“Chosen and Precious”

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4 As you come to him, the living stone who was rejected by people but was chosen and precious in God’s sight, – 1 Peter 2:4 ISV 

1 Peter 2:4-6 ISV

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was rejected by His own people.  He could do very few miracles in His own hometown because the people there thought of Him as just a carpenter, the son of Joseph and Mary.  We can expect to be rejected as well, the created should not expect better treatment than the Creator received. Just as Jesus was ridiculed and rejected by those who knew Him only as a human, so can we expect to be treated the same way.  This rejection did not keep Jesus from loving and ministering to those around Him who accepted the words that He spoke. Neither should ridicule or offensive remarks keep us from loving and witnessing to those around us.  Jesus was chosen by God to give up everything, come to earth and live among humans who would not welcome Him as the Son of the Creator.  We are chosen by God to give up nothing to receive everything and live among humans as holy priests.  Our sacrifice is spiritual, we speak the words that the Holy Spirit gives us.  This is acceptable to God.  The ultimate end of the earthly ministry of Jesus was not shame but glory.  If we trust in Him and remain faithful, our ultimate end will not be shame but an eternity in heaven praising Jesus because He was faithful and was chosen to rule the universe.

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:​“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb​ be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” — Rev 5:13 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Rid Yourselves of All Malice and All Deceit”

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Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.  – 1 Peter 2:1 NIV

1 Peter 2:1-3 ISV

When we buy a new house and start making plans to move in, the first thing we want to do is make sure the inside of that house is clean from top to bottom.  We also have a vision of what we want that house to look like in the future.  As we live in that house, it begins to reflect our likes and dislikes. The neighbors who are familiar with that house will notice the changes that are being made. Maybe, not so much the ones inside, but when the outside starts to change they will notice those.  Even those just driving by on a daily basis will start to notice the changes that are being made as your new house becomes a home to the new resident. Friends and neighbors will start to comment on how much better the house looks and what a great thing it is for the neighborhood.  When we accept Jesus as our Savior and the Holy Spirit moves into our hearts, He does the same thing.  He wants His new residence to be cleansed from all the fleshly desires and attitudes. He desires that His new home will start to reflect His likes and dislikes.  The work starts inside, in our hearts.  With time and His leadership, the outside will start to change to reflect the changes that have occurred in our hearts.  Cleaning and maintaining a home requires a lot of cleaning products and time spent with those products. The cleansing and renewing of our hearts and minds requires a lot of time spent with God and using the cleansing power He provides for us.

26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. — Eph. 5:26-27 NIV

​7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. — Psalm 51:7 NIV

Just as the original cleaning of the new home doesn’t last and has to be followed by daily cleanings, so it is with our hearts, they need to be washed in the word every day. If we remain faithful in spending our daily time with Jesus, friends and neighbors will start to notice the difference the new resident in our heart is making in our daily lives.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Through the Living and Enduring Word of God”

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23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. – 1 Peter 1:23 NIV

1 Peter 1:22-25 ISV

Having received Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are being purified by His grace and His love. He has placed His Spirit within us to teach us to love others as He loves us. This change will not come overnight, but it will come if we practice listening to and following the Holy Spirit. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us and to teach us all truth.  As we obey that voice of truth that is within us, we will learn to appreciate the love that Jesus has for us and we will reciprocate by showing that love to others.  At first, it may just be words that we speak, but as we allow the Holy Spirit to be a bigger part of our life, we will find that we really do love and care for others.  With humility and patience, that love will evolve into something similar, but not nearly as great as the love that Jesus shows to us.  As John the Baptist said about Jesus “He must increase, I must decrease”. so, it must be true in our lives as well.  We must think of ourselves less and less and of Jesus and others more and more. The flesh perishes and decreases while the Spirit is imperishable and increases.  This is the Word that was preached to us and is alive and living in us.  Everything will perish except the Word of Jesus, it will stand forever. Just as Jesus was determined to go to the cross knowing that glory awaited Him on the other side, we need to be firm in our stand regardless of the personal cost knowing the hope that we have to spend an eternity with Him in His glory.

51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. — Luke 9:51 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Because I AM Holy”

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16 For it is written, “You must be holy, because I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:16 ISV

1 Peter 1:13 -16 ISV

God has made each of us different, but there is one thing that every human has in common, we were all born in sin into a sinful world.  We have all succumbed to those fleshly desires that kept us from enjoying the freedom that Jesus died to purchase for us.  When we have those thoughts that we might be better than others we need to be reminded that there was a time when we lived in ignorance of the goodness and the graciousness of God. Paul warns us in Romans not to think of ourselves as better than others.

3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. — Romans 12:3 NIV

In Philippians, Paul takes it a step further and advises us to put others and their interests above ourselves and our interests.

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. –Phil. 2:3-4 NIV

If we practice doing this instead of being judgmental, we will be following the example that Jesus set for us.  If we have this mindset and focus on the fact that the only difference in us and them is the grace that God has so generously given unto us, it will cause us to show those around us the same kind of grace and forgiveness that God has shown to us. That is a step toward being holy even as God is holy.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“The Prophets Have Inquired and Searched Carefully”

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10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, – 1 Peter 1:10 NKJV

1 Peter 1:10-12 ISV

When the Holy Spirit would come upon the Old Testament prophets, they would prophesy about the coming Messiah, His suffering, His resurrection and the magnificence of His glory.  How their hearts must have longed for the day that He would come, But it was revealed to them that they would not see it with their eyes. Even the angels longed to look into the mystery of this plan of salvation. But only hints and shadows would be revealed to each prophet, that the complete plan would be kept a mystery until the exact time that God chose to reveal more of it. God had a reason for not revealing the whole mystery any earlier than He did.  If satan had been aware of God’s plan, the crucifixion would never have taken place.

7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. — 1 Cor. 2:7-8 NIV

The revelations that the Holy Spirit was giving them were for our benefit that we might understand the faithfulness of God in keeping His promises. It is also a lesson to us that there is a reason that God sometimes delays the answer to our prayers. We measure time by seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc.  The eternal God has planned eternity and knows exactly when we to give us the things we need.   Just as the Old Testament prophets prophesied and longed for the first appearance of the Messiah, we should be longing for and telling the world that Jesus is coming again. Just as Ezekiel (read Ezekiel 33) and the other prophets were the “watchmen on the wall” to spread the warning, so are we the modern day watchmen.  We are to just keep telling the “Old, Old Story” until Jesus comes back!

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“You Have to Suffer”

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6 You greatly rejoice in this, even though you have to suffer various kinds of trials for a little while, ​– 1 Peter 1:6 ISV​

1 Peter1:6-9 ISV

As God brings us through each trial that He allows in our life, we should bookmark that time in our lives.  Each time we find ourselves facing another trial or temptation, we need to rehearse each of those bookmarks one by one, remembering and thanking God for HIs deliverance. As we rehearse these times in our lives, we will come to the same conclusion that Peter did here in these verses. God’s faithfulness to deliver on each promise He has made to us is worth more than gold.  Money cannot buy the peace that God gives us freely. In those times when no earthly words can comfort us and no human can help us, God is there in all His glory delivering those who depend solely and fully on Him. This deliverance from earthly trials and temptations causes us to love Him whom we have not seen, believe in Him completely and fills us with “inexpressible and glorious joy”.  It also reassures us that we will receive the end result of our faith, the complete and eternal salvation of our souls. That should cause hallelujahs to ring in our hearts and be shouted to the highest heavens.

11 the voice of the singers at the watering places.

They recite the victories of the Lord,
the victories of his villagers in Israel. — Judges 5:11 NIV

27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them — Acts 14:27a – KJV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“An Inheritance That Can Never Perish”

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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, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 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. —– 1 Peter 1:3-5​ NIV

We should spend as much time as possible each day praying and praising God for all that He has done and is doing for us. We should make every effort to start and end our day with a conversation with God.  That prayer will lead us to praise and we will find that our days go so much better.  We, of all people, should be filled with praise and joy all day long.  We are the only ones with a hope of eternal life with a living Savior and Lord.  We have received this hope as a gift from God that was purchased with the death and resurrection of His Son. Through the blood of Christ, we have become sons and daughters of God and we have an eternal inheritance that “can never perish, spoil or fade”. No religion on this earth can make such an offer, a gift that is available to everyone but only received by those who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.  Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are kept and shielded by God’s power.  That resurrection power will keep us until our “the coming of the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”.  Until that comes for each of us, we should practice the three Rs of Christianity:

Recall all the good things that God has done and is doing for us.

Rest in His everlasting arms that will never fail to catch us.

Rejoice because you are filled with the Holy Spirit and have eternal life.  If this doesn’t fill our hearts with joy and our mouths with praise, perhaps we need to re-examine our relationship with Jesus.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Strengthen Your Hearts”

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8 You, too, must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the coming of the Lord is near. – James 5:8 ISV 

James 5:7-9 ISV

God has a plan and He reveals as much of that plan to us as we need to know to do His will. As Paul pointed out to us:

26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. — Colossians 1:26-27 NIV

For whatever reason, He has chosen to keep the timing of His return a secret from us at this time.  We could get into huge discussions about this, but it would be an ultimate waste of the time God has granted us to be here on this earth.  We need to spend the precious days that we have doing the good works that God has prepared for us to do.  We need to do that without accusing, grumbling or judging others.  We need to spend our time in praise, prayer, worship and leading others to Jesus.  This is the kind of work that will endure the fire when it is tested.  This is the kind of work that will earn us crowns in glory.  The more crowns we earn, the more we will have to cast at the feet of Jesus in honoring Him when we get to heaven.  Our concern is to be sure that we persevere and complete the work that God has planned for each of us. He will be the judge of all that is said and done.

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,  “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.”  — Hebrews 10:36-37 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“If the Lord Wants Us to”

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”15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” – James 4:15 NLT

James 4:13-17 NLT

We can look at nature and realize that God is very organized. He established the seasons and the natural order of dormancy in the winter, birthing of the new in the spring with the winds in March that help to be sure every plant is pollinated, the showers in April to prepare the soil for the flowers of May.  Then the summer for growth and the fall for maturity and harvesting.  That plan remains the same year after year since plants can’t make their own plans.  We need to have a plan for our lives but it needs to be flexible enough and held loosely enough to allow God to change us and our plans to fit His plan for our lives.  As Proverbs tells us, we make our plans, but God directs our steps and makes them sure. Each of us is only one little piece of the whole jigsaw puzzle.  Since we don’t have the boxtop, we can’t see the finished picture. So, we need to be sure that our plans fit into God’s big plan just as each piece of the puzzle must fit to complete the picture.

10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. — Eph. 2:10 NIV

So, if we know which good works God has prepared us to do, we need to do them with all our hearts, minds, and strength.  Because of all He has done for us, we should consider anything less as unacceptable.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Do Not Slander One Another”

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11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? — James 4:11-12 NIV

If there is an area in the life of a Christian where we sin daily, and shall I dare say it, deliberately, it is in our thoughts and our words.  It is hard to look at someone and not immediately form some sort of opinion of that person before we even get to know them.  We are told over and over how important first impressions are in this world.  As Christians, we need to pray for discernment and patience before forming opinions of others.  We need to predetermine that we are going to love the people we meet every day. When we love someone, we usually give them the advantage of any doubts we have about their goodness.  We need to assume that they are good and show them the same respect we want them to show to us. We should look at every person, regardless of their station or situation, with the assumption that they are innocent until proven guilty. We should assume everyone is worthy of our love and affection until they prove by their words and actions that they are not.  We need to pray that we will see others with the eyes of Jesus, hear their words with the ears of Jesus and above all, filter every thought through the love of Jesus. 

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: — Phil. 2:3-4 NIV

What a wonderful world it could be, if each of us, each day, strived to have the same attitude toward others that Jesus has for us.

 “The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous