Thursday Morning: 11 Jul 2019 – 1 Peter 4:1-19 ~ Live for God and Expect Suffering.

Thursday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Guidance – Thursday)

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: Guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our lives we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – 1 Peter 4:1-19 (NLT)

Living for God

So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.

Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. But remember that they will have to face God, who stands ready to judge everyone, both the living and the dead. That is why the Good News was preached to those who are now dead—so although they were destined to die like all people, they now live forever with God in the Spirit.

The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

Suffering for Being a Christian

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? And also,

“If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners?”

So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.
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Morning Reflection:

Live for God and Expect Suffering

So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right,
and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.

– 1 Peter 5:19 –

Once again, Peter calls us to live for God – even if it involves physical suffering – after the example of Jesus Christ. In suffering with Christ, our sinful desires are replaced with the desire to do God’s will. So then, how shall we live for God?

+ Reject evil things – such as immorality and lust, drunkenness and wild parties, and idol worship.
+ Pursue godly things – earnest and disciplined prayer, deep love for other believers, and hospitality to those in need.
+ Serve one another – use your spiritual gifts of speaking and helping with all the strength and energy that God supplies, all to his glory.

And, don’t be surprised by suffering, rather be glad. Why?

+ Suffering makes us partners with Christ in his suffering.
+ Suffering with Christ will result in seeing the joy of his glory when it is revealed.
+ Insults as a Christian result in the blessing of God’s Spirit resting on us.
+ Suffering for being a Christian removes all fear of God’s final judgement.

“We may not always understand what God is doing,
but we know that He is doing what is best for us. We do not live on explanations;
we live on promises.” (Warren Wiersbe)

Questions for consideration:

  • In living for God, what are some evil things that God is calling you to reject? What are some godly things that God is calling you to pursue? Please explain.
  • Have you faced suffering for being a Christian? What form did it take? Please explain.
  • Do you identify with Christ in any of your suffering? How has suffering shaped your life for the better?  Please explain.
  • What promises of God do you find most helpful when faced with suffering? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:  For Persecuted Christians –

Sovereign God, we worship You and we acknowledge that You know all those who suffer in Your name.

  • We remember those who are imprisoned for their faith and ask that they would join with the Apostle Paul to see that even though they remain captive, their chains have furthered the gospel, not frustrated it. May they inspire and embolden their fellow believers to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

God of all comfort, for those who are tortured both in body and mind, give them the grace to endure and to see their suffering as part of following in Christ’s footsteps.

  • Merciful God, for those asked to pay the ultimate price; who are martyred because of their love for You, may they truly know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death.

Father God, for those who are widowed and orphaned may they know the comfort that comes from Your promised presence even when they walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

  • May they be strengthened by Your Spirit, enabling them to rejoice with the psalmist as they proclaim that the Lord will not abandon them in death.

Heavenly Father, we ask that You would make us ever mindful of our brothers and sisters around the world who need us to stand with them as they suffer in Your name.

  • Teach us what it means to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony; we pray that we would not love our lives so much as to shrink from death. O Lord, hear our prayer.

Faithful God, we trust in Your promises and pray that You would strengthen us and empower us to live godly lives and endure suffering after the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever. Amen.
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“O God, Do Thou Sustain Me” – The Overholt Family

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life in Christ

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