Through MentorLink’s weekly Prayer Updates, we keep up with over 100 of the Lord’s servants around the world. This gives us some idea of the hardships and suffering that is happening around the world.
This past week, I was reminded again at the role suffering plays in our lives. The Lord has called us to suffering. It is part of the normal life for those in Christ. The following passage gives perspective:
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Pt. 2:21-25)
Take a moment to reflect on this passage. These questions may be a help:
1. How have I suffered in the past?
2. Being honest with myself, how has that suffering shaped me?
3. How does this passage shape my perspective on suffering?
4. Take a moment to thank Jesus for His suffering for you.
This week I have continued my slow journey through 1 Peter. This is a fascinating time for me as I reflect on these truths for my life.
Peter is toward the end of his life. He shares with us what is really important.
Yesterday I spent some time pondering this passage:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Pt. 2:9-11)
This passage tells you and me who we are in God’s eyes. Take a few minutes to ponder how He views us.
Here are a few questions for reflection:
Which of these descriptions is most encouraging to me?
This week I have been reflecting on passages in 1 Peter 1. I was struck by the “hope” we have in Jesus’ return. Here are a few passages in the first 16 verses that stood out to me.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Pt. 1:3-5)
“so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” (1 Pt. 1:7)
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pt. 1:13)
Take a few moments to reflect on these verses and ponder these questions for yourself:
1. Where have I placed my hope?
2. What do I really long for?
3. What is the source of my hope?
4. When will my hope be fully experienced?
5. How does He want me to respond?
False leaders have a variety of sinful motives. They may:
Want to do the deeds of the devil. (Jn. 8:41-44)
Want to gain power by controlling people. (3 Jn. 9-11)
Seek to undermine the authority of Scriptures and the Lord’s true servants. (Phil. 1:15-17; 2 Pt. 3:16)
Seek praise and honor from people. (Matt. 23:5-7; Jn. 12:42-43; Gal. 1:10)
Seek personal financial gain. (Jn. 12:4-8; 2 Pt. 2:3; 2 Pt. 2:12-16)
Promote their fleshly lifestyles. (2 Pt. 2:17-22)
Promote their own teaching. (1 Tim. 1:3-7)
A false leader’s motives, with time and discernment, will become obvious. Observe the fruit of their words, life or ministry to discern their motives. (Matt. 7:15-20; Matt. 12:33-37; Gal. 5:19-25; 1 Tim. 5:24)
Take a moment for reflection or discussion:
1. How have I discerned motives of others in the past?
2. How can the principle of “observing fruit” assist me in discerning motives of false leaders?
3. If fruit reveals motives, what motives does the fruit of my life reveal?