Monday 29 November, 2021

1 Peter 5:1-7

5 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. 5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

This passage is awesome; it allows us to understand what our responsibilities are as shepherds and as sheep, because we are called to be both.  

It calls us to be people who lead from a place of watching.  We aren’t called to lord over people, force our opinions on others or have them do what we want. Our job is to serve them with a willing heart, helping them succeed and reach their potential in Christ.

Not only does it provide insight into how to lead but also how to be led.  Submission, it is probably one of those words that people of this generation struggle to understand, something that doesn’t come naturally but is something that opens the door for growth. 

It takes a lot to be someone who can submit, remaining teachable, allowing others to impart, correct and shape them, but as this passage instructs us, when a leader knows how to lead it opens the door for great success.  The way we lead and the way we are led go hand in hand and only work and reach their potential when they are both done in accordance with the will of God.

Finally I love how at the end Peter just tacks on “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. “  I love this! We can give him all our crap, all our struggles because the King of Kings and Lord of Lords cares for us, loves us deeply and sacrificially.

Lord, Thank you that you care for us so deeply that you are willing to take all our anxieties and burdens so that we can live in freedom. Help us today to lead with passion, follow with diligence and to live free, casting all our anxieties on your for you alone can save us. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Written by Ps. Annique Botta

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Sunday 28 November, 2021

1 Peter 4:12-19

12 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. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 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? 18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

Suffering.  It’s not the easiest thing to deal with but it could be because I have a different view to suffering compared to God’s view.

I’m grateful that I don’t have to suffer as Jesus did by dying on a cross. Nor have I suffered publicly like Peter when he denied Christ. Peter was so distraught by what he had done that he wrote himself off, believing that God had cast him aside because he failed. Sometimes I feel the same way.

But this is not God’s view. Our Father didn’t leave Peter in his misery but instead restored him back to life.  And this is the viewpoint from which Peter writes. He writes from the other side of his suffering, from God’s viewpoint: don’t be surprised by suffering – it is a normal part of life. Where we might disqualify ourselves, God restores us. Through Peter, I am reminded not to write myself off but instead commit myself to my Father God and continue to do good.

Father, I thank you that You speak Your truth to me about life telling me that there will be hard times but I don’t have to give up or think I’ve disqualified myself but rather turn to You and commit myself to You again. Thank you for loving me graciously and kindly through every step of my life.

Written by Gab Martin

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Saturday 27 November, 2021

1 Peter 4:7-11

7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 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.

I work in the film & TV industry, and for every shoot we receive a ‘callsheet’ which contains all the details you’d ever need – arrival time, the location address, what the weather will be like, the day’s schedule…what time lunch is! But on top of this, the producer will often put the most essential info in big bold letters at the top of the email, such as: “IT WILL BE VERY HOT, SO WEAR SUNSCREEN AND A HAT” or “THE LOCATION IS A WORKING FACTORY, SO BE EXTRA CAREFUL WHEN MOVING THROUGH SET”. In other words, “if there’s one thing you need to know, it’s this.” Even if someone neglects to read the nitty-gritty details of the callsheet, at least they have the key thing in big bold letters in front of them.

Here I feel Peter gives us similar big bold letters. In my own words, “If there’s one thing you need to know, it’s to continue to show deep love for each other.” Not to dismiss his encouragement to be generous and to serve one another with our gifts, but if love is our goal then everything else gets taken care of.

Where in my life can I be showing deep love for those around me? Where has my love dried up or gone cold for my friends, my family, my church, or my neighbour?

Lord, help me to love every person I encounter with the same love You have shown me. Thank You that Your love is greater than any other force in my life, and that I am free to continue to show deep love for those around me.

Written by Matt Samperi

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Friday 26 November, 2021

1 Peter 4:1-6

4 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 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. 4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 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.

It is clear to me that we cannot be ‘part time’ with our faith. Living out the call of God in my life has got to go beyond intellectual discussion – there is no real cost to me in that. The test of my commitment comes when I literally am prepared to feel the cost. For Jesus the cost of following the will of God was physical, emotional and spiritual.

For me the cost of my faith is to live real in a countercultural way. I have to be prepared to be laughed at, misunderstood or even rejected for my decisions. In some parts of the world I could face not just mockery or rejection but physical harm for following Jesus. For Jesus the cost of following the Father was worth it for our salvation. I need to be sure my heart is like Jesus. I want to be prepared to follow the call of God no matter what.

Lord help me to have the heart of Jesus. Help me to hear your call on my life. Help me to follow your will. Help me to bring Glory to your name. Amen

Written by Christine Knight

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Thursday 25 November, 2021

1 Peter 3:13-22

13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 19 After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— 20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

God is very encouraging in these verses. I hear God in this passage clearing the way for me to live a life that is free to be eager to do good towards others, with no if’s, but’s or maybe’s attached. If I suffer for my eagerness, God calls me blessed. My eagerness should always be with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience that I’ve done the good thing by my fellow man in every situation. And Jesus is my great example, in that even though he suffered to the point of being put to death, even then God made opportunity for him to make proclamation to the “imprisoned spirits.”

God wants me to live each day eager to do good to everyone that I have the opportunity of crossing paths with. Particularly, God wants me to be prepared and ready to share my hope with anyone who asks – the ultimate good that can be done. And God through this passage arms me with courage for the potential opposition – should I suffer at any point, God’s blessing is upon me, and God makes a way for more good to be done, even as He did in Jesus’ life.

Lord, I am called to be courageous in eagerness to do good to my fellow man. Help me prepare a powerful answer should anyone ask for why it is I hope in you Lord. And I have courage because you declare, even though I may suffer for standing boldly for you, even then I am blessed by you. And none can bless like you bless Lord! Amen.

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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Wednesday 24 November, 2021

1 Peter 3:8-12

8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

It used to be taken for granted that we lived in a ‘Christian’ country, unless people were obviously Jews, Muslims or another definite religion, it was assumed that everyone was, more or less, ‘Christian’.  This has been swept away, and people who really are ‘Christian’ stand out.  In some quarters of society people known as Christians may attract criticism or discrimination, rather similar to first century Christianity and the case for the majority of Christians in the world today.   So how does a Christian behave when surrounded by a world that doesn’t understand what we’re about (although they think they do), and is potentially hostile?

The answer comes in Peter’s quotation from Psalm 34. Seek peace, and follow after it.  It may be hard to find, this ‘peace’ which we’re supposed to be looking for, but we should not expect ‘peace’ to come to us when we whistle.  We have to learn the new habit.  We have to learn it because it is all too easy to lapse into the way many people behave.  Christians are to stand out as distinctive, but when we do, and are mocked for it, we’re tempted to mock and criticize right back—and then we’re no longer distinctive, because we’re behaving just like everyone else!  When Christians ‘give as good as they get’, slander with slander, they are conformed to the surrounding world, just as surely as if we went along with immorality or financial corruption.

Peter reminds us to be: like-minded, sympathetic, loving, tender-hearted and humble. That’s why we are given the holy spirit, to enable us to work at the new habits of heart and life.

Father help us to live out these habits as Peter identifies!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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  1. Richard says:

    Living in the opposite spirit is sooooo hard. Peter reminds us not simply that we should not trade insults with someone, and I expect this also means we are not the originator of the insult exchange, but Peter reminds us to repay evil with blessing. Now how hard is that!!!!

    Father please fill me with Your Spirit that I may live under Your influence!

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Wednesday 23 November, 2021

1 Peter 3:1-7

3 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. 7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

This passage in Peter talks about mutual respect.

God designed both male and female in His image – Jesus had NO problem with believing in women, teaching women and empowering women.  We are equal in every way and should respect all people and all ages. 

Marriage is about mutual respect.  How we live is important both outwardly to others but even more so to our spouses and families.  They are the ones who will see our ‘hypocrisy’ if we live different to what we say.

The encouragement of God in this passage is for all of us to be authentic.  Not outwardly concerned about image but true to ourselves and what we say.  Our character is what should shine through.  It is alright to struggle at times, but how we respond in circumstances can have lasting effects. 

My prayer has always been “Lord help me not to react, but to respond with love and care”.

I think it is very interesting here as Peter says to the men (to the husbands) – treat your wives well and with respect (with honour, with respect and with equality) – SO THAT YOUR PRAYERS WILL NOT BE HINDERED.

I think this is good for us wives too.

Lord help me to treat my husband and my family and all people with honour, respect and equality.  You judge our hearts Lord.  Father show us where we are wrong and help us to become all you have made us to be.  Let our prayers not be hindered by our attitudes.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.

Written by Ps. Sue Botta

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Monday 22 November, 2021

1 Peter 2:18-25

18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

In this passage Peter talks to the suffering believers are living with, in particular, he is encouraging the slaves amoung the believers to stand firm in the unjust punishment or harsh treatment that they may be receiving from their masters. The blueprint Peter gives on how to act in unbearable circumstances is Jesus. Jesus was insulted and physically assaulted yet did not retaliate or threaten back but continued to serve.  Earlier in the chapter Peter tells his readers that they are all chosen, royal, holy and special to God, to show respect to everyone & to live as free although slaves/servants to God.

Peter doesn’t condemn slavery or give an opinion. What he’s more concerned about is how those believers who find themselves in slavery are to act and portray Christ in their lives.  I may not be a slave, literally owned by anyone, but I am in the same place as being a slave or servant to God.  How I act either brings honour or dishonour to God before both believers and non-believers.  Jesus is still our blueprint. Physical retaliation or having the last word can often be hard to control, but this is what Peter is asking us to do, to continue to serve others to the best of our ability, not just grudgingly but as Jesus did.

Lord thank you for your work in my life. Forgive me for all the times when I have retaliated and had to have the ‘last word’, for only grudgingly serving or bringing dishonour to you in my behaviour.  Lord continue your transforming work in my life and make me more Christ like.  Amen

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Sunday 21 November, 2021

1 Peter 2:11-17

11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

Peter gives some very specific instruction to those this letter addresses.  Firstly he makes plain that the people are his friends and that they should live in a temporary mindset – i.e. as foreigners and aliens people who don’t fit in one sense.  The instruction is clear – Live so that the Lord and others cannot find fault in you.  How do you do that… you live in submission to the duly elected authorities, yet free, be respectful, love other believers, fear God and specifically honour the emperor.

What advice – how amazing.  I love how we are to not get too comfortable – I love that we are only visiting this planet – that we are not to get so familiar that we start making temporal not eternal decisions.  Without question there were problems of persecution and Peter was helping the Christians get the correct perspective for the times.

So how do I apply this – firstly – I need to remind myself, as good as life is it is only temporary.  In the temporary nature of life I need to keep my wits about me and live to bring honour to God in all I do.

Father – help me keep clear that I am only visiting this planet and therefore live in a manner that honours You at all times.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Saturday 20 November, 2021

1 Peter 2:9-10

9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Verse 9 sounds quite like Exodus 19:5-6 “Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.”

Those same wonderful phrases “my own special treasure”, “my kingdom of priests”, “my holy nation”.

But there are two significant differences:

  1. The enabling condition has changed from us obeying and keeping the covenant to God bringing me out of the darkness and into his light. We now know that we could never have kept the covenant based on obedience to the law. But Jesus did.
  2. The “will” in Exodus is replaced by “are” in 1 Peter. Jesus has already fulfilled the covenant for me, so I have now received mercy; I am now one of his people; I belong to Him now as his royal priest.

In each case, what Jesus did between Exodus and 1 Peter makes all the difference.

I love being chosen. I love being his treasured possession. But I’m especially struck by “royal priests”.

The Latin word for a priest, “pontifex”, literally means “bridge builder”. Because He’s called me from darkness into his wonderful light, I can “show others the goodness of God” (NLT). I can take my part in building that bridge between God and people who are still in darkness. (Jesus does the hard building work, but he graciously gives me a part too.)

And more than that, as I tell others of His goodness I do so with royal authority: Not a timid priest; a priest backed by the power and authority of the king of kings.

All of that in two verses. I love God’s word!

Written by David Cornell

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