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December 14 - Evening

"For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God... Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation" - First Peter 1:23 and 2:2

Saved By the Word; Mature By the Word

After being saved (phase one) we must continue (phase two) in the same word that provided the knowledge and understanding that led us to salvation. At the same time, we must avoid the counterfeits and false teaching that can lead us away from the source of salvation. Losing salvation (phase one) is not possible, but failing to grow and produce the fruit of that salvation is a daily danger. Good deeds, godly character and the fruit of the Spirit are products of the seed of the Word of God, the same seed that produced the new birth.
For you have been born again (phase one), not of perishable seed, but of imperishable through the living and enduring word of God…. And this is the word that was preached to you…. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation (phase two).4 – 1 Peter 1:23-2:2
In this verse, Peter encourages the early Christians to realize their salvation is a result of the Word of God being planted in their lives. These believers had heard and believed “the word that was preached.” And now that they have been born into the kingdom of God (“newborn babies”) by the seed of the Word of God, he explains that they should “crave” more of that same Word. The Greek word for “crave” is epipothesate (in the aorist imperfect active tense) and means “to long for, to desire, to crave”. This preposition in compound indicates intense desire directed toward an object (Lingustic Key, p. 570). The active tense means that the subject does, or causes, the craving.
The word translated as “pure” in First Peter 1:23-2:2 is adolos which means “without deceit, unadulterated, uncontaminated”. This Greek word is used to describe the quality of grain, oil, wine. The term “may grow” is the Greek auxethete. It is rendered in the aorist subjunctive passive tense, and means “to cause to grow.” These words could be translated “in order that you might be nourished up.”
The verse from 1 Peter ends by assuring the readers that this craving for the pure spiritual milk of the Word of God will result in believers making progress in their salvation. It is helpful to note that it is the healthy baby who hungers, and even cries, for milk. So it is with the Christian. A spiritually healthy Christian hungers for the hearing, teaching and instruction that come from the Word of God.
Apostolos (Gr) - Apostle (Eng) - apostolos is Greek word meaning "a delegate," "a messenger." It was used to refer to someone sent with orders from a high authority. It is used 79 times in the Greek New Testament and is translated "apostle(s)" 76 times and "messenger(s)" 2 times, and "sent" once.
Do I seek to think, speak and act in wisdom? Or, do I behave in whatever way I feel at the moment?
I will seek to discern wise thoughts, words and deeds from foolish ones that produce mere folly.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text


Greater desire to know God


Uzbekistan - strategic key location to Central Asia with struggle between post-Soviet and Islamists.

A photo of the two grey domes of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher as seen from the Temple Mount. The cross covers Calvary and the larger dome covers the remains of the garden tomb.
An artist's drawing of the first century temple mount
showing from left to right on the western wall:
Warren''s Gate, Wilson's Arch, Barclay's Gate,
Robinson's Arch.

Someone to Quote

"If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified."  - Leonard Ravenhill

Something to Ponder

Church treasurers embezzle $16 Billion out of church funds each year. This exceeds the entire cost of all foreign missions worldwide.
250 of the 300 largest international Christian organizations regularly mislead the Christian public by publishing demonstrably incorrect or falsified progress statistics.
40% of the church's entire global foreign mission resources are being deployed to just 10 over-saturated countries which already possess strong citizen-run home ministries.
(source: Gordon-Conwell Theo. Seminary here)

Here’s a Fact

In Acts 23:1-3 Paul was on trial before Ananias in 57 AD when the Bible says,
"At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, 'God will strike you, you whitewashed wall!' "
In agreement with the biblical account, Josephus records that between the years 47-59 AD the high priest was Ananias son of Nedebaios.


"The wealth of the wise is their crown, but the folly of fools yields folly."
- Proverbs 14:24

Coach’s Corner

Be good today and say kind things to people.

Acts 23:1-3
New International Version (NIV)
23 Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”
Hebrews 8
New International Version (NIV)
The High Priest of a New Covenant
Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.
Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.
For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said:
“The days are coming, declares the Lord,     when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel     and with the people of Judah.

It will not be like the covenant     I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand     to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,     and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.
This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel     after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds     and write them on their hearts. I will be their God,     and they will be my people.
No longer will they teach their neighbor,     or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me,     from the least of them to the greatest.
For I will forgive their wickedness     and will remember their sins no more.”
13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
Acts 28
New International Version (NIV)
Paul Ashore on Malta
28 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.
There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days. His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. 10 They honored us in many ways; and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.
Paul’s Arrival at Rome
11 After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island—it was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. 12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13 From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers and sisters who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. 15 The brothers and sisters there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these people Paul thanked God and was encouraged. 16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.
Paul Preaches at Rome Under Guard
17 Three days later he called together the local Jewish leaders. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19 The Jews objected, so I was compelled to make an appeal to Caesar. I certainly did not intend to bring any charge against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”
21 They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of our people who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.”
23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:
“‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding;     you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
For this people’s heart has become calloused;     they hardly hear with their ears,     and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes,     hear with their ears,     understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’
28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!” [29] 
30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!

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