Grace is amazing. It has a sweet sound. We read that, “In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation” (1 Peter 5:10 NLT). This is GOOD NEWS! Jesus died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sin. When we believe in Jesus Christ, we are called children of God. We are “called to share in His eternal glory.”
Yes, we will suffer. Yes, everything will not be smooth. But this is for “a little while.” Then we can trust that “He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.” God pours out His grace upon grace. Peter notes that everything we “are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for (us).” He encourages us to “stand firm in this grace.”
Today, stand firm in this grace. Understand that there is grace that is for you. Yes, God’s grace for you! It exists. He continues to pour it out to you. Show yourself some grace and stand firm in His grace!
“I have written and sent this short letter to you with the help of Silas, whom I commend to you as a faithful brother. My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.” – 1 Peter 5:12 [NLT]
Suffering is not fun, hence the reason it is called suffering. Suffering is when you are undergoing pain or hardship. It’s surely not fun. But Peter tells us to “be very glad.” Throughout the Bible we read that we should rejoice in our suffering. When we are insulted because of the name of Jesus, we are considered blessed (v. 14).
When we suffer, Peter says we are “partners with Christ in His suffering.” As we press forward, we are reminded that we “should serve with the strength God supplies” (v. 11 NIV). We shouldn’t be surprised when we have fiery trials (v. 12). Jesus told us it was guaranteed (John 15:20).
Paul told Timothy that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12 NIV). Continue to live a godly life in Jesus. Rest in the confidence that comes from living in the Lord, and remember that blessed is he who is persecuted. One day, we “will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.” Eternity we will have with Him.
“Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.” – 1 Peter 4:13 [NLT]
As it nears my son’s sixteenth birthday, there is great expectation. This is a big day for any teenager. When I consider the months and weeks prior to his birth, there was great expectation. He was my first child. I didn’t know what to expect, but I spent a lot of time considering who he would be and couldn’t wait to meet him.
In 1 Peter 1, we read about our great hope. In verse 3, Peter talks about how “we live with great expectation.” We live with this great expectation because “we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead.” We know that because of this, “we have a priceless inheritance” (v. 4). The Bible also tells us that God is protecting us “by His power” until the day comes when we receive the revelation of our salvation.
Some of us have lost the joy of this great expectation. We are so focused on this world that we cannot be “truly glad” that “there is wonderful joy ahead” (v. 6). Perhaps our trials have hardened our hearts. God reminds us that this is on “for a little while.” The trials “show that your faith is genuine” (v. 7). Today, be reminded of our great hope, our great expectation. Remember, “You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy” (v. 8).
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation.” – 1 Peter 1:3 [NLT]
In Psalm 34:14, we read, “Search for peace, and work to maintain it.” It’s repeated in 1 Peter 3:11. Peace is hard. Peace is something you have to search for, because it does not come easy. It takes work. We have to work to maintain it. It requires us to keep silent when we do not want to hold our tongue. It requires us to listen closely. It requires us to forgive. It requires us to use good discernment. It requires self-control. It requires a lot.
The Bible tells us to search for peace. It is something to prize, something to seek out. It is something we should desire. The Bible also says that peace has to be worked for and maintained. Peace doesn’t get handed to us. Peace isn’t going to be easy, but it is important for us to continue to aim for it.
Today, think about how you search for and maintain peace. Are you looking for peace? Are you working toward peace? When you see issues arise, are you a peacemaker or do you fan the flame of chaos? When there is the option to be a peacemaker in a situation, are you the peacemaker or the one who starts a battle?
“Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.” – Psalm 34:14 [NLT]
These past two weeks, I continue to be reminded of floods. As we continue our series through Genesis, we were discussing Noah and the Flood, and the aftermath. As well, Facebook has reminded me of the flooding we had in 2011, with photos of local areas flooded from Tropical Storm Lee. I cannot fathom the view Noah would have had from the Ark as the earth was destroyed by flood waters.
When I look back on these flood photos from Tropical Storm Lee, I still cannot believe the area was flooded. I remember seeing photos of Knoebels Amusement Park underwater and thinking I would never again get to take a family visit to the park. Two years ago, I found myself walking around at Knoebels as if the place was never flooded. Some of the photos of the roads flooded by Lee I have driven on just last week. It was as if nothing ever happened.
All of this talk of flooding these past few weeks reminds me of the restoration of God. He is Jehovah Rophi, God who heals, Who restores. In Exodus 15, God proclaims this to the Israelites as they cry out because of the bitter water at Marah. Still today, God restores. Yes, we will suffer a little while; however, “He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.” Keep pressing forward. Restoration will come!
“He said, ‘If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, obeying His commands and keeping all His decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you.’” – Exodus 15:26 [NLT]
“In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.” – 1 Peter 5:10 [NLT]
The Bible often talks about the right hand of God, and yet we don’t read much about His left hand. Many may question this lack of left-handed mentions. It is important to recognize that the right hand was considered the strong hand. It represented strength as we see in Isaiah 41:10, my life verse. But there is something else about the right hand.
The right hand, the place to the right of a person, is a place of honor. The New Living Translation translates the verse from 1 Peter as “the place of honor next to God.” This is the place that people wanted to be. Remember James and John’s mother wanting one of her children sitting in that privileged spot. Consider Who is at the right hand of God. Remember, as Stephen looked up before he was stoned to death, he saw Jesus at the right hand of God. To Him be all the honor, glory, and praise. He gets the highest honor. He is the highest, above all!
Today, as you read your Bible and reflect on His Word, look at where you find His right hand referenced in the Bible. Cling to those promises. Cling to Him Who has made those promises. Remember it is His right hand that upholds you.
“A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’” – Psalm 110:1 [ESV]
“My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.” – Psalm 63:8 [NASB]
“Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.” – 1 Peter 3:22 [NLT]
It really upsets me when I hear people say that God sends people to hell. The truth is that hell is a choice. People choose to go to hell because they don’t want a life with Jesus—Who is in heaven at the right hand of the Father. God “wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (v. 4). In 2 Peter 3:9, we read that “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise… instead He is patient… not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (NIV).
Jesus Christ gave His life as a sacrifice—to purchase freedom—FREEDOM FOR EVERYONE. In John, we read that God loved the entire world, everybody, that He gave His one and only Son and everyone who believes in Him will not perish (3:16). God loved the entire world. Jesus purchased freedom for everyone.
Hell is a choice. Heaven is a choice. You have a choice. Jesus Christ paved the way for you to have these two options, instead of it ending at the wages of sin being death. There are two options. You decide. Everyone chooses for themselves. God wants you to choose freedom. He wants you to choose heaven. He wants you to choose life. He wants you to choose Jesus. But He loves you so much, He’s given you the choice. It’s the only way for you to truly love Him, to truly have freedom, to truly have life. You decide.
“Who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth… He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.” – 1 Timothy 2:4, 6 [NLT]
When Jesus called His disciples, it was interesting to see the interaction between Him and the disciples. Simon Peter was fishing with James and John. They fished all night and yet the Bible says that the “took nothing.” Nothing came from their fishing, despite them being experienced fisherman and diligently attempting to catch fish.
Jesus comes along and enters their boat and they go out a little from shore. He began teaching from their boat. Then Jesus tells them to let down their nets. They had a night full of no fish, yet we read that they say, “But at Your word I will let down the nets.” They obeyed Jesus and they hauled in so many fish that the net began to tear.
Imagine if you responded to Jesus with “at Your Word.” Imagine if every time the Spirit brought to memory the Word of God, you would say, “at Your Word.” Just imagine.
“And Simon answered, ‘Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at Your word I will let down the nets.’” – Luke 5:5 [ESV]