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Archive for the ‘Peter’ Category

Matthew 16

[24] Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
[25] For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
[26] For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

* * *

Mark 4
Jesus teaches the parable of the sower:

[3] Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
[7] And some (seeds) fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
[18] And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
[19] And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

See also Matthew 13

* * *

Mark 8

[34] And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
[35] For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
[36] For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
[37] Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
[38] Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

* * *

Luke 16

[13] No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
[14] And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.
[15] And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

* * *

Luke 21

[34] And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
[35] For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
[36] Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

* * *

John 12

[42] Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:
[43] For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

* * *

John 15

[17] These things I command you, that ye love one another.
[18] If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
[19] If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

* * *

Romans 12

[1] 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.

* * *

1 Corinthians 7:31

…for the fashion of this world passeth away.

* * *

Ephesians 4

[17] This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
[18] Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
[19] Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
[20] But ye have not so learned Christ;
[21] If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
[22] That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
[23] And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
[24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

* * *

1 Thessalonians 5

[22] Abstain from all appearance of evil.

* * *

Titus 2

[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
[12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
[13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

* * *

Hebrews 13

[5] Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
[6] So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

* * *

James 1

[26] If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
[27] Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

* * *

James 4

[4] Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

* * *

2 Peter 1

[1] 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.

* * *

1 John 2

[15] Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
[16] For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
[17] And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

* * *

1 John 5

[19] And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

* * *

See also:

Forsaking Worldliness: Old Testament

Forsaking Worldliness: Book of Mormon

Forsaking Worldliness: Doctrine & Covenants

Forsaking Worldliness: Stories & Quotes

– Tom Irvine

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Perhaps the most difficult commandment is to forgive those who have hurt us. We often hope that some calamity or punishment will fall upon them.

There is a German word “Schadenfreude.” It means pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

The Lord has warned us against these prideful feelings.

Proverbs 24

[17] Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:

The Lord has even taught us to do good unto our enemies.

Exodus 23

[4] If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.

Proverbs 25

[21] If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:

Our Lord set an example when a band of men came to arrest him in the Garden of Gethsemane. One of these was Malchus, who was a servant of Caiaphas, the high priest. Peter drew his sword and cut off Malchus’ right ear.

But Jesus then touched Malchus and healed his ear. (Luke 22:49-51 & John 18:10)

Jesus also asked his father to forgive the soldiers who nailed him to the cross. (Luke 23:34)

Likewise, Stephen asks the Lord to forgive the mob that stonned him.

Acts 7

[59] And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
[60] And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

* * *

These are noble and ideal principles which I need to follow.

May the Lord bless you,
Tom Irvine

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There have been several times in my life when I needed to make major changes, such as moving to a new neighborhood, starting a new job, etc.

On several occasions, the Lord even forewarned me about upcoming changes in my life using some of the following Biblical principles, although he did not inform me of the specific details.

The warnings came through sermons that I heard on Christian radio stations.

The following example can apply to friendships, neighborhoods, churches, or employment settings.

* * *

People come into our lives for a reason. Maybe we need some sort of help from that person, or perhaps that individual needs some support from us, or the friendship may be mutual and reciprocal.

Then one day, this friend, or maybe a group of friends, turns bitterly against us through no fault of our own.

What does the Bible advise in these situations?

Jesus taught that we must forgive our brother “seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:22)

The Lord also gave a procedure for resolving conflicts when a brother has sinned against us in Matthew 18:15-18.

We should be peacemakers as Jesus taught. (Matthew 5:9)

But there may be times when we simply need to “move on.” We may need to find new friendships, change jobs, move to a new neighborhood, or join another church.

The Lord may even use these upsetting circumstances to prod us to a new situation where we can have new opportunities for personal growth and for giving service.

* * *

David experienced this when he lived in King Saul’s household. David played his harp to comfort Saul. He also became Saul’s armor-bearer.

But Saul eventually became very jealous of David, and Saul even tried to kill David several times. As a result, David had to escape from Saul.

The following is taken from 1 Samuel 18:

[6] And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music.

[7] And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.

[8] And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?

[9] And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.

[10] And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.

[11] And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.

[12] And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul.

Saul offered to let David marry one of his daughters if David would fight the Philistines. He hoped David would be killed by the Philistines. (1 Samuel 18:20–25)

But David survived and was victorious in battle.

Saul continued to seek David’s life. (1 Samuel 19:9–10)

David fled into the wilderness. At one point, he took refuge in a cave in Adullam. (1 Samuel 22:1-3)

David had an opportunity to kill Saul, but did not do so. He exclaimed to Saul:

The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee. (1 Samuel 24:12)

The author of this Biblical book then adds commentary: As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee. (1 Samuel 24:13)

David had been devestated by the adversity. But the Lord protected David. And the Lord used these circumstances to prepare David himself to become king over Israel and Judah.

Eventually, Saul died in battle.

After Saul’s death, David was anointed king. (2 Samuel 5)

* * *

Some of the verses in Psalms are based on David’s experiences facing adversity.

An example is Psalm 59 where David praises the Lord for delivering him from the hands of his enemies.

[16] But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.

[17] Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.

* * *

Jesus himself was wounded in the house of his friends. (Zechariah 13:6, Psalm 22:16)

Jesus sought the moral support of his disciples as he gave his great intercessory prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Yet his disciples slept. (Matthew 26:36-45)

Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. (Matthew 26:46-50)

Peter thrice denied even knowing Jesus, even as Jesus was been tried and beaten. (Luke 22:34,54-57)

Yet Jesus forgave them. (Luke 23:34)

Perhaps we can gain a greater appreciation for Christ’s great atoning sacrifice on our behalf when we too are wounded in the house of our friends.

* * *

We have a natural tendency to try to make sense of the wounds that our friends inflict upon us. We are driven to rumination… But we should humbly acknowledge our limited capacity to understand the “big picture.”

As Paul taught:

We see through a glass darkly…

(1 Corinthians 13:12)

* * *

– Tom Irvine

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The Bible teaches:

Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. (Ecclesiastes 11:1)

This means that we should serve others without expecting any immediate reward. Eventually, we will receive blessings.

As Melvin J. Ballard said “A person cannot give a crust to the Lord without receiving a loaf in return.”

* * *

Jesus similarly taught in the Sermon on the Mount:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

(Matthew 6:19-21)

* * *

Alma taught his son Corianton:

Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.

For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all.

(Alma 41:14-15)

* * *

Marvin J. Ashton told the story of a young idealist who had a dream one night. He dreamed there was a new store nearby.

He went in and saw an angel behind a counter. Nervously, he asked what the shop sold.

“Everything your heart desires,” replied the angel.

“Then I want peace on earth,” exclaimed the idealist. “I want an end to famine, sorrow, and disease.”

“Just a moment,” replied the angel. “You haven’t understood. We don’t sell fruit here – only seeds.”

* * *

The author Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”

* * *

I know that many people in the world live in distressing poverty. But the Bible teaches that even the widow can contribute her mite. (Luke 21:1-4)

The Bible also tells the story of a widow in Zarephath. She gave her last morsel of bread to the prophet Elijah. As a result, the Lord blessed her with food many days thereafter. (1 Kings 17)

Even people with absolutely nothing can still serve others by praying for them or by giving them a friendly smile or a listening ear.

A lame beggar at the temple in Jerusalem asked the apostles Peter and John for alms. Peter replied “silver and gold have I none.” But he prayed that the beggar would be healed. (Acts 3)

* * *

What you send out – comes back.
What you sow – you reap.
What you give – you get.
What you see in others – exists in you.

Remember, Life is an Echo.
It always gets back to you.

* * *

May the Lord bless you,
Tom Irvine

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* * *

The Greek philosopher Socrates said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

There are far too many people in the world who are careless and who do not accept responsibility for their actions. And there are many who say “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die,” as the Apostle Paul warned in 1 Corinthians 15:32.

But those of us who are trying to be disciples of Jesus Christ sometimes face a different problem. We may focus too much on our own faults to the point that we become discouraged. Our discouragement then becomes a wedge that separates us from Christ.

Even the prophets and apostles had weaknesses.

Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Adam then blamed Eve who blamed the serpent. (Genesis 3)

Noah became drunk after he left the ark and had planted a vineyard. (Genesis 9)

Abraham lied twice about his wife Sarah, each time claiming that Sarah was merely his sister. (Genesis 12 & 20)

Lot had an incestuous relationship with his two daughters. (Genesis 19)

Jacob played a trick on Isaac in order to get the birthright blessing. (Genesis 27)

Aaron built a golden calf for idol worship. (Exodus 32)

Miriam had a bout of leprosy as punishment for gossiping about Moses’ wife. (Numbers 12)

Moses was not allowed to cross into the Promised Land because he was disrespectful to the Lord when he drew water from the rock at Meribah. (Numbers 20:8-12)

Gideon made an “ephod” out of the gold won in battle, which caused the whole of Israel again to turn away from God. (Judges 8:26-27)

Jonah at first refused to go to Ninevah. So he was swallowed by a whale. (Jonah 1)

David sinned with Bathsheba. (2 Samuel 11)

Solomon worshiped the gods of his wives. (1 Kings 11)

Elijah was depressed and asked God to let him die. (1 Kings 19)

Job cursed his own birth. (Job 3)

King Hezekiah showed his treasures to the ambassadors from Babylon. Isaiah then prophesied: Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 39)

Zacharias was struck dumb because he doubted the angel Gabriel’s message that he, Zacharias, would be the father of John the Baptist. (Luke 1)

Mary Magdalene was possessed by seven demons before Jesus cleansed her. (Luke 8:2)

Martha complained to Jesus that her sister Mary was unhelpful with housework. (Luke 10:38-42)

Peter denied knowing Christ three times. (Mark 14)

Nathaniel questioned: Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? (John 1:46)

Thomas doubted that Jesus had been resurrected. (John 20)

Paul (Saul) held the coats of the men who stoned Stephen. (Acts 6)

John Mark left Paul and the other missionaries who were traveling to Asia Minor, and he returned to Jerusalem. This caused a break between Paul and Barnabas some time later. (Acts 13 & 15)

Paul confessed:

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
(Romans 7:15,19)

* * *

Rabbi Saadiah Gaon, in his Book of Beliefs and Opinions, explains that God deliberately chooses human prophets whose mortal nature is apparent, so that
people will not ascribe the miracles they perform to themselves, but rather to
God.

* * *

We all have things in our lives that we must change. I need to be more forgiving and let go of memories of past adverse experiences.

But we must always remember that Jesus Christ loves us, and he is merciful unto us as we turn our hearts toward him.

Let us come before God and humbly acknowledge our weaknesses before him. He will then give us grace and lift us up. (James 4:6 & 10).

May the Lord bless you,
Tom

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I have several weaknesses of my own. I often have fatigue. And I have a borderline case of Asperger syndrome.

But the purpose of this message is not to dwell on my own condition. Rather it is to present scriptural insights.

* * *

The Apostle Paul taught:

2 Corinthians 12

[7] And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
[8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
[9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
[10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

* * *

Even the prophets and apostles had weaknesses.

Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit.

Noah became drunk after he left the ark and had planted a vineyard.

Abraham lied twice about his wife Sarah, each time claiming that Sarah was his sister.

Jacob played a trick on Isaac in order to get the birthright blessing.

Jonah at first refused to go to Ninevah. So he was swallowed by a whale.

David sinned with Bathsheba.

Peter denied knowing Christ three times.

Thomas doubted that Jesus had been resurrected.

* * *

President Thomas S. Monson tells the following story:

Many years ago, while attending a church conference, I noticed that a counselor was blind. He functioned beautifully, performing his duties as though he had sight. It was a stormy night as we met in the office situated on the second floor of the building. Suddenly there was a loud clap of thunder. The lights in the building almost immediately went out. Instinctively I reached out for our sightless leader, and I said, “Here, take my arm and I will help you down the stairway.”

I’m certain he must have had a smile on his face as he responded, “No, Brother Monson, give me your arm, that I might help you.” And he added, “You are now in my territory.”

The storm abated, the lights returned, but I shall never forget the trek down those stairs, guided by the man who was sightless yet filled with light.

* * *

John 9

[1] And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
[2] And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
[3] Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

* * *

Jesus Christ taught:

Ether 12

[27] And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

* * *

Isaiah 40

[29] He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

[30] Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

[31] But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

* * *

May the Lord bless you,
Tom Irvine

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Here are some more thoughts on enduring trials and tribulation . . . .

Suffering is universal; how we react to suffering is individual. Suffering can take us one of two ways. It can be a strengthening and purifying experience combined with faith, or it can be a destructive force in our lives if we do not have the faith in the Lord’s atoning sacrifice. The purpose of suffering, however, is to build and strengthen us.

-Elder Robert D. Hales

* * *

President Thomas S. Monson wrote:

“Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature. There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all. Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required.”

My friend Raphael wrote, “Even though tough moments abound, our focus is on the crown that awaits all those who will endure.”

“And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who calls you to share His eternal glory in union with Christ, will Himself perfect you and give firmness, strength, and a sure foundation.” (I Peter 5:10)

There is more to life than facing hardships, however. There is much joy available even in this troubled world.

The very first verse in the Bible is:

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1).

President Monson also wrote:

“God left the world unfinished; the pictures unpainted,
the songs unsung, and the problems unsolved,
that man might know the joys of creation.”

May you find joy in the creative exercise of your talents, especially as you serve your fellow man.

And may the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be upon you,

Tom Irvine

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