Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"After You"

One of the most amazing scriptures is found in 2 Peter. "by which have been given us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:4).

The amazing truth is that we are given part of his divine nature.

His nature changes who we are. It changes our lives. It causes us to love God and love others (1 John 4:13,17,19).

We demonstrate this love by treating others as though they are more important than we are (Philippians 2:3; 1 John 4:7-11).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Choose This Day

Peter writes a second letter to the Christian population. Like many of the letters in the New Testament, he begins with the topic of grace and peace. “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (2 Peter 1:2).

The more we know God and Jesus as our Lord, the greater our peace and the greater our ability to apply his grace to living.

Through knowing God we have been given all that we need to live life and to make godly choices(2 Peter 1:3). There is nothing that can have power over us unless we relinquish the power God gives us.

No where in the Bible does it say life choices are easy. However, it does say God provides all we need to make wise ones.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Two Gifts

Words are empty
Actions are full

Friday, November 20, 2009

Five Keys to Inner Peace

Peter ends his first letter with this blessing. “Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus.”

Peace comes by:
1) humbling ourselves before God (1 Peter 5:6)
2) rejoicing that we are counted worthy to partake of Christ’s suffering (1 Peter 4:12-13)
3) Being sober, vigilant and resisting Satan’s traps (1 Peter 5:8-9)
4) Casting our cares upon God (1 Peter 5:7)
5) Remembering God takes care of us (1 Peter 5:7)

We will close this first letter of Peter’s with a quote from a song based on Isaiah 30:15.

“In repentance and rest
You shall be saved
In quietness and trust is your strength
The Holy One of Israel is your God”

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Am I trusting?

When we feel overwhelmed with the injustices of life or when it seems like nothing is going right and hasn’t for a very long time, our tendency is to want to give up. Why should we continue to do good when everyone around appears to be indifferent to our pain?

The Holy Spirit reminds us, “Let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19). He also directs us to cast all the things that worry us or cause us stress onto him because he cares for us as individuals (1 Peter 5:6).

Trusting God will not come easily or naturally. It is a decision to trust God even when we cannot understand.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Roaring Lions

We are asking for trouble in our lives if we ignore Peter’s warning. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

The weak animal separated from its herd and the young offspring wondering away from the adults are the most susceptible to the attack. Scripture says “He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom” (Proverbs 18:1).

Satan, like the roaring lion, is seeking to attach the one who is in a weakened state. It may be a weakened state of rebellion, a weakened state of addiction or the weakened state of pride. (1 Peter 5:6-8).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cycle of Submission

As the elder has responsibility to lead in loving example, the younger people have the responsibility to be submissive. Peter points out that all of us must submit to authority; the children to the parents, the parents to their bosses, the bosses to the administration, the administration to the government, the government to the people in a cycle of authority and submission.

The healthiest relationships are those when all members submit to one another in love and respect. None of the members lord it over the other, but each sees themselves as servants of God first, and servants to one anther second.

He who demands service puts himself above others and becomes their judge. He who serves those under his authority becomes an affective leader. People want to be near someone they respect and whom they are convinced loves and respects them (1 Peter 5:5).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sheepherders or Shepherds?

Are we sheepherders, or shepherds? Sheepherders push the sheep out in front. They do not lead by example of service but drive the sheep. The shepherd leads the sheep. They follow because they know from experience that the shepherd loves them.

What is our attitude to those under our influence? Each one of us influences those around us, either for harm or for spiritual growth. That makes us all shepherds.

As overseers, we guide by our words and our interactions with others (1 Peter 5:2). We do this not because we are forced to, but we do it willingly (1 Peter 5:2). We do not do it to gain money or wealth, but eagerly as those who love God (1 Peter 5:2).

We do not act as lords over others, but interact as servants; always remembering people do not belong to us, but to God (1 Peter 5:3).

When the Chief shepherd appears he will judge or reward us according to our interaction with those who must submit to our authority (1 Peter 5:4).

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Difficult Reminder

We have been talking about persecution and difficult circumstances in a Christian’s life. There is one more phrase that is important for us to bring attention to. It is the phrase, “Those who suffer according to the will of God.”

It is God’s will for us to experience suffering. It refines us (1 Peter 1:7) and causes us to remember, we do not belong here (1 Peter 2:11). We are children of God, not children of this world (James 1:27, 4:4; 1 John 2:15; 1 John 3:1-2).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Old Traps

It is difficult to imagine the Peter we saw when Jesus was on the earth with the one we see in his letters. He was completely changed by the resurrection of Jesus and the filling of the Holy Spirit. The one who once denied knowing Christ out of fear now writes that we must all accept the fact that persecution is part of a believer’s life.

Peter quotes from the Book of Proverbs, “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear” (1 Peter 4:18, Proverbs 11:31)? This comment emphasizes how narrow an escape Christians have been given.

He concludes, “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”

Persecution and difficult circumstances force God’s children to rely on him. We will only make it through the tension in our lives by committing ourselves to God, believing him to be faithful to bring us through all circumstances.

Otherwise we will fall back into our old traps.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Peter is writing to persecuted Christians in his first letter to Christians scattered abroad. He talks about the terrible threats they face encouraging them that God is glorified through their faithfulness. He then writes what appears at first to be a very strange sentence, “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17).

The word “for” makes the connection between previous verses 12-16, that addresses persecution of Christians. Peter makes it clear that God is at work, using the persecutions to purify his people.

Persecution forces us to make choices to rely on God and lay down our lives for his glory, or to seek our own will. Our choices in the United State are camouflaged by our abundance. We aren't as apt to recognize that we are making spiritual choices. Nonetheless, our decisions will be judged.

Monday, November 9, 2009

They Blaspheme God

We truly do not comprehend what our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ suffer in other parts of the world. Nor can we grasp the threat of losing our lives as those to whom Peter addressed his letters. Our daily lives generally involve resisting temptations to satisfy ourselves; from our perspective, only risking "inconsequential" harm to others.

But for those whose life is at risk for obedience to Christ Peter writes, "If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed; but on your part He is glorified" (1 Peter 4:4).

Though we do not suffer to the extent of the persecuted church, we are faced with difficult choices. God is glorified as we refuse to choose the easy way out and follow godly counsel.

Friday, November 6, 2009

God's Hospitality

Peter ends his warning that the end is coming by admonishing us to love one another. It is not an expressionless love of sweet sounding words with no actions, but a practical love for the members of our physical and spiritual family.

He tells us to be fervent about our love because we will need it to forgive one another (1 Peter 4:8). He tells us to be hospitable with one another, to invite others into our homes and not complain about having to do so. He tells us we have been given gifts, not to horde or keep to ourselves, but to share them with those who know us (1 Peter 4:9-10).

When we speak to others our words and actions are to be as though God were speaking and interacting with them (1 Peter 4:11). God is glorified if we always live with this standard in mind. He alone gets the glory because it is only by his grace that we are able to have a godly response to everyone around us.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Is the End Near?

After Peter warns us to live holy lives, he tells his readers, "but the end of all thinigs is at hand: therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers" (1 Peter 4:7). How can he be correct? It has been over 2,000 years since this text was written.

It is true that every generation of Christians have thought that Christ was coming before they die and yet every generation thus far has gone the way of all men.

Remember what Peter wrote earlier in this letter? "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers aand its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever" (1 Peter 1:24-25).

The older we get the more we recognize how quickly our lives are over. Our end is indeed near, and we do not have time to waste.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dingy Clothes

As changed men and women we are no longer to live for our own pleasure, but focus on what God asks of us (1Peter 4:2). We have used up enough of our lives with pleasing ourselves and ignoring the call to live as Christ lived. Looking back over our lives we can see how the fruit of self-focus rots quickly (1 Peter 4:3).

Our reputation for living separate lives should be apparent, but not appalling, though most will choose not to follow in our steps (Mt 7;13-14). The world attempts to convince itself that there is no eternal judgment, but they will still stand before God and give an account of their lives (1 Peter 4:5). That is why it is extremely important that our lives reflect the glory of God and not the dingy appearance of the world (1 Peter 4:6).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Ignorance of the H1N1 virus, commonly known as the swine flu, has caused panic. Egyptian officials ordered the slaughter of over 300,000 pigs in an effort to curtial the virus though you do not get swine flu from pigs. So many people are swarming to hospitals with any cold or flu like symptoms that hospitals are short staffed to deal with more serious cases.

People are paying attention because of the deaths of young children and asthmatic patients. Yet a far greater danger exists for the human soul yet the cure is ignored.

Hell is a real place and Jesus offers a way of escape (John 3:16; John 1:12; 1 John 1:9, John 14:1-4).

Monday, November 2, 2009

What's Up with That?

No one likes to be treated unfaily. Unfortunately that is part of living among people. As Christians, we may be subjected to this kind of treatment more often because of who we represent. Peter points out an unusual way of looking at suffering unjustly at the hands of unbelievers. He reminds us that Jesus died, "the just for the unjust" (1 Peter 3:17-18).

Could this mean when we suffer at the hands of an unjust person, we are in some way participating in God's plan for that particular person's life? Is it possible that our suffering at his or her hands is part of what will lead them to Christ? "The just for the unjust, in order that he might bring us to Chirst."

Regardless of what God is doing in the unjust person by his or her mistreatment of God's child, God is using that specific trial to purify us (1 Peter 4:1).