Bible Study

This is a copy of the Sunday School Lessons presented to an adult class each Sunday.

Name:
Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States

Retired, Lobbyist in Washington,DC - Management - BS Chemistry and various continuing education courses

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bible Study - Resilient Faith (2) - Active Faith - 1 Peter 1:14-19, 22-25 - July 20, 2014


Bible Study – Resilient Faith (2) – Active Faith – July 20, 2014

This is lesson (2) in our series entitled “Resilient Faith: Standing Strong in the Midst of Suffering.”

Our focus scripture is 1 Peter 1:14-19, 22-25.

Live a life that is set apart for GOD. That is sanctification. It is not being a recluse but serving as GOD leads you in HIS power and under HIS protection.

Faith in CHRIST is the goal of GOD for every person. The beginning of salvation is when a person takes the step of faith to receive CHRIST as his or her Savior. It is the beginning of the process of strengthening his or her faith in GOD through his or her relationship with CHRIST. It is a process of getting to know GOD and experiencing GOD, not just to know about GOD, as he or she walks with GOD through relationship.

Faith is not static but active. Each day is a new day with new opportunities to obediently serve the living GOD and creator of the universe. Christians can call HIM Father. Now that is amazing, when we read it, but do Christians believe it and live like it? Most of us live defeated lives because we look to our ability and not to GOD’S. It is time that Christians be who they are in CHRIST. Therefore, get ready for action as we continue.  

Let’s read 1 Peter 1:13-16:

13 Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. 15 But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.

We had this scripture in last week’s lesson. The mind is ground zero. That is where battles occur and decisions are made. That is why we must yield to the power of the Holy Spirit to renew our minds and bring our minds into unity and harmony with GOD’S will and purpose for us. GOD has to be the power in our lives by setting our hope upon HIM and receiving the grace that only HE provides.

“Therefore” because you, as a born-again Christian, have the assurance of the “living hope”, Peter admonished his readers to:

-         Ready your minds ready for action, - When Christians have the desire to obediently serve GOD, get prepared because GOD will provide the opportunity. Internalize your relationship with GOD through your relationship with CHRIST. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:2 - Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and the perfect will of God.

-         Be serious – Christians will need to be mentally prepared refusing to follow false notions or to be caught up in their own self-esteem or self-interest.

-         And set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. At the appointed time, CHRIST will reign supreme and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that JESUS IS LORD!!! Stay focused on the hope you have in CHRIST and on the grace GOD gives you as you obediently serve HIM. Why? Because when you decide to obediently serve GOD, Satan will do all he can to trip you up. CHRIST began HIS earthly ministry by being tempted by Satan and so will we.

The Apostle Peter reminds Christians to be Holy because GOD is Holy. Christians are called by GOD to live as GOD’S Sons and Daughters in HIS power and in HIS grace upon earth.

The only book others may read is the Gospel according to you. That is impossible in our strength. It is only possible through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. We must let CHRIST live through us. We all miss the mark and that is why all Christians need GOD’S grace.

Verses 14-16:

14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. 15 But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.

Christians must recognize and acknowledge who they are. As obedient children who desire to serve the LORD, they are to not conform to the desires of their former life without CHRIST but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. (Romans 12:2) In their old life, without CHRIST, they were ignorant about obediently serving GOD. Ignorance is not being stupid. Ignorance has a cure, which is experience and education. An ignorant person simply does not know but the Holy Spirit will enlighten and teach all Christians who seek to be taught.

GOD calls all Christians to be Holy as HE is Holy. Don’t most children want to grow up to be just like their parent? As GOD’S children our desire is to grow up to be just like CHRIST. Notice the word “Be” Holy. Remember 2 Corinthians 5:21:

21 He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

“Be” what GOD has already imputed to you – righteous!!!

As a Christian you are righteous, therefore “be” righteous. Be what you are.

The Apostle Paul stated it well in Ephesians 4:22-24:

22 You took off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires; 23 you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24 you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.

At the moment of salvation this is what took place in your life through the miracle of the rebirth. In essence, you took off your old life like you would your old unclean stinking clothes and put on your new clean, fresh smelling, and bright new clothes of salvation. Yet, most of us fail to walk in the light of truth which has been given to us.

“Be Holy, because I am Holy” and you are MY child. So be what you are - a chip off the block.

Let’s read 1 Peter 1:17-19 and 20-21:

17 And if you address as Father the One who judges impartially based on each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your temporary residence. 18 For you know that you were • redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20 He was chosen before the foundation of the world but was revealed at the end of the times for you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

When a person addresses GOD as Father, that statement either comes from a knowledge base of knowing about GOD or knowing GOD. The heart of the person can discern which is true. Peter used the word “if” to cause his readers to think and ponder, “Do you call GOD Father?”  

When a person considers GOD his or her Father, realize that HE is the One Who judges. HE is the One Who gives rewards to HIS children and judges those who are not HIS children. HE is an impartial judge, therefore, conduct yourself according to that which you know HIS desire is for you. HIS desire is obedience. Obedience comes from being obedient because of your love for HIM and trust in HIM. This in turn builds your faith in HIM through a personal, intimate relationship. Faith builds trust and trust builds obedience. It is important that trust is build with GOD and in GOD through our relationship with CHRIST and not with our selves. It is trust in GOD that is vital. Christians do not have to muster up enough faith in their ability to take action. But they must have faith and trust in GOD such that when they do their part HE will take the action needed to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.

Gifts of the Holy Spirit are GOD’S gifts which are manifested through Christians as they obediently serve HIM in ministry to others. It is GOD’S power and presence which Christians have the opportunity to obediently use as HE directs.   

The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:13:

13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

GOD will judge every Christians works of obedience to determine his or her rewards of obedience. True Christians will not be judged regarding their salvation.

JESUS told us in John 5:24:

24 “I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.

Yes, there will be rewards for obedience but as a born-again believer your salvation is secure and guaranteed by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Every Christian must keep in mind that their time upon earth is temporary when compared to eternity and GOD is the final judge. Fear can be due to fear because of HIS position and power or to honor with awe, reverence and respect.  Here it is a little of both. Christians are to realize who GOD is and live accordingly in honor and respect.

Peter encouraged Christians to realize that “Rewards Day” will come, so live obediently according to GOD’S direction and commands.

Verses: 18-19: (Christians are to live Holy because they are!)

18 For you know that you were • redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.

Being born a Jew, GOD’S chosen, is not enough for a Jew to enter into heaven. Even though life is eternal, being born as a human does not mean you will automatically go to heaven to live with GOD. A person will either spend eternity in Heaven with GOD and CHRIST or in Hell with Satan and his followers.

GOD allowed JESUS to come to earth to willingly give HIS life to redeem those who will place their faith in HIM from eternal death. Some Jews thought that they had a ticket to heaven because they were born a Jew. Peter made it clear that their earthly birth as a Jew was empty and came up short. No person can be redeemed from eternal death based upon his or her physical birth or ancestral heritage or through any human effort or giving valuable materials such as silver or gold. 

Redemption required the “shedding of the precious blood of CHRIST.” The shed blood of the perfect sacrificial lamb covered the sins of the people. The shed blood of the perfect acceptable sacrifice, JESUS, paid in full the judicial sentence GOD placed on mankind for all who will place their faith and trust in CHRIST. As stated before, the shed blood of CHRIST not only paid in full the judicial penalty imposed by GOD because of sin but HIS shed blood also covers eternally those who place their faith in CHRIST throughout their earthly life and carries them into heaven.

Peter stated three motives for Christians to live Holy:

-         Conduct themselves in fear and reverence of GOD knowing that HE will judge their works. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

-         Consider that we were slaves to sin and eternal death but our faith in CHRIST redeemed us from eternal death to eternal life.

-         Christians were not redeemed with perishable things such as silver or gold but with the precious shed blood of CHRIST. It cost the life of JESUS to set Christians free from eternal death.

Peter ends verse 19 with “like that of a lamb without defect or blemish” to remind the Jewish Christians of how GOD used the shed blood of animals to protect the first born son from the death angel when the Israelites were freed from Egyptian bondage, confirmed HIS covenant with the Israelites as HIS chosen people and atoned for the sins of the people. The ultimate and final perfect, acceptable sacrifice was JESUS giving HIS life in place of all who place their faith in HIM. The shed blood of animals temporarily substituted for the sins of the people until the final sacrifice of JESUS paid in full and for eternity the penalty for sin for those who place their faith in HIM.

There is power in the shed blood of CHRIST, wonder working power and the gospel song goes. Some in society complain that Christianity is a bloody religion. HIS only Son had to die for all who place their faith in HIM to live eternally as HE intended from the beginning. It is like the sign over the restaurant my wife and I ate in Alaska “Take It or Leave It.” Taking JESUS as your Savior gives you salvation and eternal life but rejecting HIM results in eternal death.

When did GOD have a redemptive plan?

Verses 20-21:

20 He was chosen before the foundation of the world but was revealed at the end of the times for you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

GOD chose CHRIST for HIS redemptive plan before the foundation of the world. GOD also chose us before HE created the world as the Apostle Paul recorded in Ephesians 1:4:

4 For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love.

Redemption and salvation has been made clear through the birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension of CHRIST and the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell every Christian. This was done by GOD so that every Christian’s faith and hope are in GOD through CHRIST. CHRIST was GOD in the flesh. If a person cannot understand and comprehend CHRIST, how can he or she even begin to understand and comprehend GOD?

Hebrews 11:6:

6 Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.
 
Let’s read 1 Peter 1:22-25:

22 By obedience to the truth, having purified yourselves for sincere love of the • brothers, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again —not of perishable seed but of imperishable —through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like a flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was preached as the gospel to you.

Knowing truth is the hallmark of being a Christian. Truth renews the hearts and minds of Christians as they grow and mature Spiritually through obedient service. As Christians, our love (philo) for our brothers and sisters grows as our faith in CHRIST grows, which in turn leads to a deeper level of love, agape in true Christians.

A Christian’s love is:

-         Sincere - genuine

-         Earnest – fervently an athletic term meaning “striving with all one’s energy”

-         From a pure heart – real love is pure.

-         GOD’S love flows through to others.

-         Christians are conduits because -

Christians have been born anew from an imperishable seed. That imperishable seed is the “divine sperm.” It is GOD’S Spirit and the living and enduring Word of GOD.

“All flesh” refers to people in their natural state and all will perish. Every person needs to receive the imperishable seed of salvation through faith in CHRIST. The people and the nations of the world they form are like grass, they all will perish like the flower of grass. Grass withers and the flower falls off but the Word of GOD endures forever. The Bible has stood the test of time and critical review. It is the living Word of GOD and it is just as relevant today as the day it was written.

The “Word of GOD” refers to the gospel preached. The “living and enduring word of GOD is the Word that was preached” to evangelize those who are Spiritually lost and condemned to eternal death.  

The Apostles, the Jews, Christians and others had the Old Testament scriptures. They could read the many prophesies written over thousands of years. This was and is a reminder to Christians when they face adverse circumstances, they can rely upon the eternal truth of GOD’S Word.  GOD says what HE means and means what HE says. What is the gospel according to you? Blessings!!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Bible Study - Resilient Faith (1) - Focused Faith - 1 Peter 1:3-9, 13 - July 13, 2014


Bible Study – Resilient Faith (1) – Focused Faith – July 13, 2014

This is lesson one (1) in our series “Resilient Faith: Standing Strong in the Midst of Suffering.”

Our focus scripture is 1 Peter 1:3-9, 13.

As Christians our faith is focused on sure hope which is confirmed by GOD and the indwelling Holy Spirit.

The Apostle Peter was likely in Rome about 62-64 AD when he wrote to Jewish Christians driven out of Jerusalem and scattered throughout Asia Minor and to Christians everywhere. Christians were being persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in CHRIST which began under the Emperor Nero. During this persecution period, the Apostle Peter was executed.

Let’s read 1 Peter 1:1-2: The Apostle Peter’s introduction:

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ: To the temporary residents dispersed in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, • Asia , and Bithynia, chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father and set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

The Apostle Peter began with hope as we read “to the temporary residents.” Their relocation was temporary. Dispersion is one way GOD uses Christians to scatter the Gospel of CHRIST to all parts of earth. Having to leave your homeland is never pleasant but Peter gave them hope for a positive outcome because GOD is in control. Their hope was to return to their homeland someday but just as GOD led the Israelites to the Promised Land, Heaven or the eternal Promised Land is every Christian’s final destination.

The foreknowledge of GOD and the power of GOD keep those who are to receive salvation until their moment of salvation. Once the person receives CHRIST as his or her Savior, then GOD calls him or her to minister according to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. The Christian’s hope is in CHRIST.

Humans hope for all sorts of things. We hope our favorite ball team wins. We hope that we will get a certain job, a promotion or higher salary. We hope that we will find the perfect mate for life. We hope to purchase a certain material thing for ourselves and our hopes go on. These hopes are dependent upon many factors, some we can control but many we cannot control.

There is one sure factor each person can control and that is choosing CHRIST as his or her Savior. When we choose CHRIST as our Savior, we receive the free gift of eternal life, born-again in our spirit to become a Son or Daughter of GOD through the miracle of rebirth. GOD gives to every Christian the indwelling Holy Spirit Who assures, confirms and guarantees our complete redemption and full salvation the instant we exit our human bodies in physical death.

The resurrection of JESUS is proof of the resurrection of every Christian. JESUS Himself verbalized this while HE was upon earth in John 11:22: (JESUS was speaking to Martha regarding the death of Lazarus.)

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Each person must answer the question, “Do you believe this?” Do you?

Placing your faith in CHRIST because HE is the “resurrection and life” and HE paid in full the judicial penalty for sin that GOD required makes a person a Christian. The shed blood of CHRIST sustains every Christian throughout their lives because of GOD’S gift of grace. Christians are to confess their sins to maintain their fellowship and intimate relationship with GOD.

The hope of Christians is confirmed and guaranteed by GOD.

Let’s read 1 Peter 1:3-4:

A Living Hope

3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.

GOD’S gift of redemption and eternal life is something mankind cannot achieve. The single source for redemption from sin is CHRIST, GOD’S only Son. GOD did this because of HIS great mercy and HIS great love for mankind. CHRIST gave HIS life to fulfill the redemptive plan of GOD, HIS Father because of HIS love for GOD and mankind. The resurrection of CHRIST by GOD gives Christians “living hope” through the miracle of rebirth. A Christian does not have to die physically to receive the gift of rebirth, thus rebirth is a “living hope” confirmed by CHRIST. A person’s faith in CHRIST results in an inheritance that is:

-         Imperishable – not subject to deterioration or decay.

-         Uncorrupted – not blemished by moral or spiritual filth, unpolluted.

-         Unfading – not prone to wither, always vivid and vital.

-         Kept in Heaven for each person who places his or her faith in CHRIST.

-         A Christian’s inheritance will never grow old, never wear out or diminish in value. 

The Apostle Peter confirms the eternal nature of a person placing his or her faith in CHRIST. But it is more than words, it is guaranteed, confirmed and assured by the resurrection of CHRIST, GOD and the indwelling Holy Spirit.

The word “kept” is a military term which carries the idea of being secure and protected. The Christian’s inheritance is in GOD’S treasury and protected by GOD.

Let’s read 1 Peter 1:5-7:

5 You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials 7 so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Christians and their inheritance are protected by GOD’S power. Salvation is ground zero upon which Christians build their relationship with GOD through their relationship with CHRIST. GOD’S plan is for Christians to grow and mature Spiritually as they obediently serve HIM. As Christians grow and mature Spiritually, they are in the process of being saved through the process of sanctification. Christians are fully redeemed and saved from eternal death when they exit their earthly body in physical death and behold CHRIST in Heaven. I believe this transition is seamless.

Christians are redeemed and bound for Heaven the instant they receive CHRIST as their Savior. Once a person receives CHRIST as his or her Savior the sanctification process begins, which is the renewing of the mind, comprehension and understanding of the will of GOD, building trust in GOD, understanding GOD and obediently serving GOD through an intimate relationship. It is often a battle between the flesh and the Spirit but in the process, Christians get to know GOD and not just know about GOD. GOD becomes a reality.  

As Christians live upon earth, they encounter trials. Trials perfect their faith by revealing flaws. When Christians confess their flaws, false notions and seek GOD’S help in dealing with them, it produces a firm faith and trust in CHRIST and GOD. Trials build Spiritual muscles of confidence and trust in GOD and create a firm foundation built upon the solid rock of CHRIST. Storms and heavy rains are sure to come in life and those who have built a solid Spiritual foundation will survive. This, in turn, produces Christians who are more likely to take steps of faith, as HE directs, which results in eternal rewards more precious than pure gold.

A Christian’s earth time is short compared to eternity. Most parents desire for their child or children to reach the full potential they know they are capable of achieving. GOD’S desire is for HIS children to reach their full Spiritual potential that HE knows they are capable of achieving. HE made us and HE knows what we are capable of, if we will only trust HIM and HIS leadership. But Christians must trust HIM and relinquish their will to HIM: Easy to say but difficult to do because we want to be in control.

The perfecting of a Christian’s faith has an important purpose as the Apostle Peter stated in verse 7 – “so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Most humans value gold and feel secure when they have pure gold that belongs to them. To improve the value of gold it must be refined. The impurities must be rendered from the gold under intense heat. These impurities or dross must be removed as they reach the surface. When the heat is as intense as it can get and no impurities float to the top of the melting pot, the gold in pure.

One thing that is certain, once we exit earth in physical death, we leave all of our earthly possessions behind. At physical death, what is more important, the physical gold we leave behind or our treasure of pure faith which is kept in heaven for us? Faith in GOD through CHRIST is the key and sustains all Christians into eternity.

Peter had walked with CHRIST and he knew the value of having a genuine, solid faith built on nothing less than JESUS CHRIST and HIS righteousness. When Christians get to the end of their lives what is important? James, the brother of CHRIST, stated in James 1:12:

12 A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.

We also read in Job 23:10:

10 Yet He knows the way I have taken; when He has tested me, I will emerge as pure gold.

Genuine faith is more valuable than pure gold because it confirms the reality of GOD in our lives “in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” There will be a day when, as written in Philippians 2:8-11:

8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross. 9 For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow— of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth— 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Let’s read 1Peter 1:8-9, 13:

8 You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

The Christians to whom the Apostle Peter was writing had to trust the eyewitness accounts and testimony of the Apostles and Disciples confirmed by the scriptures that JESUS was and is who HE claimed to be. Christians, since the ascension of JESUS into Heaven with the exception of the Apostle Paul, have had to trust in the witness of Christians, GOD’S Word, the Bible, and the indwelling Holy Spirit to the authenticity of CHRIST and HIS resurrection.

I know, I tried to figure Christianity out intellectually but there was no way. When I finally took a step of faith, it was CHRIST in me and HIS power that sustained me. I received a power and knowing that I had never experienced before. It was the beginning of an awesome journey of getting to know CHRIST and GOD through my relationship with CHRIST. It has been a journey of false notions and ideology perking up and having to face them and deal with them with the help of the Holy Spirit. Building trust is never easy but it is comforting and rewarding as we grow Spiritually in our relationship with CHRIST. It is all about being completely honest with CHRIST and GOD about our inner questions and trust regarding HIM. Seek and you will find.

Verse 8, states three ways a true Christian responds to CHRIST:

-         You love HIM.

-         You believe in HIM.

-         You rejoice in HIM with inexpressible and glorious joy. Those who have experienced salvation cannot put into words the magnificent overwhelming change when salvation is experienced. One caution, not everyone has this experience. For some salvation is like the dawning of a new day. The sun rises but when can the person say that the day has dawned? Salvation can be the same way. Those who know that they have asked CHRIST to forgive them for their sins and for HIM to come into their lives, CHRIST entered into their lives. It is CHRIST in you that makes you a Christian.

-         Why do you rejoice in HIM with inexpressible and glorious joy? - Because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Salvation. What is the goal of your faith? Faith in CHRIST is the goal of GOD for every person who has or will ever live. When a person receives CHRIST as his/her Savior that goal is achieved but only fully realized at his or her physical death. At the instant of salvation each Christian receives eternal life through his/her faith in CHRIST and the miracle of rebirth into GOD’S family. But GOD allows them to remain upon earth to grow and mature Spiritually and to carry out HIS plan and purpose which HE has called them to, provided they are willing.

Let’s read 1 Peter 1:10-12:

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that would come to you searched and carefully investigated. 11 They inquired into what time or what circumstances the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating when He testified in advance to the messianic sufferings and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you (Christians). These things have now been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Angels desire to look into these things.

The prophets who were inspired by the Holy Spirit to record prophesies regarding the coming and mission of the Messiah, longed to witness what they were led to write about. But such a fulfillment of prophesies revealed to them were not for that moment in time but for the time that Christians were to experience during and after the coming of the promised Messiah.

Matthew 13:16-17: (JESUS was speaking to HIS disciples.)

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

The angels long to experience what Christian’s experience. Have you experienced the joy of salvation? If not, now is that moment for you to ask CHRIST to forgive you for your sins and believing that HE died for your sins, ask HIM to come into your life. If you did, then thank HIM for coming into your life and ask HIM to help you to become all that only HE knows what you are capable of becoming as a born-again Christian.

Let’s read 1 Peter 1:13-16: A Call to Holy Living

13 Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. 15 But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.

“Therefore” because you, as a born-again Christian, have the assurance of the “living hope”, Peter admonished his readers to:

-         Ready your minds ready for action, - When Christians have the desire to obediently serve GOD, get prepared because GOD will provide the opportunity. Internalize your relationship with GOD through your relationship with CHRIST. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:2 - Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

-         be serious – Christians will need to be mentally prepared refusing to follow false notions or to be caught up in their own self-esteem.

-         and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Stay focused on the hope you have in CHRIST and on the grace GOD gives you as you obediently serve HIM. Why? Because when you decide to obediently serve GOD, Satan will do all he can to trip you up. CHRIST began HIS earthly ministry by being tempted by Satan and so will we.

The Apostle Peter calls Christians to be Holy because GOD is Holy. The only book others may read is the Gospel according to you. That is tough and only the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit can help Christians to achieve Holy living. We must let CHRIST live through us. We all miss the mark and that is why all Christians need GOD’S grace. Blessings!!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Bible Study - Beyond Belief (6) - GOD Is Faithful - Hebrews 6:17-20; 10:19-23 - July 6, 2014


Bible Study – Beyond Belief (6) – GOD Is Faithful – July 6, 2014

This is our sixth and final lesson in our series entitled “Does What I Believe about GOD Change Anything?”

GOD does not change according to the latest fad. HE is consistent. HE loves you and that is a fact that never changes. HIS desire is for us to be in a personal, dynamic relationship with HIM. But HE leaves that up to us. HE does not override our right to choose. The Bible is very clear about the attributes of GOD. So, if you want to know GOD, study the Bible and ask HIM to reveal truth to you as you obediently serve HIM.

CHRIST in you is the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27:

27 God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Our focus scripture is Hebrews 6:17-20; 10:19-23.

GOD’S past faithfulness ensures that a Christian’s future is secure.

We are living in interesting times. Making vows or promises and breaking them are a frequent part of our society. Our president and other leaders tell us one thing and they do another, yet the vast majority of Americans seem to let it go by. There is no accountability. We take wedding vows and break them. We are fast becoming a society where lying is okay.

We have extended lying to religion. Keep in mind that religion is manmade. This is why those searching for a genuine relationship with GOD must consider the truth of GOD revealed throughout the ages. GOD Keeps HIS Vows and Covenants – HIS covenant with the Israelites in the Old Testament and HIS new covenant with the world through the death and resurrection of HIS only Son JESUS. JESUS, the promised Messiah, was prophesied in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament. The Bible is the revelation of GOD on an ever ascending scale culminating in CHRIST, GOD’S only Son Who willingly came to earth in the flesh as a baby and grew as a human.

When we look back in scripture, we see the handiwork of GOD revealing Himself to the Israelites, HIS chosen people. We see HIS promises regarding the coming and life of the Messiah. We see that GOD warned the Israelites of HIS wrath if they did not repent and return to HIM. When they didn’t repent, HE did what HE said HE would do. Was keeping HIS Word wrong? No! HE still keeps HIS Word and HIS covenant of salvation through forgiveness and faith in CHRIST. GOD is faithful and keeps HIS promises.

How do we know that GOD keeps HIS promises? We look back. We look back over history and we look back over our lives. Yes, we get false notions about GOD because HE is love and we get notions about how HE is supposed to respond in certain issues in life. When HE does not respond, as we think HE should, we get angry with HIM. We must keep in mind that HE is sovereign and HIS ways are not our ways and HIS thoughts are above our thoughts. We have to trust in HIM and in the fact that HE is omnipotent, omnipresent, omnificence and omniscient.

As we study scripture, we see that HE says what HE means and means what HE says. But when we are surrounded by those we trust and that trust is violated, we often extend that mistrust to GOD.

Keep this fact in mind, GOD is trustworthy. I have found in my journey with HIM that I have had misconceptions about HIM, which led me to question HIM. Once I saw truth, although not liking the outcome of an issue, to trust in HIM.  Let’s explore!

The writer of the book of Hebrews is not known. Many suspect that it was the Apostle Paul. It was written mainly to Jewish Christians. It bridges the gap between Judaism and Christianity. It reveals how CHRIST fulfills the practices and rituals Jews were taught and practiced in Judaism.

Hebrews 6:13-16:

13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since He had no one greater to swear by, He swore by Himself: 14 I will indeed bless you, and I will greatly multiply you. 15 And so, after waiting patiently, Abraham obtained the promise. 16 For men swear by something greater than themselves, and for them a confirming oath ends every dispute.

Verses 13-16 introduce the promise GOD made to Abraham. GOD swore by Himself that the promise HE made to Abraham would be fulfilled. GOD considered Abraham as righteous because of his faith in GOD. Faith in CHRIST makes a person righteous before GOD. As the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:21:

21 He (GOD) made the One (JESUS) who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Abraham and Sarah had to wait for GOD’S promise of a son, Isaac, to be born to them. They had to wait until they knew that it was GOD Who provided their son. GOD promises but the timing is completely in HIS hands. During the time of waiting, we must trust. But we live in a society of instant everything. We have a, “want it now attitude.” Seek and you will find. JESUS revealed in Matthew 7:7-8:

7 “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

We may ask, “Why the process of seeking?” Often, we have to ponder and explore Spiritual matters to bring us to the point of realizing that we cannot figure them out for ourselves. We may have to exhaust all of our human efforts before we can take a step of faith and trust CHRIST to reveal truth to us. I have heard others say that they have explored/searched Spiritual matters by reading the Bible and somewhere along their journey they realized the truth of CHRIST. Sometimes salvation comes in a very stark moment and other times it is like the dawning of a new day. We seek and keep seeking until truth dawns on us that CHRIST is the promised Messiah.

Let’s read Hebrews 6:17-18:

17 Because God wanted to show His unchangeable purpose even more clearly to the heirs of the promise, He guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us.

GOD’S desire is to reveal Himself to all people. HE chose the Israelites and the Israelites, in turn, agreed to be HIS chosen people. Yet, many choose to ignore HIM or to question HIS existence. The two unchangeable things are GOD and HIS Word which began with Abraham and culminated in the birth of JESUS, the promised Messiah through the ancestry of Abraham.

Who are the heirs of the promise? Christians! Why should Christians trust the promise? It is impossible for GOD to lie. Therefore, Jews have fled from the Mosaic Law, the old covenant, to take refuge in the hope of the new covenant established by CHRIST. Thus, Christians seize the hope that is in placing their faith in CHRIST and HIS passion. What does this hope in CHRIST do for us?

Let’s read Hebrews 6:19-20; 10:19-21:

Hebrews 6:19-20:

19 We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. 20 Jesus has entered there on our behalf as a forerunner, because He has become a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.

This hope is JESUS CHRIST. HE is the anchor of every Christian. When the storms of life come into our lives, our faith in HIM and HIS faithfulness, anchors us securely until the storms pass. Hope, CHRIST, enters into the Holy of Holies, which is behind the curtain in the temple where GOD is present. JESUS entered into the presence of GOD because HE was the perfect acceptable sacrifice to pay in full the penalty for sin. HE willingly gave HIS life by the shedding of HIS blood for all who will place their faith in HIM. They will be forgiven for their sins, receive salvation and eternal life through the miracle of rebirth.

CHRIST came to earth, was born as a human and experienced life as a human. HE was GOD in the flesh. HE was tempted in all ways as humans are tempted, yet HE remained sinless. HE was the perfect acceptable sacrifice to GOD to satisfy the judicial sentence of eternal death which resulted from the original sin. HIS shed blood opened the path between GOD and mankind. JESUS was the perfect sacrifice Who gave HIS life to atonement for the sins of all who will accept HIM as their Savior.

The shed blood of JESUS does more than satisfy the penalty for sin. HIS shed blood sustains every Christian through the miracle of rebirth until he or she exits his or her earthly body and meets the LORD JESUS face to face in heaven. When we see HIM, we will be like HIM.

CHRIST came to earth and lived as a human. HE was 100% flesh, yet 100% GOD. Because HE lived a sinless life in the flesh, HIS shed blood made ready the human body of all who place their faith in CHRIST to follow HIM into the Holy of Holies into the presence of GOD. JESUS was the forerunner. JESUS revealed in John 14:6:

6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

JESUS is the path to GOD: period. When we place our faith in HIM, we experience rebirth in our spirit. Christians are born into GOD’S family. They become the Sons and Daughters of GOD, thus, they can follow CHRIST, their Brother, into the presence of GOD their Father.

The author of Hebrews then wrote “because He has become a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”

Who was Melchizedek or Melchisedec? He first appeared in Genesis 14:18-20. He was a priest of GOD and a king. Abraham gave him a tithe or a tenth. He existed hundreds of years before the Levitical priesthood was established. He was called the King of Righteousness, which was the interpretation of his name and King of Peace which was a title given to him in Genesis. Thus, the coming together of righteousness and peace which are attributes of JESUS. JESUS’ ministry is different from that of the Levitical priests. The Levitical priests were bound to or authorized by the Law. JESUS’ priesthood is eternal and patterned after Melchisedec – righteousness and peace.

Hebrews 10:19-21:

19 Therefore, • brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way He has opened for us through the curtain (that is, His flesh), 21 and since we have a great high priest over the house of God,

Since JESUS was the forerunner into the presence of GOD, Christians have the boldness to enter into the very presence of GOD by this new and living way. Christians no longer have to go through an earthly priest. JESUS was resurrected from the dead and Christians serve a living Savior. CHRIST opened the path to GOD by giving HIS life to redeem all who will place their faith in HIM. When JESUS gave HIS life upon the cross, the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies, tore from top to bottom as recorded in Matthew 27:50-51:

50 Jesus shouted again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit. 51 Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked and the rocks were split.

The curtain separated the Holy of Holies from other areas of the temple. The priests could only go into the Holy of Holies once per year. CHRIST broke the barrier between GOD and mankind.

Christians have a new High Priest, JESUS, Who intercedes in behalf of all Christians when Satan accuses them before the Father. JESUS is our advocate before the Father. Satan is eager to sift GOD’S chosen but he cannot harm a Christian unless GOD allows him. Of course, we can take ourselves out of the circle of GOD’S protection by making bad choices. GOD allows bad things to happen to get our attention and to guide us in the right direction. JESUS is the great high priest over the house of God. The house of GOD encompasses the entire spiritual realm, including GOD’S chosen.

Let’s read Hebrews 10:22-23:

22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled •clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. 23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

The term “draw near” carries the idea of continually drawing near to GOD with a true heart. Christians are to draw near to GOD every day. JESUS said to take up your cross daily (Luke 9:23)

Christians are to draw near to GOD with “true hearts in full assurance of faith.” True hearts are honest hearts. What the person professes is in harmony with what he or she thinks. Their actions match their true inner being.

Hearts sprinkled clean likely refers to the cleansing nature of the blood of the sacrifice. This referred to the inner cleansing through the atoning work of JESUS shed blood.

Some say that the statement “our bodies washed in pure water” likely refers to baptism. I think of the pure water referring to being washed with the living water which comes from the internal presence of the Holy Spirit. The living water flows from the inside and flows over the outside of the Christians body. The Christian’s body is thoroughly cleansed, inside and out, by the shed blood of CHRIST to come into the presence of GOD.

The faith of Christians, especially the Jewish Christians, was being challenged and the writer of Hebrews wanted the Christians to remain firm in their faith. Wavering means “to cause to fall back.” “Without wavering” meant to remain firm and unswerving. When Christians are in right relationship with CHRIST, they are firm and rest upon the foundation of CHRIST.

If you have doubts, it is never wrong to reveal them to GOD and ask HIM to help you find the truth. In this six week study, we have explored the character of GOD – Holy, Loving, Just, Wise and Faithful. What you believe about GOD is important. But what you believe about GOD must be based upon truth. Seek truth and seek a personal, intimate, loving relationship with GOD by placing your faith in HIS only Son, JESUS. JESUS gave his life just for you. Will you accept HIM as your Savior? Blessings!!!

 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bible Study - Beyond Belief (5) - GOD Is Wise - Proverbs 2:1-6; 3:5-7 - June 29, 2014


Bible Study – Beyond Belief (5) – GOD Is Wise – June 29, 2014

This is lesson five (5) in our series entitled “Does What I Believe about GOD Change Anything?”
 
Our focus scripture is Proverbs 2:1-6; 3:5-7.

GOD will give us wisdom when we humbly seek it.

The source of wisdom is GOD. The beautiful part of being a Christian is that we can know the mind of GOD – 1 Corinthians 2:10-16:

10 Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have not received the spirit of the • world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. 13 We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. 14 But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually. 15 The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. 16 For who has known the Lord’s mind, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

James the brother of JESUS wrote in James 1:5:

5 Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.

King Solomon wrote a large portion of Proverbs. He wrote it to instruct his son and others regarding the source of wisdom and how a person can obtain wisdom. Let’s explore!

Wisdom is knowledge applied to GOD’S plan.


1 Corinthians 1:20-25:
20 Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? 21 For since, in God’s wisdom, the • world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached. 22 For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. 24 Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom, 25 because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

It is vital that the teacher/parent know GOD, not just know about GOD but to know GOD by having an intimate, personal knowledge of GOD through his or her experiential relationship with GOD through CHRIST. Christians are to study GOD’S Word, ponder it and apply it as the Holy Spirit leads and directs their lives. Are Christians to wait until they have gained all knowledge of GOD before they teach others? No! They are to teach when GOD calls them and they are given the opportunity.

Let’s read Proverbs 2:1-6:

1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding; 3 furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, 4 if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the • fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God. 6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

This Proverb is directed to Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, who eventually succeeded him to the throne. But Solomon wrote these proverbs to all who sought to seek wisdom from GOD and to teach others how to seek wisdom. “My son” could reference a father or mother instructing his or her child, son or daughter or a teacher instructing a student. It also conveys a positive relationship between the teacher and the student or the parent and child. The instructor is serious about conveying knowledge in hopes that it will benefit the person receiving the instruction by taking it seriously and applying it.

There is a vital element that must not be overlooked and that is the instructor/parent is taking the time to invest what he or she knows into the life of another. Great care must be taken to pass along truth as learned from experience and not just book or head knowledge.

Not speaking of the things we learn in school or the university but the things that are only taught by GOD to reveal Spiritual truth by the Holy Spirit.

In last week’s lesson, we encountered the conditional word “if.” In this week’s study, we see that the student has to be willing to accept the teacher’s words and not just accept them but to remember them and apply them. The student is to listen carefully, ponder what the teacher has uttered and apply it, to achieve understanding. Once a person comprehends truth and personalizes it, it sticks but it is a process that gets us to truth and understanding.

Verses 1, 2, 3 and 4 state the evidence and verse 5 gives, “the then.”

The student or child must have the desire to listen learn and apply. When he or she has this desire, it establishes the right attitude within the student for the instructions to produce the desired results, which comes by revelation from GOD:

-         1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,

-          2 listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding;

-         3 furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding,

-         4 if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure,

-         5 then you will understand the • fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.

What is insight in verse 3? Insight is related to understanding and carries the idea of discernment. Insight is drilling below the surface of matters or issues. It is learning through application. It is exploring the depths of issues. It is seeking to find and prove the truth. It is seeking truth by asking and listening. It is personalizing truth based upon due diligence. Christians have the indwelling Holy Spirit to lead them to truth and to explore the depths of wisdom through the instruction of GOD when they look to HIM for answers.

In this lesson, we are seeking knowledge from GOD and speaking out loud reveals our earnest desire to obtain insight and understanding. Once found, let it be known. When we reveal insight and understanding, it will be tested and evaluated to ensure its validity.  

When a person seeks insight and understanding which comes from GOD, he or she needs to comprehend the value that will come from such a quest. The lady in the parable of the lost coin knew the value of the coin and that determined the intensity of her search for the coin. She was likely poor and in need of the things the coin would provide for her. GOD reveals that the search for knowledge and wisdom from HIM is beyond any material discovery. The person seeking knows the value of taking time to search for material things of value, such as, precious metals or hidden treasure. Wisdom from GOD is an extremely valuable treasure which will serve a person throughout life when it is understood and applied. Remember, wisdom is knowledge applied to GOD’S plan. It is building an intimate, personal, loving relationship with GOD through CHRIST. GOD ensures the value.

Christians have the indwelling Holy Spirit to enlighten them as they seek, search and build an intimate relationship with GOD through CHRIST. When they seek and search, the then of verse 5 is realized - 5 then you will understand the • fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.

As you recall “fear” is not to be afraid of GOD but to honor and respect and seek to really know HIM. It is not to just know about HIM which can be gleaned for study but know HIM through experience. The only way to know HIM is to trust HIM, which leads us to our next scripture. I suggest memorizing verses 5 and 6.

Let’s read Proverbs 3:5-6:

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; 6 think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths. (Holman)

5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (KJV) [I learned these verses many years ago and the King James Version still rings in my heart.]

What is trust? Trust and faith are related. We build trust with GOD through CHRIST. Step one is for a person to trust GOD that HE sent HIS only Son to earth in the flesh to give HIS life to pay, in full, the penalty for sin, which is eternal death. Once a person experiences the miracle of rebirth by accepting CHRIST as his or her Savior, he or she begins a Spiritual journey of experiencing GOD through his or her relationship with CHRIST. GOD sanctifies every Christian, that is, sets him or her aside from the world to obediently serve HIM. But Christians still have a choice whether or not to surrender their will to GOD. GOD’S goal is for every child of HIS to be made into the image of CHRIST. The Holy Spirit accomplishes this makeover through the renewing of the mind.

But in order for our minds to be renewed we must be willing to allow the Holy Spirit to lead and direct or lives. That is dying to the flesh or self and allowing GOD to take control of our lives.

Verses 5 and 6 reveal important information regarding this journey. The foundation is to “trust” or completely rely upon GOD. Building trust is a journey on its own. It is foundational in building the right relationship with GOD through CHRIST. If a Christian cannot embrace CHRIST fully, he or she cannot fathom GOD. CHRIST is the path to understanding and comprehending GOD.

Verse 5 is very clear, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding;” Christians are to “trust” in the LORD with “all” of their heart. That leaves no room for them to second guess GOD by trying to insert human wisdom and understanding. This is a journey. I know I have asked for wisdom in certain areas of my life and then experience what I thought was failure. I have asked why this did happen when I looked to YOU for wisdom. Keep in mind that each of us are unique and wonderfully made and come with baggage. The answer I received was “How else will you learn wisdom?” You see I am very stubborn and GOD deals with me in certain ways and often by letting me run into a brick wall. Ouch! And it is not fun but sooner or later I get HIS message.

It is all about trust. Do we, as Christians, really trust GOD and HIS leadership or are we more comfortable leaning or relying upon our own understanding?

Verse 6 - think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.

When we trust HIM, we stay focused upon HIM as we take steps of faith. I think of Wallenda crossing Niagara Falls June 15, 2012. He stayed focused on the LORD as he carefully walked on the wire cable. Yes, there may be angry waves dashing around us but do we waiver or do we trust in HIM or do we switch back to our own ways. When we maintain the course, “HE will guide us and keep us on the right paths and in the right direction to accomplish HIS plan for us.”

We must stay focused upon HIM especially when going through difficult times and when we have asked HIM for wisdom to trust HIS leadership.

But when we do and we experience success, what can often happen?

Let’s read Proverbs 3:7:

7 Don’t consider yourself to be wise; • fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

We can take the success GOD has given to us to be our success. That can be a recipe for trouble and Spiritual arrogance. The world may honor us for our great wisdom and cunning. We may start to believe that “after all I had to take the steps and that proves I am wise.” Caution!

GOD tells us to watch out when we begin to think ourselves wise because all wisdom comes from GOD. HE is the source and we are wise because we looked to HIM. We asked HIM for wisdom and HE gave it to us. We are to stay focused upon our LORD and Savior JESUS CHRIST. Success often breeds the opportunity for evil to attempt to come into our lives. We are to turn away from evil. We are to maintain our focus upon JESUS and look to HIM for the strength to resist evil by saying “NO!”

The scripture is very clear 1 Peter 5:8-9:

8 Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 9 Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.

I understand that a roaring lion is a hungry lion, so be vigilant!

Blessings!!!