Standing Firm

If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (1 Cor 10:12 NIV)


As an unschooled and ordinary man, filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter astonished the high priest and the teachers of the law by courageously proclaiming that salvation is only found in Jesus, and that there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. Courageously Peter declared before the Pharisees that “we must obey God rather than human beings”.Floggings and beatings for his faith could not stop Peter from daily teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah in the temple courts and from house to house.

Yet Peter still had more to learn about the magnitude of God’s grace. God miraculously spoke to Peter through a vision to convince him that he could eat the same food as Gentiles eat, and hang out with them. God had to teach Peter not to call anything impure that God had made clean. Peter had to absorb the fact that Jesus is the Lord of people from every nation.  When in obedience Peter accepted the centurion Cornelius’ invitation to be his guest, Peter, had the awesome opportunity to see the Holy Spirit poured out on Cornelius and his Gentile friends who believed in Jesus Christ.

Imprisoned by Herod, Peter fearlessly and peacefully slept chained between two soldiers until the Lord sent an angel to free him, and escort him out of the heavily guarded prison. Later when Peter’s friends came to visit him in Antioch we find Peter cowering in fear. The one whom the Lord had delivered from Herod’s clutches, and from everything that the Jews hoped would happen to him, drew back from the Gentiles and acted like a good Jewish person because he was afraid of being criticized. Paul, appealing to Peter’s value and dignity as a child of God, spoke to Peter about his sinful behavior and the impact it was having on Barnabas and his friends. Paul reminded Peter what is important – his faith in Jesus Christ expressing itself in love.

You stand firmly in your faith and boldly proclaim the Lordship of Christ in many places, but where do you cower in fear?

How might your actions be impacting those around you?

If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Cor 10:12-13 NIV).

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV)

Humility meets Anxiety

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV)


Humility and Anxiety sat down one day to have a conversation. Anxiety, with his brow wrinkled, sat there fretting and wondering if he would be allowed to speak first, and if he could communicate his thoughts clearly. Humility looked at Anxiety with kindness, and graciously asked, “So what is on your mind?” Without hesitating, Anxiety replied,

  • “I am not being noticed”
  • “My work is not appreciated”
  • “I am not receiving the praise I deserve”
  • “I don’t have the right skills”
  • “I am not good enough”
  • “God made a mistake, I am not enough”

Pausing to take a breath, Anxiety asked, “Am I making myself clear?”

Humility smiled and gently said, “Yes.”

Anxiety retorted, “But what about you; you sit there so peacefully, like nothing gets under your skin. What’s your secret?”

Humility replied softly,

  • “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”1
  • “God knows when I sit and when I rise” 2
  • “God is familiar with all my ways” 3
  • “God made me just right for this time and for this place” 4
  • “I am using the gifts and talents God has entrusted me with to the best of my ability” 5
  • “God fearfully and wonderfully made me, I am enough” 6

“Don’t you ever have doubts or fears?” wondered Anxiety.

“Of course I do,” said Humility. “The devil never ceases whispering into my ears. But I have become really good at throwing.”

“Throwing?” asked Anxiety.

“Yes,” said Humility. “It has taken years of practice, but now when Satan whispers doubts or fears into my heart, I take them and throw them with all my might into the deep, deep sea of Jesus’ grace7. And you know something, no matter how bad my aim is, they never come back to haunt me again. And the best part of all is the harder I throw them, the larger the splash of joy and peace that washes over my soul!”

Prayer

God of all grace, who called us to your eternal glory in Christ, we thank you that we can throw all our anxieties into your deep, deep sea of grace. Restore us, make us strong, firm and steadfast so that we can resist the devil. To you belongs all the power for ever and ever. Amen.


[1]– Ps 23:1;[2] – Ps 139:2; [3] – Ps 139:3; [4] – Esther 4:14; [5] – Matt 25:14-30; [6] – Ps 139.14; [7] – 1 Peter 5:7

Choose Your Attitude – 1 Peter 4:12-19

Choose Your AttitudeDear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in as much as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13 NIV)


What is your attitude when people react positively or negatively upon learning of your faith in Christ? Are you surprised? Or are you filled with joy, rejoicing in your continued fellowship with your Savior who also suffered and yet was without sin? Is fear of how people might treat you, keeping you from courageously walking forward into the next phase of your life or making an important decision?

Victor Frankl a brilliant doctor whom the Nazis imprisoned in a concentration camp learned that “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”1 You can choose to respond to people in ways that glorify God.

God’s Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might and knowledge rests upon you. This is a present reality, not just a future hope. Today God offers you the wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge and strength to respond with grace when people react to your faith and Christian worldview.

Your faithful creator holds the future and knows what your future holds. Your hope does not rest on what people think of your worldview, or what people say about you. Your hope rests in the one who created you and this world. Entrust your life in every moment and in every circumstance to God’s gentle, protective care for safekeeping. God is faithful, he is worthy of your trust. Demonstrate your trust by doing good, by following Christ’s example. Remember that the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their prayer.2 Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, then your heart will be filled with joy!

Prayer

Gracious father we commit our lives to you, our faithful creator. Fill us with your joy when we participate in the sufferings of Christ so that we may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. Amen


Scripture– 1 Peter 4:12-19 NIV

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in as much as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.


[1] Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning (Boston: Beacon Press, 2006), 66.
[2] 1 Peter 3:12 NIV

A life Marked by Grace 1 Peter 4:1-11

Be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. (1 Peter 4:7 NIV)


Prepare yourself mentally for action – For the act of walking away from your past life and satisfying your own desires. Make a clean break from sin, even as Christ’s finished work on the cross dealt once and for all for sin.

Boldly walk into a new life marked by grace– A life that desires to do the will of God.

  1. A life framed by prayer;
  2. A life of generosity and hospitality;
  3. A life of service where you use your gifts in the workplace as faithful stewards of God’s grace. Serving with the strength God provides.
  4. A life of gracious speech where in every situation you only speak the words of God, words of life, words of hope, words of joy, words of peace, words of love.
  5. A life rooted in deep love for all other believers. For together we are being built up into a spiritual house, a holy royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession. Our love for each other needs to be as constant and enduring as the word of God that lasts forever. When you love other Christians you enable them to be a reconciling presence in their workplace, you enable them to love, you enable then to offer hospitality – you enable them to serve with the gifts God has blessed them with.

When you are willing to suffer for the good of others; when you are willing to put the interest of others before your own; before your career interests, before your financial interests; then you become a reconciling presence in the workplace. Then you are done with sin in your life.

Choose to live this way so that God may be praised through Jesus Christ. Choose to live a life marked by grace for God’s glory. You are able to live this way because God has filled you with the power to live this way.

Prayer

Gracious Father, thank you for your grace. Help us to live our lives today to your glory and honor so that in all things you may be praised. Amen


Scripture– 1 Peter 4:1-11 NIV

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result,they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body,but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

An Oasis of Grace

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic,love one another, be compassionate and humble. (1 Peter 3:8)


Imagine coming into a place of work today that is a sacred space,an oasis of grace. A place where everybody shows sincere love for each other. Where there is gentleness and mutual respect for the talents and skills each person brings to the job. Where people submit to the leaders of their department or company for the Lord’s sake. Imagine an organization where people are tender-hearted and humble. Where empathy flows freely. Where insults are replied to with blessings. Envision a culture of peace marked by open, honest conversations. Envisage co-workers focusing on what is true, honorable, right, pure, loving and admirable. Imagine a workplace where you are respected for the skills and talents God has blessed you with, and where you are given opportunities to flourish and make meaningful contributions.

What thoughts are going through your mind as you picture this workplace? What would the conversations be like in this workplace? What would happen when you made a mistake, or you couldn’t quite figure out how to do your job in this workplace? What would people say to you when you come in to work carrying the joys and burdens of life? Would getting up this morning have been easier had you known that this described your work environment?

Although none of your work places are exactly like this,there are glimmers of some of these attributes in every work place. Which of these characteristics do you see in your workplace albeit not perfectly? Take a moment and praise the Lord for these.

Our Lord, Jesus, when he walked the earth created sacred spaces of grace in every interaction he had with other people. As he builds us up together into a spiritual temple and to be a holy priesthood, as he pours out his grace on us, we too, together, can create sacred spaces, oases of grace.

How could you live your life in such a way that within your sphere of influence you could create a sacred space, an oasis of grace for your co-workers?

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. [Psalm 34:4]

Prayer

Lord, thank you that your eyes are on the righteous, and your ears are attentive to their cry. Grant us the courage and wisdom to create an oasis of grace where we work. Amen.

Freedom

Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil. (1 Peter 2:16)


Christ has set you free! Free from the impossibility of earning God’s favor. Free from guilt. Free from the ruling power of sin which wages war against your soul. You have been set free from the need to return insults with insults; from the need to retaliate; from contempt, ridicule, envy, slander, jealousy and hatred.

You have the freedom to choose to submit yourself to every human authority, knowing that they are powerless to rob you of your identity in Christ. Freedom to choose to respect everyone for who they are, and the position God has allowed them to have, knowing that they, like you are created in God’s image. You have been set free so that you can choose to submit yourself to your manager, not only the good and considerate ones, but also the harsh ones.

Your freedom is rooted in Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect who bore your sins on the cross, so that you might die to sin and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed [1 Peter 2:24]. Jesus chose to trust God’s perfect plan so that you have a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. [1 Peter 1:3-4] An inheritance which no one can take away from you.

Your freedom is established in the fact that you are God’s child. Choose today to follow in the footsteps of your Lord and Savior who committed no sin, and entrusted himself to God the Father who judges justly. Your freedom comes as you in faith entrust everything that is happening in your life to God. Entrust yourself, your life, your pain, the injustices you experience to the one who judges justly in mysterious ways that are beyond comprehension. Trust the shepherd and overseer of your soul for justice, as he supernaturally builds his Kingdom. Live your life in such a way, that when those you work with and rub shoulders with on a daily basis see your good deeds, they will glorify God.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for setting us free. Father thank you that you judge every situation justly. Fill us with your grace and mercy so that we can show respect to everyone, and to submit to the human authorities that you have established. Amen

God’s Special Possession

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. (Ps 118:22-23 NIV).


You are one of God’s chosen people; you are part of a royal priesthood, a holy nation. You are God’s special possession, loved by God. You have received mercy. So continue to delight yourself in God’s life generating, life giving, nourishing living word! Then you will see the marvelous things that God is doing!

God is taking the unique skills and talents he has blessed you with, and is using you along with all those who believe in Christ to build his spiritual house, his dwelling place. This house is built upon Jesus, God’s precious chosen cornerstone. This cornerstone is a living stone. It isn’t a breathless, lifeless stone that can’t give guidance or hear or understand. It is a living, loving, redeeming, solid foundation upon which you can build your life.

God’s house is a place filled with living hope, where there is no shame and where you are loved unconditionally. This house is decorated with the imperishable beauty of the holiness and faith of your life. It is a place where brokenness and sickness are held in love and given meaning. You will not find malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy or slander in God’s house. It is a place where you rub shoulders with strangers and create a safe community that is spacious enough for everyone. Here you, your work, and your life are given purpose. Here Jesus takes everything you do and purifies them into sacrifices that ascend as a sweet aroma to God’s throne bringing him delight.

Prayer

Truly Lord, you have done a marvelous thing by calling us out of darkness into your wonderful light. May our lives and hearts declare your praises today. Amen

Grace

Link

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 end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)

Grace did not allow Peter’s story to end in the pit of despair. For in that bottomless pit of despair Peter heard a voice call his name … “Peter I am risen” … It was voice of his resurrected friend, Jesus. In that moment he knew he had been given new birth into a living hope. As Peter set his hope on God’s mercy he personally experienced God’s grace as Jesus restored the one who had denied him with the call to “feed his sheep.” Although he suffered many kinds of trials through his life, Peter’s face radiated with inexpressible and glorious joy.

What Christ, in grace, has done for you alters every dimension of how you live. You now live in hope because Christ’s death and resurrection has given you hope. This hope you have is a precious gift of God. Living among people who have no hope, your living hope rests securely on God’s grace.
God’s grace calls you by name, piercing your conscience, addressing all your relationships, realigning your priorities, redistributing your values and expanding your imagination.

The same grace that called out to Peter – “do you love me more than these” every moment calls out to you to welcome you home. The grace that restored Peter with the words “go and feed my sheep” is the same grace that calls to you to go and use the talents and skills God has blessed you with in reverent fear today, right here, right now, right where you live and work.

Just as he who calls you is holy, so be holy in all you do. Be holy in how you live. Be holy in how you do your work. Be holy in your relationships. For it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy” . When you stumble and fall, as we all do, know that God’s grace is there every moment to redeem all your sinful actions. God’s grace will carry you safely to the last day, to an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you that you call us by name. May your word that endures forever re-ignite our hope and enlarge our imagination for our lives, for love and for holiness. Amen.

[1] Labberton, Mark – Our Daunting Hope, Leadership Summer 2005 http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2005/summer/10.30.html
[2] 1 Peter 1:16