Friday, March 23, 2007

I Peter 1:10

Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care,
(NIV)


Can this be said of you? Do you look intently for grace? Do you long for it? The prophets did. Many of them spoke of this great salvation, and longed for it their entire lives. The looking forward in faith, and the looking back in faith aren't really that much different.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I Peter 1:9

for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
(NIV)


It would be best if you were to go back and read through the previous verses, starting at verse 3. Since I know that you might be like me, and be a little bit lazy when it comes to going back over things, I have copied it here:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
(NIV)


I have the tendency, many times, when I see phrases that refer to salvation, to immediately go to thoughts of being saved from Hell. I would also say that many of us focus on that aspect of salvation, and it is truly a marvelous aspect. It is an absolute miracle that we have been saved from eternal judgement, like we deserve.

This passage, though, like so many others in scripture, focuses on the fact that we are saved from our sins. We have been made new. We are restored, and that restoration has given us a new nature.

We can receive the goal of our faith now. We do not have to wait. Salvation, true salvation, is much, much more than an escape from hell ticket.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I Peter 1:8

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
(NIV)


Where is the source of Joy again? It is rooted in Faith. You haven't actually seen Christ yet, but you believe in Him and know He is coming. He is as real to you... No. He is more real to you than any trial that you are facing. You love Him, and these things fill you with joy.

Be careful. People may think you are weird.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I Peter 1:7

These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
(NIV)


Here we have some answers. As humans, we are always asking, "Why? Why Lord?" Well, here is an answer: Why are you going through trials? So that your faith may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus comes. Pretty simple, huh.

Notice that your faith is of greater worth than anything that has worth on this earth. Everything here will perish, but when faith is refined... wow.

Why are you going through a hard time right now, so that you can know that you are going to see Christ, and so that when you see Him, you will glorify Him.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I Peter 1:6

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
(NIV)


A verse like this can be such a great comfort when you are going through a trial. Notice though two things.

One... We are to be rejoicing in these trials. It isn't a command in this particular passage, but instead, it is spoken like a fact. In other words, if you truly understand who you are in Christ, and what this means for you both now and in eternity, you will be rejoicing, even though you are going through trials now.

Two... Trials are assumed. They are going to happen, and all kinds of trials are going to happen. Being in Christ, being part of God's protection, doesn't mean trials won't come.

Take joy in these words today, not my words... the words of Paul. If you are going through a trial today, remember that these trials are going to happen. You are going to have easy times and you are going to have hard times, but the Spirit is there with you always. And remember who you are in Christ. Read these passages. Find others that talk about what Christ has done for you in order to give you a right stance before God.

Friday, March 16, 2007

I Peter 1:5

who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
(NIV)


What are we shielded from?

If you read on in the next few verses, you will see quite plainly that you are not shielded from life's hardships. There are many a Christian who has learned this truth the hard way. After they have chosen to follow God's path, there are many who meet with discouragement because they are still encountering trials and temptations.

When we read of the full armor of God, the shield of faith is used to quench the fiery darts of the devil. Faith is what makes it possible to believe in God's truths, without seeing them. None of us has seen the Father, but without seeing we believe, and we follow His ways.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I Peter 1:4

and into an inheritance that can never
     perish,
          spoil
               or fade
—kept in heaven for you,

(NIV)


The inheritance that was made possible by the resurrection of Jesus, will never perish. Nothing can destroy this inheritance. It isn't going away.

This inheritance will not go bad. We aren't going to get there and be disappointed. We won't turn our noses up like we just opened a container of sour cream that is really sour. The inheritance is there.

This inheritance will not diminish in any way. It is as solid as the keyboard that I am using to type this post. In fact, if you think about it, it is more solid than the keyboard, because it isn't going away, whereas this keyboard will one day be gone (no matter what kind of non-biodegradable plastic it is made out of).

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I Peter 1:3

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In his great mercy he has given us new birth
     into a living hope
     through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

(NIV)


Peter continues to focus our eyes and our thoughts on the one whom it is all about. We send praise up to the Father, all the while acknowledging the Son. It is the work of the Son that has made our salvation possible.

On a side note: recently I heard about someone "finding the body of Jesus." As ridiculous as that is, and as impossible as it is to prove something like that anyway, there is one important thing that I want to point out. You see, I heard on the radio, while they were advertising for this big program, one guy say that the finding of the body of Jesus wouldn't rock his faith.

Now, I don't believe that they will ever find the body of Jesus, because I believe that He is truly risen. He didn't stay in the tomb. The grave had no power over Him. But saying that it wouldn't rock my faith is ridiculous. Notice in this verse what was made possible by the resurrection of Jesus: Our Salvation!

If you found the exact spot where Jesus was buried, you might find a body there, but it won't be His.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I Peter 1:2

...who have been chosen
according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,
through the sanctifying work of the Spirit,
for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

(NIV)


There is so much theology in this verse. I could never do the entire thing justice. Consider though a couple of points:

First, notice the combined work of the trinity. We see the Father and the Spirit and the Son all doing this work of Salvation together. Sometimes it is easy to skip over the amazing miracle of the saving of a soul. It is no wonder that the angels rejoice when one soul is restored to fellowship with God.

Notice also that the choosing of God leads directly to our cleansing and our obedience. Salvation means something. There are divine actions associated with your salvation. We cannot see any of these actions, but we can see the results. God's actions will not return fruitless.

One last thing. Notice that there is Grace and Peace in abundance. This is written to those who are scattered throughout. Maybe they are feeling alone. Maybe they are feeling discouraged. Peter gently reminds them that there is Grace and Peace, even for them, but it is not because of their actions, it is to bring Glory to God for His goals and purposes in Salvation.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I Peter 1:1

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,

(NIV)


Peter begins this first letter with a bang. Besides seeing the "to:" and the "from:" we also get a couple of reminders.

The reminder is that we are God's elect. The word "elect" means chosen. We are God's chosen people. This phrase stems way back to the Israelites, who were always referred to as God's Chosen People. When the Jews rejected the Messiah, God (thankfully) broadened the scope of His chosen people.

I am trying to summarize, way too shortly, a very important concept. But notice that Peter just throws it in as a reminder to the recipients of this letter, so that they will know who they are.

We also have the reminder that we don't belong here. We are strangers in this world. Our citizenship is now in heaven, and we are just passing through.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Psalm 13:6

I will sing to the Lord,
for He has been good to me.

(NIV)


Here David ends his Psalm as we should all end the thoughts and prayers that we have. He ends with recognition of truth. The reality, though it seemed so bad, though it seemed that God wasn't listening, is that God has been good to him. And this goodness deserves praise, so David will sing to the Lord.

Take a step back and look at your reality. How has God been good to you? Maybe list some ways, and turn that to a prayer of praise.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Psalm 13:5

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
(NIV)


So many times in scripture I love to find the "but..." Things are looking bad, life is getting tough, but God is always there, reminding us of His amazing grace in all things.

When I first read this Psalm, I almost felt the uplift of these words. Notice though, the circumstances haven't changed. It is David who changes in this moment. It is David who is uplifted in Spirit. His trust in God leads to a heart that is rejoicing.

Have you ever had a time that you were surrounded by life's trials? Maybe that time is right now. Turn your eyes toward God and trust in Him.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Psalm 13:4

my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

(NIV)


Sometimes that is the absolute worst point. It doesn't seem to get any lower than when those around you, who are not on God's side, seem to say, "see. That God stuff didn't get you anywhere."

We always want to point it out to God. We want to say, "God I trusted in you, and you let Your name be dragged down!"

Our enemies seem to have triumphed over us.

The thought that I would tack onto this passage today is this: Why are you so distraught over the triumph of the enemy? Is it really because you are so concerned about God, or is it because of the cost it has had on you?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Psalm 13:3

Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;

(NIV)


I believe that this is the verse of transition. He still wants God to see him, but he also wants to hear from God. It is turning from looking at that small bubble of personal circumstances, to looking outside the bubble. Notice the phrase, "give light to my eyes..."

The question that I have for you today is this: When was the last time that you felt like you would die if you didn't hear from God?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Psalm 13:2

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
       and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

(NIV)


Sometimes I think that the answer to this question is till the day you die. At least that is what it feels like most of the time.

David is really struggling here. He feels as if God has abandoned him and won't answer him. His enemies are victorious over him. He can't even get control over his thoughts. It is no wonder that he is in sorrow every day.

Notice though, he is still turning toward God. Even when he feels that God is distant. The evidence that he is turning toward God is this Psalm. We are reading what he wrote. Whether he penned this when he was in the midst of these feelings or not, he is describing a situation, and the person he is speaking to is God.

You can't read through the Psalms without noticing that David believes that God is the source of all hope.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Psalm 13:1

How long, O Lord?
      Will You forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?

(NIV)


Have you ever felt this way? Felt like God had forgotten you, that He was never going to pay any attention to the details of your life again?

I know that I have.

I think that nearly every Christian goes through different periods of life where they feel this way. Sometimes it is because of sin, but many times it has nothing to do with sin at all.

If you read historical Christian biographies at all, you will know that you are not alone. If you read through the Psalms, you will know that there was at least one other man of God who has experienced this same thing... David.

It seems that there are so many times that David goes through this exact thing. But he isn't afraid to say it. He cries it out, "O God! Where are you?!?"

I have learned to be more open with God about how I am feeling because of David. He knows if we are feeling abandoned already.

There is one thing about being honest with God in this way: Sometimes what comes out of our mouths isn't pretty. We need to be willing to recognize this and deal with it. Sometimes you will see this with David's Psalms. He will start off this way, claiming that God hasn't been there, but before the Psalm is over, he is acknowledging God's presence and provision.

What is in you? How are you feeling about God today? And most importantly, who needs to change?