Today you should read: Nehemiah 8:1-12
What a great picture of God’s people hearing, understanding and responding to God’s Word!
Many of us today have allowed God’s Word to become a common place thing. The Bible has just become another religious book on our shelves and on our kindle apps. Though we may never say it, the Bible has been put on par with other religious books and authors we love to read. Why is this? How have we gotten so far away that God’s Word seem to have little effect on us? To be clear, it is not God’s Word themselves or their effectiveness. God’s Word is powerful and effective. The fault is solely ours. I think we see it played out in 3 key ways.
I believe God’s Word has become less potent to us because of:
- A lack of understanding
When Ezra read and then explained God’s words to the people, it was then that their lives connected to the truths of God’s words. This shows us the importance of reading and studying God’s words as well as hearing them preached and taught. God has given us many tools and gifts to be able to better understand His word. The Holy Spirit illuminates His word to us to give us understanding. We also have great bible teachers and preachers today on podcasts or streaming. There are loads of books like commentaries and Bible handbooks, as well as apps and websites to help us. In the early days of Christian church history, there were a lot more barriers to people understanding the Bible. Today, however, we have no excuse. There is just too much information out there to help us. What we need to do is make it a priority and go find the resources we need to best understand God’s word. Check out the following websites for resources:
- A lack of interaction
The people had been in exile for a long time and probably had little to no real exposure to God’s Word. Now, they are back in Jerusalem and the priests are reading God’s Word to them. You cannot be moved by God’s Word if you are never in it. As mentioned above, we have more access to God’s Word now than ever before. In times past, God’s Word was not nearly as accessible as it is today. With a touch of a button on your smart phone or tablet you can have access to hundreds of versions of God’s Word almost anywhere in the world. So why is our culture, here in America, possibly the most biblically illiterate ever? That is absolutely absurd. Sadly, many of us settle for hearing God’s Word once a week on Sunday or, maybe, a one minute devotional each day. God’s word is compared to food in the Bible. So ask yourself this question, “Would you be ok just eating a meal once a week?” or “Would I be able to function only eating a granola bar a day?” The answer is certainly no. So how can you function spiritually that way?
- A lack of connection
Unlike in today’s passage, we often hear a good sermon or read a passage of scripture and then leave it there. It never crosses our mind or is implemented in any way during our day. If we are honest, we quickly forget what we read and hear. The definition of God’s Word being effective in our lives is that it changes something about us. How is God’s Word changing you? Don’t just read it, do what it says.
Posted by: Robbie Byrd
Today you should read: Nehemiah 7
What do you want to be inscribed on your gravestone? Here are some good epitaphs I found online (all real!):
“I told you I was sick!”
In a Georgia cemetery
“The children of Israel wanted bread
And the Lord sent them manna,
Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife,
And the Devil sent him Anna.”
In a Ribbesford, England cemetery
“Here lies the body
of Jonathan Blake
Stepped on the gas
Instead of the brake.”
Memory of an accident in a Uniontown, Pennsylvania cemetery
“Here lays Butch,
We planted him raw.
He was quick on the trigger,
But slow on the draw.”
In a Silver City, Nevada cemetery
“I was somebody.
Who, is no business
Someone determined to be anonymous in Stowe, Vermont
“Here lies the body of our Anna
Done to death by a banana
It wasn’t the fruit that laid her low
But the skin of the thing that made her go.”
Anna Hopewell’s grave in Enosburg Falls, Vermont
“Sir John Strange.
Here lies an honest man.
And that is Strange.”
A lawyer’s tombstone in England
For not rising.”
In Ruidoso, New Mexico
“Here lies Ann Mann,
Who lived an old maid
But died an old Mann.”
Dec. 8, 1767
“Reader if cash thou art
In want of any
Dig 4 feet deep
And thou wilt find a Penny.”
John Penny’s epitaph in the Wimborne, England cemetery
“Gone away Owin’ more
Than he could pay.”
Owen Moore in Battersea, London, England
So, what do you want on your gravestone? What do you want to be said of you when you leave this earth to go to be with Jesus? Write it down right now.
Whatever you just said is what COULD be. What’s the reality? What kind of epitaph would be written about you today if – God forbid – you were to pass away? I pray that it would be similar to what is said about Hanani and Hananiah in Nehemiah 7.
Now when the wall had been built and I had set up the doors, and the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, I gave my brother Hanani and Hananiah the governor of the castle charge over Jerusalem, for he was a more faithful and God-fearing man than many. (Nehemiah 7:1-2, ESV)
These men were known for their trust in the Lord. Their reputation: God-fearing and faithful. We may not know much else about them, but the simplicity of this statement about the dash between the years of their lives is enough, isn’t it? Here’s a question for application and reflection:
How do I close the gap between what would be said of me today and what I hope will be said of me in the end?
I’ll give you my simple answer: walk closely with Jesus. Live for Him more every day than the day before.
Posted by: Todd Thomas
Today you should read: Nehemiah 6
Have you ever noticed that the last minute of a playoff game of any sport is about 30-45 minutes in real time? I love playoffs of any kind and right now we are in the NBA playoffs. It never fails, if the game is close during the last minute, both teams begin to use every foul that they have available. Why? Because the end is near. The closer the game gets to that final buzzer the harder both teams tend to play and strategize. The sense of urgency is enormous because every play counts down the stretch. The team that is behind is fouling, trying to make the team that is ahead make a mistake. If the team that is winning keeps their poise and makes their free throws, they win.
In today’s passage we see a similar scenario. Nehemiah had led the Israelites well and they are just about to finish the wall. All that was left to do was to set the gates and that is when his enemies started to get desperate (1-3). The first tactic was one of distraction and deceit. Sanballat and Geshem wanted to lure Nehemiah away. Their real intentions were to harm him (v.2). If they could get Nehemiah out of the picture, then they were confident that they could probably overthrow the Jews and regain control.
How did Nehemiah respond? He did not allow for distraction to get in the way of his purpose. Nehemiah was focused on God’s plan and did not allow the enemy to distract him from the mission (v.3-4). Bottom line is that Nehemiah was focused on God and His plans which gave him the will to move forward despite the distraction.
The next tactic that Sanballat used was slander. The message that was sent back to Nehemiah after the fifth time was a letter in the form of a threat (v.6-7). Basically, Sanballat is going to give a false report to the king about Nehemiah in order to cause a war against Nehemiah if Nehemiah does not come to meet with him. To put this threat in perspective, Sanballat is going to make it look like Nehemiah was plotting behind the King’s back to rise up against him. In case you did not know, kings were not too fond of that in Nehemiah’s day and it would most definitely turn the king against Nehemiah. That would not be a good day for Nehemiah and the Jews.
How did Nehemiah respond to this threat? He trusted in God and had faith in his power through prayer. Nehemiah did not allow his fear of the threat deter him from moving forward with the mission. He was focused on the power of God and His protection.
So what were the results of Nehemiah’s trust in God and faithfulness to the mission? The wall was finished and God’s name was glorified (v.15-16). Just like the team that focuses on the game plan and executes down the stretch to win the game, Nehemiah stuck to the mission and focused on the goal to God’s glory. Through Nehemiah, God showed his power and faithfulness to his enemies.
God often uses us in times of trial to show Himself to the lost world around us. When you and I focus on the mission of pleasing God through our lives then God will use us to change the world (2 Corinthians 5:9, Matthew 28:19).
Questions to Ponder:
- When you are focused on pleasing God or self?
- In the face of adversity do you lean on faith in God and the gospel of Jesus or your own understanding?
- How does Nehemiah’s example encourage you in your life? What needs to change?
Posted by: Chad Wiles
Today you should read: Nehemiah 5
Let me recap for you… so far in the book of Nehemiah:
- Nehemiah – God’s man for the hour – was a captive in Babylon, when he heard of the bad state of affairs in his homeland Jerusalem (Chapter 1)
- When he heard he wept and prayed (Chapter 1)
- Nehemiah, the cupbearer to the king, went before him and asked for a leave of absence and supplies to repair the broken wall in Jerusalem (Chapter 2)
- He was granted his request (unbelievable) and he traveled to Jerusalem to inspect the damage (Chapter 2)
- In Chapter 3, the rebuilding begins. Nehemiah, being an incredible leader, motivates the people to help him and the repair happens quickly (Chapter 3)
- Satan (and his team) always opposes the work of God. The opposition begins in Chapter 4.
Nehemiah, who is also temporary governor of this land, is faced with a horrible situation. The Jews, in desperation to feed their families, have spent everything they had and mortgaged their fields, vineyards, and homes to get food during the famine (v.3). Now they were forced to sell their children into slavery to survive.
Nehemiah is irate! The ones charging the interest were other Jewish people!! Nehemiah took them to task and told them to stop it and release their brothers from this bondage.
Why did they listen? What right did he have to ask this? He was a man of character, and they knew it. For twelve years – as governor – he took no wage (v.14) and he and his officials had paid off the great debt they previously had to foreigners and freed them out of his own pocket. This gave him tremendous credibility with these men.
Nehemiah’s godly life paid great dividends. What about you? Are you a person of character? Does your life show Jesus in such a way that those in your family, those you work with, those you live around have great respect for you?
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Posted by: Tim Parsons
Today you should read: Nehemiah 4
In the first three chapters of Nehemiah we saw how Israel received a clear call from God to rebuild a wall around Jerusalem and how God’s people rallied around their leader in this project, Nehemiah. Now, by God’s good grace, I get to briefly comment on my favorite chapter in Nehemiah.
In the fourth chapter of Nehemiah, Israel faces persecution for the first time since they started rebuilding the wall (vs. 1-14). This is important because I believe we need to be aware that anytime God tells us to build up something, whether it’s a marriage or a church body (not just a building), we should expect trials and tribulation through spiritual attack. Sometimes that’s through others and sometimes it’s through our flesh. Either way, we need to expect that Satan will fight against whatever God calls you to.
Notice what the Israelites had in mind and heart when fighting back against persecution: God and family.
“And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” -Nehemiah 4:14
When Satan attacks whether it’s spiritual or through others, we must remember that we are defending our God and our family. As I type this my daughter is watching the cartoon movie, Despicable Me. In it, the adoptive Dad got his butt kicked by all of the robots, home alarms systems and sharks when trying to break into his arch-nemesis’ home but when he returned later to rescue his adopted daughters, he was the one kicking butt (Take that Todd Thomas and your “Finding Nemo” reference). You see this theme throughout Scripture and if it doesn’t motivate you to fight, then you probably need to do a heart check on what’s important to you.
Lastly, Nehemiah tells Israel to continue building the wall with a trowel (a tool that helps lay brick and mortar) in one hand and a sword in the other (vs. 15-23) He wanted God’s people to build on what God told them to do while defending and protecting that calling at the same time. C.H. Spurgeon, the popular London pastor and preacher of the 1800′s started a famous newspaper entitled The Sword And The Trowel, in which he would publish articles defending Scriptural truths against heresy that was creeping up in society and the church; and other articles that would build up the body of Christ. I believe we must have this same mindset as Christians in whatever God calls us to do. We need to protect and defend the things God calls us to build, one eye toward the enemy and one eye toward the building of the Kingdom through whatever God calls us into; ministry, marriage or being missional in our work and education.
Posted by: Erik Koliser
Today you should read: Nehemiah 3
“Let’s get to work!” I can hear Nehemiah saying that since he has gathered workers to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. In chapter 3, a bunch of workers is hard after it, rebuilding the wall. I’m glad I studied chapter 3 because the Lord discretely revealed an important leadership principle. Let’s look at it.
Real Leaders Lead by Example.
Re-read verse 1. Eliashib was the high priest, a man with a big, important positional title. Here we see that he wasn’t just a leader by title only. He got down in the trenches with his brothers and got his hands dirty. He led by example. I don’t think it’s an accident that the high priest was the first name mentioned amongst all those who worked on the wall.
Leadership is much more than just having a title. Eliashib could have just passionately exhorted people to get to work on the wall because of his position. Instead, he joined in the work. Leaders must be willing to do the tasks that they challenge their followers to do. As a leader, it’s easy to challenge people to evangelism, discipleship, serving, etc., but a real leader actually does more than just talk about it. A leader does what he/she challenges others to do and leads by example. Leaders talk about AND model what they want to see accomplished.
I have observed that most positional leaders don’t usually even talk about the task that needs to be done if they aren’t willing to participate in the task. Pastors that rarely talk about discipleship usually aren’t intentionally discipling anyone. Connect Group leaders that rarely challenge their group to reach the lost usually aren’t sharing the gospel themselves. Spiritual leaders must be willing to get in the trenches. When a leader is in the trenches, they are being a powerful example to their followers and they are much more apt to talk about whatever it is they are leading people to do.
Now, re-read verse 5. The Tekoites made repairs, but their noblemen did not support the work of their masters. In other words, they weren’t willing to work. So, here we have some important Tekoite men who weren’t willing to work. These men have the dishonor of being the only group of men listed in this chapter who DID NOT work. These were men who had an important title, but weren’t willing to get in the trenches. These men were positional leaders, but they really weren’t leading anyone by example.
Leaders lead by example; they don’t just hope others do the task that is at hand. This chapter challenges me to be a better leader. I want to lead by example. I want to model in the areas of evangelism and discipleship, as well as many other areas where I believe the Lord wants me to lead.
Oh, and parents, well, I don’t think I even need to say anything about the importance of leading your children by example.
Posted by: Rich Duffield
Today you should read: Nehemiah 2:11-20
This will probably be said a hundred times as we go through this book but Nehemiah is a great book on leadership. It is also a great account of God’s people overcoming great odds and adversity to do what God had called them to do. In today’s reading we see three key encounters:
- Nehemiah assesses the situation.
Many times, when we face a difficult situation that seems too big for us the natural reaction is to whine, fuss, freeze up or give up. Nehemiah had a big task ahead of him and, instead of complaining or throwing in the towel, he trusted in God’s direction and used the faculties God has given all of us and made a plan. We can sometimes be guilty of over-spiritualizing things. We know that God is in control and that His will is always accomplished, but God also wants us to get in and do some work in the process. God has given us creativity and problem solving skills to use as we serve Him and build His kingdom here on earth.
- Nehemiah rallies the troops
Nehemiah then goes to the people and lays it all out. There is no sugar-coating on his report. He tells them that they are in trouble, the city is burnt to a crisp and they are a disgrace to the surrounding people. But he doesn’t stop with the problems. He counters it with a plan to fix it. Many people are great at complaining and pointing out problems and mistakes, a real leader works and thinks and dreams up solutions to remedy those things. His plan is simple but effective, “let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem” He picked one thing to tackle, a sizeable and yet attainable goal for the people. He didn’t push them to build the whole city back in one day. When faced with a big task it is always easier to start with a smaller, specific chunk and then move on little by little. That is what Nehemiah did.
- Nehemiah faced opposition from the outside
As the people began to rebuild three knuckleheads showed up to taunt them ridicule them. These three guys must not have had anything better to do than to sit around all day and pester the people working on the wall. This same thing happens today as well. The people who are not serving and giving and investing their lives in others are typically those who are running around complaining and pointing out mistakes and problems. If you are the one serving and investing keep on going. Learn from critics, even bad ones and then move on. If you are one of the critics, stop it and get to work. The kingdom of heaven is near and the “we must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.” (John 9:4)
Posted by: Robbie Byrd
Today you should read: Nehemiah 2:1-10
When was the last time you were distraught over the welfare of another? More importantly, when was the last time your heart broke for the mission of God? When Jesus saw his fellow Israelites struggling with the Romans and the Pharisees, the Bible tells us that, “he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
For Nehemiah, distress came from the reality that the walls of his city were in ruins. The people of God who survived exile were unprotected. Worship of God was being hindered. After all, this wasn’t just any city. God Himself said that His name would be written there: “Yet to his son I will give one tribe, that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put my name (1 Kings 11:36).” Something needed to happen, but it would take audacious faith.
God raised up just the man for the task: Nehemiah.
The king could have said no or punished him for the request. Nehemiah could have lost His job and the people of Jerusalem could have faced harsh persecution. There were many unknowns and they are what make this story so inspiring. Nehemiah had a bold trust in the sovereign plan of God. He believed that the same God who was with Isaac, Jacob, Abraham, Joseph, and Noah was going to be with him as well.
We’ll get into the particulars of Nehemiah’s story over the next few weeks, but I want to pose a few questions for application/reflection today.
1) Is your heart broken for the mission of God?
2) Is your heart broken for the people of God?
3) Is your heart broken for those around you who don’t know Jesus?
4) What sin is hindering you from being ready to serve God with audacious faith?
When Nehemiah’s number was called, he was ready to get in the game. My prayer for CPC’ers today: be the kind of dedicated disciple that God wants to call on for Kingdom things. And when your number is called, go in with bold faith.
Posted by: Todd Thomas
Today you should read: Nehemiah 1
Today we start the book of Nehemiah and Nehemiah lived during the time when they saw the words of Deuteronomy 28:36-37 come true:
The Lord will bring you and your king whom you set over you to a nation that neither you nor your fathers have known. And there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone. And you shall become a horror, a proverb, and a byword among all the peoples where the Lord will lead you away.
Due to Israel’s disobedience God allowed other nations to come in and destroy them and take some away to other nations. We see this begin in 2 Kings 24 & Jeremiah 39.
In the book of Nehemiah we get a glimpse into life during the exile. Nehemiah was an exile in Persia where he was cup bearer to King Artaxerxes. The role of cup bearer was very significant because it meant that Nehemiah had direct access to the King.
Our chapter starts off with Nehemiah getting a bad report about Jerusalem. Nehemiah hears that there is still a remnant in Jerusalem but things were not going well. The walls were torn down and shame was brought on all the people. This was once a great and proud nation that represented Yahweh, the God of the universe. Now they are at the mercy of all other nations and a laughing stock at that.
So how did Nehemiah respond?
- He Mourned. Nehemiah recognized the travesty that had happened to Israel. Notice he does not cry to God and ask him why he would do this to his people. Nehemiah knew exactly why all of this happened and he is saddened because of Israel’s sin against God (v.6). Nehemiah was humbled and desired mercy for the sin of the people. How often do we mourn over our sin before God? Do you desire not to sin because you know it is against our merciful and just God? Or do you push the line of grace? (Romans 6:1-3)
- He Repented. Not only did he recognize his own sin and repent but he repented for the sin of his people. Repentance is the key to freedom and Nehemiah understood that. When you sin and are convicted do you react in repentance? Or do you run away from God and excuse the sin?
- He Remembered the Promise of God. Nehemiah knew that God was still God and he always keeps his promises. Nehemiah leaned upon the word of God (v.9-10). When we sin we should have the same response that Nehemiah had and remember the promise of the Gospel (Ephesians 2:8-10). God is faithful to forgive us and grow us into the image of his son (1 John 1:8-9, Philippians 1:6). However, it starts when we recognize that our lives are to glorify him and not ourselves.
Let us be men and women of prayer today. Let’s praise God for his name sake and rejoice in his mercy upon us.
Posted by: Chad Wiles
Today you should read: 2 Peter 3:1-18
Jesus is coming back – and I believe it will be soon. People have always doubted that He would (v.3-4). He says He’s coming – but nothing has changed since the beginning of time – where is He? The problem is, they forgot that God – who created the world – always has a plan, and that He does things in His time. His time is different from ours – to Him, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day. That’s how it is when you live outside of time. But make no mistake – Jesus is coming back for His church. Jesus will come like a thief does – when no when expects it.
How will that happen?
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Since we know this is going to happen – imminently – at any moment – this should affect how we live (v.11). We should live our days like we will see Jesus tonight.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 2 Peter 3:14
Why hasn’t Jesus come back already? He’s giving people time to be saved (v.15). Getting that message to our friends and family MUST be our top priority. Time is running out…
So… thinking all of this through should motivate us to:
- Live holy
- Think heavenly (Philippians 3:20-21)
- Witness hastily
Posted by: Tim Parsons
Today you should read: 2 Peter 2:1-22
You may be rocking back and forth in the fetal position after reading today’s chapter. Peter did not hold back when describing God’s wrath and judgment reserved for those who are known as false teachers or wolves in sheep’s clothing. It’s a sobering thought to know that there are people in the body of Christ who give off the appearance of a Christian that have certain positions of authority and influence will purposefully use those positions to deceive God’s people and blaspheme God’s word. These people are not just the average “lost” person who is blind to their sin and as Jesus described while hanging on the cross “doesn’t know what they are doing.” They know what they are doing and using Christ’s good, holy name to do it, reveling in their deceptions as they sit amongst you (vs. 13).
That’s part of the reason why Peter is so blunt in his warning and condemnation for these wolves in sheep’s clothing. It’s also why we need to be discerning and wise within the church ourselves. Usually these people start to show their true colors in sexual immorality, greed and other sinful characteristics (vs. 10-16). Not only do we have to keep an eye out for unrepentant hearts exhibiting these characteristics; but pay close attention to their teachings of closed hand issues like the exclusivity of the Gospel (vs. 1) and inerrancy of God’s Word (vs. 3). Of course, these characteristics and teachings don’t always come out at first and will most likely slowly leak out. And if you’re not careful, that wolf in sheep’s clothing will convince enough stupid sheep that what they are teaching and doing is from God and will lead people to Hell. All within the same community that Jesus calls to be a light in a dark world. That’s why the same judgment waters reserved for the wickedness of Noah’s time and the wrath that was poured out on Sodom and Gomorrah is used as an example for what is to come for those who use Jesus’ church to purposefully lead others away from truth. So, just like Peter was clear and blunt concerning heretical teachers within the church, I will leave you with a clear and blunt quote by Mark Driscoll when preaching at a Desiring God Conference a few years ago… “We must feed the sheep, rebuke the swine, and shoot the wolves,”
Questions to ponder regarding 2 Peter 2:
1. Have you ever seen a church suffering the consequences or fallout of a false teacher? What steps could have been taken beforehand?
2. How should we discern between ignorance in false teachings and aspiration to deceive others in the church? Should we treat those people differently?
3. How does CPC protect its flock in such matters?
Posted by: Erik Koliser
Today you should read: 2 Peter 1:12-21
When you depart from your job, your campus, your town, your neighborhood, your ministry, or this life what do you hope to leave behind? Peter wanted to leave something behind:
And I will be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.—2 Peter 1:15
He wanted to leave behind some teachings that are foundational to the Christian faith, which were mentioned in the first 11 verses of the chapter. In verses 12-14, Peter said he would always be ready to remind them of these things, even though they already knew them and were established in these truths. He considered it right “to stir them up by way of reminder.”
Peter has no problem teaching things that these believers already knew. He is teaching seemingly foundational truths to people who were already established in the truth. Why? Because, as verse 15 tells us, he wanted the believers to be able to call these things to mind after he departed. He wanted to make sure they knew what they already knew because they would need to be able to remember these teachings for themselves and so that they could teach others in the future.
I was reminded of some great disciple-making principles as I read this little section of Scripture:
- Re-teach the foundational truths over and over. Why? Because we never “graduate” from these foundational truths. The foundational truths are deep, and without a firm grasp on these truths, our disciples will never be able to grow to their full potential.
- Never assume that I am boring my disciples by re-teaching and reminding them what they already know. Why? Just because they know the truth doesn’t mean they know how to teach the truth. Also, just because they know the truth doesn’t mean they won’t forget certain aspects of the truth.
I’m a firm believer that people need to have a firm grasp on the foundational truths of assurance of salvation, forgiveness, the Spirit-filled life, purity, the importance of the Word and prayer, fellowship, and how to share the gospel. I find these foundational truths to be “the good stuff” or “the deep stuff.”
When I depart from this life, or from this role that I serve, or from my neighborhood, I hope I leave behind a bunch of people who can easily call to mind some biblical foundational truths to apply to their own lives and be confidently able to teach these truths to other people.
Posted by: Rich Duffield
Today you should read: 2 Peter 1:1-11
Our natural inclination when it comes to salvation and godliness it that we have to try really hard and “do something” for it. Many of us, if we are honest, do this without knowing it. There are many folks out there who believe that “religion” (working to get to heaven) is the way to go. Certain religious beliefs and practices even tell you that is how it is done. Today’s passage actually tells us this:
Outside of God’s power and grace we can do nothing godly, inside of it we don’t have to.
God’s power gives us the ability to do what is right and what pleases Him. However, this does not mean we have to keep up the good work in order to ensure our salvation.
Good works are an outflow of a changed heart that desires to serve God, not a heart that is trying to hold on to salvation. The life of a growing believer is one of humble gratitude and service given in thanks for what God has done.
So, according to verses 10-11, if your life doesn’t look like that, you need to consider where you are spiritually. It would be better for someone who thought they were a Christian for a long time but really wasn’t to repent and truly trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. To try to just keep up appearances as a church-goer and a do-gooder will only wear you out and, in the end, will be of no value. For those who would test your life and see that you are indeed in Christ and growing in Him, you have confidence that you are sealed by the Holy Spirit for all eternity and that Jesus will one day come again to bring you into His eternal kingdom where “you will receive a rich welcome.”
Posted by: Robbie Byrd
Today you should read: 1 Peter 5:1-14
If you were at CPC Richmond a few weeks ago, you know what lens I see this passage through. You may accuse me of being theologically informed by Pixar, but this Finding Nemo clip made the idea of Satan as “roaring lion seeking to devour” come to life. The angler fish = Satan. Us = Marlin and Dory. The little light: temptation and sin. Check it out:
In this final chapter of 1 Peter, we receive great instruction from an apostle who had to learn the hard way. Peter spoke from experience; he knew the danger that the church was going to face. After all, this Satan who was attacking the church is the same one of whom Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat”. This may be the driving force behind the preliminary admonition to pastors to “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock” (v.2-3).
Before getting to the famous “roaring lion” section, Peter gives us a few more tidbits on fending him off:
• Submit to our spiritual authorities in the church (v.5)
• Live with humility and let God be the one to lift you up (v.5-6)
• Leave your burdens at the foot of the cross (v.7)
• Remember that Jesus cares for you (v.7)
• Keep your eyes open and be alert to the spiritual realities that surround you (v.8)
With all this in mind, he then writes these serious words:
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9, ESV)
My encouragement to us today is simple: don’t allow sin to reign in your life. Resist temptation and choose what is good and holy. Every sinful enticement you face HAS A STRING ATTACHED. At the end of that string is a roaring lion seeking to kill you. Praise be to God that we have a Lion on our side, too. When you read the whole story, you’ll find that the lion mentioned in 1 Peter 5 meets his doom at the hand of the Lion in Revelation 5.
And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered…” Revelation 5:5a
Posted by: Todd Thomas
Today you should read: 1 Peter 4:12-19
Margaret has been a Christian since she was 12 years old. She is at the church every time the doors are open. She has been married to her husband Bill for a couple of years, but they do not have children yet. This past year she has really been facing some difficulty in her life. She lost her job about two weeks ago and is worried about how she and her Bill are going to pay their bills on her his salary alone. Also, she feels like many of her friends at church have stopped talking to her and have turned their backs on her.
The story of Margaret is based on some true events of a couple of different people’s circumstances that I know of. At first glance, it seems like Margaret is going through a trial and if she read our passage today she may categorize herself as sharing in Christ’s suffering. However, if we look a little deeper we may discover a different story all together.
The first question to ask is “what happened at work?” Come to find out Margret had been spending a lot of time on Facebook, and she was not completing the tasks that she had been given by the required deadlines. Her boss had spoken to her about this several times and had been monitoring her computer. Margret had not listened and missed a deadline for a big job which ended up being the final straw.
Second, “Why is she worried about being able to live on her husband’s salary?” Because Margret and her husband have not been faithful to stewarding God’s money and have a lot of credit card debt. Without her income they will not be able to make ends meet.
Third, “Why have her friends stopped talking to her?” Margret has been known as a bit of a busy body and would partake in the occasional gossip. Turns out she had been spreading rumors about a couple of ladies in the women’s ministry and they got wind of it. Now she has found that many of the women are doing things together and not inviting her.
Margret’s story sounds a lot more like the warning that Peter gave in verse 15. Sometimes we experience consequences for our sin and we need to repent. When we face suffering we need to always ask ourselves if there is any sin of our own that we need to take responsibility for.
Yet, if we are able to answer no, then we need to take heart in times of trials because Christ shows himself through our suffering. The ESV Study Bible gives a great encouragement to all believers that I want us to remember today:
Note on 1 Peter 4:14: To be insulted because one belongs to Christ is to be blessed by God, because in such times the Spirit of glory, the Holy Spirit, rests upon believers in an especially powerful way. Further, it is the same Spirit that rested on Jesus (Isaiah 11:2, Matthew 3:16) who now rests upon the believer.
Posted by: Chad Wiles
Today you should read: 1 Peter 4:1-11
1 Peter 4 is a powerful chapter! It has a lot that we need to take in today. This section is all about living for God. It shows us what that will look like.
Verses 1-6 tell us about the Change of Life that comes from us meeting Jesus. Peter summarizes in verse two, saying:
You won’t spend the rest of your life chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.
Does that sound like you?
He goes on:
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 (anything we put ahead of God).
Take a moment right now and think about how God has changed you since you met Him.
What’s different in your life now? How are you different from those you know who don’t have a relationship with God through Jesus?
Reflect on these verses…
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15
You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4
Verses 8-11 remind us that the change that Christ makes causes us to care for others.
In Love (v.8)
Love is the most important thing we do. Loving God and loving others.
How has your love for those in your family and around you been evident this week?
In Hospitality (v.9)
Open your home, share a meal, provide for a need…
When’s the last time you did this?
In Service (v.10-11)
How do you regularly serve God and His church?
Are you using the spiritual gifting that God gave you?
Posted by: Tim Parsons
Today you should read: 1 Peter 3:13-22
Apologetics & Suffering
Today we read one of the most popular passages in Scripture among Christians when discussing the importance of apologetics (the defense of our Christian faith).
1 Peter 3:15 says:
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
I can write a whole sermon, let alone small devotion on this passage alone but I’d rather take the time to focus on its surrounding verses. Before and after Paul mentions the importance of defending our faith (always be prepared, you will be asked when showing the hope within you) and how to do it (with gentleness and respect), he shares the context in which the church is to share their faith. That context is one of suffering. This is important because I think it’s easiest to defend our beliefs when our beliefs seem to be profiting us. But can we honor Christ as Holy in our hearts and defend our faith when it seems like the world is crumbling around us (vs. 14, 16 & 17). Can you defend God’s Word concerning the sanctity of marriage when labeled as a bigot for doing so? Can you tell someone that there is only one way to Heaven when called simple-minded for saying so? Can you share the Gospel when that very Gospel message will put your life and families’ life in danger for doing so? If you thought defending your faith was already hard enough, read beyond verse 15 and see the context in which Peter is telling us to do so. Thankfully, we’re reminded that it was God’s Will for Christ to suffer for us and, like Jesus; we are blessed and many times used by God when suffering for the Gospel (vs. 17-18).
Now for the two confusing and at times controversial topics in the chapter:
Jesus preaches to the “imprisoned spirits” who didn’t listen to Noah? (vs. 18-20)
These passages have been interpreted in three different ways. Two that fit along with our general orthodoxy of Christian faith and one that does not. The first interpretation explains the “imprisoned spirits” as actual lost human beings from Noah’s day who are now suffering judgment for lack of obedience and faith. The Spirit of Christ was actually speaking through Noah as an OT prophet and was trying to save them from God’s upcoming wrath. This passage just brings this up as it refers to the waters of the flood as they relates to the next controversial subject in this chapter, baptism. This belief was held by many church fathers like Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and somewhat John Calvin.
The second interpretation is that the “imprisoned spirits” are fallen angels who are in hell waiting for the final judgment. The message Christ proclaimed would’ve been one of final victory over sin, Satan, these fallen angels and death instead of a proclamation of salvation for the demons. The following link helps explain this interpretation. http://www.gotquestions.org/spirits-in-prison.html
The third interpretation is that Jesus actually went to hell and offered salvation to lost souls. This goes against much of Scripture which indicates that our opportunity to respond to the Gospel is only here on earth (Luke 16:26, Heb. 9:27).
Baptism as a means of salvation? (vs. 21-22)
The last two passages talk about baptism and the ark of Noah. In both illustrations, the waters of baptism and the waters surrounding Noah’s ark (I’m pretty stoked for the upcoming Russell Crowe Noah flick, by the way) represent a sense of God’s judgment and that the ark and Jesus save us from that judgment. Some people like to use this passage to justify the false doctrine of baptism being necessary for salvation because it says “Baptism… now saves you” but those people seem to ignore the following sentence “not as a removal of dirt from the body” which indicates that the passing of water over the body does not cleanse anyone. When Peter wrote vs. 21 he was saying that what baptism represents saves you; just like Lord’s Supper and the covenant of marriage don’t save someone. It’s what each one of these things represent that does the miraculous work of salvation; and what they all represent is the Gospel clearly proclaimed in verse 18:
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,
Posted by: Erik Koliser
Today you should read: 1 Peter 3:8-12
“Hey, your middle school called; they want their drama back!” That’s what I want to say sometimes when people aren’t willing to deal with their issues with others. It’s especially frustrating within the church when people continuously have contention with one another. It’s even more saddening and frustrating when there is an inability to have a like-mind about a petty issue.
Our passage today tells us how to be/stay unified. Let’s break down the characteristics of unity that Peter lists in verse 8 so we can avoid unnecessary drama. In the NASB, Peter exhorted Christians to be:
• Harmonious: The Greek word used here is homophron, which is formed from two words (homo=same, and phron=mind or cognitive faculties). Peter said we are to have the same mind. This takes effort because individuals do not always begin with like minds.
• Sympathetic: This word literally means to suffer or feel like another. To be sympathetic is to have compassion for another. Another way to put it is to “put yourself in the other person’s shoes.”
• Brotherly: The Greek word here is philadelphos. The city of Philadelphia is called the city of brotherly love. The idea here is that we love others as if we would our brother or fellow countryman. We have to choose to love our fellow Christians and sisters as brothers and sisters.
• Kindhearted: This word means to be compassionate and tender-hearted towards others. Another way to put it is simply to be nice to others. Isn’t it amazing how noticeable and refreshing it is when someone is nice to you? Well, others feel the same when you are nice to them. Is there someone you need to be nice to this week?
• Humble in spirit: This word is similar to the previous one. It means to be kind or courteous. The opposite would be to go out of our way to be resentful, unkind, or spiteful. It’s not always easy to be kind, but we must choose to be humble in spirit.
Verse 9 gives one of the most difficult challenges in all of Scripture. It tells us not to return evil for evil or insult for insult. Instead, we should give a blessing when we are offended. My first thought when I am offended is revenge. The Bible tells me my first thought should be reward. I should give out a blessing to the one who offends me. I admit that I definitely have not perfected this exhortation. In fact, I might be one of the worst at it. If someone bothers me, my instinct is to make them feel miserable. I instead need to attempt give them a blessing and do what verse 8 says to do.
Difficult? Yes. Impossible? No.
Verses 10-12 speak for themselves. No explanation needed. Let’s be people who live out the truths of this whole passage and live in unity, and be quick to confess where we are falling short.
Posted by: Rich Duffield
Today you should read: 1 Peter 3:1-7
The discussion of the roles and positions of men and women, particularly in marriage, has become a heated topic in recent days. Men have become lazy and apathetic to their roles and responsibilities and women have stepped in to try to gain control, into a position God never intended for them. I will be the first to say that I do not know why God designed everything to work like this, with men as leaders and women as submissive helpers but He did. And we all know that things work better when we do them God’s way.
So how does this play out in the best possible way? I think we see 3 key principles that allow God’s way of marriage to work beautifully.
This is not a “do as I say” dictator-like submission but rather a God-honoring humility that submits to God’s ways, not our own. Today’s passage speaks directly to women in the area of submission and says that it is the best way to spur your husband on to growing in the Lord, whether they do not know Him (verse 1) or they are a believer. You see, when a husband feels freedom to lead and grace from his family when he messes up leading becomes much easier. Now, for the guys out there, submission is not a platform for you to have everything your way. We will see that in a moment.
Now for the boys, we are called to do two things in this passage in relationship to a wife. The first is to be considerate. Considerate means to consider someone other than yourself, in this instance, your wife. Now, back to what we said earlier, submission is not about you getting everything because a truly considerate husband will want what is best for his wife and family. You see how that works. It is so amazing when this all plays out. A wife allows her husband to lead out and make decisions and the husband “considers” what decision and direction would be best for his family. Win-Win. The last principle is this. . .
Peter decided the guys needed a little more help than the ladies here I guess, because he gave us two principles. We are also called to respect our wives. We are not to be prideful and think of ourselves, our needs our job, etc. as more important or of greater value than our spouses. Maybe your wife is a stay-at-home mom or only works part-time or makes less money than you. Maybe you work like a dog, putting in 60-70 hours or more a week. Gentlemen, this does not entitle us to any special privileges above our wife. We must always treat our wife with grace and respect because they matter to God just as much as we do.
Posted by: Robbie Byrd
Today you should read: 1 Peter 2:18-25
Apparently, Peter isn’t a fan of the prosperity gospel. If the previous chapter and a half didn’t give it away yet, chapter 2:18-25 surely will.
The lie that many Christians have bought into — and many poor Bible teachers have propagated — is that if you walk with God, you’ll be free of life’s troubles. You’ll get more money and fame. You’ll have the picture-perfect family. You won’t face anything difficult. The problem with that is, well, Jesus. No one walked more closely with God than He did. Where did it take Him? To the cross. His treasure wasn’t here on earth; it awaited Him where He is today, at the right hand of the throne of God.
When you look at most of the faith-filled Bible characters we deem heroes, their devotion to God led to suffering for God. Ultimately, this brought glory to God and advanced His kingdom, which we would wisely see as God’s ultimate goal. Prosperity gospel proponents must do some serious hermeneutical gymnastics to get around passages like today’s reading. These passages bring so much clarity to the Christian life. They teach us that a true life in Christ is more about Jesus being our treasure, not the stuff He gives us. But in a culture where gift is elevated above Giver, this becomes increasingly more difficult to keep in proper perspective.
The reality that we need to keep, at least in the back of our minds, is this: our faith will become difficult at times, and we may be met with persecution and suffering. Please don’t misunderstand me: nowhere in scripture is the desire for suffering condoned, but we should expect it to come not only in spite of our faith, but at times because of it. Yes, you heard that correctly. Living for Jesus may lead to suffering. Sounds a little different from the misguided foolishness of the prosperity gospel, doesn’t it?
We must all be reminded that we deserved to suffer for all of eternity. We chose our own way, and sin has devastatingly marred our planet. God could have left us to our own devices and damned us to hell for eternity. Instead, He offered us hope. Let’s rejoice today in the fact that the most harsh suffering we would have faced was taken on by Jesus in our place. That’s the hope Peter gives us in v.21-25:
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:21-25, ESV)
What do I apply from today’s passage? A few simple ideas:
1) Rejoice in the truth that you won’t suffer for your sins for eternity. Jesus already did that for you!
2) Don’t allow sin to rule in your life! Jesus didn’t die so you could continue to enjoy your sinful lusts. His resurrection proved that, through Him, sin is defeated. Don’t love what God hates.
3) When suffering comes, keep the gospel in mind. Suffer well. Others are watching. How we respond to suffering reflects how deeply we believe in Jesus.
4) Steer clear of prosperity gospel teachers. They do little to help us keep our grasp on the true gospel. Health, wealth, and prosperity is promised to us in the gospel, but not here on this planet until the New Heavens and New Earth arrive. Anyone who teaches that if you follow Jesus, you will prosper in any other way but spiritually is peddling claims that Jesus never made. More on false teachers is coming in 2 Peter…
Much love to you CPC!
Posted by: Todd Thomas
Today you should read: 1 Peter 2:13-17
Two of the most controversial subjects in our culture are religion and politics and in today’s passage we are going to address both. The question that we must first ask ourselves is what responsibility do we have as believers when it comes to our governmental leaders? If we disagree with policies or procedures of our President then does that give us the right to ignore or disobey the law? When you disagree with who is in leadership do you pray for them or do you slander them?
Peter gives us some clear instruction about how we should approach our Government leaders…….
1. We should submit ourselves to authority based upon the sovereignty of God. What Peter is not saying is that the Government is always right and that they follow the scripture. What Peter is saying is that God is the one who has put leaders in their place for a purpose. Basically God is God and we are not. So, if we do not believe that our leaders are doing what is best then we should pray diligently for them. God is the one who is in control so we should pray to him and trust in his overall plan. Is your faith in God or in the government?
2. We should seek to be an example. Often we can get an attitude of blame upon the government for the issues of the world. I do agree that our government has issues but change happens through us. God has called us to be his ambassadors to the world and as we impact our own personal area of influence then true change will happen (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). How often do you fight sin in your own life? Do you seek accountability? How often do you read the word of God? How often do you build relationships in order to share the gospel? We have to remember that the worst thing in our world is that man has rejected God and people are going to Hell.
3. Our main purpose is love. I cannot say it much better then Peter did in verse 17:
Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
Can you say that your life matches the instruction given in this verse? If not what needs to change?
Posted by: Chad Wiles
Today you should read: 1 Peter 2:4-12
I hope you’re enjoying our study through Peter. What a great book! When you read today’s passage you stumble upon several word pictures that must be explained.
Why is Christ the Cornerstone of God’s Temple?
The temple was the place where God dwelt. A few months ago I had the incredible privilege of traveling to Israel, and while in Jerusalem I visited the Wailing Wall. This is the closest point you can get to where the Holy of Holies was – the place where God dwelt. Now we know that God is omnipresent – everywhere at once and that He lives in all believers through His Spirit – but there was something very special about being in a place where the glory of God resided. To this day if you address an envelope to God – that is where they deliver it.
A picture of me praying at the Western Wall
Verse four reminds us that Jesus is the LIVING cornerstone to God’s temple. The cornerstone is what the building is built on – it’s what holds it all together. Jesus is that stone in God’s plan for the world
Why are followers of Christ living stones?
God has, by His grace, allowed us to be a part of his plan for the world. Jesus is the cornerstone – but you and I are living stones – we a part of it all. We must trust Him and recognize the honor God has given Him (v.7). Even though others rejected Him, God made Him the cornerstone (v.7b). God has made us His chosen people – royal priests – a holy nation. He’s called us out of darkness and sin into His wonderful light (v.8)
Because of this, we are temporary residents of this world – this world is not our home – heaven is. So we must be careful to not act like those who do not know God in our behavior (vs.11-12).
Posted by: Tim Parsons
Today you should read: 1 Peter 2:1-3
Well, that was quick. Three verses. That’s all we asked for you to read today as you follow along in God’s Word with our church. That’s it. Since you only had to read three verses today let’s make sure you get the most out of today’s commentary on those three important and powerful verses.
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 1 Peter 2:1
After reminding the church of the Gospel; how it’s our hope, our reason to persevere, and what makes us holy and imperishable because it’s God’s Word, Peter now exhorts us to repentance in order to receive all of the benefits that he mentions in chapter one. In the original language with its unique definition from the Greek, Peter tells us to put away…
Kakiða: Malice; a desire to injure, a wickedness that is not ashamed to break laws, evil, depravity, trouble.
Do/lov (dolos): Deceit; craft, guile.
u(po/krisiv (hupokrisis): Hypocrisy; to reply or answer as if on the stage, play acting, play a part, to feign, pretend.
fqo/nov (Phthonos): Envy; jealousy, a grudge, spite, a strong feeling (desire) that sours, due to the influence of sin.
Katalalia: Slander; defamation, evil speaking, backbiting.
As we all know, there are many other sins that Jesus died for and that Christians need to repent of listed in the Bible. However I do find it interesting that Peter happens to mention the five that the church tends to allow to creep in and will turn a blind eye to at times. Are you currently struggling with any of these sins that God so bluntly tells us to “put away”? Notice how the word “ALL” is mentioned a couple of times describing these sins.
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation 1 Peter 2:2
Peter then calls us babies, but not in a negative way. I know what you’re saying… How can you call an adult “a baby” in a way that is positive? Well, quit jumping to conclusions over there and I’ll tell you. He says, “LIKE a baby longs (desires) milk, Christians must long for (desire) pure spiritual milk which stands for God’s Word (as he mentions at the end of chapter 1). Just like a baby can’t grow without milk, we Christians cannot grow without a regular time of hearing from God in Scripture.
I also love the word “PURE” mentioned before “spiritual milk.” Not to open a can of worms and get all healthy, organic and weird on you (because if you know anything about me I’m only 2 of the 3) but there’s a reason why hospitals require new moms to sign off on a class about why breastfeeding is a healthier option than formula for a newborn. I’m not one of those hipster extremists who believe that parents who do otherwise should be reported to social workers (who happen to guilt many moms who have a legit hard time breastfeeding, etc.) but one can’t argue that “PURE” milk is the healthier, better option. That word “PURE” in the Greek (adolos) means unmixed, unadulterated and guileless. This is why a Christian truly matures in their faith and grows when THEY get into God’s word instead of trying to get fed by hearing it once a week in church or just listening to a whole bunch of podcasts of their favorite preacher and their opinions on it. Are you spending time in God’s Word outside of church and others opinions of it?
if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:3
Of course, putting away and repenting of sin while growing in God’s Word really won’t matter if you don’t have a relationship with the God that is speaking to you, and that’s the purpose of verse three. Unless you have tasted that the Lord who is telling you to do these tough things is truly good and for you (Psalm 34:8), it doesn’t matter how much you’re trying to not sin or read the Bible for yourself. In fact, you’re just a moral, disciplined heathen when doing this without an actual relationship with Jesus. Christians will only continue to hate sin and long for God’s Word if they have tasted that the Lord is good in salvation and the Holy Spirit who opens up their eyes to these things. Are you trying to live a holy life under God’s Word without having experienced a moment and time where you came to know the Lord Jesus Christ and tasted His goodness? Do you believe that there’s nothing you can truly do to rid yourself of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander no matter how much time you spend in God’s Word or at church? Instead a perfect, holy savior died on the cross for those very sins and then rose from the grave defeating those sins and all you need to do is repent and have faith in that Savior to taste that goodness that Peter describes. Because it’s unlike any others taste that this world has to offer.
Posted by: Erik Koliser
Today you should read: 1 Peter 1:13-25
Verse 13 is a powerful challenge and exhortation. Here it is from the NASB:
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.—I Peter 1:13
First, let’s determine what the “therefore” is there for. In verses 10-12, Peter makes it clear that the readers have grasped an understanding of salvation. Since they understand salvation and are in the midst of persecution, they should, “therefore,” do what the next few verses exhort them to do. I want to comment on just a one of Peter’s exhortations.
In verse 13, Peter told the readers to prepare their minds for action. Some other translations and paraphrases word this phrase like this:
“Turn the robes of your mind into running shorts. Pull them up between your legs and tuck them into your belt” (Piper)
“So then, have your minds ready for action” (TEV)
“So brace up your minds” (Amp)
“Be serious and thoughtful rather than shallow and flippant in attitude” (Morris)
“Having tied up at the waist the clothes of your mind” (ALT)
As followers of Christ, we must prepare our minds for action. Imagine a football team entering a game without any preparation, or a construction company building a house with no blueprints. Imagine taking a test at school without studying, or going to battle in war without any kind of preparation. Imagine a Christian trying to go through the day without first preparing their mind for action? None of us would ever enter the day without preparing our minds for action…would we? Actually, I’d say many of us enter some of our days without preparing our minds for action.
Christians, we have to get ready for what each day holds for us. We prepare by seeking fellowship with Him in prayer and in the Word. We prepare by surrendering our day to Him and committing to obedience. We surrender by asking Him to take His place on the throne of our lives. We prepare mentally by choosing to believe that each person I meet is a potential divine appointment to share the gospel. We prepare by being trained and equipped to share the gospel and disciple other people.
Have you prepared your mind for action today? What do you need to do to better prepare your mind for action? What do you do to keep your mind ready for action?
Posted by: Rich Duffield