Building Blocks

building-blocks

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,  to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,  — 2 Peter 1: 5-6, NKJV

To virtue (“excellent goodness”) and knowledge, add to your faith self-control, perseverance and Godliness. The world is not stacking these building blocks or asking us too. But God, knowing our condition has put it on Peter’s heart to list these.

Read the lyrics of today’s secular music. There is no restraint on passions and lusts today. Our most violent, vile and perverse desires are now normalized. Rape, murder and deceit are glorified. Perseverance likewise is in short supply. Kids aren’t leaving the nest, and grandparents are raising the children of carelessness.

Life is just too hard. The working few are taxed to death to provide social programs for too many who can’t muster through a daily challenge or normal expectations. What was once a natural validation process is now forfeited for ease and indifference. We miss countless blessing, and don’t see victories because we quit too early in the fight. We are called to push through challenges, knowing our God knows, observes, and is glorified by our willingness to continue in what we know is true and right.

There is a form of godliness today, but it’s not of Him, and won’t be unless we commit to shining a true light. Charisma is not a substitute for real Holy Spirit influence. We cannot continue hiding our light under a basket and wonder why the world is burning to the ground. Self-control, perseverance and Godliness. We must move forward men, surrendering evil passions, or finding Biblical outlets for them through prayer and His Word.

Control your emotions by viewing your circumstances through Jesus’s eyes. Stop making decisions in fear when His victories aren’t handed to you gently on a pillow of goodness. Press on to the prize He stores for you and be Holy for He is Holy.

Vance Durrance

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Gifted to Serve

gifted to serve

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. — 1 Peter 4:10 NKJV

We each have been given giftings by the Holy Spirit. Certain tasks are made easy for us that are difficult for others. Furthermore, within that gifting we also have a passion for it. Paul made lists of giftings in his writings elsewhere, but here Peter tells us that we should use those gifts to minister to each other as faithful stewards of God’s grace showcased in various forms.

In church today, serving comes with a signup sheet and is often limited to setting up tables and chairs. In Peter’s time, everyone in a community was dependent upon the others for survival. Every gift was valued and necessary for growth and development individually and for the whole. Churches today often try to legislate and administrate the gifts into a singular focus. We use curriculum for teaching, organized greeters, even the color schemes are calculated.

In Peter’s age, many Christians lived as refugees. Education came from someone in the community sharing their gift of teaching. Needs were met by sharing in giving and hospitality. The Word was heard from those with the gift of preaching and so on.

What are your gifts and are you using them in the Kingdom’s service? We have become a generation of takers. We attend church and other functions with getting something out of it in mind. What if we dove head first into kingdom work with an emphasis on delivering and giving in to a ministry instead of getting something out? What if we put giftings on display instead of administrative processes?

Move forward men, ministering to the needs of others where the Holy Spirit has equipped you specially to do so. Dive in. Be a player instead of a spectator. Our good service will be a blessing to others, and our Father is likely to bless us in return for our obedience and stewardship.

Vance Durrance

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Hospitality

Front Porch

Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. — 1 Peter 4:9 NKJV

In this time context, many Christians moved about often. Some as refugees, and others as ministers. As they traveled, they would be met with the hospitality of a brother and sister in Christ. To greet a traveler in the faith and welcome them into your home was considered an honor. Repeat… it was an honor to invite travelers into your own home as guests. It was a privilege to be able to meet their needs. Peter says in v.9 to offer hospitality without grumbling. Then, as now, not everyone in the household would always share the same enthusiasm for accommodating guests.

Ministering to the needs of others costs. But, love for one another is never cheap when it is sincere unto the Lord. Today grumbling is common. Even a casual “good morning” often turns into a competition for whose life and ailments are harder.

Where is your own heart in regard to grumblings and hospitality? Is your home open and inviting, or a stopgap against an encroaching world? Are guests at ease, or afraid to make their presence known? Is it a cold showpiece of your wealth and position, or a warm haven for anyone in need of rest or rescue? Move forward men, creating an environment around us of humility, gentleness and invitation that suggests “come and see what the Lord has provided”.

Bring back the front porch, and freedom to approach it and let’s remove the “no trespassing” signs stamped on our hearts. Are we kings of our castles, with walls and defenses on display, or sons of the Kingdom pointing to “the Way”?

Vance Durrance

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