be righteous despite suffering

1 Peter 3


But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy [are ye]: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

A reminder that would be good for today is: When people try to do evil things to us or rail on us, we should not answer back the same way. If we still do what is right even when we have to suffer for it, then te Lord will reward us.


show forth the praises of Him

1 Peter 2


But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Let's really make sure to be praising Him, because that is something that He has chosen us for and called us to, and He has done great things for us.


His servants washed and sealed

Revelation 7


Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

I really noticed the emphasis in Revelation 7 on God's servants. It was God's servants who were the 144,000 people who received the mark of the Lord, to protect them from being hurt by the judgments that would destroy the earth.

Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
And now this huge crowd of people that nobody could count, from every nation, kindred, people, and tongue, who had come out of the great tribulation and ...washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, (v14b) would be before the throne of God and ...serve Him day and night... (v15).

If we want to be protected and sealed, if we want to be purified, come out of the tribulation, and enjoy the pleasures of being with the Lord in heaven, we need to be His servants, and to serve Him.


do not withhold good

James 5


Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

We need to beware of this sin of fraud. I think that fraud is very much akin to theft, and therefore not far removed from violence.

Ye have condemned [and] killed the just; [and] he doth not resist you.
John 10:10
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

This fraud makes me think of agreeing to pay somebody a certain amount of money for doing a certain amount of work or providing a service, and then going back on the agreement, demanding more of the worker, or withholding part or all of the payment.

How about little things that we wouldn't tend to think are a big deal? For example, I give just a few dollars to a family member to prepare food for a meal. If I expect them to prepare an extra meal that they didn't plan on, without me paying them extra for that, that can be fraud. We need to make sure not to commit fraud like that.

Proverbs 3:27
Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do [it].


the Bible teaches to not procrastinate

James 4


Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin.

When there's something good we know we should do, we shouldn't put it off until later, because we never know what's going to happen tomorrow.

Proverbs 3:27,28

Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do [it].

Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.


2 Peter 3 - Summary

Outline - Be Mindful

the purpose of the epistle: to keep the believers mindful
scoffers walk after their evil desires, purposefully deceiving themselves that the Lord will be lax about His promise to return
like God created the world, and like He destroyed it with a flood, he will destroy the heavens and earth with fire
the reason that the Lord has not returned yet, is just to give everybody a chance to repent
knowing that the Lord will come, and all the elements will melt with a fervent heat, we really ought to be diligent to walk in holiness
Paul's epistles are part of the Scriptures, even if some of things in them are hard to understand. It is unstable and unlearned people who twist the Scriptures.
instead of being complacent and getting led away, we should be steadfast and grow in the Lord


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:

We should be mindful that the Lord really is going to come back and judge sin and reward righteousness.


Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

I'll keep the reality of the Lord's promises in mind, while I work for Him.


1 Thessalonians 4 - Key


Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort [you] by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, [so] ye would abound more and more.

This was just an encouragement to me that I should be committed to diligently walk with the Lord more and more.

For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.

We should keep working on the things that we have already received and know we should do.


I'll review applications like this that I have written, to make sure that I've been remembering well, to apply them.

1 Thessalonians 4 - Outline

we should walk with the Lord
reasons why we should avoid sexual immorality, which is unfairly taking advantage of other people
love one another and walk honestly more and more
words to comfort each other with


rejoice despite heaviness

1 Peter 1


Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

We might have a really hard time now because of temptation, but we should rejoice in our salvation and inheritance.


Revelation 7


After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

I was thinking about this general assembly of every kind of people from every place who are the Church of the Lamb. One day we will live and reign, with Christ, so we should be washing our robes, now.

Hebrews 12:28
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

We should take the promises of our rewards with Him as a strong incentive to live for Him today. We are supposed to live by hope, in faith. Let's be serious about making sure to get right with God, and, when need be, to repent from sin.


be ye also patient

James 5


Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

When we encounter difficult circumstances when we are trying to do what is right, we shouldn't give int to temptation and waver in our faith.

Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
Let's work hard on having plenty of patience, endure temptation, and do what's right, looking forward to the great hope we have in Christ.


do anything to be near Christ

James 4


Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

This whole passage in v6-10 is a good lesson about being willing to do anything to draw near to the Lord and be right with Him. We should be willing to humble ourselves, confess our sins to God and to other people, and even to suffer, have sorrow, and weep sometimes, if need be. It would be well worth it.


2 Peter 2 - Summary

False teachers are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries


false teachers will exploit you like merchandise, but they will quickly receive damnation
warnings and encouragement from examples of angels who sinned, Noah and the flood, and Sodom and Gomorrha and Lot
the Lord delivers the godly and punishes the unjust
these false teachers presume to berate spiritual powers that they don't understand, and whom even the mighty angels don't dare to brashly accuse
the terrible way false teachers are
they are like Balaam
they went back to sin after knowing the right way, and they became worse off than before


But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous [are they], selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

I think that this verse is talking about spiritual authorities, but the part that said they despise government, caught my attention this time. It made me think of how I've caught myself several times lately getting carried away complaining about certain politicians.

Romans 13:1

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

I don't think that it's wrong to recognize problems with politicians, or to say we think they are long, but the government, since they are the government, deserves some appropriate form of respect. Next time I feel myself starting to get angry or wanting to get carried away with complaining about this government, I'll try to pray for them instead of being too quick to open my mouth.


consistent and enduring upright speech


Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

In an argument, if you are determined to take the high road and only speak the right way, sometimes the temptation to give a sharp answers becomes seemingly overwhelming. We shouldn't insult other people, even if it is just returning insult for insult. If people are speaking to us the wrong way, we shouldn't answer in kind.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.


mercy rejoices against judgment

James 2


For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

Even when other people really do wrong against us, we should have a lot of mercy and return kindness to them. If we try to call other people into account for all the wrong they've done, that doesn't take into consideration how God could call us into account, and we have all done wrong.

Colossians 3:13
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.


ask God for wisdom

James 1


If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

If we need to know the right thing to do in an area of our lives, but can't seem to be able to figure it out, we should keep patiently seeking the Lord for that wisdom. We should have the faith that He will reward our seeking, and that He will give us the wisdom we need, as we diligently pursue Him.


don't get carried away with theology

Hebrews 13


Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For [it is] a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

There are all different kinds of teachings about all different kinds of things, like Calvinism, and Predestination, and Amillennialism. For example, Hebrews 13:9 warned about the teachings that were were about different kinds of meats (foods) that people were or weren't supposed to eat. The problem is that the theological system often just serve to get people into arguments with each other about insignificant and unimportant details.

To strive and contend with each other about minutiae doesn't help us draw close to the Lord, doesn't even help us get our work in this world done, and as a matter of fact, just ends up being a waste of time, and actually counterproductive and detrimental. Instead of getting all taken up and carried away with some complex theological systems of doctrines, we need to have our hearts established with grace. Grace is what we've received and been saved by, and what we need to show to others.

Let brotherly love continue.


serve God with godly fear


Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

We should have seriousness about following the Lord, realizing everything that is involved.


But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

We should have godly fear for Him, and depart from evil.

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled;


diligently seek Him

Hebrews 11


But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Look at the second half of this verse. We must believe that: He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Do I believe that God will be a rewarder to even me, or do I think that sounds too good to be true?

2 Chronicles 12:14
And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.

We should take the time and be diligent to prepare our hearts to seek the Lord. We should have the faith that if we diligently seek Him, He will reward us.


2 Peter 1 - Summary

Outline - add love

everything we need to live, and to live a godly life, through the knowing of Him
escaping temptation by His promises
things that we need to have abundantly in us
remind people of the important things while we can, and don't take for granted that we'll have more time
the Bible was written by God, not cleverly contrived by humans, and the apostles are witnesses (v16)


And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

The final thing on this list that Peter says we should add to our lives, is charity (love). Like Peter, we should care about the people we have witnessed to, and have the love to try to follow up with them and help them grow in the Lord.


Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know [them], and be established in the present truth.

I'll set apart a time to go through my notes and look up contact information for people to follow up with.


1 Thessalonians 3 - Key


And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all [men], even as we [do] toward you:

To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

It is interesting to see that abundant love for people can be the thing that results in holiness. If we want to have holiness in our lives, we should increase how much we care about other people.


For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.

The writers' very lives were all bound up in the brethren's relationship with the Lord. What kind of thing would you say you can't live without? For example, somebody might say, I can't live without my coffee, or I can't live without the Internet. What about other people's stand in the Lord? Do we even care?

I'll pay attention to following up with people who I have preached the gospel to before.


1 Thessalonians 3 - Outline

Paul sent Timothy to make sure that the Thessalonians maintained their faith despite their tribulations
Paul's joy was all bound up in the Thessalonians' stand in the Lord
Paul's great desire to come and see them for their spiritual wellbeing
abound in love, to be unblameable in holiness


Revelation 7


And all the angels stood round about the throne, and [about] the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,

I think I've heard a question like this asked in preaching before: When is the last time that you fell on your face when you worshiped God? We should have a real heart to worship the Lord like this. I'm not saying that you have to go up in front of other people and make a big production out of it, but just go into your room, and close the door, and pour out your heart to the Lord.


the Lord will preserve His servants

Revelation 7


Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

There are many troubles we could be upset about, and overwhelmed, but it is a great encouragement to know that the Lord will preserve His servants. Let's just make sure that we are faithfully serving Him, and trust Him to protect and deliver us from whatever may come.

Hebrews 6:10
For God [is] not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.


patience for the promise

Hebrews 10


For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

This is an encouragement that the Lord will keep His promises and bless us, and we should just stay strong and patient, and be diligent to follow Him.


1 Peter 5 - Key


Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

Sometimes the devil uses afflictions (troubles) and suffering for a little while (see v10). The way that we are supposed to resist him is by being steadfast, having faith, and remembering that the problems we face are common to all of the brethren.


I'm having major problems with my car, so instead of getting worried and upset, I'll just do what I can to take care of it, and trust the Lord to work the situation out.


1 Peter 5 - Outline

there is a great reward for faithfully serving the Lord
we should be submissive to each other, humble ourselves, and be clothed with humility
steadfast faith is the way to resist the devil
God is all about grace
it is important for us to greet each other


there was a big change

Hebrews 9


The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

Which [was] a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

Continuing through these chapters in Hebrews, I continue to see this series of passages clearly teaching that our covenant with the Lord has changed. We are not supposed to have exactly the same kind of approach to the Lord, now that Christ has come, died on the cross, and risen again. The old covenant was temporary and incomplete, and the new covenant is different and meant to supersede it.

v8 said, ...the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest... That means that, living under the old covenant, you wouldn't quite get the whole picture, yet. The old covenant was not perfect and complete by itself. v9 says it [was] a figure for the time then present..., which means that the old covenant was temporary, and it is not supposed to be imposed on us any more today. It was not the actual substance but it was just a figure. The old covenant ...could not make him that did the service perfect... like we can be perfectly cleansed from sin by the blood of Christ today.

So this means that we definitely need see that there has been a big change since the Old Testament, and a new way has been revealed to come to God by faith in Christ. Beware that you don't try to have the traditions of the Old Testament laws (only eating certain kinds of food, observing holy days, having a line of human priests, etc.) imposed on your life in an attempt to be justified to God. That would be using those things wrongly, because they were meant to be symbolic, and they have been fulfilled in Jesus.


serve God day and night

Revelation 7


Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

It talks about God, how the multitude would serve him day and night. Do we serve God like that? Or do we, for example, serve Him during the day and then, at the end of a long day, get lazy and let our behavior slip instead of doing what is right?

Serving God for us today, could mean something as simple as going to bed on time at night instead of staying up too late wasting time so we won't be able to get up and be ready for work the next morning.


prepare to serve through great tribulation

Revelation 7


And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

There will be this great multitude who went through great tribulation, and it sounds like they died for their faith in Christ. With this new year upon us, it is an opportunity to think about what the future holds. If the future holds tribulation like this for us, then we need, all the more, to be ready. Let's make sure that we are being the Lord's faithful servants despite any trouble or hardship that might come upon us, and let's be prepared to face it if or when it does.

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