Archives For I Peter

Dag Hammarskjold, the Formal Secretary-General of the United Nations, once said, “In our era, the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.” I believe holiness will always pass through the world of action. Holiness is proven both by what we do and what we choose not to do. But always, holiness demands action. Only God is Holy, but in our quest to be like Him, we must pursue holiness.

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While it is not something we will obtain in this life, seeking after it provides great training for the next. Peter reminds us God said to be holy because He Himself is holy (I Peter 1:15-16). Since we know we are not holy, it seems obvious we must do something to become holy. In other words, holiness demands action.

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Regular readers know I love the teachings of A.W. Tozer. I love the way he pulled no punches and possessed deep insight into the character of God. It’s uncanny how often his writing seems so relevant for today, but in truth was mostly written fifty or more years ago. Here’s something from him which I read recently: “There is something better than being comfortable, and the followers of Christ ought to find it out-the poor, soft, overstuffed Christians of our time ought to find it out!

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There is something better than being comfortable! We… have forgotten altogether that there is such a thing as discipline and suffering.” Along the same lines, he also wrote,” We do not want the cross. We are more interested in the crown.” To put it in simple terms, one could say Christians are “all crown, no cross”.

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You do know you can talk back to Satan, right? Jesus modeled this for us when the devil was tempting Him in the wilderness. Satan would tempt Jesus, and Jesus would talk back to the devil, reminding him who he was and putting him in his place. Perhaps you think it’s one thing for Jesus to talk back to the devil and another thing for us to do so. On the contrary, Jesus said we would do greater things than He had done (John 14:12).

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As disciples of Jesus, we are to pattern our lives after His. What we see Jesus do, we should do. When Satan comes along flaunting temptation before us, we should not hesitate in saying, “Not today devil!”

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Constant prayer has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I have a near constant dialog going with God. Somedays it’s more conversational, others it can just be a series of “I love You” or “Thank You” prayers being sent His way. Praying continuously is something I do without thinking. It wasn’t something I planned one day, it’s just how it is for me. I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t like this.

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Even when times are difficult, the prayer continues. While there are plenty of other areas with which I struggle, this one isn’t a huge concern for me in this season of my life. Still, I recognize continuous prayer doesn’t come as easy to many. Knowing this, I wanted to spend some time looking at Scripture and talking through the discipline of praying continuously.

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Devoted followers of Christ hate when they sin. It’s maddening. We don’t understand why we continue to do things we know are not honoring to God (Romans 7:15). If you’re like me, you may have often pondered why we sin in the first place. It seems logical our love and devotion to God would keep us close to Him and far away from sin. It would be that simple if we did not have an enemy who was constantly seeking to trip us up and eventually destroy us (1 Peter 5:8).

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While we can’t blame Satan for our failures, we can blame him for planting the seeds of those failures. Ultimately though, the reason why we sin is because we choose to take our eyes off Jesus.

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It’s so easy to spend our lives living from the wrong perspective.  We make grand plans, spend our time earning a living, and serving God along the way. It sounds noble enough, but in truth we are living life backwards. We are looking through the lens of self-first instead of focusing our attention foremost on God.

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We should spend our days serving Jesus, and earn a living or pursuing our dreams along the way. Jesus will not take a backseat to anything or anyone. He is totally focused on helping you live your life in a way which glorifies the Father. This can only be accomplished in our lives by adopting a Jesus-first perspective.

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Jesus began His ministry by standing up in the Synagogue and saying God had sent Him “to proclaim freedom to the captives” (Luke 4:18). There were all kinds of captives in His day and in ours.  There are those held captive by spiritual darkness, prisoners of war, hostages held by terrorists, and those imprisoned by their own fear. Of course there are many others, but one type of captive that gets very little play in most circles are those trapped in the world of human trafficking.

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Sure, there are many who give lip service to this horror, but we simply don’t do justice to an industry that enslaves over 27 million people. These are people just like your sons, daughters, friends, and family. Twenty-seven million people who have unsurpassable worth in the eyes of God. And yet Christians remain far too silent.

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While some of our readers in other Countries might be unaware, it is hard to escape the fact in America we are in an election cycle. As with every cycle, there is an emphasis on candidates trying to win the “evangelical Christian vote”. Prominent Christian leaders come out of the woodwork to endorse one candidate or another, espousing why one follows Christian principles, while another does not.

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I saw a quote from a Christian musician I have held in high esteem that said, “You cannot be a Christian and vote for {candidate X}.” That made me really sad.  As someone who used to be heavily invested in political things, I understand the fervor and rhetoric. But almost thirty years removed from those days, I now have much greater clarity.

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Why choose Jesus? It’s a question I believe every disciple should be able to answer. To follow Jesus means our lives will be radically different from those around us. Living in such contrast to our culture should generate curious stares and abundant questioning. If no one is asking why you live the way you do, you are probably not modeling Christ well.

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So when people ask you why you follow Jesus, what do you say to them? Peter said we should always be ready to give reasons for believing as we do (I Peter 3:14-15). I’ll give you a couple of reasons why I choose Jesus, and follow with what that actually means to anyone who decides to follow Him.

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No matter who we are or what we do, our primary mission in life is to leverage everything we have to further the Kingdom of God. What this means is none of have any excuse for not serving God in every area of our lives. For too long we’ve made a distinction between those “in the ministry” and those who have traditional or secular jobs.

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In our family life, we look to others to give us spiritual direction while shirking our own responsibilities in that area. How we live our lives at work and at home will be a direct expression of where our hearts are in relation to our Creator. With that in mind, how well are you reflecting Christ? How are you leveraging your relationship with Him to further His kingdom?
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