His Care

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 5:7-14 (day five) 

“casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

What’s the most comforting thing you’ve thought about God recently?  His Love? His Grace? His Strength? For me, this week, it was this phrase in verse 7, His Care- “He cares for you”.

Often times suffering and hardship makes us feel alone and isolated. Not just with friends, family, and other believers, but with the Lord too. The thought of the Lord’s care challenges me to think and feel differently. I could go on and on about the Lord’s care- what it looks like, what it means. Perhaps a good study and meditation for us all this Thanksgiving week.
My heart was encouraged by this simple thought: the Lord cares for me (even in the midst of suffering or hardship)- caused me to consider and cherish His attention, His affection, and His action.

Thank You, Lord, for you care!!

Humility

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 5:1-6 (day five) “For God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Humility is not a topic that is often talked about in the media and in public forums. In this day of self discovery and self promotion, humility runs directly opposed (as does God) to these concepts.  I think Peter helps define humility for us in this one verse. He does it by a negative definition- being proud, and a positive definition – the humble receiving grace.
As presented in this verse, pride is the opposite of humility (God opposes pride- the proud). I remember hearing a little saying that helped define pride- “the center of pride is I ”.  Pride becomes all about me- my gifts, my abilities, my talents, etc.
Humility is exactly the opposite. Pride come full of my actions, attitudes, and accomplishments. Humility come with none of that. Humility comes with a confession of emptiness and dependency- the Lord’s strength, His help, His presence. We don’t earn grace because of who we are or what we’ve done (pride). We receive (are in need- humble) God’s grace because He is a generous creator, sustainer, and redeemer!!

Love Looks Like…

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 4:1-11 (day five)“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another”

What does love look like?  Let me ask a more specific question…. What does Christian love look like?  Pastor Peter gives us a few snapshots in our Re:verse passage.  First, Christian love shapes how we think and act towards others- looking for the best in others and standing ready to forgive others. This doesn’t mean we ignore sin or that we don’t take it seriously. It means we always seek to find grace as we interact with each other.

Second, Christian love prompts us to welcome others- into our hearts and even our homes.

One last picture from Peter- Christian love serves others as the voice and hands of the Lord. Words are extremely important in God’s economy. Oh, that we might use them as He intends. In addition, God’s strength and attention are on display as we serve others.

The call to love others is an opportunity to resemble Christ most and best.

Answered Question

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 3:18-22 (day five) One of the concerns of studying the scriptures passage by passage is to study them separately from previous passages. We tend to lose context as well as the writer’s train of thought.  The first word in our text this week helps us to think and look back at Peter’s previous point and theme for his letter to the believers in Asia Minor- suffering and persecution. In particular this text is connected (the word “for” indicates a reason or grounds for what will follow) to Peter’s thoughts on righteous suffering.  Our text is seemingly an answer to a previous statement that produced an implied question, “Why is it better to suffer for doing good, than for doing evil?”
The summarized answer from this week’s text- Because Jesus has previously walked the path of righteous suffering which was God’s path and plan for His vindication and glory. Peter points to Jesus’ example to give believers great hope (in the midst of suffering) for our rescue and resurrection- pictured in baptism.

Exchange or Replace

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 3:8-17 (day five) “And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled.”  Fear was something with which Peter was very familiar. In the courtyard, out of fear, he denied knowing Jesus to a servant girl.(Luke 22:57).
But Peter found the solution to his fear and he wants these fearful believers in Asia Minor to know it. It’s found in Isaiah 8. He paraphrases part of the passage in our Re:Verse text (see beginning of this blog). Some scholars believe this passage could be interpreted “do not be afraid with fear of them.”  Isaiah continues, “It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread.”
If the fear of man is to be overcome, then it must be replaced or exchanged with the fear of God- devoted attention and adoration to His glory and and grace.
“A praising heart is immune to the fear of other people. Fear of another sort takes possession of our hearts and minds: a fear that does not flee in terror, but draws near in awe and worship.” – Edmond Clowney

When the fear of man is exchanged or replaced with the fear of God, what follows is a life filled with courage and conviction.

In the Same Way

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 3:1-7 (day five) “In the same way…”  What do we believe about God?  No really, what do we believe about God?  What about God’s sovereignty?  What about God’s wisdom?  What about God’s graciousness?  What about God’s holiness?  What we believe and understand about God can be life changing and life giving. It affects how we view creation. And as created beings, it affects how we view every part of our lives, even our relationships. Does God’s wisdom and sovereignty inform and influence our relationships?
Peter says, yes- political, social, martial (in the same way). What we believe about God will and should shape the way we act  live in all our relationships- In the same way!  God knows what He is doing.

Shepherd

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 2:18-25 (day five) “For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”  Of all the words Jesus spoke to Peter, none had the impact as the those by the campfire after the resurrection. “Feed my sheep.”  It was certainly a moment of conviction. It was also a moment of commission- a clear task and responsibility. I love the personal and possessive facet Jesus wants Peter to understand- “MY sheep”. Peter uses those same words and pictures in this verse. We are sheep. Jesus is shepherd. Peter never forgot. He never grew past that simple truth. In fact, the more life changed and became more complex and difficult, Peter held that truth even closer.
When our lives get hectic, when circumstances (or even our own sin) would seem to have us distracted, scattered, and uncertain in our minds and hearts, we can hold to that same comforting and foundational truth- as believers Jesus is our shepherd.
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”

A God-shaped Life

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 2:11-17 (day five)  “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.” Here you have it. The Christian life summed up. Wrapped up in one single verse – relationships, politics, faith, etc.  However, when I omit the previous verses as the context for this verse, I lose valuable perspective and instruction. This passage (and the scripture for that matter) is not an attempt at inserting God into our lives- an add in or add on.  No, rather the scriptures were inspired and written so that we might have a real and vibrant relationship with God through Jesus Christ. And, in and through our relationship with God we would use even the most secular parts of our lives to live in right relation to Him and for Him-with Him in view- with His influence and guidance. A God-shaped life.
“The aim of life—including our social and political life—is to live to God. To live with God in view. To live under his authority. To live on him like we live on air and food and water. To live for his good reputation.”- John Piper

Be Like Babies

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 2:1-10 (day five)  “like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,”  Peter uses a familiar metaphor found in the scriptures in a different way. There are passages where believers who remain weak and immature in their faith are rebuked (“babes” in the faith).  In this particular instance, Peter is not rebuking, but rather suggesting that the examples of babies should be followed. It’s a good thing to have this particular characteristic of babies. We ought to have the same passion and focus for learning and loving the scriptures as newborn babies do for milk. Frequency, volume, and content are all vitally important to feeding a baby. Same ought to be true for believers. Are we as determined and focused to engage and receive the Word of God? – Reading, preaching, teaching. Can you tell when there is a lack of frequency, volume, or content?  Does learning, loving, and ultimately obeying the scriptures fill and satisfy your “hungry” soul?

Obedience

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 1:18-25 (day five) “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,”
It would seem that Peter is teaching that purification of the soul happens by our “doing” (obedience to the truth). While there is activity and action required, if you study the original language, it gives a completely different perspective. In the Greek language, there is an interesting connection between hearing and obeying. They both have the same root word (akouo)- we get the word acoustics from it. But the word obey has another word attached to it (hupo) we get the word hyper. The word translated from the Greek obedience literally means “hyper hearing”.
So, Peter is communicating that even in our doing, there is great hearing or listening (to the truth of scripture) required. Reading, praying, preaching, studying (interaction with the scriptures) are all needed and necessary to guide and inform our actions so that they may in fact purify our souls.

Obedience is not hyper- doing. It is hyper-hearing.

Are you faithfully hearing the Word??