Called To Bless

“Called To Bless”
--from March 3rd  --

Day 1

Read 1 Peter 3:8-17
It may seem strange to do this through a devotion, but I treasure these verses in my life right now.  My testimony to you is that this is possible.  I can honestly say that I love life and get to see good days.  My life is not absent of struggle or even chaos, but rather I have been given the pieces that make the good life possible even in the midst of the chaos and struggle.  Jenna and I sat the other day with some friends telling about a season in our life that was over a decade ago.  What we started to notice is that we had never talked about this season with each other, processed it, or thought about its impact in our lives.  It was certainly a place of chaos and struggle that needed a lot of wisdom and strategy, but neither of us had that in this moment.  Looking back, we see God’s grace in protecting our marriage in what was surely a dangerous time with weighty decisions. Maybe it is best to be explained this way, we did a lot of the little things, like unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, tender hearts, and a humble mind, when we clearly needed to be doing bigger things, but the good life has resulted from that time.  It wasn’t absent of chaos and struggle, but somehow, God’s grace carried us over the chaos and struggle.  Now, because of that season and God’s promise of the way to being blessed is by blessing others, we are living the good life and I can honestly say that I love life!

Of those five things 1 Peter mentions (unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, tender hearts, and a humble mind) where are you needing to focus your attention?

How can you bless other people in the week you are about to face?

What do you think verse 15 means?

How can this be part of your prayer today?

Day 2

Read Psalm 34

I love this Psalm.  I love the song about this Psalm that we sing in church.  Maybe it is the overwhelming, biased fanboy I tend to be for the singer when she takes off on those powerful notes (Jenna is my wife and that singer and I am using this section to score some points, so let me have this little bit!)  Or maybe it is the years of emotions that tend to pour out of a genuinely full heart that has experienced the relief, the fullness, that this Psalm is portraying.  It is the powerful eruption from deep down that the more that I think about what I have seen and what God has done, the challenge can’t help but be shouted from my mouth, “Taste and see that the Lord is good!”  It is very much not like the time that I had guinea pig in Ecuador (it is a common food there, don’t judge me!) and was not left with the desire to let everyone know that I just had tasted something that was guaranteed to change everyone’s perspective and thoughts.  But the life lived with God at the heart and center, seeing the truths of the Bible and being encouraged by the love he has for me, that is something that I am so confident that everyone needs to experience that I should proclaim it everyday!  Like David, who wrote this Psalm after experiencing a deliverance by God that saved his life, we should pause for a few minutes before facing what is ahead of us and be reminded of what God is like in the realization of what He has done in our lives.
Name 5 ways the Lord has been good in your life lately.
How can you bless the Lord at all times and what stands in the way of that being your normal posture?
Remind yourself of two times in life that you have sought the Lord and he answered you.
How does this inform your prayers for today?

Day 3

Read 1 Peter 2:1-12

The last two days have been about us revisiting the verses from our text on Sunday.  I struggle reading just small portions of scripture and then thinking that we can draw complete ideas and conclusions from just that small part.  Context is key.  T-shirts sayings and bumper stickers with good verses are great, but that is not what the Bible was written for.  So going back will give us a full picture of what Peter was trying to communicate.  

Peter, in chapter 1, has just explained what actually happens in salvation.  He got really technical and tried to explain it in detail.  Now he shifts gears from talking about what happened, to how we should live if that salvation idea has happened to us. So the next couple of days, it will seem like Peter is giving a formula for how to live.  But don’t fall into that trap in reading these verses.  Remember, Peter is trying to convey one single idea and he will give examples of how to live in light of the gospel in each of those situations.  

If you were making a list of things that Peter teaches in this passage, what would that list be?

What do you think that verses 9-10 are saying?

How are verses 1 and 2 explained by looking at verse 3?

Share some ideas of your thoughts on the messaging app with the others reading along in these devotions.

Day 4

Read 1 Peter 2:13-25

The text that we read Sunday was an easy to get one.  The text from yesterday landed in that category too.  But now the controversy starts to stir up in our cultural minds.  Peter starts to talk about gender roles and he seems to be giving us trigger words that make the casual Bible reader skip past and just pretend like it wasn’t said so that they don’t have to unpack it.  This is why context is so important.  If you approach these next four ideas Peter brings up like they are a formula, you will totally miss the point.  Remember what Peter is trying to do, he explained the gospel and what happens at salvation, now he is answering “so what does that have to do with real life?”  The first example is the example of the government that is not interested in the gospel.  Peter says, “Yeah.  You can be submissive to them in this gospel life and still follow Jesus.”  Then the questions seem to get harder.  But what about the boss or master that is not kind or good, in fact is actually the opposite?  Peter says, “Yeah, like Jesus did, keep doing the thing that is most like the gospel.  Submit, serve, and in persecution, know that you are being blessed.”  In other words, the gospel does not change in your circumstances.  It is good enough and right enough for all of the circumstances.

This passage and Psalm 34 both talk about not reviling when you are reviled, or basically, not speaking slanderously when you are slandered.  Jesus is the example given as we are also called to live like this.  Where can you pay attention to this in your life right now?

This way of being, submitting even when there is freedom and the situation has been made uncomfortable for you, seems to be unhealthy.  What is the difference between you remain in a, for example, tough work situation with an annoying boss, and when it would be taking these verses too far?

How does this become part of your prayer today?

Day 5

Read 1 Peter 3:1-8

Now for the most tough questions in light of what Peter has been talking about.  What about the wife with the unbelieving husband?  Doesn’t that change the approach?  It does.  Peter addresses this with a truth that is important for not just that relationship, but all relationships that there is the difference between a believer and a non-believer, submit to what you are supposed to be.  That could be the catalyst that changes their hearts.  If you are giving back to them the “persecution” they are giving you, then you are missing the point.  Don’t slander those that slander you was part of Peter’s message in all of this.  

He closes out this practical section with tough examples with the example of the husband considering his wife.  The gospel makes the relationship be considerate of who the person is, with, as we will see in the next verses, unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, tender hearts, and humble minds.  That is the key to making a marriage work…even the ones that don’t seem like they should work!

How do these verses inform your approach to life (if you are married or if you plan to get married one day or you are dating)?

How can the gospel be lived out more in your marriage in light of what you see here?

If you are married, talk about these verses and your thoughts on them with your spouse.

How does this fit into your prayers today?

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