Friday, September 21, 2018

Heart Knowledge

"Make every effort to add to your faith goodness and to goodness, knowledge...." II Peter 1:5



The knowledge that is required to strengthen your faith is a practical faith that arises out of a relationship with Christ.

To have this knowledge you need to begin with a head knowledge. But also you need a HEART knowledge.

Jesus prayed for that:

John 17:20-25  I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;  that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:  I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.  O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me.

The Apostle Paul thought it is important:

II Corinthians 4:6 – “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”


Romans 5:5 – “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Peter had a heart knowledge of Jesus. I am sure he remembered fondly of the encounter he had with the resurrected Jesus on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus tenderly reassured him that He had forgiven Peter and that He stilled believed in him! That day Peter was restored and called back to ministry. It was after that day he had his greatest ministry because now he had not just a head knowledge of Christ but a heart knowledge as well!

THE GOAL OF HEART KNOWLEDGE IS TO KNOW THE HEART OF GOD!

You can’t know God well until you get your heart right! Is your heart right?

The knowledge you want to add to your faith is a HEAD knowledge and it is also a HEART knowledge but what you really need is a HOLY knowledge!

Peter knew about that, too!

I Peter 1:13-16 – Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.  But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

As he wrote these words to these early Christians I am sure he was fondly remembering that day in the upper room when the Holy Spirit fell upon him and the other 119 Christians who were there. He must have had a warm feeling as he recalled preaching under the anointing of the Spirit and how 3,000 responded to his words by accepting Christ!

It is good to have a HEAD knowledge of God. It is even better to possess a HEART knowledge of Him, but the fulfillment of those levels of knowledge only comes when you receive a HOLY knowledge!

Do you have that holy knowledge? Have you received the Holy Spirit? Is your will surrendered to His will so His Spirit can fill you?

THE GOAL OF A HOLY KNOWLEDGE IS TO KNOW THE HOLINESS OF GOD!





Thursday, September 20, 2018

September 20, 2018

“Make every effort to add to your faith goodness and to goodness, knowledge….” II Peter 1:5

According to, William Barclay, the original Greek word used for knowledge is “gnosis” a practical knowledge, that knowledge which enables a man to decide rightly and to act honorably and efficiently in the day to day circumstances of life.

It is easy to think that knowledge is the key to gaining access to all the good things God wants you to have. Most world religions teach you some version of this idea - the way to God is through meditation and enlightenment. Unfortunately, some Christians buy into that notion.

Peter teaches just the opposite. In the first few verses of this chapter he stresses the truth that when you received Jesus as Savior you also received everything you need to live a godly life. So, the purpose of knowledge when added to moral courage, is to help you know how to live out what God has put in.

You must know it so you can grow in it so you can show it!

What do I need to know about knowledge?


You Need A Head Knowledge


Here’s your “head” start:


Romans 12:1-2 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

II Corinthians 5:17 –“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!”

You need to know God and You can’t know God well until you get your mind right! You can't get your mind right without a knowledge of the Word and a personal relationship with Christ.

Peter must have been thinking how he got to know Jesus after he left his nets and began following Him. Peter heard the teachings, marveled at the parables, beheld the miracles and then declared in an inspired moment, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!"

By following Christ, Peter gained knowledge of Who He was!

That is how you will know Him and how I will know Him. Paul said, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing from the Word of God!"

Have you gotten your head right? Do you know Who Jesus is? Are you learning form His Word?

THE GOAL of HEAD KNOWLEDGE IS TO KNOW THE MIND OF GOD!



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Moral Courage

"make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge" II Peter 1:5



Do you find it hard to grasp the fact that God has actually given you EVERYTHING you need to live a godly life?

Well, it is true! Peter says so in this great portion of Scripture!

Now it is up to you to accept that truth by faith and begin to act upon it.

So, Peter says, "add to your faith goodness". The word for "add" means to "lavishly support". Support what? You support what God wants to build into your faith.

"Goodness" means "moral courage". If you are going to strengthen your faith you obviously must have the courage to apply your faith to your every day living.
How do you know what to do?

By adding "knowledge" to you faith.

According to, William Barclay, the original Greek word used for knowledge is a practical knowledge, that knowledge which enables a man to decide rightly and to act honorably and efficiently in the day to day circumstances of life.

Your faith grows when you know what God wants you to do in a certain situation and you find the courage to do it.

All the great heroes of faith in the Bible had to make courageous decisions to do what they knew was right.

  • Abraham knew he had to leave his homeland even when he did not know where God would take him. He courageously left and followed God.


  • Moses knew he had to raise his rod over the Red Sea even though many of his people were doubting him. He courageously raised his rod.


  • David went charging toward Goliath with just a sling and five stones because he knew the giant had to pay for blaspheming of God. David showed courage!


What do you know you should do but haven't had the moral courage?

Will you add to your faith goodness and to your goodness knowledge?

September 18, 2018

"Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;"  II Peter 1:1-5

This great portion of Scripture written by the Great Apostle, Peter, elaborates on the amazing possibilities from an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through faith.

Think about it!

You can have a faith as precious as ours!

You can have grace and peace...... in abundance!

You can have everything we (you) need for a godly life!
You can have him who called us by his own glory and goodness!

You can have His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires!

You can add to your faith, goodness!

You can add to your faith and goodness, knowledge!

As amazing as all these blessings are - there are even more! And Peter not only promises you can enjoy ALL these wonderful graces but he even shows you how to get there!

Thinking about how good life in Christ can be I have to look at the dangerous condition of the world around us and wonder, "How did we get here?"

If you were to ask Peter, "How did we get here?" I'm sure Peter would point to this Scripture and say without hesitation, "You got HERE, because you didn't get THERE!"

Will you make every effort to get THERE?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

September 17, 2018

"Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" Hebrews 9:27

You are familiar with the old truism that only two things are for sure - death and taxes. I suppose if you are in a certain income bracket and can find enough deductions and a good accountant, you might possible avoid your tax liability. However, there is no way to escape dying.


With that in mind I want to share with you four mostly commonly held ideas within our culture.


1) Soul Sleep


2) Reincarnation


3) Annihilation


4) Heaven or Hell


Soul sleep is a position held primarily by members of the Seventh Day Adventists or the Jehovah's Witnesses.


The proponents of the soul sleep position have two premises. First, they hold that at death the soul does not leave the body; both soul and body sleep until the Day of Christ’s return. Second, they teach that the soul has no consciousness as it sleeps; it is aware of nothing. What is the basis for these two premises? They base their argument primarily on passages that speak of death as sleep (or unconsciousness) and passages that speak of bodies awakening on the Last Day.


Proponents of this view hang their position on three verses that refer to death as sleep, but the word used in the Greek for sleep is taken figuratively every other time it is used. The vast evidence of Scripture clearly implies that at death there is a separation of the soul and the body.


The death of Jesus illustrates that the soul departs the body at death. Ephesians seems to indicate that upon His death Jesus went to the lower regions since he died as a sinner and his body was sealed in a tomb guarded by Roman soldiers.


Reincarnation originates in Eastern religions and teaches that life recycles into another form until it finally is able to rid itself of bad karma and merge into nirvana with the cosmic consciousness. In Western thought, the soul is thought to evolve to a higher or lower life form based on how you behaved during this reincarnation.


The writer of Hebrews speaks directly to any notion of reincarnation when he states flatly "it is appointed unto man ONCE to die and after that the judgment"


I am not sure where the idea of annihilation comes from. We believe the Bible clearly teaches that once life begins at conception that life is eternal. Though it changes form from the womb to the world into eternity, it continues to exist. Our verse from Hebrews also suggests that life continues following physical death.


Without going too deep into the Bible I can think of the encounter Jesus had with his deceased friend, Lazarus in Bethany. Lazarus had already been departed from his body four days when Jesus came and raised him from the dead. If Lazarus had ceased to exist upon his death Jesus would have had to recreate him and not resurrect him. I also think of what happened on the Mount of Transfiguration where Peter, James and John saw both Elijah and Moses appear with Jesus. Both of them had been gone quite awhile before they appeared on the mountain with Jesus. If they had gone out of existence they would not have been able to appear there.


Overwhelming Scriptural evidence supports the idea that upon death the soul leaves the body and goes either to Heaven or to eternal torment in Hell. In the word of the classic board game, Monopoly "go directly to eternity and don't pass 'go'".

Saturday, September 15, 2018

September 16, 2018

"Make every effort to add to your faith goodness" II Peter 1:5a

Peter spent the first four verses setting the table with all the great things God has prepared for His people. Wow! What a feast!

And then in verse 5 it is as though he yells, "Come and get it!"

To get it will require devotion.

Will you devote yourself to receiving the good things God has for you?

Further, Peter declares that you are not to be satisfied with those good things but God has more in store!

"Add to your faith", he urges.

What that means is, "Support or cooperate with God".

That is a call for desire.

Do desire more of what you have received from God? Do you desire it more than you desire anything else?

So the question then becomes, "What do I add to my faith and how do I know when I have it?"

"Add to your faith goodness"!

Goodness means "virtue" or "moral courage".

The way you know you have added to your faith is when you find yourself facing temptations and trials with moral courage - the courage to do good!

Maintaining His goodness and living with moral courage requires devotion and desire AND discipline. Discipline means saying  "no" to anything that is inconsistent with the goodness of God so you can say "yes" to things pertaining to goodness.

Are you living a disciplined life? Are you committed to maintaining your moral courage?

What a great hope you have in Christ! You can have everything to need to live a godly life and escape the corruption of this evil world. But it will take devotion and it will take desire and it will take discipline.

Do you have what it takes?

Friday, September 14, 2018

September 15, 2018

"For this reason make every effort to add to your faith goodness" II Peter 1:5a

Did you add anything to your faith yesterday?

Will you add to your faith today?

Do you know how?

Peter says, "Devote yourself to adding goodness to your faith". What does that really mean?

The word used for "add" is an interesting word. It is not used often in the New Testament but it has to do with supporting the arts in Greek culture. The Greeks as still remembered for their "Greek Tragedies" which were written and acted on the stage. In order to make those plays financially possible there were wealthy people who donated generous amounts of money to support the playwrights, the actors and the productions. Through their giving they "added" those cultural events to their community.

So, if you want to add to your faith you must lend generous support to what God wants to produce in your life.

That speaks of desire. Have you noticed how you manage to support the things you desire the most?

I desire to honor God so I give the tithe to Him. And I desire a good reputation so I support my creditors and pay my bills. And I desire to support my golf habit so I set aside money for that!

Do you desire to add to your faith?

Support the work that God wants to do in your heart today. Make time to bring your desires into alignment with His.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

September 14, 2018

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness" II Peter 1:5a

I loved playing baseball as I was growing up. I'm sure I spent thousands of hours practicing baseball.

My buddies and I spent long Summer days playing pick up games on a vacant lot surrounded on every side by a fence. A ball hit over the fence was a home run and we kept season statistics on home runs and runs batted in we hit a lot of homers.

Since we usually only had one baseball whoever was in the outfield would have to climb the fence each time to retrieve the ball. If the ball was hit over the right field fence you had to be careful that it didn't land in a cow pie.

After we grew bigger and stronger and it became too easy to hit the ball over the fence right handed, we turned around and learned to bat left handed. About the time we started knocking the ball out from the left side, someone bought the lot and built a house on it.

When I wasn't playing a pick up game I was involved in an organized Little League game. In the meantime I was bouncing a tennis ball off the side of a building to practice fielding grounders.

It is safe to say I was devoted to baseball. Of course, like every kid, I had the dream of playing pro baseball.

All that devotion paid off in allowing me to make it at the college level, but that was as good as it got.

Peter's admonition to "make every effort" is a challenge to devotion. It literally means "bend every energy". There was never a time on the baseball field when I wasn't "bending every energy" toward the game.

Now, as I look back I wonder what might have happened if I had devoted all that effort and energy into learning music or another language. What if I would have "bent every energy" to my studies, especially studying the Bible?

Everyone is devoted to something. Being devoted to baseball probably wasn't worth all that energy and effort.

Thankfully, I devoted myself to Someone Who is worth even more energy than I give Him. I am determined to become even more devoted!

What have you devoted yourself to? 

Where are you directing your energies? 

Is it worth it?

September 13, 2018

"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling," Philippians 2:12

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

Hmmmmm! These two verses seem to contradict each other.

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling" and then Ephesians says, "you have been saved by faith, through faith -- not by works, so that no one can boast".

How do we reconcile them?

Which one is right and which one is wrong?

That's a trick question, of course! They are from the Bible so they both have to be right - and they are!

Your salvation is an inside job accomplished by Christ's atoning death on the cross and activated in your life through your faith. So, salvation is done by God for you and in you when you confess your sinfulness and trust Christ for your salvation.

BUT, since salvation is a private and personal decision it must bear testimony in public demonstrations. As James says, "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds." James 2:17-18

Here is how it works! Through your faith in Christ God gives you His salvation within you. But then it is up to you to live out that salvation in your daily decisions and deeds. As we have been reading, " For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness".

God, through the grace of Jesus Christ and His righteousness, puts His goodness in you but then it is up to you to make decisions consistent with His goodness every day of your life. You must live out His salvation with your moral integrity and courage.

That's how your salvation is designed to work! He places it in you and your live it out!

Do you know His salvation? 

Are you living it out in such a way that others know it?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

September 12, 2018

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness" II Peter 1:5a

I remember reading about a couple who had won some sort of a promotion that allowed them to go into a supermarket and fill as many carts with as many groceries could as they within a given amount of time. Everything they put into their carts within that period of time was their prize! It had all been paid for in advance and was theirs for the taking! And for those several frantic minutes they were shopping maniacs!

Let me ask you, "Do you think they made every effort to fill those carts with groceries?"

You know they did! You would, too!"

What's my point?

Peter tells us in II Peter 1:1-5 that is essentially what God offers you through the grace of His Son, Jesus Christ! Take a look, "Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as oursGrace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add....."

I have highlighted in italics the "groceries" or the "goodies" that are available to you. In effect,  God has given you a cart called "faith" and urges you "to make every effort" to add those goodies to your cart! The price for all of them has been paid by His Son, you just need to make the effort to take them.

Let me ask you again, are you making every effort to take advantage of all God offers you? Are you going after these spiritual blessings with the level of effort and energy as you would those groceries?

Are you? 

If you aren't, why not?

What are you going after? 

Where are you directing your energies?

What does that say about your spiritual condition? 

What will you do about it today? 

You have a limited amount of time and the clock is running!

Monday, September 10, 2018

September 11, 2018

"Make every effort to add to your faith goodness..." II Peter 1:5a

It's that dreaded day again.


We will find ourselves conflicted once more. A big part of us would like to forget that it happened and yet we discover it changed us forever, so that's impossible.

If you haven't already, you will be deluged with the horrifying videos of the planes hitting the towers, the thick black smoke billowing from the gaping holes in the twin towers, the people jumping and then the buildings crumbling.

I don't know about you, but I feel much the same emotions now that I had seventeen years ago.

The most enduring images for me will always be those brave firemen and rescue workers running in when panicked people were running out.

When you think of that image you will have a good understanding of what Peter is saying in this verse.

"Make every effort" literally means "bend every energy".

"Bend every energy" toward what? Toward adding goodness to your faith!

What does that mean exactly?

The idea behind "adding" means to support something you believe in, like patrons in ancient Greece would contribute to the actors and producers of the Greek dramas. It is literally putting your money "where your mouth is".

So, Peter is saying that if we have faith we must support it by displaying "goodness".

The word used for "goodness" could be translated "virtue" or "excellence" or "moral courage". So, faith is expressed when we have the "moral courage" to do what God says is right no matter what the situation.

Faith is remembering that God has given us "everything we need for life and godliness" when we are confronted with a moral decision to choose the good God desires or do what is easy.

That is why these brave heroes exemplified goodness during that tragic event. Because they had faith in their training and believed in the goodness of their cause, they made every effort to fulfill their mission.

Today, I will be dwelling on that challenge as I view the videos again and again.

September 10, 2018

"Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;" I Peter 1:1-5

I am blessed with a wonderful mother. She does many things well but one thing she does best is cook! Since she raised seven of us she learned to cook for big groups. After shopping for the food and bringing it home and cooking the meal and setting the table she call us when it was ready, "Come and get it!"

Everything had been done by her for us but she was not about to bring the meal to us, that is the one thing we had to do for ourselves. "Come and get it", she would call and she never had to call me twice!

That is like Peter in these verses. When he says, "Make every effort" he is in effect saying, "Come and get it!"

He takes great care and delight in detailing the marvelous things God has prepared for us through His Son, Christ Jesus. According to Peter, God has given us "very great and precious promises" and He has given us "everything we need for a godly life". After doing so and explaining it, in verse 5 it is as though He says, "Come and get it!"

Just like my mother, He will pay the price and do all the preparation to make a great spiritual feast available and He invites you to the table BUT He won't force feed you. It is up to you to come and get it! That is the effort you have to make!

Even now, as I write these words, I remember the many times I answered the call of "Come and get it"! Gladly I would make the effort to hurry to the table to enjoy the delicious dishes she had lovingly prepared for us! In view of all she had done for us responding to her call and coming to the table wasn't much of an effort - but it WAS an effort! The greater effort was usually pushing away from the table!

In the same way, we should welcome the call to enjoy all that God has provided for us - "everything we need" - and with great joy "make every effort" to "come and get it"!