II Peter 3

Vs. 8, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”  Peter admonishes us all to have perspective.  That is why he wrote this second letter to them (vs. 1)  There will always be scoffers and opponents of the church (vs. 1-7).  Throughout Scripture, we have been told of a day of judgment (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Amos & Zechariah).  Jesus continued teaching of such things (Matthew 24-25).  Just like the days of Noah and those who scoffed judgment, we live in such times today.  God is not limited by time (vs. 8-10) and His desire is that all turn to Him.  Question: What then do we do with this truth?  We are to continue to grow in the Lord with patience and alertness (vs. 11-18).

Regarding application…Live Holy Lives.  Vs. 11, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.”  Question: What does it mean to live holy?  Holy basically means to be separate.  In essence, living holy lives means to not live like the world.  God chose us to live as His children.  Having a right perspective on this temporary world will only help us remember how unimportant the things of this world really are.  As we venture into a new year and think about all of our goals and aspirations, let us humbly consider what God has planned for us.  We can’t control our future, but we can control how we live each day.

Genesis 15

Vs. 5, “He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”  After quite an eventful series with Abram, he takes the time to begin to ponder this promise that God had made to him earlier.  Question: How was Abram and Sarai going to have children this so far advanced in their ages?  I think it was only natural for Abram to consider his future offspring in light of the recent rescuing of Lot and the danger to his life.  The Lord appears to Abram again (Theophany) and gives him the reminder of His covenant to make him into a great nation.  Abram’s descendants would be as numerous as the dust and the stars!  In the remaining part of our chapter (vs. 7-21), we see salvation’s promise come through sacrifice.  The darkness (vs. 12) was not evil, but spoke of a Godly fear regarding the holiness of God.  We also see the omniscience and power of God as He prophecies of the 400 years of slavery in Egypt (vs. 13).  And lastly, God would grant Abram’s question for a sign through the sacrifices and the smoking firepot (vs. 17).

Regarding application…Do You Believe?  Vs. 6, “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”  Abram is one of the ultimate examples of someone who believed and responded.  Remember, it is not works or anything Abram did, it was his faith and belief.  We know there are things that are good for us.  Fruits and vegetables, plenty of sleep, exercise are all good things.  In the spiritual life, reading God’s word, prayer, serving are also all good things.  Just because we know them doesn’t always translate to believing.  If we believe it, we will act upon it.  I’ve known people who after a major health problem that arose due to their habits, finally stopped their smoking or food eating styles.  It wasn’t until a crisis that forced them to believe.  If we know the truth, believe it.  Live it.  Let go of your doubts and fears.

Genesis 9

Vs. 1, “Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.”  Thankfully, the Lord still desired to bless His creation!  It’s interesting that we would see a change in the relationship between humans and animals (vs. 2).  Notice the respect we should have for God’s creation, even in the killing and eating of animals (vs. 4).  Question: What is a covenant?  Holman’s Bible Dictionary defines covenant as an Oath-bound promise.   God made an original covenant with Adam & Eve, but it was conditional.   After the fall in Genesis three, God made a new covenant with us simply through grace demonstrated through the covenant with Noah.  The latter half of our chapter expounds a bit on Noah’s three sons (vs. 18-29).  Question: Why was Ham cursed?  Ham did nothing about seeing his father naked and this was a sign of disrespect (vs. 22).  Noah would curse Ham and his offspring (his son Canaan).  Yes, this is the same land of Canaan, that God would subsequently give to Abraham and His people.  Meanwhile, Shem and Japheth would honor their father and receive blessing (vs. 23, 26-27)

Regarding application…Signs from God.  Vs. 13, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”  To this day, we delight in this beautiful sign in the sky!  Sure, scientists will quickly point out the phenomenon with human logic.  However, this sign was used for us and also as a reminder to God himself.  When I lived in the Pacific Northwest, I saw rainbows much more frequently.  Sadly, living in sunny southern California doesn’t allow me to see this wonderful sign from God too often.  Yet, I wonder how many other signs He gives us along the journey of life we take for granted.  Question: What signs in life is God giving you?  If you don’t think there are any, it’s time to pray that the eyes of your heart would be opened (Ephesians 1:18) to seeing His blessings and signs in your life!  Be thankful and praise the Lord!

Ezekiel 45

Vs. 1, When you allot the land as an inheritance, you are to present to the Lord a portion of the land as a sacred district, 25,000 cubits long and 20,000 cubits wide; the entire area will be holy.”  We now go from instructions of holy living to instructions on land.  Question: What’s the significance of this?  Remember, from Abram (Abraham), to the Jews in Egypt, to the captives in Babylon…there was always the hope of being in the Promised Land.  There is something about owning land that is sweet to the soul  The first time I bought my house, though my yard wasn’t too big…there was a sense of accomplishment to be able to say that I own this land!  Don’t forget that this is a vision of the 1000 year reign of Christ after the Tribulation.

Regarding application…Why Sacrifices?  Vs. 25, During the seven days of the Feast, which begins in the seventh month on the fifteenth day, he is to make the same provision for sin offerings, burnt offerings, grain offerings and oil.”  Question: Didn’t Jesus do away with the Old Testament forms of sacrifice?  Though there are differing views regarding this, I feel strongly that they are instituted because it brings glory to God.  Just as we remember the significance of communion today, one day we will remember God’s faithfulness through these sacrifices.  We do these things in remembrance of Him.  Question: What are you sacrificing in your life to show God that He comes first?  Sometimes to be free in Christ, we must let go of things in our life.