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|Posted on October 10, 2016 at 1:00 PM||comments (0)|
Session 7 – 1 Peter 4:7-9 – Equipped to Live – Day 4
1 Peter 4:7 (HCSB) Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be serious and disciplined for prayer.
The end times began at Jesus resurrection. What a wonderful period to live in if you know why you are here, if you are fulfilling your God-given purpose. Why are we here? To reflect Jesus. To reflect the Son as the moon reflects the sun. We, as lesser lights, reflect the Light to the world. What does Peter mean by being serious and disciplined for prayer? To me, that means to be intentional and diligent toward our conversations with the Lord. Conversation requires twice as much listening as it does speaking. Our collective appointments with God, meaning church, life groups, quiet time are all important. Does disciplined mean we need to be regimented to keep specific times of prayer each day? Having the good habit praying at a certain time of day should not become a reason to neglect others. We do not need to worship our habits. That being said, we should make time to pray. What does Peter mean by serious? Can we never be joyful in prayer? Prayer is essential, it is our vital connection to our Lord, to our source of being, of life. Prayer is a serious matter. Neglecting prayer, in the spiritual sense, is like neglecting water, in the physical sense. We cannot live victoriously without it. Prayer can be joyful, even jovial, but the most important thing is that we realize it is essential in the good times as well as the bad. When we remember that Jesus is our everything – creator, provider, sustainer – Lord, best friend, brother, beloved groom – we should cherish our time with Him. When keeping those things in focus, it seems that our main response would be joy knowing that all the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit want for us is our very best.
1 Peter 4:8 Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins.
Contemplate your love for the family of God more than the infractions that happen between brothers and sisters. Our love does not cover up sin (only Jesus’ blood provides that covering), but Godly love for others enables us to keep our focus on God’s love for us and them. We are to forgive others as He has forgiven us.
Ephesians 4:32 (NASB) Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
When I think of all I have been forgiven, I cannot help but forgive other believers and demonstrate the love of Jesus toward them.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (CJB) Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful,
5 not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not gloat over other people’s sins but takes its delight in the truth.
7 Love always bears up, always trusts,
always hopes, always endures.
1 Peter 4:9 Be hospitable to one another without complaining.
Hospitality in the early church involved sharing one’s home with another believer for a period of time. We do this today with missionaries home on furlough, students who come to town to minister, etc. During the time when Peter wrote, Christians may have needed to house brothers and sisters displaced by persecution. A modern day example of this would be the “Lost Boys of the Sudan” many of whom were taken in by people in our own area a few years ago. I had the privilege of meeting two of those boys, now young men, who were working as patient care technicians during my hospital stay last summer. They have grown to be strong Christian men who send money back to Sudan to provide an education for other boys. This type of hospitality is still needed and will be more-so as persecution increases.
Questions: Is your prayer life what you would like it to be, what God would like it to be? Do you love other believers graciously with an attitude of forgiveness? Would you be prepared to offer your home as a refuge to another believer if needed?
|Posted on September 26, 2016 at 1:10 PM||comments (0)|
Session 5 – 1 Peter 3:7 – Living in a Relationship – Day 3 - HUSBANDS
1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives with an understanding of their weaker nature yet showing them honor as coheirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
By each submitting to God and trusting Him, the husband and wife submit to each other and can work as a harmonious, cohesive unit. So the husband is obedient to God in the same way that the wife is.
In what way does the wife have a weaker nature than the husband? She is weaker only in her physical strength. She is in no way inferior to the man spiritually. Paul addressed the equality among all who are in God’s family.
Galatians 3:28 (HCSB) There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Paul takes us back to the idea of the husband and wife functioning as a unit. As the church, we are all supposed to work together for the common goals of our Heavenly Father. The husband is to protect and provide for his wife as the “weaker vessel” but is to respect her as a co-heir in Christ. When a husband and wife respect each other and each is in submission to God, their harmonious home is a testimony of God’s grace.
Marriage is supposed to be a reflection of the relationship of Jesus with His bride, the church. How did Jesus demonstrate His love and provision for His bride? Jesus gave His life by dying on the cross to redeem His bride from the grip of sin and death. So, the husband should be self-sacrificing when it comes to providing for his wife. (See Ephesians 5:23-26)
Why would the husband’s prayers be hindered if he does not follow God’s instructions as leader of the home and provider/protector of his wife? As a Christian man, he has made a covenant with God and a covenant with his wife in the name of God. The covenant relationship is God’s blueprint for successful living. Is it only a problem in the husband and wife relationship that can cause prayers to be hindered or does this apply to other relationships as well? No, rifts in any of our relationships can cause a feeling of distance between us and the Lord. The restoration of relationships takes priority even above giving a gift to God:
Matthew 5:23-24 (HCSB) So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Our relationships with other Christians matter to God and can only be what they should as each believer submits to God’s authority. When we are not living in harmony with other Christians, we are not in complete harmony with the Lord.
Challenge to Married Men: Take time to let your wife know that you love and appreciate her. Set aside time to just be present, completely present, with her – i.e. no texting others, no computer games, no TV – just you, the love of your life, and no distractions. Hire a babysitter – it’s worth it.
Suggestion: Begin your date night with a prayer asking the Lord to help you both submit to Him and each other. Ask Him to give you both understanding of each other and help you each grow closer to Him. I (Susie) love the illustration of the ladder. Imagine a ladder that opens up so a person can climb up each side. If both people are climbing, they get closer to each other. If one starts going down or even just stops while the other continues to climb, they are getting farther apart. God is at the top of the ladder. As you each become closer to Him, you will become closer to each other. Of course, God sees in us the righteousness of Christ right now, but we are also maturing, being sanctified daily. Work on growing together!