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Monthly Archives: July 2014

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How Complete Surrender Helps With Suffering {What I’m Learning From 1 Peter 4}

I do not like to suffer. At all. That’s why I’ve always wanted to be a runner but have never actually done it.

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But Peter seems to have this obsession with hope in such a real and crazy way that according to him, suffering is just part of life as a follower of Jesus Christ. (It’s actually the Holy Spirit using Peter to say this, but . . .)

And this is what I am learning through 1 Peter chapter 4.

Suffering for following Christ, he says, is actually an honor, reason to rejoice. It gives deeper cause for celebration when the hope of Jesus’ return becomes reality. It’s called living hope. Hope for living.

If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed . . . (1 Pt. 4:14)

I wonder if Peter recalled those pre-dawn moments as he wrote this. Did he play out in his mind a different ending to that interaction with the slave girl outside the courtyard where Jesus was being beaten? Did he wonder what might have happened if only he had entrusted himself at that time to His faithful Creator? How would he have done differently if only he had clung to that living hope?

It’s possible, you know. To live according to this all-consuming hope. To suffer through even the most horrifying trial and persecution.

It’s possible because what God has for us in eternity is way better than any comfort we might enjoy here on this side of it.

Hard to imagine, though. I mean, I like comfort. I like easy and nice and can’t-we-all-just-get-along. And I don’t want to face icky and hard and fiery trials. (Yes, as a matter of fact, I did just use the word icky in a theological discussion. You are welcome.)

That’s when it comes back to that whole complete surrender thing. It just keeps coming back to that.

Complete and utter surrender to God’s ways, His hand, His mercy, His life. It’s all about surrender. This summer. This year. This life. It’s all about surrender.

Because when I am living entrusted to my faithful Creator (v19), I am okay with whatever may come. When I honor Jesus Christ as Lord in my heart (3:14-15), I am more than just okay, I can rejoice in the fact that He knows what I need and is somehow blessing me through it. 

So what do you think? There is so much depth and hard stuff here in 1 Peter. Let’s talk it out. Let’s ask questions and help each other find God’s truth in it.

How To Be Beautiful {What I Learned From 1 Peter 3}

I read 1 Peter 3 last week. A bunch of times. And here’s what I learned:

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It just keeps coming back to that: complete and utter surrender to God’s ways, His hand, His mercy, His life.

It’s all about surrender. This summer. This year. This life. It’s all about surrender.

That Time Peter Wrote About Mary {Finding God in 1 Peter}

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I have long been enamored with Mary in the Bible. You know — Martha’s sister, Mary.

The threw herself at Jesus’ feet when her brother died and made Jesus cry Mary.

The sister got super annoyed with her for just sitting there hanging out with Jesus while she did all the work for dinner Mary.

This is the Mary who crashed her brother’s I-was-dead-and-now-I’m-not party by pouring thousands of dollars worth of perfume on Jesus’ feet and wiping it off with her hair.

This is the every time-we-find-her-in-the-Bible-she’s-at-Jesus’-feet Mary.

I am both intrigued and inspired by this Mary. (And, no, I do not have a feet fetish). Her passion for Jesus kept her regularly at His feet. And her always-at-Jesus’-feet habit kept her constantly pointing to Him, constantly inspiring His praise.

 

The fact that Mary lived in utter awe of Jesus tainted every single part of everything she did. 

That’s what Peter was trying to get across when he wrote this second chapter of his first book.

I read through the first two chapters yesterday trying to find the nugget to bank on for this post. (Seriously. There is so much in this book to dig into, it’s hard to find just one.) So I started by letting God know I wasn’t sure I was the one to lead you all through this Great Summer Slowdown study. (Have I mentioned I’m needing some clarity lately?)

Then I asked Him — again — what exactly it is that He has called me to do. What do You want for me? (Because, really, doesn’t every 42-year-old struggle with knowing what she wants to be when she grows up?) (She says sarcastically.)

So I wrote down everything 1 Peter 1 and 2 tell me to do. It was kind of a lot. Prepare your mind for action. Set your hope completely on the grace Jesus will bring when He returns. Be holy. Long for pure spiritual milk.

Then I got to verse 9 of chapter 2 and my list changed from what He has called me to do to who He has made me. And as I got to then end of that list in verse 9 I found purpose for myself…

So that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 1:9b, Holman)

And just two verses later… more purpose.

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 (Jesus) visits us. (NIV)

All that holy living and readiness and sober-mindedness? It comes from who God has made us. Royal priests. Chosen people. His very own.

And the good works? All to point to Him.

Just like Mary.

See, the more I know Him, the more I want to be like Him. And the more I am like Him, the more I point to Him. And the more I point to Him, the more I glorify Him, make Him famous, bring praise to Him.

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And this is my purpose.

So Mary had a good thing going spending all that time at Jesus’ feet. I mean, even now, some two-thousand years later, she’s bringing praise to Almighty God just by hanging with the King of Life.

A Question For You: Who in your life points you to Jesus?

**Are you journaling through First Peter with us? Join in the conversation. What did you learn this week from 1 Peter?

**We’re journaling through 1 Peter this summer. Slowing down and taking it one chapter per week. Want to join in? Here are some questions to help you along the way?