His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3-4 HCSB
Having the right tools always makes a job easier. My children gave me a new power washer for my birthday. This weekend I used it to clean the gutters and siding on my house. It was amazing how easy it made the job and how new it made everything look. Without the power washer it would have taken a much longer time to complete the task and the end product would not have looked as clean.
God has given you all the tools you need to be a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Through a relationship with Jesus we all receive everything we need for this life and for the life to come. The power to live a godly life comes from God, who allows us to share in His divine nature. Through the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells within each believer, we can resist the temptations of our world and do what is right. In so doing, we bring honor and glory to God.
Challenge: Thank God for allowing you to share in His divine nature by providing the Holy Spirit to convict you and guide you to do what is good and pleasing to Him.
Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little. 1 Peter 5:10 HCSB
When my son, Jonathan, was sixteen years old he wanted an old Mustang to restore. We diligently searched and finally found a 1966 Mustang that we could afford. It needed some work but we knew we could work on it together. Not knowing if we were going to purchase it, I was able to surprise Jonathan when he got out of school one day. He was so proud of it, even though it needed a lot of work. We restored the inside with new seats, carpet, dashboard, door panels, etc. The outside had some rust spots that needed repair and the body needed to be painted professionally. We located an auto body shop that would restore this portion for the price we could afford. They stripped the paint off all the way back to the metal, fixed the rust spots, and then repainted it a bright red. It took nine months, but it was well worth the wait. The transformation was amazing! The new chrome and paint made the Mustang look brand new. I remember picking it up and taking it to Jonathan at college. Again, he was so excited. We still have the Mustang today and enjoy taking it to car shows.
Peter reminds us that God is in the transformation and restoration business. God will restore, establish, strengthen, and support all of us. He takes a sinner that is scarred and beaten up by the sins of the world and transforms and restores him to a right relationship with Himself. Peter was trying to encourage Christians that were being persecuted by reminding them that even though they may suffer as a result of persecution, God would restore and strengthen them in troublesome times.
Challenge: Allow God to transform and restore you. It may take a while, but remember that God is making you into the person He wants you to be. God is not finished with you yet. Be patient. Thank God for loving you and transforming you into a finished product that is beautiful.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you. 1 Peter 5:6 HCSB
I have heard it jokingly said, “It is hard to be humble when you are as great as I am.” No one likes a person whose arrogance makes everyone else feel uncomfortable and worthless. Most of us want to be recognized for our abilities and desire positions of power and status, but Peter reminds us to humble ourselves and seek God's recognition rather than human praise.
God hates a person with pride but rejoices in the person who is humble. Jesus Christ was the Son of God, yet He humbled Himself and willingly died on the cross for the sins of the world. He even said, “I have come to serve and not to be served.” Jesus admonished guests to sit at the least favorite place at the table when invited to dinner so the host could exalt them by placing them in the best seat rather than first assuming the best seat and then having the host move them to a lesser position. Humility is an admirable quality that everyone should desire.
Challenge: Humble yourself and obey God regardless of your circumstances either bad or good. In God's perfect timing He will recognize and honor you for your humble spirit.
Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 1 Peter 5:9 HCSB
I once attended a men's conference and to illustrate a point, the speaker had set several bear traps on the stage. He then introduced his son and proceeded to blindfold him. He positioned his son on one side of the stage and asked the audience to be completely silent so he could give his son exact instructions on how to walk through the bear traps to the other side of the stage without getting hurt. The audience was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. The speaker slowly instructed his son to take so many steps forward and then turn a certain direction and walk so many steps. He would then tell him to turn another direction and walk a certain number of steps. When the son reached the other side of the stage safely, the father hugged him and the audience exploded with applause.
The point of the illustration was that the Devil sets traps in our path to try to trap us and to hurt us, but if we will listen to our Heavenly Father's voice we can avoid the traps of life and reach the other side safely. Peter reminds us in this verse that the Devil is like a lion looking for a person he can devour. I think the Devil views Christians much like a big juicy steak and works overtime on getting them to fall into one of his traps. He works even harder on ministers and people in positions of authority because he knows that by destroying their lives he not only destroys the life of that individual but also impacts the lives of those they lead in some way.
Challenge: Do not be the Devil's supper. Be alert and on your guard so you can defeat the Devil. Read God's Word and memorize 1 Peter 5:9 along with others so you can resist the Devil's temptation and be victorious. Pray for your ministers and leaders that they might not fall into temptation.
In the same way, you younger men, be subject to the elders. And all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. 1 Peter 5:5 HCSB
In my observation it seems that younger men do not have as much respect for older men as in times past. In some cultures one's elders are often held in high esteem and looked to for leadership and wisdom. It seems that in American culture today, it is exactly the opposite. The older a person becomes, the less respected he is and is often viewed as someone who is out of touch with reality. I think that is why we are seeing more and more very young people in management positions of large cooperations and churches. Older people are often discarded as much younger people are hired in their place.
This verse is a reminder to the younger generation to look to their elders and come under their authority. In Biblical times, older people were considered to have wisdom according to their years of experience. I think both the young and the old can benefit from Peter's words. Often older people have too much pride and feel they deserve a certain position because of their age. Similarly, younger people will often not benefit from the experience of older men because they think they know more than an older person. Peter tells both the young and old to humble themselves and to serve one another. The young should follow the leadership of older men and the older men should lead by example.
Challenge: Respect and honor those who are older and listen to those who are younger. You might gain a few good ideas and words of wisdom. Be humble enough to admit that you do not know it all and that you can learn from others – both those who are younger and those who are older.
Therefore, as a fellow elder and witness to the sufferings of the Messiah and also a participant in the glory about to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you: Shepherd God's flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God's will, not for the money but eagerly; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 1 Peter 5:1-3 HCSB
In my forty years in full-time ministry I have had times of joy and excitement as I witnessed God working in the lives of those to whom I had been called to minister; occasionally I have been depressed and discouraged because of frustration brought on by lack of response or the feeling thatno matter what I did, it really did not matter. God has richly blessed me with many different ministry opportunities and I have had the privilege of making many friends across the United States. I am thankful that God called me to ministry and has used me as His instrument to impact many lives.
Peter was speaking to those who were elders, sometimes translated as pastor. Peter was one of the twelve disciples, but in this verse he identified himself as a fellow elder. Headmonished those who were leaders to shepherd God's flock and to set an example for the flock. This is the same command that Jesus gave to Peter (see John 21:15-17) – “Feed my sheep.”
Challenge: Even if you are not a pastor or elder in the church, God wants you to be an example and feed His sheep – those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. Pray for your pastors. They do not enter ministry for financial gain, but they choose to follow God's call on their lives. October is Pastor Appreciation month. Write your minister a note telling him that you appreciate what he does and how he ministers to those in your church.
So those who suffer according to God's will should, while doing what is good, entrust themselves to a faithful Creator. 1 Peter 4:19 HCSB
My son and daughter-in-law took a trip this summer to visit several of the National Parks, including Yellowstone National Park. They camped out most of the way and were able to see many fascinating sights and animals. One of the sights was Old Faithful, the geyser at Yellowstone. Old Faithful was given its name because it regularly or “faithfully” erupts according to predictions from years of routine frequency. A person can count on Old Faithful erupting.
A person can also count on God to be faithful and to fulfill all of His promises. In this verse Peter encourages all believers to trust God, the faithful Creator. God created the world and all of its perfect order. The world has been kept in perfect order since the beginning of time by a faithful God. If God can create the universe and everything in it, then surely He has the power to take care of each of us if we will only trust Him.
Challenge: Thank God that He is faithful and that you can count on Him to always do what He says He will do. Trust your life to the faithful God who has the power to take care of you and give direction to your life.
For the time has come for judgment to begin with God's household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God? And if a righteous person is saved with difficulty, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? 1 Peter 4:17-18 HCSB
God richly blessed me and my wife with four wonderful children that we are very proud. But I regret to say that all four children disobeyed us at some time. Each child had to suffer the discipline which was a result of him disobeying. Each child had to learn that their bad actions resulted in bad consequences. It was through these experiences that they learned what was right and wrong, what was acceptable behavior and what was unacceptable.
These verses are not referring to the final judgment but to God's discipline in the lives of believers (see Hebrews 12:7). From the beginning of time God has given man the freedom of choice. God allows mankind to choose to do what is right or wrong. When a person makes bad choices and sins against God then there are consequences for those poor choices. God allows the sin to show people the problems of sinning and to encourage them to turn from their evil ways. It also reflects the great mercy and forgiveness of God. It also prepares us to face more difficult challenges and temptations in the future.
Challenge: God allows us to sin because He knows that is what is best for us. It helps us to grow closer to Him and become more like Jesus as we face temptations and overcome them. Ask God to help you face the temptations in your life and when you do sin to have mercy and forgiveness for you.
But if anyone suffers as a “Christian,” he should not be ashamed but should glorify God in having that name. 1 Peter 4:16 HCSB
Have you ever been in a situation where you did not want people to know you were a Christian? Have you ever tried to hide your identity as a Christ-follower because others might ridicule you? I think we have all had some type of experience where we have been looked down upon because of our Christian beliefs. Sometimes Christians are known as being “religious” or “fundamentalist”.
Peter is telling his readers to expect suffering as a result of being a “Christian” – a follower of Jesus Christ. We should not be ashamed of being a Christian; rather we should be proud to take a stand for Christ and bring glory to God. Peter and John rejoiced when they were persecuted for preaching the Gospel (see Acts 5:41).
Challenge: Do not be ashamed of being called a Christian. The Scripture says that others will know we are Christians by our love. Be proud of being a Christ-follower. Love others with the same love that Christ has for you – even at the risk of ridicule or persecution.
Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory. 1 Peter 4:13 HCSB
When I read this verse it reminded me of an old song that I used when conducting Children's worship. The song is based on Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.” The lyrics for the song are simply the words from Scripture: “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. Rejoice. Rejoice. And again I say rejoice.”
Peter was reminding his readers that they should rejoice whenever they suffered just as Christ, the Messiah, suffered. The suffering is an indicator that we are children of God. Someday when Christ returns to earth to gather all who believe in Him, it will be a day of rejoicing because the glory of the Lord will be revealed to everyone.
Challenge: Make a list of the numerous reasons you have to rejoice. Include the abundant blessings God has provided. Spend time rejoicing and praising God for the many ways He has blessed you. Then make a list of any difficulties or problems that you are currently facing. This will be difficult, but again spend some time rejoicing and praising God. It is always easier to rejoice over the good in our lives and feel overwhelmed by the bad. As you rejoice over your challenges, your attitude will change and you will begin to see how God works His will through both the good and bad we encounter in life. Rejoice always, and again I say rejoice. Listen to the song Rejoice on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzyckxqXoZ4