Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Spiritual House

Scripture uses all sorts of illustrations to teach us what it means to belong to God.  Peter writes that we are a spiritual house.  There are usually several rooms in a house.  Even the smallest of homes with only one open living space have designated areas, i.e. the sleeping area, the cooking area. 

 As  Spiritual house we each have our function.  We may be an encourager, a person who dedicates much time praying for others, or a giver of finances.  We need to fellowship with one another, talk to each other, spend time with others in the house so that we know what the  needs are, share in the sorrow, and join in the celebrations.

We may not share intimately with every person in the house, but we should be sharing with someone else who lives there.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rectangular Structures

American houses are basically built as a series of rectangles, so Americans tend to think of a corner stone as a brick at the corner of a rectangular structure.  But a cornerstone in Bible times refers more to the center stone in an archway.  All the other stones lean against the top center stone (cornerstone).  If you pull out the center stone, you destroy the stability of the structure.  

Jesus is your’s and my cornerstone (2 Peter 2:4-6).  Without him the stability of our lives is in serious question.  

Though my life has crumbled around me more than once, I have found in Jesus an undergirding foundation that is never removed though I have felt it shake a time or two.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Living Stone

Peter says that Jesus is a living stone, rejected by men but chosen by God and precious.  What does it mean to be a living stone (1 Peter 2:4)?  Jesus is called the cornerstone, the foundation stone of the church (Acts 4:11).  He is alive.  He is actively at work building his church (Mt 16:18; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

Then Peter surprises me by adding “You too are living stones” (1 Peter 2:5).  We are the building of God his church AND we are building his church.  What we do, who we are has a lasting affect on everyone around us.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Through the Looking Glass

As a pastor’s daughter, i was taught to always think how my actions affected others.  The lesson was that people tend to scrutinize preachers’ kids.  Both teachings are true. However I became so aware of being an example and not harming anyone, that I allowed people’s opinions of me to define who I was.

This is a serious danger.  We unwittingly are looking to people for affirmation.  We want them to tell us what to do.  A problem with looking to others is that no one can please everyone they know.  People are simply too versified and their opinions on one subject are as varied as the number of people within your defined circle.  

If you try to please everyone, you will fail.  But if you try to please God and rest in his love, you can live in  peace (1 Peter 2:3; Hebrews 12:1-3; Isaiah 26:6; 2 Corinthians 2:11; Philippians 4:6).

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Screaming Babies

I work in a building where people receive public aid.  Yesterday, a woman was pacing the floor with a screaming new born baby.  The piercing sound filled the waiting room for what seemed like hours.  Suddenly it was quiet.  I peeked out my window again, thinking the woman and infant had left the facility.  Instead, I saw another woman feeding the baby.  Evidently, the grandmother had been baby sitting until the mother finished her appointment.

Paul writes, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:2).  

Do you find yourself desperate for God’s word?  I do not crave to read the Bible to fulfill an obligation.  I crave to read the Bible because God speaks to me through it.  I desperately need God.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Draw Near

There is nothing as sweet as the presence of the Lord when you are being rejected.  He knows exactly how you feel (1 Peter 2:4).  He is gracious to the wounded spirit and heals the broken hearted (Isaiah 61:1; Psalm 34:18).

Draw near to God and he will draw near to you (Psalm 73:28; James 4:8).

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rejection of Truth

We may have become so used to reading the Bible that we miss the personal significance of a word or phrase, that is until we experience something similar.

"rejected by men" ( 1 Peter 2:4).

Rejection can easily be rolled off one's back as water off a duck feathers until it is rejection from a close friend, relative or family member, or if suddenly we find ourselves dismissed by an entire community.  Jesus experienced all of these.

Speaking the truth, even in love, often results in rejection.  People do not always want to deal with hard issues.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Little Envy - A Big Sin

What is wrong with a little envy?  Don’t we all experience it?  If I read an author that has an unusual ability to persuade others of truth, I wish I had that ability.  I heard Isaac Perlman play violin on the radio once and I wished I could make a violin sing like he did.   I am particularly drawn to theological discussions so that I find myself envying people like Dorthy Sayers, Philip Yancy, and Ravi Zachariah.  

Paul writes that covetousness is idolatry.  To envy another’s talent is also a form of coveting.  I am coveting someone else’s gifts of ministry.  If I have that gift, I need to develop  it through study, practice and prayer.  If I do not have that gift, then I am not called to that ministry, therefore when I envy another’s calling, I am rejecting God’s plan for me.

This is not to say that all expressions of ministry will be at the level of the afore mentioned artists.  Not even the apostles had the same level of influence or gifts.  We need to minister where we are and faithfully continue to develop our own ministry (1 Peter 2:1).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Conjoined Twins

Guile and hypocrisy are twin brothers conjoined at the hip. When you see one you see the other.  Guile is tricking someone and so is hypocrisy.  God condemns both (1 Peter  2:1).

God is straight forward with us.  He is loving, patient, merciful and just, but he always speaks truth.  So do his kids (1 Peter 1:15). 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What is Guile?

Jesus saw Nathaniel walking toward him for the first time and “Here is an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile” (John 1:47).  In other words Nathaniel did not use deceit to get people to do what he wanted.  He spoke his mind clearly.

When we trick people by not telling the entire story, we dishonor them.  We are saying with our actions that either the other person is not capable of making a right decision given all the facts, or the other person will make the right decision if he or she has the facts and we do not want that.  Either way, we cannot be trusted.

Being straight forward is much more difficult than it sounds, but it is well worth the effort 

(1 Peter 2:1)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cracked Drinking Glass

When we cannot bare the thought of another person without being filled with anger and a desire to lash out, we are experiencing malice.  Peter admonishes us to "put malice aside".  If I find a crack running up the length off my drinking glass, I will throw it away (put it aside). The glass has become dangerous to my health.

Malice affects us more than it affects the one we hate. It eats away at our peace and eventually our character.  The other person will find excuses for their behavior toward us and move on while we are stuck in the never ending, never satiated condition of bitterness and hatred.

But if we remember how unfairly we treated God, and how much we needed both his correction and his mercy, we are more able to leave that person in God's capable hands and moving forward.

Monday, July 14, 2014

In Order of Temptation

“Putting away therefore all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings” (1 Peter 2:1).

Try placing the four specific sins, guile, hypocrisies, envy, evil speaking, in the order of your strongest temptation.  For example, maybe you struggle with speaking evil against others more than you envy others.  Your list might then be; evil speaking, hypocrisies, guile, envy. 

Placing them in order of your weaknesses will help you think through the differences in behaviors and give you a way to pray specifically for victory in your most difficult area.

Guile:  devious or cunning stratagems employed in manipulating or persuading someone to do what one wants.

Hypocrisies: the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform; pretense.

Envies: a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or luck:

Evil Speaking: . ]
a. Speaking: 1 say something in order to convey information, an opinion, 
b. Evil: profoundly immoral and malevolent: harmful or intending to harm

Friday, July 11, 2014

Imperishable Gift

God saved us, and our responsibility now is to be obedient to the truth.  But that is not our only responsibility.  Our hearts have been changed so that we can now love one another from the heart (1 Peter 1:22).  

Peter writes that we can love because we “have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God…the word of the Lord abides forever”!

Your love for God and love for one another is a gift that is imperishable. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Before the Grand Cannon

Before the Grand Cannon was carved out of the rocks, before the Great Sierra Desert sands stretched across the plains, before Mount Everest jetted into the crystal blue skies, The Father planned that Jesus would come to save us from eternal separation from God.  

Before your infant cries called for comfort, before you were given a name, before you knew about God, he decided to rescue you from sin.  

Before you admitted you needed God, before you recognized your rebellion, when you were still devoted to yourself God knew you and loved you.

Why then would he stop loving you now (1 Peter 1:17-21; Romans 5:5-10)?  Our faith and hope are in God, not in our perfection 1 Peter 1:21)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Daddy's Anger

We were reminded yesterday that God does not give his children a special dispensation to sin, but on the contrary, judgement begins in the house of God.  Why would God be so angry about sin?  Why should he be angry if someone does not believe in his son?

Think about it.  He saw and felt what Jesus suffered on the cross.  Why would he not be angry at anyone who showed disrespect toward Jesus?  Why wouldn’t he be angry at anyone who took Jesus for granted?  

When we practice sin, in essence, we are spitting in Jesus’ face.  If you were Jesus’ father, what would you feel (1 Peter 1:17-18)?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Begins Here

Peter reminds believers that God is no respecter of persons (1 Peter 1:17). That means God’s children do not receive a special dispensation to sin.  God will judge habitual sin.  In fact, scripture also says, judgement will begin in God’s house (1 Peter 4:17)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Taking Control

I grew up as a pastor’s kid.  I was taught that meant I had a responsibility to behave as the daughter of a spiritual leader.  Because he was a leader, I was a leader among the children.  The community expects the son of a police officer to obey the law.  And so the character of the parents were reflected to be reflected in the children.

We are children of God.  Our heavenly Father tells us, “Be ye holy as I am Holy” (1 Peter 1:15). He gives us instruction on how to do this.  “Be obedient children and do not fashion yourselves after your fleshly desires” (1 Peter 14).  

In other words, we do not allow our fleshly desires to rule us; we take authority over our flesh and bring our desires into submission unto God.  

Friday, July 4, 2014

Do Not Turn Back

God has commanded us to be holy (1 Peter 1:13-15).

When life suddenly is turned upside down (i. e. we loose a job, a loved one dies, or our spouse divorces us) our emotions can go into a tailspin.  Some people react by turning their backs on God and his church and walking away.  Their bitterness consumes them.  

The people who choose this path return to former habits (2 Peter 2:2).  Their Christianity goes out the window and their hearts become dark, their hope gone.  We grieve for such a person, but we cannot change their hearts.  

There are others who choose to cling to God when their lives have unexpectedly turned upside  down.  These people mourn their losses.  They struggle through the pain filled days, holding onto God’s promises that he loves them and will never abandon them.  They remain living a life in holiness.  These hearts eventually return to peace. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Gathering Our Thoughts

“Wherefore girding up the loins of your mind, be sober and set your hope perfectly on the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).

Peter is saying, “I am aware of the difficult trials you are facing.  That is why I am reminding you about the mystery of salvation that has been delivered to you through Jesus Christ, so that you no longer focus on your trouble, but on God and His bigger picture.”

We need to gather our thoughts refocussing them onto the salvation that  is to come at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Take a moment and jot down what affect focusing your mind on the grace of God has on your emotional state.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Angels are Curious

“But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:24).

Before Jesus came to earth, the people knew the kindness and mercy of God, but they knew it through animal sacrifices.  The Law of Old Testament emphasized sin. Jesus emphasized mercy and forgiveness.  He also brought the new message of kinship with God, namely to be his children and joint heir with Jesus.

Before Christ came, there had been a rebellion in heaven.  Many of the angels fell under the influence of Lucifer.  They were judged severely.  I do not recall an offer of forgiveness for them.  So when the prophets spoke of a Messiah to come to make men and women into children of God. it is no wonder the angels and prophets wanted to find out when and how this would happen ( 1 Peter 1:10-12).  

But they had to wait for God’s answer, just as we have to wait for his answer to our need.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Longing for His Coming

In America, pentecostal churches believe that the events that are occurring around the world point to the soon return of Christ for his people.  We long for the end of wars, famine and persecution of our brothers and sister is Christ in other countries.  We continually look for signs that Christ will return in our generation (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18).

In the Old testament, the prophets through whom God spoke about the first coming of Christ,  longed to know when the Christ was going to appear.  They too longed for his coming, but did not know when that time would arrive (1 Peter 1:10-12).

God has revealed many things to us, but some things he has kept to himself (Matthew 25:1-13).