. As such, we must remember that God is eternal, which means His building is eternal. The foundation Stone laid by God shall never decay nor waste away. Christ lives forever and ever. In placing our lives upon the living Stone of God, we find that He supports and holds us up eternally. We, in turn, become living stones, stones that will live on forever and ever. A physical house is not permanent; it ages, deteriorates, and wastes away. But being the spiritual house of God, we do not age, deteriorate, or decay. We live on in God’s eternal spiritual house.

Peter goes on to describe the relationship of living stones to the Chief Cornerstone:

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,

”and,

“A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:7-9

Peter is saying that, as living stones, we have certain functions. As a “royal priesthood,” we are a “kingdom of priests,” a term that was used of Israel in Exodus 19:6.

You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites
Exodus 19:6

Also, in Revelation 1:6, we are called kings and priests, referring to the exalted rank and dignity which we will have in the future kingdom of heaven. Believers, in common with our Savior, will reign triumphantly over all enemies and, having gained a victory over sin and death and hell, we will be reigning together with our King.

In the meantime, the function of the living stones is to “declare the praises” of Him who called us out of the darkness of sin into the light of life and glory. This is the “job description” of a living stone: a declarer of truth and love and light, both by our words and the life we live before others in the world.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realm with every spiritual blessing in Christ
Ephesians 1:3

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Special thanks to gotquestions.org

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The Pineapple Story

Ever felt like you were not smart enough, not strong enough, or just not capable enough to go on an international mission?

Check out this wonderful testimony of how a man learned humility and dependence on the Lord in the mission field.

The Pineapple Story

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
1 Peter 5:6

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Good Luck, Bad Luck, and the Sovereignty of God

You’ve probably heard the argument before:

“if God is so good, why does He let bad things like crime happen to people?”

A story is told in middle eastern folklore of a man who lost his horse that ran away.

When the horse ran away, his neighbor came to him and said:
“Bad luck isn’t it, your horse is gone”

The man replied
“Good and bad luck, what do I know about these things?”

A few days later, the horse came back with twenty other wild horses and the neighbor came by again and said:
“Amazing, it’s not bad luck it’s good luck! Now you’ve got twenty more!”

The man replied
“Good and bad luck, what do I know about these things?”

While his young son was out one day taming one of the new horses, that wild horse kicked him and breaks his leg. The neighbor comes once again and says to him:
“Terrible isn’t it, your sons leg is broken. Bad luck that these horses came”

The man replied
“Good and bad luck, what do I know about these things?”

A few days go by and a band of thugs are coming from town to town looking for all the able-bodied young men to recruit for their gang and they were about to pick this young man when they find out that his leg is broken. So they decided to leave him and move on the the next house. The neighbor comes over again and says:
“Good luck isn’t it, that your son’s leg was broken”

The man replied
“Good and bad luck, what do I know about these things?”

In one little series of episodes, we don’t know what lies ahead. Why don’t you wait until you stand before God face to face, and you will find out that there were reasons why he didn’t stop that trigger or thwart that thief, so that you might see the heinousness of evil, and see the majesty of love and good, managing to navigate your steps on the pilgrims progress to the celestial city.

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.

Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
Ephesians 4:11-15

Trust JESUS!

for more on this topic, check out:
The Problem of Evil
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9b0PJDDof4

How Do You Define ‘Church’?

Love one another
Be at peace with one another
Show hospitality with one another
Honor one another
Receive one another
Do not fight with one another
Serve one another
Do not envy one another
Admonish one another
Greet one another
Care for one another
Bear the burdens of one another
Show deference to one another
Forgive one another
Be kind to one another
Submit to one another
Don’t lie to one another
Provoke to good works – one another
Comfort one another
Concern yourselves in the affairs of one another
Don’t hate one another
Don’t speak evil of one another
Pray for one another
Be like-minded toward one another
Do not hold a grudge against one another
Highly esteem one another
Don’t be partial toward one another
Have fellowship with one another
Edify one another
Teach one another
Do good to one another
Exhort one another
Minister spiritual gifts one to another…

In doing so, what you will end up with,
is the biblical “Church”

so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and each member belongs to one another
Romans 12:5

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Transcendent Transition

I’m not in a hole

I’m not on the streets

I’m not in the place where you’d think to find me

I’m not really hiding

Though I’m hidden the same

And I’m not avoiding the question with games

I’m just on a path that’s hidden from sight

And I’ve learned that my words don’t always take flight

And end up in hearts where I long them to be

So I dwell in the darkness so blind men can see

So reach out in darkness and reach for the path

Who knows if this moment might be our very last

I don’t want you to miss what we all long to see

But are blinded from viewing because of our sin

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:1-4

 

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But Encourage One Another, Daily…

There has been more and more awareness growing among Christian’s that verses are intentionally being removed from newly printed Bibles as the kingdom of darkness continues it’s assault upon Christendom to make the Bible less offensive and more subjective to it’s readers.

I want to begin with a caution…

Simply knowing that verses from the newly printed Bibles are being removed is absolutely useless information to anyone unless you intend to meditate upon these words – so you understand what they mean – and then put into practice what they say.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
James 1:22

1

Some may think it’s a trivial thing. After all, it’s only a few words.

Or maybe Satan knows far better than most Christians do, the power of the Word of God!

Though the kingdom of darkness may try to remove the key of knowledge, plant these words deep in your heart and meditate upon them until they bear a great harvest.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places
Ephesians 6:12

2

Read the Word
Love the Word
Live the Word

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him
Proverbs 30:5

Trust JESUS!

1789 U.S Book of Common Prayer

Founded on July 4th,1776, just thirteen years after the United States became an independent nation, this prayer was published in the 1789 U.S Book of Common Prayer.

As I read and reflected on what could’ve inspired such a change in the tone of prayer only thirteen years after declaring their very independence, a truth that I’ve observed time and time again, even in my own life, became very clear.

It seems that if history has taught us anything, it is that we begin most endeavors in life – whether relationships/marriages, new ministries or business ventures, or even our spiritual devotion and service to the Lord – with the highest of hopes and the sincerest of intentions, but time and the testing of our faith prove the genuineness of those devotions.

It’s not long before we feel like we’re ‘stuck in a rut’; or as if things have lost their sparkle and appeal and it’s ‘time for change’

And sure enough, as troubles arise, fears and anxieties become habitual, and since things don’t look like the beautiful image we had previously set up in our minds, so the temptation to ‘freedom’ once again, seems ever so pure a motive to abandon our current status and positions to pursue our latest endeavors.

Most would encourage you that at this point that it’s “never too late to start again.

Almost confirming to you all that you feel tempted to do in so many ways just to gain significance and relevance once again.

I would beg to differ that things are as they may appear.

For history has taught me something far more insightful through the experiences of my own, once, excited zealous pursuits that have fizzled into something seemingly stagnant or irrelevant

It is as the Word of God states in Romans:
in all things, God, causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purposes for them
Romans 8:28

I’ve learned that it has been my own worldly measures of “success” that has caused me to not appreciate the great significance behind the so called menial tasks of maturity.

With a eye set constantly looking backward and trying to recapture the “what once was” experiences of life, I’ve failed in so many ways to appreciate the “what is and has become” experiences of true maturity and growth.

A common example is seen in the reason why someone’s death seems so emotionally significant to us, yet during their life, we are usually too busy to do all but ever pick up the phone to say “I love you” with no ulterior motive.

Why do we wait to place great emphasis on our devotion to someone after they’re gone, but rarely show that sort of devotion while they are here and available for us to do so.

It’s because the same excited beginnings while looking back immediately come to mind more often in our memory rather than the exhausting work of maintaining those relationships over the years that has caused our separation and complacency towards them.

I believe that this is the true heart of this prayer:

Almighty and most merciful Father;
We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep.
We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.
We have offended against thy holy laws.
We have left undone those things which we ought to have done;
And we have done those things which we ought not to have done;
And there is no health in us.

But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders.
Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults.
Restore thou those who are penitent;
According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake;
That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life,
To the glory of thy holy Name.
Amen.

1789 U.S Book of Common Prayer

  Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

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G.K Chesterton – Orthodoxy
https://vimeo.com/14494081