Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” – Acts 2:37
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.
12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.
13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
President Abraham Lincoln, an incredible communicator, was known during the Civil War to attend a church not far from the White House on Wednesday nights. The preacher, Dr. Gurley, allowed the president to sit in the pastor’s study with the door open so he could listen to the sermon without impacting the other people present.
One Wednesday evening, after the sermon, as Lincoln and a companion returned to the White House, the president’s companion asked, “What did you think of tonight’s sermon?”
Lincoln responded, “Well, it was brilliantly conceived, biblical, relevant, and well presented.”
“So, it was a great sermon?”
“No,” Lincoln replied. “It failed. It failed because Dr. Gurley did not ask us to do something great.”
Stirring communicators often expect a lot from their listeners. When they teach, what do they incentivize their hearers to do? What are the next steps? What is the call to action?
What does the Father expect of you? And how do you get there? It is still true that the Father loves us and has a wonderful plan for each of His children. In many ways Paul was atypical. Paul was told upfront exactly what the Father wanted him to do. He was called to be an apostle to the Gentile world. He did not know the details. They played out over his lifetime. But he knew everything was to be done through the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave him the strength.
REFLECT & PRAY
“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing” (Theodore Roosevelt).
Father when it comes to Your purpose and plan, I can only see through a glass darkly. Encourage me to do what I know. You are a great and wonderful Father and You deserve the best that each of your children can give.
Everything we need to become more like Christ, the Father has already given us. We do not need some new experience or fresh revelation to help us draw close to the Father; we simply have to appropriate what He’s already given (Stanley).
2 Peter 1:4 Because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises.
The Father has given us great and precious promises. “These promises are great because they come from a great God and they lead to a great life. They are precious because their value is beyond calculation. If we lost the Word of God, there would be no way to replace it” (Wiersbe).
The Greek word translated precious is timios. Timios has the sense of esteemed, honored, respected. And also has the idea of being valued, prized, precious, dear, of great worth. It can be rendered as “valuable,” or even “invaluable” or “priceless” (that is, it is impossible to estimate its worth) (UBS). The name Timothy is derived from this term.
2 Peter 1:4-5
4 These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises.
People often take on the characteristics of those who they spend the most time with. As we respond to the Father’s promises, He enables us to share in His nature and become more like Him.
“Christianity says that men and women are capable of becoming sharers in the divine nature. It realistically faces the actuality of human existence but at the same time sets no limit to the potentiality.”
“‘I came’, said Jesus, ‘that they may have life, and have it abundantly’ (John 10:10). As one of the great early fathers said, ‘He became what we are to make us what he is.’ We have it in us to share the nature of God – but only in Jesus Christ can that potentiality be brought to fruition” (Barclay).