Thursday, November 27, 2014

Small or Great

Peter writes that we should minister to one another according to the ability God has given us (1 Peter 4:11).  We have varying abilities, even in the same ministry.  For instance there are speakers/teachers whose ability draws crowds of thousands to hear him/her.  There are speakers/teachers who minister to 20 or 30 people.  And there are speakers /teachers whose ministry is discipleship, ministering to one or two people at a time.

Contrary to American perception, God decides both our ministry and the size of the span of our influence.  We need to study to be the best, but remain content on the number of people we reach.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

God's Instrument of Ministry

There was a man on the news that exposed a scandal.  He did not want to be photographed because he said the news was more important than who he was.  This humble attitude would go a long way in ministry.  What we minister to others is more about God than us.

Peter says, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth:that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11).

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

An Evil City

Many Christians in America predict the judgement of God coming down on our government and people.  They reason that God has to punish us or apologize to Sodom and Gomorah.  Maybe they are right, maybe not.  I have not yet heard of an entire town in America surrounding one home and wanting to sodomize a guest (see Genesis 19).  

Whether their ominous predictions prove to be true or not,  we live in perilous times.  Believers in other counties are being tortured, their children kidnapped and sold for sex trafficking.  I grieve for those believers.  And, quite frankly, it scares me.

Peter writes that dangerous times magnifies the importance of believers needing to show hospitality to one another, minister to one another and be good stewards of the gifts God has given us (1 Peter 4:8-11).  Let’s determine not to frighten each other with predictions of gloom.  Instead let’s look for ways to minister hope and loving support to fellow believers, and pray fr the persecuted church.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The End of All Things

It seems odd that Peter would write, “But the end of all things is at hand:be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Peter 4:7) and yet here we are walking on earth over 2,000 years later.  It seems odd to us because we are looking at it with the understanding that he was speaking of the Lord’s return.  We are unable or unwilling to read it historically.

It was very shortly after this that the world they had known fell apart.  Christians were increasingly killed for their beliefs.  People had to flee their family homes.  The Jewish world of quietly living under the Roman Empire was coming to an end.  Quite literally, “the end of all things” for them did come in their lifetime.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Why A Second Chance?

Peter makes a statement that is puzzling.  He writes, “For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit” (1 Peter 4:6).  

The people he is speaking about are those who lived during Noah’s time (see verses 3:19-20).  They were judged in the flesh by drowning in the flood.  But for reasons I do not yet understand, they apparently were given the opportunity to hear Christ teach and some seemed to have been made alive in the Spirit.  

It is an interesting verse to ponder and/or discuss. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Yesterday I quoted scriptures that encourage us to come to God in our pain.  But there is a danger in false rest or false hope.  In other words I simply tell myself, “God is going to take care of this” and do nothing to change my circumstances or behaviors.  This is false hope.  Look back at Isaiah 30:15.  The source of peace is not only trusting God, but in changing some of my behaviors (repentance).  

God allows us to make choices, and when we choose unwisely, we will experience pain.  It was because of a false sense of trusting God and blinding myself against warning signs of danger that I ended up causing great grief to my children that has still not ended.

Trusting God does not negate our responsibility to act wisely.  Thankfully God forgives and is with us in the healing process.  But how much better to make the wise choice in the beginning. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Peter writes against the “excess of wine, revellings, and banquetings” (1 Peter 4:3).  He s not being a stick in the mud, not wanting people to enjoy life.  He is warning against excess. 

When people are hurting and they do not know how to handle the pain, they often fill their lives with excesses.  It might be shopping, charging things on credit cards, gambling, going to parties, social events, hanging out with friends to the detriment of both their own character and or responsibilities.  They are running from quiet.  The silence is deafening for them because there is nothing to cover up the emotional pain.  They are afraid if they allow themselves to feel it, they will either not stop crying or die.

God offers us peace in our pain.  He invites us, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” ( Mt 11:28-29).  He tells us, “For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength:and ye would not”. ( Isaiah 30:15).

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Reactions to Our Change

There is a law of physics that states every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  When we change our behaviors, there will be an opposite and equal reaction from former friends.  Many will pull back from us, because we have become strangers to them.  They used to know how we would react, what we would say, the general choice we would make.  But suddenly we have turned their world upside down.

Do not be surprised when they begin to say evil things about you (1 Peter 4:2-4).  Remain steadfast, but gentle and kind.  It may take years, but eventually some may be won.

Monday, November 17, 2014

No Longer After the Lust

All of our decisions are to be based on the will of God (1 Peter 4:2).  We have lived long enough pleasing ourselves and other people.  But here is the rub.  How do we know if our decision is the will of God?  How do we know we took the right job, bought the right house, or chosen the right school ( the one that is in God's will or us)?

These questions reflect the wrong understanding of Peter's words, "That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."  We are treating the will of God as a mystical thing.  It is not.

Plain and simply, the will of God is that we use wisdom in our choices, that we do not violate another person or violate God's laws.  If we have met those criteria, we can make our decision knowing we are living according to the will of God.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Well Worth It

Peter writes, "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind:for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God '(1 Peter 4:1-2).

Living righteously comes at a cost, but it is will worth it.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

All the Answers

As long as we live in the world, we will be forced to deal with evil.   We cannot help but ask why.  But we must not allow the question of evil to overcome our faith, to cause us to forget the good we see and experience.

I have a friend who walked away from her faith and is now pagan.  She said to me, "Why serve a Father who cannot protect his own children?"  Later, when I was thinking about this conversation, I thought she is worshiping a goddess that cannot protect her worshipers.

There are questions we do not know the answers to, but for me there are more answers than questions found in scripture.  I have experienced the loving presence of my Heavenly Father and i do not want to give that up simply because I do not hold all the answers.  If I did, I would lose my relationship with God and still not know the answers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

If He has All Authority Why....?

It is difficult for us to understand how all authority can be given to Jesus and yet so much evil be in the world.  If all demons and angels are subject to him, is he responsible for the horrific things that happen to human beings?  Could he not stop all this and the fact that he doesn't make him responsible?

So many have asked this question and many have lost their faith because of this question.  The writer of Hebrews addresses this specifically.  "...putting everything in subjection under his feet.  Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone (Hebrews 2:8-9)

We know Jesus is not the instigator of evil evil in any form (Hebrews 1:8-9; James 1:13-15, 17) and we know the end of the conflict between evil and righteousness is the destruction of evil and all those who instigate it (Mt 5:22-29; 23:15, 29-36; James 2:1-22).

I do not have the definitive answer, but I know, based on scripture, I do not want any part of perpetuating evil.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

All Authority Submitted

All Angels authorities and powers have been made subject to Christ (1 Peter 3:22)  What does that mean in regard to us?  Here are some scriptures you may want to consider.

Hebrews 4:1-4
Isaiah 40:12-14
Job 42:2

Isaiah 55:8-11

Monday, November 10, 2014

What is Water Baptism?

Peter states that we do not take water baptism in order to remove dirt from our bodies, but we do it for conscience sake, as an appeal to God (1 Peter 3:21) .  He makes a connection with baptism in water and rememberingJess is in heaven.

Jesus said he was baptized in water to fulfill all righteousness (Mt.  3:15).  All Christians are told to be baptized in water (Acts 3:38).  Paul says we who are baptized into Christ are baptized into his death, so that we can be free from sin (Romans 6:1-12).  

The process of baptism is a picture of being buried with Christ and a testimony to the world that we have committed ourselves to be obedient to him.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Preaching to the Dead

Peter gives us a very strange insight in these next couple of verses.  Read this passage carefully :

 "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."

Why do you suppose Peter says Jesus preached to those who drowned in the flood and not to the generations who followed?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Cultural Interpretations

There may be times when we feel someone is persecuting us for our beliefs, when in fact the questions are challenging our reasoning.  We feel unsafe, as though if we change our mind about a particular way of looking at some thing it is equivalent to denying of God.  It is possible the question is pointing out a flaw in our reasoning and the false conclusion we have drawn based on our up bringing or our particular culture.

I have a cousin who us an anthropologist.  He works for Wycliff translators.  Part of his ministry is teaching several people groups from various nations whose attending the same conference.  The discussions often are on interpretation of scripture and how vastly they differ based on the individual's country of origin, yet the scriptures are exactly the same.

I think many of us will be surprised at how much we interpreted scripture to fit our needs or our culture and are not accurate.  This is one great reason we can be thankful we serve a merciful God.  He does not require perfection.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Representing Our Pride

Persecution can be accompanied by sarcastic probing questions.  Our most natural tendency may be to lash out, or clam up.  We feel the heat rising in our face and may even experience fear.  

Peter says we must be ready to give an answer at all times, why we hold such hope in our hearts.  But we are to do this gently and with respect toward the other person.  This is not always an easy task, especially when the other person is not gentle nor shows us respect.  

Peter points to a source of strength to do this task when he says, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy”  (1 Peter 3:14-15).  Reminding ourselves that we do not represent our pride, but our Master.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

God's Calling to Suffer

Peter is certainly not naive as we questioned yesterday.  After asking who would do you harm for doing good, he goes on to say that there are certain people who do harm to you, even when you do not deserve it.  But we believers do not need to fern these people.  If we are suffering unfairly, then we are fulfilling part of part of our calling.

Peter says "When you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil (1 Peter 3:16).

Note that he says it is God's will  that we suffer at times.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Peter and Our News Paper

Peter asks, “ Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good” (1 Peter 3:13).  After reading newspapers and listening ti the news, Peter’s question appears to be naive.  However, Peter is commenting on a general rule.  Most people will not react negatively to someone who continually do good.  

Revenge is sparked by returning evil for evil.  So one way to avoid calling negative attention to yourself is by doing good.