Category Archives: Immersion into 1 Peter

Affirmation

My oldest son Elliott and I are currently reading Bob Goff’s book, Love Does. Yeah, there are three links in my last sentence, and you should check them all out! Every chapter in this book grabs me, stomps on my toes, and/or has me standing and cheering “YESSSSSSSSS!”

satan does not deserve the respect or the credit of having his name capitalized, even at the beginning of a sentence. Now, I understand that many folks want to give him more credit than he deserves, but satan is a wimp. He is a liar, a braggart, a self-deceived and self-deceiving cast out from heaven.  Now, I understand satan can be stronger than we humans can be, and I understand folks fear satan for what he can do in their lives. However, those people are allowing satan to hold that power over them. I refuse to do so.

I am not claiming that satan does not wage war against me every day.  He does.  I am simply saying that I call him out for what he is: a spineless, wimp of a wannabe god. I recognize that satan does indeed have power to wield, but I will battle that power with the superior power of God’s Word and God’s people in my life.

I have spent much of this week drawing closer to God, while expressing my pure hatred for death.  Death was not part of God’s original design, but satan helped facilitate death’s entrance into the world when he enticed Adam and Eve to sin. God is the Father of Life, while satan is death’s daddy. I long for the day of Christ’s return when those who are in His Kingdom, those who are His Bride, go to be in His presence forever, and when death is told to “go to hell.”

Meanwhile, I want to encourage those who are doing their best to follow Christ daily to resist satan and to draw closer to Jesus. I want to remind us that satan holds no power over us unless we give him that power. Instead, let us draw from the mighty power of our Heavenly Father by spending quality and quantity time in the Bible, in prayer, and in doing life together with fellow believers.

Time in the Bible

Use the reading plan that best fits you.  I have, for the past couple of decades, read the One Year Bible plan. You get a does of Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs every day. Last year, as readers of this blog know, I added an immersion into Colossians in my daily reading.  This year, Peggy and I are immersing ourselves in 1 Peter as our couples devotion. I personally love the Bible App from YouVersion. Others prefer to use a Bible from their bookshelf. Whatever. I just cannot over emphasize the importance of daily immersing yourself in God’s Word.

Time in prayer.

I use desconsos to help remind me of prayer matters. My wedding ring reminds me to pray for Peggy. Grinding Juan Valdez Café reminds me to pray for Dale and Jeanie Meade and the Colombian Christian Mission, a glasses-wearing flower sticker reminds me to pray for Francesca Rodriguez. I have desconsos reminding me to pray for my kids, my grandkids, the folks at Vero Christian Church, the lost in our community, etc. I have dedicated times of intensive prayer, and I have an attitude of prayer through the day.  I am not a master of prayer by any means. I consider myself a novice but I work to make prayer a discipline in my life every day.

Time doing life together with fellow believers.

I disciple a couple of different men right now. I am in a Life Group. I lead two different praise teams at our church. I LOVE the time I get to hang out with Peggy. Well, you get the picture. There is no such thing as a “Lone Ranger Christian,” and it is important to surround yourself with believers for encouragement and accountability.

I pray that this post is an affirmation for you. Don’t give satan credit he doesn’t deserve, but don’t think that you can overcome his schemes on your own. He knows you weaknesses, and will attack in those areas.  What are some ways you counter those attacks? I would love to continue the conversation in the comment section below.

Be God’s.

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It Is Personal

One of my pet peeve phrases that really grates on my nerves, is “it’s nothing personal.” Oh yeah? It usually feels extremely personal when someone has said or done something and then feels obligated to say, “it’s nothing personal.”

Make no mistake, sin is personal. It is personal to the one committing the sin. It is personal to the one being sinned against. Most of all, it is personal to Jesus.  Peter reminds us that truth in the 2nd chapter of his first letter:

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Jesus personally carried my sins to the cross, so that I could be dead to sin.  Woah! Jesus loves me (and you) so much that He did that!  So, when I purposefully choose to go back to my “favorite” sin, it is personal to Jesus.

If I am going to properly align my perspective this year, I must realize that sin in my life is EXTREMELY personal to Jesus.  I cannot sin, then say to my Lord, “it’s nothing personal.” Realizing the personal attack on Jesus sin in my life is, should help me in my battle with said sin.

my sin is a personal attack on Jesus

I am no different than anyone else who follows Christ.  I still wrestle with sin.  I have allowed certain “favorite” sins to have the upper hand in my life in the past. I have a new attitude towards that this year.  Yes, I have heard countless sermons on how to combat temptation that leads to sin. Yes, I have a couple of different accountability partners to help in that regard. Yes, I have still struggled with certain sins. Yes, my attitude is different now as I remember daily that my sin is a personal attack on Jesus.

When I am tempted, I am now trying to implement the following strategy:

  • Immediately remove myself physically and mentally from the tempting situation.

  • Immediately start praising God for the blessings He freely pours out on me daily (it’s is harder to sin when we are praising God).

  • Immediately start reciting 1 Peter 2:24a

  • Immediately remember that sin is a personal attack on Jesus.

  • Immediately apologize to Jesus in prayer for the attack that just occurred, or could have occurred.

  • Immediately ask for prayer cover from my accountability partners (text messaging is a godsend in this regard).

I have to say, having implemented this strategy this year has done wonders for my thought life and my prayer life.

What are some strategies you employ to overcome temptation and sin?  I would love to continue the conversation in the comment section below.

 

Be God’s.

 

Proper Perspective

Time to end my writing hiatus. I know you have missed me. lol

 

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Just as I was immersed into Colossians in 2016, I am taking the next step in 2017.  Peggy and I together are immersed into 1 Peter in 2017.  The theme for this year is “Proper Perspective.” Seems to be the perfect follow up from my study in Colossians where the theme of “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ” fueled my year last year.

So, as the New Year is well under way, let me share a thought or two regarding how I am attempting to properly align my perspective so that I am drawing more near to Christ each day.

Peter doesn’t waste any time in setting things in their proper perspective.  Three verses into this letter, he declares that it is by God’s great mercy that we have been born again. We cannot earn this, we cannot be “good enough” to receive this gift, it is simply by God’s mercy that salvation is made available.  I know we give lip service to this notion of “Mercy” and “Grace” and other churchy words, but think about this for a moment.

Salvation is an act of God. Period.

Living a “good life” is not what gets us into heaven. Obedience to the Gospel is what does that. Living a “good life” is the natural response to our salvation.  Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:8-10 –

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

God does the saving, we can’t take credit for it, nor can we earn it…it is a gift. Living a life doing the “good things” is why we were created.  My “job” as a follower of Christ is to live so that Jesus is glorified, so that God is honor always, and so that everyone with whom I come in contact is drawn to Christ.

That being said, what are some practical ways I can live that out?

  • Colossians 4:2 – Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

  • Colossians 4:5 – Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.

  • Colossians 4:6 – Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.

  • 1 Peter 1:13-14a – 13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires.

  • 1 Peter 1:17b – 17  So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.”

Bottom line for me is that I must live so others cannot have an excuse for staying away from Jesus. This guides me in my social media posts, in my interactions with people in the “real world,” in how I treat my family and my church family and my neighbors.

As I try to properly align my perspective, my desire is to live so that Jesus would declare, “well done, good and faithful servant.”

How about you? What are some practical ways you are living out your faith?  I’d love to continue the conversation in the comment section below.

Be God’s.