Friday Morning: 12 Jul 2019 – 1 Peter 5:1-14 ~ Stand firm in God’s grace.

Friday Morning

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

Opening (A Collect for Endurance – Friday)

Almighty God, whose beloved Son first suffered pain and crucifixion before entering into glory: Mercifully grant that we, walking in his footsteps, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – 1 Peter 5:1-14 (NLT)

Advice for Elders and Young Men

And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you:

Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.

In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen.

Peter’s Final Greetings

I have written and sent this short letter to you with the help of Silas, whom I commend to you as a faithful brother. My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.

Your sister church here in Babylon sends you greetings, and so does my son Mark. Greet each other with a kiss of love.

Peace be with all of you who are in Christ.
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Morning Reflection:

Stand firm in God’s grace.

My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you
that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you.
Stand firm in this grace.

– Peter 5:12b –

How then should we live when faced with suffering for Christ?

Elders: In view of the inevitability of trials and God’s judgment, Peter addresses those who are entrusted with the responsibility of oversight (elders/pastors) of congregations of believers.

+ Serve God’s people willingly because of eagerness to serve God.
+ Lead God’s people with humility by setting a godly example.

All Believers: Peter reminds us that believers all around the world are facing the same trials and temptations that we face. Why is that? Because we all face the same great enemy – the devil, who prowls the world seeking to deceive and destroy God’s people. So what can we do in the face of this pervasive, destructive force?

+ Humble ourselves under the mighty power of God, trusting him to raise us up in honor.
+ Give all our worries and cares to God, believing in his steadfast love.
+ Watch out and stand firm against the schemes of the devil, and grow stronger in faith.
+ Remember God has called us to share in his eternal glory through faith in Jesus Christ.
+ Trust in God’s loving-kindness to restore, support, and strengthen us, by placing us on the firm foundation of his grace.

Questions for consideration:

  • Are you connected with other believers in a church? Is there a person who is charged with the care of your soul – an elder (pastor)? What sort of relationship do you have with that person? Please explain?
  • Peter urges us to humble ourselves under the mighty power of God. What does that mean for you? How does that work out in your life? Please explain.
  • Can you think of ways that Satan has attempted to deceive you, or steal your joy, or even destroy your faith? How did you resist? Please explain.
  • Where do you need to stand firm in God’s grace today? What part does God’s loving-kindness and your faith play in standing firm?

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Morning Prayer: For Standing Firm

Gracious God, you hold the victory over sin and death in this world.

Thank you for calling us into Your family through faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ, and for the freedom and hope he gives us.

Through the power of his Name, enable us to stand firm against the deceit and schemes of the evil one. Thank you for the power of your Word and Spirit at work within us shielding, protecting, strengthening, exposing deeds of darkness, bringing to light what needs to be known, covering us from the cruel attacks we face even when we’re unaware.

Give us wisdom and discernment to recognize the schemes of the enemy in our lives that we may stand strong against his work. And remind to pray earnestly and regularly for all believers who face the same trails and tribulations that we do, and even far worse.

Gracious God, we stand solidly on the firm foundation you have given us through faith in Jesus Christ, in him we live and move and have our being, and it’s in his Name we pray. Amen.
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“Stand In Your Love” – Josh Baldwin (Bethel Music)

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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

Monday Morning: 08 Jul 2019 – 1 Peter 2:1-10 ~ Show others the goodness of God.

Monday Morning

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

Opening (A Collect for the Renewal of Life – Monday)

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – 1 Peter 2:1-10 (NLT)

So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

Living Stones for God’s House

You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.

And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. As the Scriptures say,

“I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”

Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him,

“The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.”

And,

“He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.

But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

“Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”

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Morning Reflection:

Show others the goodness of God.

You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation,
God’s very own possession.
As a result, you can show others the goodness of God,
for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
“Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”

– 1 Peter 2:9-10 –

In today’s reading, Peter explains God’s purpose in choosing us as his very own possession – “to show the goodness of God” by living in God’s light as people who have experienced God’s mercy. In other words, changed lives change lives.

So what changes does Peter have in mind so that we can “show others the goodness of God?”

+ Become people who listen to God – develop an appetite for, a hunger for, God’s Word.

+ Become people whose lives are built on Christ – He is the chief cornerstone of the church. Together, we become “living stones” who need each other, support each other, and work together to build the church in the world.

+ Become people whose lives reflect God’s goodness – rejecting evil behavior, i.e. deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.

+ Become people whose lives reflect God’s mercy – displaying holiness, honesty, contentment, and kindness in what we do and say.

Questions for consideration:

  • Do you have a hunger for God’s Word? How do you satisfy that hunger? Please explain.
  • Are you connected with other believers in a church built on the foundation of Jesus Christ? What part do you have in building up the faith and witness of that church? Please explain.
  • What do you need to reject in order to reflect the goodness of God? Please explain.
  • Where do you need to reflect God’s mercy to others in order to shine God’s light in the darkness? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:

Prayer for Inner Renewal:

Gracious God and most merciful Father, you have given us the sole authority for faith and life in your holy Word: Assist us with your Spirit, that the same Word may be written in our hearts to our everlasting comfort, to reform us, to renew us according to your own image, to build us up and edify us into the perfect dwelling place of your Christ, sanctifying and increasing in us all heavenly virtues; grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

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“Chosen People” – Bread Without Cost

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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

Saturday Morning, 06 Jul 2019 – 1 Peter 1:13-25 ~ Be holy in all you do.

Saturday Morning

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

Opening:  (A Collect for Sabbath Rest – Saturday)

Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and set aside a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared to meet you in worship, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Reading from the Book of 1 Peter 1:13-25 (NLT)

A Call to Holy Living

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written:

“Be holy, because I am holy.”

Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

And this is the word that was preached to you.
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Morning Reflection:

Be holy in all you do.

“So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.
So you must live as God’s obedient children.
Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires.
You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

– 1 Peter 1:13-16 –

In the first half of this chapter, Peter reminded us of who we are as believers: we have been chosen by God, cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and made holy by the Spirit at work within us. In the second half of this chapter, Peter instructs us on holy living as God’s obedient children.

In essence, Peter is saying:

Pull yourself together and follow God’s Word and Spirit
in how you think, what you say, and what you do – after the example of Jesus.

It’s interesting to note that Peter wrote this letter in the mid 60s AD while imprisoned in Rome prior to his martyrdom. I mention this because the sober tone of this letter is quite different from the impulsive tone of Peter as depicted in the Gospels. Peter has changed – he has been transformed by the renewal of his mind. The Holy Spirit has brought to his memory all that Jesus taught him, and his life experiences of preaching, teaching, healing, and leading have proven the truth and power of God’s Word.

Questions for consideration:

  • How has your understanding of what it means to follow Jesus changed over the years? Do you feel closer to God, or more distant? Please explain.
  • Holiness has to do with being set apart to be used by God (consecrated). Do you view yourself a being set apart (a stranger) within the prevailing culture to be used by God? Please explain.
  • As a believer living a holy life in your culture, to what thoughts, words, or behavior do say, “No?” To what thoughts, words, or behavior do you say, “Yes?” Please explain.
  • The purpose of Bible study is to get to know God, and in the process to become more like him – to become more like Jesus, to grow in holiness. How is that working out for you? Are you involved in a Bible study? Are you becoming more Christ-like? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:

Prayer for Holiness:

Holy God: By your grace you have chosen us and adopted us into your family through faith in your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Transform us by the power of your Word and Spirit to become more like him – to become holy as you are holy.

  • Breathe in me Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
  • Act in me Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
  • Draw my heart Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy.
  • Strengthen me Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy.
  • Guard me so Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.

I ask this in Jesus’ name, that I might draw closer to you. Amen.
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“Be Holy, For I Am Holy” – A Cappella

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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

Friday Morning: 05 Jul 2019 – 1 Peter 1:1-12 ~ Live with Heaven in mind.

Friday Morning

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

Opening (A Collect for Endurance – Friday)

Almighty God, whose beloved Son first suffered pain and crucifixion before entering into glory: Mercifully grant that we, walking in his footsteps, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – 1 Peter 1:1-12 (NLT)

Greetings from Peter

This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.

I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

May God give you more and more grace and peace.

The Hope of Eternal Life

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward.

They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.
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Morning Reflection:

Live with Heaven in mind.

May God give you more and more grace and peace.
– 1 Peter 1:2 –

The Apostle Peter sent his letter to believers, mainly Gentiles, living as foreigners in the northern regions of Asia Minor (modern western Turkey). His purpose was to encourage those who were facing persecution for their faith to stand firm.

In today’s reading, Peter reminds us of our identity as believers: we have been chosen by God, cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and made holy by the Spirit at work within us.

+ In Christ, we have hope – because He lives, we shall live. Our new birth gave us this life. Consequently our hope is both alive within us and part of our new life in Christ.
+ In Christ, we have joy – even in our trials, because we have hope, faith, and love. Our present joy is infused with God’s glory; it’s a foretaste of the glory we will experience when Christ returns.
+ In Christ, we have a model of suffering in obedience to God. Both suffering and joy are normative aspects of Christian life.

Questions for consideration:

  • Do you see yourself as a foreigner in the place where you live? How does that affect your understanding of citizenship? Please explain.
  • When you think about who you are (your identity), how is your self-image shaped by what people say about you? How is your self-image shaped by what God says about you? Please explain.
  • Can you think of an example when faith in Jesus Christ changed your despair into hope, your sadness into joy? Please explain.
  • Do you view suffering as normative for Christians? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: For Times of Suffering or Weakness

Dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: I hold up all my weakness to your strength, my failure to your faithfulness, my sinfulness to your perfection, my loneliness to your compassion, my little pains to your great agony on the Cross. I pray that you will cleanse me, strengthen me, guide me, so that in all ways my life may be lived as you would have it lived, without cowardice and for you alone. Show me how to live in true humility, true contrition, and true love. Amen.

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“This World is Not My Home” – Charity Youth Bible School

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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