August 24, 2019

Today you should read: 1 Peter 1:8-12

Our passage in 1 Peter today is very powerful. Peter speaks of how the prophets have served these people who he is writing to, and honestly, the prophets can be seen as serving us today. They prophesied about the coming of Christ (v. 11-12), but what sticks out is that the Spirit of Christ was revealing these things to them. They prophesied through the Spirit, which is why their prophecies came true. The prophets have served these people and us because they spoke of the Messiah who was to come. And we know that the Messiah has come and His name is Jesus. 

This leads into verses 8-9. Even though we have not seen Jesus or will see Him physically, we can love and believe in Him because of the prophets and the testimony that comes from someone like Peter. If we believe and love Jesus, then we obtain, “the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” And if we obtain that, Peter says that we should, “rejoice with joy that is inexpressible”. 

How zealous are you for Jesus and the salvation that you have received from Him? I will often tell students, “If you have become numb to Jesus and what He did for you then you might want to check your heart and figure out what is wrong.” As Christians, we should rejoice daily for the fact that Jesus saved us from our sins, yet we often don’t do that. So what is holding you back from having a joy in Christ that is inexpressible? 

By: Brice Stockton — Student Ministry Apprentice

August 23, 2019

Today you should read: 1 Peter 1:3-7

Great Expectation

What an encouraging five verses for us today!   Peter is reminding us of what keeps us going – a Great Expectation of a priceless inheritance (v.4).

…kept in heaven for you (v.4)

…pure and undefiled (v.4)

…beyond the reach of change or decay (v.4)

…protected by God (v.5

This priceless inheritance is because of Jesus’ resurrection (v.3). This should cause us to give all of our praise to God – the Father of Jesus Christ.

So what can we look forward to because of our priceless inheritance ?

…wonderful joy (v.6)

…being truly glad (v.6)

What are our lives like now?

…you may experience trials (v.7)

…they prove that your faith is real (genuine) (v.7)

…they bring praise and glory and honor to Jesus (v.7)

How does it make you feel to realize your Great Expectation?  Have you been living in light of your priceless inheritance?  How will understanding this change how you live today?

By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor

August 22, 2019

Today you should read: 1 Peter 1:1-2

As we get started in 1st Peter, check out the Bible Project video for an excellent overview of the book:

Peter is writing to Gentile Christians spread throughout the Roman Empire. Although we are often tempted to browse over the first verses of New Testament books as the ol’ apostolic introduction, they are usually very helpful in understanding the book. Peter, in verses 1 & 2, is no different. 

Peter is using Old Testament covenant language here in reference to Gentile believers. These verses refer to God’s power and their status before Him. This is very important for the book of 1st Peter. This book is about hope for suffering Christians. Hope is found, not in our ability, but in God’s ability to fulfill his promises. 

I had a professor in seminary that would often say, “What God has done in the past is a pattern and a promise for what he will do in the future, but He’s too creative to do the same thing the same way twice.” The Exodus and Babylonian Exile show a microcosm of the lengths to which God will go that people will come to know Him. Exile means suffering for God’s people, but the possibility of redemption for those who do not yet know Him. 

We as Gentile believers fit squarely in what Peter is saying. We are in a time of Exile. This world is not our home. We have been grafted into God’s family (Romans 11) and have the future hope that has been promised. But we also have the obligation of the family business and the family reputation. The business is to see people brought into the family. However, our reputation brings resentment and hostility from a lost and dying world.

Nobody has more authority to write such a letter of hope than Peter. As an apostle, Peter is famous for sticking his foot in his mouth, and denying Christ three times during Jesus’ mock trials. After Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus redeems Peter on a beach through three confessions of love. Jesus then tells Peter the haunting news that he would be martyred for the faith (John 21:18–19). 

Peter knew that one day he would die for Jesus. It would be violent and torturous. And yet, Peter did ministry seemingly haunted by his denials of Christ. He knew his end, and nothing would prevent his faithful obedience ever again. 

Church, we may not know how we’re going to die. We just know we will. We may have the family reputation, but we must be about the family business. Like Peter, we must content ourselves with the inevitability of suffering. God is still good, even in suffering. He NEVER wastes our suffering. We may not understand it, but we can trust that it is used. Even still, our job is to suffer well through obedience, worship, and witness as we will continue to see in the rest of 1st Peter. 

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate

August 21, 2019

Today you should read: Deuteronomy 34:1-12

Today we come to the close of our journey through the book of Deuteronomy. Don’t miss tomorrow as we begin walking through 1 & 2 Peter together!

Today’s ending can probably be best described as a “hopeful” ending rather than a “happy” one. This is because Moses was not able to enter the promised land because of his disobedience (Deut. 32:51-52; for further study, check out this article). But God in his grace did allow Moses to see the promised land that he had worked his life to lead his people to, even if he did so imperfectly. It ends on a hopeful note because in God’s punishment for Moses’s disobedience, we see immediately following that God is still going to keep his promise to Israel by using Joshua to lead the people into the land.

What is also striking is how the focus of this passage is on God, not on Moses. Moses is said to be the greatest prophet in the history of Israel, and yet he was not able to fulfill the ultimate purpose of his leadership—to lead the people to the promised land. This should serve as a great reminder to us that we are completely dispensable. Yes, God chooses to use us and overcome our weaknesses, but he does not do so based off any merit of our own—he does it because of his grace and for the purpose of his glory. This is a great reminder to keep the focus off of ourselves, and direct it toward God.

As we close the book of Deuteronomy, what are some of the most important lessons you learned? Share and comment below!

By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Associate