1 Peter 5

Carve the very nature, the very heart of Jesus into me, Lord

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AWARE — “Keep a cool head. Stay alert…” (v 8 MSG)

Life can move slowly when I’m anticipating something wonderful, or life can become such a flurry of “to-do’s!”  In the midst of the changing pace of life, my emotional altimeter can register me as cruising along at heights that make me a peer to an eagle, or having me look up to see the underside of a slug.  My health can be waning or wondrous; my finances can be managed or meager.  Life is just life in this human body.

Then … there’s my faith — the part of me that’s not dependent on my humanity.  Rather, my faith is an outgrowth of my spirit as it moves and breathes in rhythm with Your Spirit.  It’s this essential link to You that carries me through whatever life in this body brings.  It’s my faith in You, Father, that allows me to be aware of the enemy’s schemes.  The more I stay in Your Word, the closer I stay to Your side, the better I keep my eyes on You; then my faith just knows when it’s not YOUR voice speaking to me.  You can take care of whatever tricks the enemy tries, and You’ll always keep me safe.

ALERT — “Keep your guard up… (v 8 MSG)

My faith isn’t an afghan I pull over myself, curl up in and then sit on the couch, watching life go by.  You’ve instilled this belief, this trust in You, inside of me so that I can be active in this world, introducing and drawing others to You.  While I’m serving You, wherever I am, through whatever means, You call me to be alert to the one who’s been messing with Your plan since creation.  You call me to keep my guard up, so that I’m not tempted to listen to the enemy instead of YOU.  Thank You for giving me a “shield of faith” as protection for my heart and mind, body and soul, while I’m serving You in this world.  (Eph 6:16)

(Could You just see it, Lord, if this were an “afghan of faith?”  I’d get up, wrap myself in it, have to keep pulling it up around me as I went through the day … Oh, I’d be protected from the cold perhaps … but “flaming arrows from the evil one” (Eph 6:16) would toast that “protective” wrap in no time!  I’m just glad that it’s YOU who’s chosen the metaphors when it comes to helping me follow You!)

ABIDING — “Keep a firm grip on the faith.” (v 9 MSG)

“In His kindness God called you to His eternal glory by means of Jesus Christ.  After you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.” (5:10 NLT)

“…and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (5:10 NIV)

It’s the tough stuff of life that challenges my faith, that causes the question to arise within, “Give up or go on?”  Still, it’s that same tough stuff that grows my faith, that moves the affirmation to spring forth, “I’m Yours, Lord.  Let’s do it!”

FAITH — it’s what You’ve given me, Lord, to keep me AWARE, ALERT and ABIDING.  No wonder You describe this as a “shield of faith” (Eph 6:16).  As I carry it, I can stay aware of what transpires around me.  I can be alert and ready to use it for protection from the enemy’s attacks upon my mind and heart.  And by holding it in front of me, I can press forward through ANYthing as I follow You!

Thank You for this gift of faith in You.  I trust Your skillful hands, Father, as You continue to fashion my life to be just like Jesus.  Amen.

1 Peter 4:12-19

“Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner… So if you find life difficult because you’re doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust Him. He knows what He’s doing, and He’ll keep on doing it.” (v 12, 13, 19 MSG)

“…Keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for He will never fail you.” (v 19 NLT)

Father, thank You that all the “todays” I will ever face are days that You’ve already seen, known, and have prepared what I’ll need to make it through each one.  Thank You for Your refining process.  The hotter the fire, the purer the silver becomes.  The purer the silver, the better the surface shines.  It’s that shiny part that is also the most reflective.  May my life reflect the YOU in me.  May I stand before others as a mirror into which You peer and are seen by them from their vantage point.  It’s not the “I,” but the YOU in me that makes all the difference in each day as it unfolds before me, and as my life encounters the lives of others along my path.

Thank You that I can continually count on Your being with me, working in me and through me as You make me just like Jesus!  Amen.

1 Peter 4:1-11

“Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like Him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.” (v 1-2 MSG)

“…For if you are willing to suffer for Christ, you have decided to stop sinning, and you won’t spend the rest of your life chasing after evil desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.” (v 1-2 NLT)

Father, insert Your skillful hand into the wiring of my mind.  Disconnect, reconnect, reroute, rewire,–do whatever it takes to make my thinking processes to be like Jesus.  Remove what’s necessary so that there’s room to insert the essentials of the mind of Christ and the attitude of His heart, in order that I imitate (as far as is humanly possible in this life) the actions of His life among us.  Release me from the grip of my own desires and will, so that I can be free to do what YOU want.

“God has given gifts to each of you from His great variety of spiritual gifts, manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you. Are you called to be a speaker? Then speak as though God Himself were speaking through you. Are you called to help others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then God will be given glory in everything through Jesus Christ. All glory and power belong to Him forever and ever. Amen.” (v 10-11 NLT)

There are many gifts You’ve given me, Lord.  Direct me in using them to their fullest, so that Your kingdom may grow, so that lives may be moved closer to You, and so that YOU may be glorified.  Often I employ the various gifts You’ve recreated in me by Your Spirit or the talents You knit into my being as You created me.  Yet, You’ve when you prompt me with the simple message “use your gifts.”  Show me what You mean, Daddy.  Guide my hands, my feet, my words,…

Where there are risks to take and challenges to meet, let’s go!  Let’s do them together and watch the glory rise up to You.  Let’s catch glimpses of the hearts that will be drawn to You, drawn closer to Your side or into a relationship with You for the very first time.  Let’s do it, Lord.  Here’s my hand … I’ll walk with You as You make me just like Jesus, and use me to touch this world.  Amen.

1 Peter 3:8-22

In this passage, You map out how You desire me to live within the Body of Christ, within the world, and within the heart. (See v. 1-7 for “within the home” also.)

WITHIN THE BODY (v 8-12)
~Live in harmony with one another (v 8 NIV); be agreeable (MSG)
~Be sympathetic
~Love as brothers (NIV); be loving (MSG)
~Be compassionate
~Be humble
~No retaliation (MSG)
~“BLESS — that’s your job, to bless
~“Say nothing evil or hurtful
~“Snub evil and cultivate good
~“Run after peace for all you’re worth” (MSG)
‘Sounds like a father gathering all his kids and saying, “Just get along. Do whatever it takes to get along with one another and to genuinely love one another.”

Create in me, Daddy, an attitude toward my spiritual siblings that reflects Your heart. Help me to love no matter what occurs, no matter how I’m treated, no matter who it is. That kind of stuff comes ONLY as I daily surrender my will to Yours. So, here I am again, waving a white flag from my heart and offering to You the throne of my heart.

WITHIN THE WORLD
“…in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (v 15-16 NIV)

“Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that THEY’RE the ones who need a bath.” (v 15-16 MSG)

There’s a friend of mine who often says, “Your walk talks and your talk talks; but does your walk talk what your talk talks?” Setting You, Jesus, apart as Lord in my life doesn’t begin with my “talk.” It begins in my heart and mind, a conscious act of my will being brought under submission to Your will. That submission then affects my talk and my walk, so that what is both heard and seen when others observe my life shows up in alignment with Your Word and Your ways.

Prepare me for those encounters in which someone actually may ask me why I’m living the way I am or why I have the hope or assurance I have in You. Make that visible in my life and make me ready.

WITHIN THE HEART
“Christ also suffered when He died for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but He died for sinners that He might bring us safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but He was raised to life in the Spirit.
“…God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only 8 people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. And this is a picture of baptism, which now saves you by the power of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Baptism is not a removal of dirt from your body; it is an appeal to God from a clean conscience.” (v 18-21 NLT)

How fantastic to think that Your awesome power that raised Your Son from the dead can take a simple element like water and use it as a key ingredient in the process You employ for saving our souls! When I stepped into the baptismal waters (well over three decades ago!) I didn’t take a bar of soap with me, nor was there a scrub brush. It wasn’t about washing away dirt from my skin. Rather, YOU used Your Holy Spirit brand soap to clean up my heart, leaving the old scum and muck behind in the water. You raised me up and out to walk in a new way, with a new set of clothes. Thanks for the wardrobe You provide as I dress for each day, anticipating Your work in me to make me just like Jesus. Amen.

1 Peter 2:13-25

“This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, THE KIND OF LIFE CHRISTI LIVED.
HE SUFFERED EVERYTHING THAT CAME HIS WAY so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step by step…
HE SUFFERED IN SILENCE, content to let God set things right.
HE USED HIS SERVANT BODY TO CARRY OUR SINS to the cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way.
HIS WOUNDS BECAME YOUR HEALING.” (v 21-24 MSG)ShepherdLamb

Instill Your humility in me. Rip away any hint of the pride that hinders my heart being truly a servant’s heart.
Thank You for carrying my sin to the cross. Thank You for making me free by Your choice to shed Your blood for me. Thank You for healing my heart and soul.
You have MODELED the life You desire for me.
You have FREED me from the life You never intended for me.
You have HEALED this life You’ve given me.

“YOU WERE LOST SHEEP with no idea who you were or where you were going.
NOW YOU’RE NAMED AND KEPT FOR GOOD by the Shepherd of your souls.” (v 25 MSG)

Thank You for seeking me out. Thank You for rescuing me when You found me. Thank You for naming me as one of Your own. Thank You for keeping me as part of Your fold.

You, Lord, are my Shepherd. You tend my heart and guard my life. You guide my ways and save my soul. Keep transforming this sheep into the likeness of Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God. Amen.

1 Peter 2:4-12

Carve the very nature, the very heart of Jesus into me, Lord

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“…you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a HOLY PRIESTHOOD, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (v. 5 NIV)

With the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, Father, You set in motion many changes to the way You relate to us as Your people, Your created and chosen ones.  In the past, You selected certain ones to serve in the roles of priest and high priest–those who made sacrifices for the sins of others.  But when Jesus came and allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross, He became both our High Priest (Heb 4:14-5:10) and the sacrifice for all sin, for all time, for all people (Heb 9:11-28).  That major change brought another as You began, with Him as the cornerstone, building “a spiritual house” in which Your people each serve as a priest, set apart to minister.

In this new priestly order, You bring a fresh perspective and new expectations.  First, every believer has immediate and direct access to You Each of us can approach You at ANY time for anything — no more barrier!  Second, each follower serves You personally Everything I do is a direct expression of my service to YOU.  Third, each of us ministers to others.  By serving the people I encounter, I’m truly serving YOU, allowing You to use me as Your means of touching their lives.  Finally, each person belongs to Your Spirit within us, so that we are each equipped to fill a particular role in Your kingdom.  You’ve designed me for a purpose in Your plan for redeeming the hearts in this world.  This passage reassures the fact that through Jesus, each one of us is able to worship and serve You in a manner that pleases You.

“But You are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you–from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.” (v 9-10 MSG)

You have described in this passage the way in which You have designed Your Church, Your people, to be living. You’ve given us this purpose: “that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” You’ve used these phrases to describe us:

  • “CHOSEN PEOPLE” (v 9) –reminding us of Your immense love at work to bring us to Yourself
  • ROYAL PRIESTHOOD” (v 9) –(or “royal house”) Since Jesus is King, Your Church has the dignity of royalty because of her union with You. (Some versions say “body of priests,” which emphasizes the togetherness we have as we worship, interceding in prayer, and minister to one another.)
  • “HOLY NATION” (v 9) –shows that You’ve set us apart for Your use.
  • “A PEOPLE BELONGING TO GOD” (v 9) –reminds us of the price You paid through Jesus’ blood in order to set Your seal ownership on us.

“Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul.  Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices, [though they accuse you of doing wrong (NIV)]. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when He arrives.” (v 11-12 MSG)

Thank You, Father, for calling me out of the dark life of sin.  Thank You for making me part of Your household.  Keep shaping me to be the kind of vessel that serves others and draws them closer to You.  Carve into my heart, my mind, my life, the very nature of Jesus.  Amen.

1 Peter 1:17-2:3

Carve the very nature, the very heart of Jesus into me, Lord

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IT’S WHO YOU KNOW

“Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, LIVE YOUR LIVES AS STRANGERS HERE in reverent fear.” (v 17 NIV)

Thank You for allowing me to call You, “Father.”  Yet I know that living the role of being Your child calls me to be different.  A child born by Your Spirit becomes different from those born through flesh.  You call me to live as a stranger in this world and to impact the lives I encounter as I go, anywhere I go.  Help me to do that today.

IT’S WHO KNOWS YOU

“Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacrificed blood, you know.  He died like an unblemished sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought … GOD ALWAYS KNEW HE WAS GOING TO DO THIS FOR YOU. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.” (v 18-21 MSG)

How amazing to ponder the thought of how You’ve had Your eye on me even before You created all things!  Your eternal presence is everywhere, at all times, outside the human time line, yet working within it as well!

You’ve seen where I’ve been, the side roads I’ve taken that led me away from Your will.  While I was wandering, You supplied directions or a road map or an unmistakable billboard — all to lead me back into Your ways.

Thanks for being so intricately involved in my life and so intimately acquainted with me.  I trust You, Father, with my heart, my mind, my life, my future.  Keep making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

1 Peter 1:8-16

Carve the very nature, the very heart of Jesus into me, Lord
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PREPARE your minds for action, BE self-controlled. SET your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (v 13 NIV)

“As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, ‘I’m holy; You be holy.'” (v 14-15 MSG)

Lord, I submit my thoughts to Your will.
I submit my actions to Your will.
I surrender my concern for the future to Your will.
I desire to obey You, to not be conformed to the ways of this world, nor to the desires I had before knowing You.
Shape my life to be like Your life.
Infuse me with Your energy.
Ignite in me a blazing fire of holiness.
Make me like Jesus–no matter what! Amen!

1 Peter 1:3-7

Carve the very nature, the very heart of Jesus into me, Lord
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“In His great mercy He has given us new birth
INTO A LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
INTO AN INHERITANCE that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you” (v 3-4 NIV)

Thanks, Father, for this brand new life that You gave me through Jesus, made possible when You raised Him from the dead.

Thanks for what You have in store for me in eternity. Thanks that I’ll get to live in Your presence in a body that’s completely new and whole.

“PURE GOLD PUT IN THE FIRE COMES OUT OF IT proved PURE;
GENUINE FAITH PUT THROUGH THIS SUFFERING COMES OUT proved genuine.
When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold that God will have on display as evidence of His victory.” (v 7 MSG)

Thanks, Lord, for the times You test my faith. Thanks for making it strong and genuine. Keep it up, no matter what it takes. Make me just like Jesus. Amen.

1 Peter 1:1-5

Carve the very nature, the very heart of Jesus into me, Lord

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“God the Father has His eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus … God is keeping careful watch over us and the future.” (v 2, 5 MSG)

**YOU KNOW ME ** YOU SANCTIFY ME ** YOU EMPOWER ME **  YOU HAVE CHOSEN ME…

“Chosen ACCORDING TO the foreknowledge of God” (v 2 NIV)

** YOU KNOW ME**

Long before my birth, even before my conception, …one could even say, before my parents met, YOU knew me.  Life is linear for me, but not for You, Father.  I see each event as it comes and can look back on the past, while awaiting the future.  But for You, You see all eternity as “now.”  You can step into my world of time at any moment and still see the whole picture of eternity.

In all Your majesty and awesome nature, You gazed at Your masterpiece of creation … dipped Your brush of life into the palette of humanity, and purposefully painted me into Your work of art.

“Chosen … THROUGH the sanctifying work of the Spirit”  (v 2 NIV)

** YOU SANCTIFY ME**

Since the moment You placed me in Your creation, as Your Holy Spirit, You’ve been at work in my life.  You orchestrated the influences in my life which would shape me and draw me to You.  You were at work when I was child who was taken to Sunday School.  You placed Bible teachers in my life who ignited my interest in Your Word.  You stirred within me an eagerness to learn and know it.  You had godly examples live their lives before me.  By Your Spirit, You moved me closer and closer to Your heart as You sanctified me — making me holy, setting me apart from the world.

“Chosen … FOR obedience to Christ and sprinkling by His blood” (v 2 NIV)

** YOU EMPOWER ME & YOU HAVE CHOSEN ME**

When You sacrificed Your Son, You did it to make a way for me to be with You.  Also, You chose that avenue to show the extent of Your love for me.  Then, You let me know that the way that I show You that I love You is to obey You (John 14:15, 21, 23)

You cleanse me of my sin by Jesus’ blood that He willingly shed for me.  You call me to follow Him, making Him the Lord of my life — the One with the final word on how I live my life.  You empower me to obey You.  Whatever You command me to do, You supply the strength, discernment, wisdom and resources to do it.

Thank You for choosing me to be Your daughter.  Thank You for continuing to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

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Allow me to be still–be still as I again realize that I’m sitting in the warmness of the palm of Your hands–the very hands that will gently unfold Your perfect will for everything in my life.” — K. Troccoli, My Life Is in Your Hands, p. 152.