Partakers of the Divine Nature Mini Bible Study

Journal any notes as you go through today’s post. Ponder and Pray questions follow.

3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4Through these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, now that you have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities and continue to grow in them, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But whoever lacks these traits is nearsighted to the point of blindness, having forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
2 Peter 1:3-9 BSB

Glorious news! God’s power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Christ Jesus. Trust that! There are no if, and, or buts in verse 3. So where do we get the knowledge? Reading the Scriptures under the divine tutelage [guardianship, instruction, guidance] of the Holy Spirit and letting it soak into every part of us.

And the news just keeps getting better! God has given us precious and magnificent promises that allow us to become partakers of the divine nature. **Partaker come from the Greek word koinónos (koy-no-nos’) meaning a sharer, partner, companion, partaker, fellowship. It’s not just a morsel of the divine nature we are receiving. We’re receiving a partner’s share, and fellowship with the Almighty God. And it says we have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. It is already finished. Whoa! Selah. Take that all in.

Because of all that glorious news there are some things Paul tells us we need to do. There are always things we need to do in response to God’s works. Not the least of which are thanks and praise. The ones Paul lists are to build up our character and godly nature:
To faith add virtue;
To virtue, knowledge;
To knowledge, self-control;
To self-control, perseverance;
To perseverance, godliness;
To godliness, brotherly kindness;
To brotherly kindness, love.

I find it interesting the order in which Paul lists these things. When I studied the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, I looked at the way they are listed (though not proposed as a progression as these are), yet they seem to have a kind of flow from love, joy, and peace, through patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness, to self-control. Many of them similar to the current list. Actually either list I don’t believe is to be taken so literally as a do one at a time order. We must do them all somewhat simultaneously. Possessing these qualities makes us fruitful. They make us salt and light to make unbelievers thirst for Jesus and shine His light into their darkness [Matthew 5:13-16].

The Greek word translated here as virtue is areté (ar-et’-ay) meaning moral goodness, virtue, uprightness. Virtue is something that seems to have lost all meaning in today’s society. Our virtue is our righteousness in Christ and living in obedience to God’s Word. So many in this world have decided God’s Word is outdated, pick and choose, or completely irrelevant. For those of us who have chosen to live for Jesus alone, God’s Word is life and breath and every Word is true. It is our Standard for living, thus the basis of our moral virtue.

The word translated above as perseverance is from the Greek word hupomoné (hoop-om-on-ay’) meaning a remaining behind, a patient enduring. But it also needs to be noted that this is a cheerful (or hopeful) endurance. It is not burdensome.

Persevering is active waiting. If we’re in a season of waiting (and which of is isn’t waiting on something fairly often) we’re not literally sitting still in one place while we’re waiting for direction, healing, a loved one’s salvation…. We are living our lives, raising families, working, serving, playing, praying, worshipping…. While we’re waiting there are some other things we need to make sure we continue doing as well:

I will:
– Remain confident in the Lord
– Live boldly for Him
– Move forward in what He has
already
given me to do
– Walk in obedience
– Pray and praise
– Worship and adore
– Remain hopeful, joyful in the Lord.
while I wait
– Serve the Lord and people, thus also
serving the Lord.

Self-control is probably the toughest one. It appears on several lists, here, the Fruit, the lists of qualities for Elders [1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9], and one of my favorites 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.” I will confess that self-control in certain areas of my life still eludes me, especially when it comes to certain foods, my sleep habits, and time wasters like social media and solitaire games. Since the pandemic started my sleep habits have been out of control. I have gotten them normalized for a few weeks at a time, but then they fade back into an up all night, sleep all day routine again. As I write this I am on night 1, day 1 of a more normal up in the daytime sleep at night routine. Yay!

I have taken steps to curb my time wasters. I removed all but 1 game app from my phone. Something about the one I left on there makes me sleepy, so I thought that might be a good thing. I am trying to limit myself to once a day for Facebook and Instagram. I can post what I need to post and check my notifications. Maybe scroll through my feed for a little while. I should set a timer for that.

Food is the hardest thing for me. It’s not like when I gave up smoking. We have to eat. Believe it or not, though I do love desserts, savory foods can be just as much a kryptonite for me as sweets. I don’t like really sugary sweets. Dark chocolate is my big thing! Then there’s the tanginess of cheesecake, and the earthiness of pumpkin pie. Because of the way I was raised, I equate food with love and also with reward and punishment. It’s a complex relationship I have with food. During the pandemic it has been harder because of my messed up sleep schedule I am doing very little cooking. So we’re often taking advantage of the various delivery services to get takeout. That right there leads to extra calories over home cooking, not to mention the availability of yummy treats like brownies (unfrosted) and cheesecake.

The way to succeed with self-control is to:
[✔] ask the Lord for help
[✔] seek the Lord and His strength
[✔] knock on the door and enter into His place of rest.
[✔] practically speaking, plan ahead. If I plan meals and grocery shop, I will be better prepared to cook at home. If I get my sleep, and get more “God time” I will be less likely to “need” my sweet treats. And I just need to make sure I set a timer when I go on social media or play games, so I don’t obsessively waste time. I also need to set a bedtime and stick to it, making sure to complete tasks such ad laundry for Jim to wear to work anf making his lunch long before bedtime. These are things I gladly do for Him, since I am able to stay home to be free to pursue my writing and ministry.

PONDER and PRAY
1) Jump up to the ** and re-read the Partaker paragraph. Was that as exciting for you as it was for me? How does being a Partaker of the divine nature affect the way you see yourself and your life as a disciple of Christ? We have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires, therefore perseverance and self-control should be easier WHEN we look for the escape God has provided and rely on His grace and strength in our weakness [1 Corinthians 10:13, 2 Corinthians 12:9].

2) Take the perseverance list and make it your “watchword” for being an overcomer. Write it out and carry it with you, post it wherever you will see it often:
I will:
– Remain confident in the Lord
– Live boldly for Him
– Move forward in what He has.
already
given me to do
– Walk in obedience
– Pray and praise
– Worship and adore
– Remain hopeful and joyful in the.
Lord while I wait
– Serve the Lord and people, thus also
serving the Lord.

3) How can my testimony and the checklist help you overcome your self-control challenges?

4) Use the self control check-list, and the corresponding Bible verses below, to help you gain self-control over some area of your life:
[✔] ask the Lord for help
[✔] seek the Lord and His strength
[✔] knock on the door and enter into His place of rest.
[✔] practically speaking, plan ahead. What steps can you take, what plan can you make, to help reach your goal of self control over _______________?

7“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
Matthew 7:7-8 NLT

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
1 Chronicles 16:11 ESV

Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.
Proverbs 13:16 ESV

Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:3 ESV
“Literally, roll them upon Him, as a burden too heavy to be borne by thyself. ‘Thy works’ signify all that thou hast to do.”
Thy plans shall prosper, for they will be undertaken according to the will of God, and carried out by His aid.”
–Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, for Proverbs 16:3

Blessings of Hope & Joy,
Julia©2020 Julia Melatis, Hope & Joy Ministries All rights reserved.
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Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked ESV are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

A Place of Surrender

(For week 5 Blog Hop A Confident Heart) #IAmNot

    We moved to Missouri 3 years and 4 months ago. Rewind to about two and a half years before we moved. We were considering remodeling our living room, dining room, and kitchen to become one great room. One day as I was trying to figure out where to move the refrigerator and some cabinets I heard the Lord tell my heart, “Don’t worry about it. You won’t be here.” I let go of the remodeling idea. The idea of moving was exciting when I thought about where I would want to move. Hubby and I always wanted to live on the central coast of California. It would be far from our families, but only a 5-6 hour drive. Doable for fairly frequent visits.
    Some how I got a time frame in my head of within 18 months. Have you ever had a clear message from God only to in the next thought add your own two cents? I kept this idea of moving within 18 months in my head. But, once my time frame passed I forgot about it. I figured it must have been all me and not God.
    Then in August 2009 I get laid off in the first of a series of city lay offs stemming from the State of California’s financial problems. We had been told that someone from each department would be laid off. One by one we who were being laid off were called down to the assistant city manager’s office. As I sat down I said, it’s me. He and the personnel director asked, How did I know? They didn’t even know until now. I told them I just knew it was going to be me. I believe God prepared my spirit to hear the news.
    I had a very stressful job. At first I was upset about being laid off, but after a while of being unemployed I became less stressed even though I wasn’t working and money was tight. I began seeing that God’s hand of provision was actually in the lay off. I got a month’s severance, paid medical through the end of the year, letters of recommendation, and I was even allowed to use unused vacation in lieu of finishing out the week at work. It was too hard trying to work knowing I was being let go. There were at least 2 or 3 more rounds of lay offs to come. None of them got a package like we did and on at least one of the rounds, they were given 1 month’s native, but they had to work the full month knowing they were being laid off. If they left early they would be considered as quitting and be denied unemployment.
    For the people left behind, conditions on the job became more stressful as fewer people tried to accomplish the same work load. I began seeing how God was providing for me not only in the package I had received, but in not being there to work in the increasingly stressful work environment.
    Meanwhile, my husband’s employer had some big lawsuits that caused them to file bankruptcy. Just before Christmas we learned the company was being sold as part of the bankruptcy. The highest bidder so far had been another local business.
    When hubby went back to work after the new year they were informed that the company had been sold to a company in St. Louis. There were reps from the new company there. They asked hubby if he wanted to move. He came home and asked me if I wanted to move to St. Louis. My first reaction was no, but before I could open my mouth, the Holy Spirit reminded me of what He told me about 2 years before. “Yes” came out of my mouth. I surrendered. Missouri was a far cry from Southern California or my dream of California’s Central Coast.
    Hubby was put in charge of the move on the California end. It would take about 6 months to get everything organized and shipped, including making a stock of parts to be used to fill orders during the actual move.
    We had lived in our house 17 years, without many upgrades. We worked for months to get the house ready to sell. I cashed in my retirement funds to help pay for it. It took a while to get packed, painted, re-do the carpet and flooring, etc. We got the house on the market only a month before we were leaving. We sold it in two weeks, for our asking price. Absolutely amazing in June 2010.
    The Saturday before we left California our daughter revealed she and her hubby were expecting their first child. YAY! We were excited that we were finally going to be grandparents. BOO! We were moving away. The next morning I cried out to God during worship. Why God, do we have to move now that we have a grandbaby on the way? I heard, “you have a choice. You don’t have to move. But…”  I could choose to stay (not a real option after selling the house and no jobs), but I would be out of God’s will. He would be under no obligation to bless anything we did if we stayed. I knew it was Gods plan for us to move, so I surrendered, again. It was much harder this time.
    We moved, driving one of our cars, over the July 4th holiday week. Then another blow. We were in Winslow, Arizona when our realtor called saying the appraisal came in $19,000 under the agreed/asking price. The buyer’s lender would not go for it, even though their down would cover the difference, plus. We did not have time to look for another buyer in hopes a different appraisal would go better, so we surrendered to a lower price.
     God is good! We still got a good amount for our house that paid off our mortgage and our mountain of other debt, with some to spare. Hubby’s new employer let him keep his 35 years of service/seniority, gave him a raise, a signing bonus after we arrived, and they paid all the moving expenses. That’s God!
    Some months ago a friend and sister in Christ said to me, maybe God had to move me away from the grandkids (#5 was just born last month and #6 is due in February), because I would be such a dedicated grandma that I might not do all the things God has in store for me to accomplish. Wisdom, I didn’t want to hear.
    I have dealt with depression over the move, that at first nearly stopped me from functioning. And fear and procrastination may have delayed some of the ministry God has for me to do. But, even as I am writing this, the sound track in my head is playing Mandisa’s song “Overcomer.” God is not finished with me. I am learning through this difficult process. I am challenged, but I am supported by God’s Holy Spirit and the many sister-friends He has given me here in Missouri and through these wonderful online bible studies through the ministry of proverbs31.org.
    Surrender is not only the thing we do during big life changing decisions, but it is a daily thing, and a moment to moment thing. Do we listen to God’s voice as we make our every day decisions. Do we recognize the divine appointments God puts in our path and respond when He calls us to touch someone’s life? Do we follow and surrender our thoughts and ideas to Him even in the little things in our lives? I am learning that if we want God’s best we must give Him all we are and all we have in surrender and He will give us a life we could not possibly hope for or imagine. Although it is still difficult being so far away from our family, I have learned to cope and I am thankful that unlike Abraham who had to leave home and family forever, we have technology that keeps us close and rapid transportation that allows us to visit on occasion. I have learned that focusing on me, my circumstances, and my feelings only brings self-pity, defeat, and depression. When I focus on what God has for me to do, I feel joy and peace, and pleasure in knowing I am doing what He has for me to do.

    Heavenly Father, I ask Your blessing upon everyone who reads this blog post. May we all tune our ears to hear Your voice every moment, every day. May we surrender our will and our plan to Your perfect will and Your perfect plan for our lives. Life is not easy with or without You, but help us to say, “I will take hard with You over hard or even easy without You! You are my Rock, my strength, my joy, my peace, my everything!” In Jesus’ name we surrender our lives and our will to You, amen.

A Place of Surrender

(For week 5 Blog Hop A Confident Heart) #IAmNot

    We moved to Missouri 3 years and 4 months ago. Rewind to about two and a half years before we moved. We were considering remodeling our living room, dining room, and kitchen to become one great room. One day as I was trying to figure out where to move the refrigerator and some cabinets I heard the Lord tell my heart, “Don’t worry about it. You won’t be here.” I let go of the remodeling idea. The idea of moving was exciting when I thought about where I would want to move. Hubby and I always wanted to live on the central coast of California. It would be far from our families, but only a 5-6 hour drive. Doable for fairly frequent visits.
    Some how I got a time frame in my head of within 18 months. Have you ever had a clear message from God only to in the next thought add your own two cents? I kept this idea of moving within 18 months in my head. But, once my time frame passed I forgot about it. I figured it must have been all me and not God.
    Then in August 2009 I get laid off in the first of a series of city lay offs stemming from the State of California’s financial problems. We had been told that someone from each department would be laid off. One by one we who were being laid off were called down to the assistant city manager’s office. As I sat down I said, it’s me. He and the personnel director asked, How did I know? They didn’t even know until now. I told them I just knew it was going to be me. I believe God prepared my spirit to hear the news.
    I had a very stressful job. At first I was upset about being laid off, but after a while of being unemployed I became less stressed even though I wasn’t working and money was tight. I began seeing that God’s hand of provision was actually in the lay off. I got a month’s severance, paid medical through the end of the year, letters of recommendation, and I was even allowed to use unused vacation in lieu of finishing out the week at work. It was too hard trying to work knowing I was being let go. There were at least 2 or 3 more rounds of lay offs to come. None of them got a package like we did and on at least one of the rounds, they were given 1 month’s native, but they had to work the full month knowing they were being laid off. If they left early they would be considered as quitting and be denied unemployment.
    For the people left behind, conditions on the job became more stressful as fewer people tried to accomplish the same work load. I began seeing how God was providing for me not only in the package I had received, but in not being there to work in the increasingly stressful work environment.
    Meanwhile, my husband’s employer had some big lawsuits that caused them to file bankruptcy. Just before Christmas we learned the company was being sold as part of the bankruptcy. The highest bidder so far had been another local business.
    When hubby went back to work after the new year they were informed that the company had been sold to a company in St. Louis. There were reps from the new company there. They asked hubby if he wanted to move. He came home and asked me if I wanted to move to St. Louis. My first reaction was no, but before I could open my mouth, the Holy Spirit reminded me of what He told me about 2 years before. “Yes” came out of my mouth. I surrendered. Missouri was a far cry from Southern California or my dream of California’s Central Coast.
    Hubby was put in charge of the move on the California end. It would take about 6 months to get everything organized and shipped, including making a stock of parts to be used to fill orders during the actual move.
    We had lived in our house 17 years, without many upgrades. We worked for months to get the house ready to sell. I cashed in my retirement funds to help pay for it. It took a while to get packed, painted, re-do the carpet and flooring, etc. We got the house on the market only a month before we were leaving. We sold it in two weeks, for our asking price. Absolutely amazing in June 2010.
    The Saturday before we left California our daughter revealed she and her hubby were expecting their first child. YAY! We were excited that we were finally going to be grandparents. BOO! We were moving away. The next morning I cried out to God during worship. Why God, do we have to move now that we have a grandbaby on the way? I heard, “you have a choice. You don’t have to move. But…”  I could choose to stay (not a real option after selling the house and no jobs), but I would be out of God’s will. He would be under no obligation to bless anything we did if we stayed. I knew it was Gods plan for us to move, so I surrendered, again. It was much harder this time.
    We moved, driving one of our cars, over the July 4th holiday week. Then another blow. We were in Winslow, Arizona when our realtor called saying the appraisal came in $19,000 under the agreed/asking price. The buyer’s lender would not go for it, even though their down would cover the difference, plus. We did not have time to look for another buyer in hopes a different appraisal would go better, so we surrendered to a lower price.
     God is good! We still got a good amount for our house that paid off our mortgage and our mountain of other debt, with some to spare. Hubby’s new employer let him keep his 35 years of service/seniority, gave him a raise, a signing bonus after we arrived, and they paid all the moving expenses. That’s God!
    Some months ago a friend and sister in Christ said to me, maybe God had to move me away from the grandkids (#5 was just born last month and #6 is due in February), because I would be such a dedicated grandma that I might not do all the things God has in store for me to accomplish. Wisdom, I didn’t want to hear.
    I have dealt with depression over the move, that at first nearly stopped me from functioning. And fear and procrastination may have delayed some of the ministry God has for me to do. But, even as I am writing this, the sound track in my head is playing Mandisa’s song “Overcomer.” God is not finished with me. I am learning through this difficult process. I am challenged, but I am supported by God’s Holy Spirit and the many sister-friends He has given me here in Missouri and through these wonderful online bible studies through the ministry of proverbs31.org.
    Surrender is not only the thing we do during big life changing decisions, but it is a daily thing, and a moment to moment thing. Do we listen to God’s voice as we make our every day decisions. Do we recognize the divine appointments God puts in our path and respond when He calls us to touch someone’s life? Do we follow and surrender our thoughts and ideas to Him even in the little things in our lives? I am learning that if we want God’s best we must give Him all we are and all we have in surrender and He will give us a life we could not possibly hope for or imagine. Although it is still difficult being so far away from our family, I have learned to cope and I am thankful that unlike Abraham who had to leave home and family forever, we have technology that keeps us close and rapid transportation that allows us to visit on occasion. I have learned that focusing on me, my circumstances, and my feelings only brings self-pity, defeat, and depression. When I focus on what God has for me to do, I feel joy and peace, and pleasure in knowing I am doing what He has for me to do.

    Heavenly Father, I ask Your blessing upon everyone who reads this blog post. May we all tune our ears to hear Your voice every moment, every day. May we surrender our will and our plan to Your perfect will and Your perfect plan for our lives. Life is not easy with or without You, but help us to say, “I will take hard with You over hard or even easy without You! You are my Rock, my strength, my joy, my peace, my everything!” In Jesus’ name we surrender our lives and our will to You, amen.