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1 Peter 3

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 1 Likewise, wives, be submissive to your own husbands, so that if any of them do not obey the word, they may be won over without words, by the conduct of the wives,

 2 When they see your chaste conduct, together with your reverence.

 3 Let your adorning not be merely an outward one with elaborate braiding of hair, and wearing of jewelry or [elegant] apparel;

 4 But let it be the inward adorning of the hidden person of the heart, which is incorruptible, highlighted by a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.1

 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God adorned themselves, being in submission to their own husbands,

 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are, as long as you do well and are not afraid with any amazement.

 7 Likewise, husbands, dwell with them considerately [by deferring],2 giving honor to the wife as the weaker vessel, and as an heir with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

 8 Finally, be all of one mind, having compassion on one another; love as brothers,3 be tenderhearted, be courteous;

 9 Not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you are called to this, so that you may inherit a blessing.

 10  "For he who desires life, and to see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit;

 11  Let him turn from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.

 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

 13 Who will harm you, if you are followers of that which is good?

 14 For if you suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed." Do not be afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

 15 But sanctify [set apart] Christ as Lord in your hearts,4 and always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks the reason for the hope that is in you, with gentleness and reverence;

 16 Keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak evil of you and falsely accuse you as evildoers, who revile your good conduct in Christ, may be ashamed.

 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, that you suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

 18 For Christ also died once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, so that he might bring you to God, being put to death in the flesh but quickened by the Spirit,

 19 By whom he went and preached to the spirits in prison, [In the time of Noah through the Spirit, Christ preached to men imprisoned by darkness, (those disobedient and in bondage to sin).]

 20 Who at one time were disobedient, when the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah while the ark was being prepared, in which only a few people, that is eight souls, were saved from the water.

 21  And baptism, which is the figure of this, now saves us, (not by the removing of the filth of the flesh, but by the answer of a good conscience toward God), by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, [Jesus having been resurrected two thousand years ago does not save you; but after you have been crucified on the inward cross of self-denial, in conjunction with Him baptizing you with fire, (the baptism of death), Jesus is resurrected in you to then sprinkle His blood in your conscience to purge it of dead works to serve the living God, which also erases your memory of your past sins, allowing you to stand in the presence of God without shame in the kingdom.]

 22 Who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels and authorities and powers being made subject to him.

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1 Let your adorning not be merely an outward one with elaborate braiding of hair, and wearing of jewelry or [elegant] apparel; But let it be the inward adorning of the hidden man of the heart, which is incorruptible, highlighted by a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. Let your beauty be the display of a demure spirit that is reserved, chaste, modest, humble, discreet, unassuming, restrained, quiet, unassertive, humble, unpretentious, meek, self-effacing, undemonstrative, sober, tasteful, proper, reasonable, and inconspicuous. From the Word of the Lord within: "dress as you would if attending a women's club." Dress simply, without flash. Those of you dressing to be attractive, ask yourself exactly what kind of man are you trying to attract; a godly man will only be repulsed by a lack of modesty.

Wives, obey your husband. A KEY teaching that we received from the Word of the Lord within is: to defer (yield your will) to others — our children, our husbands, our wives, our friends. Practicing this alone can result in your significant spiritual progress. You should do this in all cases, unless it is immoral, dangerous, or of major consequence. Nor can you defer if your husband is of a different religious persuasion and asks you to join him in his religion. So it is easy to be obedient as a Christian wife.

Paul completely agrees with Peter in commanding Christian wives to show respect for their husbands:

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as it is fitting in the Lord. Col 3:18
Wives, be submissive to your husbands as to the Lord. Eph 5:22
let the wife see that she reverences her husband. Eph 5:33

2 Husbands, dwell with them [your wife) considerately [by deferring], giving honor to the wife as the weaker vessel, and as an heir with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. Husbands, love your wife as you love your own body. Husbands, don't be a dictator; rather defer to your wife when practical. A KEY teaching that we received from the the Word of the Lord within is: to defer (yield your will) to others — our children, our husbands, our wives, our friends. Practicing this alone can result in your significant spiritual progress. You should do this in all cases, unless it is immoral, dangerous, or of major consequence. This should be especially easy for wives who are to be submissive to their husbands, and children who are to obey their parents. We who are His, are charged to put ourselves last. Everyone should defer to other's wishes, for by doing this, we put to death our selfish will, which wants to put ourselves first. Instead, we put Him and his ways first. Love does not insist on its own way. 1 Cor 13:5. And if someone asks you to go one mile, go two miles — go the extra mile.

3 love as brothers. When a man and wife are freed from lust, there is a love that does not depend on receiving pleasure. Peter is addressing a more advanced group of Christians than Paul was addressing in1 Cor 7:5-7: Do not deprive each other of your body, except by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to fasting and prayer; and then resume relations so that Satan cannot tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But I speak this as a concession, and not as a commandment. For I wish that all men were like I am myself. But every man has his proper gift from God, one in this manner, and another in a different manner. There is a gift from God to be freed from lust: there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it. Mat 19:12. To receive this gift from God, a person must hate their lust for bodies of others with a passion. When it is received, you are able to love your spouse like a brother in Christ, for in Christ there is neither male nor female, all are one, all are sons of God.

It is impossible to overcome one's sexual desires until one of the following happens: 1) a person, (married or unmarried), becomes painfully aware that their desires apply to attractive persons in general, and that awareness then leads to a strong desire to be rid of them; or 2) in sympathy for the weakness of a person's spouse who is committed to ridding his or her sexual desires for attractive persons in general, that he or she is a willing and enthusiastic supporter to their spouse's efforts, which support would include consent to withdrawal from relations according to Paul's instructions in 1 Corinthians 7:2,5-7.

Any decision to strive to live as brother and sister, has to be one of mutual consent. If either spouse desires to continue sexual relations, the other must comply, according to the tenet of love: love is not self-seeking; for marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled. Even if a seeker is married to a non-believer; or if a seeker is married to a believer that has no interest in overcoming their sexual desires; if that seeker truly desires to overcome his or her sexual desires, it is possible with the Lord's help, (for all things are possible with God). However, sexual relations with that uninterested spouse would not be withheld because that is firmly stated by Paul as requiring mutual consent; in that case the seeker's participation in sexual relations would be an act of submission or deferral to their spouse.

If you independently, (without mutual consent), withhold sexual relations with your spouse, you risk major alienation of your spouse. The devil would love to successfully order you to cease sexual relations independent of your spouse's desires in order to create a hostile relationship in your marriage, destroying your peace and confidence, possibly even your marriage. In my experience I never heard the Lord suggest I give up sexual relations; and I don't think you will either because He wants us to become so sick of our weakness that we ourselves decide to do something about it. My motivation was simple — the lust for most any attractive woman that I knew was adultery, and had to be overcome in order to enter the kingdom. (In heaven there is no marriage or giving in marriage, there is no male or female, all are sons of God, and all are like the angels of God). There were several times of abstinence with return to relations after a time. The final time my wife and I had agreed the time had come to cease sexual relations; and when that had begun, the Lord then encouraged me to continue that abstinence, and the sexual desires melted away within several months.

Whatever the motivation, the overcoming of sexual desires is a gift from the Lord, given over time to those who desperately want to be rid of them. From the word of the Lord within: "sexual desires can be overcome." This applies to both males and females, to both heterosexual and homosexual desires, providing there is a fervent commitment to become completely free of them — but, as Mat 19:11-12 states: "all men cannot receive this;" (because they cannot believe overcoming sexual desires is even possible).]

4 Sanctify [set apart] Christ as Lord in your heart. In your thinking, set the Lord apart in your heart from the selfish spirit that reigns there. The Lord is holy and pure; your selfish spirit is evil, profane, and an abomination. Don't confuse the many voices of deceit you will hear from the evil in your heart with the single holy voice of the Lord in your heart.

It takes time, practice, and patience to learn to recognize the voice of the Lord. His words are always kind, gentle, peaceable, easily accepted, without sarcasm, without bitterness, without condemnation, without harshness, pure, clean, humble, wonderful. There are never any emotional words, there is never any emotion in his voice; his words are plain, factual, wise, easily understood, easily accepted, and never leaving you guessing as to their meaning. The enemy's many voices are usually* emotional, sarcastic, incomplete, condemning, harsh, fearful, and bitter. The enemy uses many voices: your's, friends, relatives, dignitaries, etc. Eventually you will hear the Lord. And once you begin to hear, you will hear with increasing frequency. He has a soft voice. Sometimes, you will not hear a voice, you will just suddenly know something immediately. George Fox called this an 'opening.' An 'opening' can be expressed in words, but it is a feeling that infuses your entire being, as feeling surrounded or immersed in the immediate understanding.

*Usually, but not always; beware, until spiritual maturity, the voice of the opposition can be indistinguishable from the voice of the Lord. The enemy will pretend to be the Lord, always tempting you to do something wrong that you want to do, or tempting you to do something that you have been told not to do. Based on the advice of Edward Burrough, (click to read), a giant in the early Quakers, we should do nothing for the Lord but repent until we can distinguish between the voice of the Lord and the voice of the enemy; and William Penn wrote, "Though it is the duty of all to walk in the light, and to wait for it, that by it they may be instructed in the way of life and salvation, yet it is they only who are actually led* by it, [the light] that can rightly discern between the false spirits and the true."

By way of review: to be guided or led by the light, the light must first arise in your heart like a magnificent star, so that you are shown everything to do and told everything to say; the unmistakable arising of the light comes from faith in the voice.

There is a voice of the Lord like thunder over the waters described in many Old Testament passages. This is radically different than the small still voice we hear from within our hearts or from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit and the Word of the Lord within speak with words from Jesus, so we are hearing from the Son of God. But until we can truly hear the Voice of the Lord, we will not know for sure it is the Lord speaking to us. From the Word of the Lord within: "You will always have doubts until you hear His voice. My voice is like thunder over waters. You will hear His voice when He calls you." We will hear the Lord's voice like thunder over waters for the first time after we have submitted to the baptism of fire and death to then be called forth and resurrected with Him as a new creature. Then, as John 10:3-5 states: we will know his voice, he will lead us out of the world to the kingdom, and we will flee from other voices. When you hear His voice for the first time, you have passed over from death to life; and once you have heard His voice like thunder over waters, you will always know whether or not it is the Lord speaking to you.

We first have to listen to the Holy Spirit and the word of the Lord within to hear and obey His many teachings and commands. Then with long persistence and patience in doing obedient works of repentance, we experience the baptism of fire and death, to then hear the Voice of the Lord as we pass from death to life. Until then, we have to be on our guard to not be deceived by the enemy, pretending to be the Lord speaking to us.


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