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« The Last Piece of the Puzzle | Main | Amazing Grace »

It’s Not Easy, But It Sure Is Good

Rom 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

2 Peter 1:1-11 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Bridger Wilderness National Park

Visitors’ Suggestion Box:

1. Trails need to be reconstructed. Please avoid building trails that go uphill.

2. Too many bugs and leeches and spider webs. Please spray to rid the area of these pests.

3. Please pave the trails so that they can be plowed of snow during winter.

4. Chairlifts need to be in some places so we can get to wonderful views without having to hike to them.

5. The coyote noise last night and kept me awake. Please eradicate these annoying animals.

6. A small deer came into my camp and stole my jar of pickles. Can I get reimbursed?

7. Escalators would help on steep sections.

8. A McDonald’s would be nice at the trailhead.

9. Too many rocks in the mountains.

1. The transformational process is both immediate and prolonged.

a. To be born again is an immediate event. John 3:3-8.

We talk about this much and emphasize it in our preaching and teaching.

b. To be transformed into a true saint of God is a long, painful process.

It is a mental battle.

It is a physical battle.

It is a spiritual battle.

It is a psychological battle.

It is a cultural battle.

It is a sociological battle.

It is a financial battle.

c. Why? Because it resembles the process of human growth, from infanthood to adulthood.




Terrible twos, adolescence, puberty, teenage years, social maturity.

2. Growth is an expected process in your transformation.

God will put you in situations where this can happen.

a. It will hurt.

b. You will feel silly, stupid, angry, depressed, victimized.

c. You will get just as mad at God as children and teens do their parents.

d. Look at the situations that Jesus placed his disciples in.

Mark 4:35-41 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." (I don’t know about you, but I detect a slight twinkle in the eye of Jesus. He knew what was about to happen out on the sea, and he knew what it was going to do to his disciples.) 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" 41 They were terrified (This is amazing. Their terror had changed swiftly from the wind and the waves to Jesus himself.) and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!" NIV

Mark 7:17-23 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. (The fact is, they were dumbfounded by the teachings of Christ. Of course, not wanting to show their ignorance in front of everyone, they waited until they got him by themselves.) 18 "Are you so dull?" he asked. (Jesus makes no effort to shield their egos. If we insist on the “kid glove treatment” from God, we will never learn much.) "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'? 19 For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.")

20 He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' 21 For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.'" NIV

Mark 9:25-29 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again."

26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He's dead." 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" (Let me paraphrase: “Why did you embarrass us like this? Couldn’t you have let us be successful even though we didn’t do everything exactly right? Can’t we get one little break once in awhile?”

29 He replied, "This kind can come out only by prayer." NIV

Mark 14:32-36 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."

35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." NIV

37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." NIV

3. Our problem is that we desire a safe, protected, relationship with God.

In his book, Your God Is Too Safe, Mark Buchanan lists these misguided objectives we often display in our prayers:

“Give us quick, effective formulas for prayer.

Dispel our doubts without ever making us touch wounds.

Remove our wounds and disappointments

Explain mystery, simply.

Take the risk and work out of disobedience.

Give us a God who is safe.”

4. Transformation starts with the renewing of our mind.

Our notions, our pre-conceived ideas, our story-book views of God much change.

5. 2 Peter 1:3 tells us what is given to us.

2 Peter 1:3-4 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Give all diligence. (Make every effort.)

This is not effortless.

This is not automatic.

This is a result of your aggressive and ambitious holy desire.

Add to your faith virtue. (Goodness.)

Faith unused or misused is worthless and dangerous.

Don’t abuse your faith on selfish or self-serving causes.

You need to put it into situations that call for great courage.

Otherwise, our faith is nothing more than a collector’s item.

Your faith will be tried for its virtue.

Add to your virtue knowledge.

Get Book knowledge.

Get street knowledge.

Get Spirit knowledge.

Your virtue will be tried for its knowledge.

Add to your knowledge temperance. (Self-control)

Knowledge is not to show off, but to have real answers to life.

Self-control must be imposed on your knowledge so that it works.

Judas was a prime example of knowledge without temperance.

Your knowledge will be tried for its temperance.

Add to your temperance patience. (Perserverance)

Self-control cannot last without a deeper motivation.

Patience is the ability to continue when there seems to be no reason.

When faith, virtue, knowledge and temperance say GO, patience says no.

Patience works when your “whys” go unanswered.

Your self-control will be tried for its patience.

Add to your patience godliness. (Devout, God-ward attitude, pleasing to God)

Patience cannot be motivated by a martyrs complex.

I Timothy 6:6 “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Godliness cloaks everything you do in a righteous garb.

Your patience will be tried for its godliness.

Add to your godliness brotherly kindness.

It is possible to become self-absorbed in spiritual pride.

After you develop all these virtues, use them to be kind to others.

Your godliness will be tried for its brotherly kindness.

Add to your brotherly kindness charity. (Agape love)

Phileo is love that expects reciprocation.

Agape expects nothing in return.

Phileo love is human.

Agape is divine.

Philodelphia must become agape.

Your brotherly love will be tried for its agape.

2 Peter 1:8-11 “For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” NIV

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