I Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
There it is again…”Be alert and of sober mind.”
1. So you may pray AND
2. Because your enemy the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour and you don’t want to be a target.
While the words of the Lord’s Prayer are familiar it’s much more difficult to plug my personal prayers into it than I would have thought. It’s going to take some practice and thought. Practice makes perfect.
I. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…
A. Your name is a holy and spoken prayer in itself. You have chosen to intervene in the life of your creation…my life.
1. I’m grateful for your persuasion
2. I’m thankful for your instruction
3. I’m aware of your blessing
II. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…
A. I have one foot in each of the two kingdoms you’ve created but I live in this one right now. Give me evidence of your will being done on earth to encourage me to keep heaven in sight.
1. Remember the evidence
III. Give us this day our daily bread…
A. Give me the desire to prepare a healthy spiritual diet that’s well balanced with truth AND wisdom.
1. Remember today’s bread
a. Is it just another serving of manna or a full-course meal?
b. Is it nourishment or just food?
IV. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others…
A. My only understanding of the relationship between deserving and forgiveness is what I know you’ve given me.
1. Don’t let my flawed mind and unforgiving heart create a barrier between us.
2. Teach me to forgive in a way that is not limited by my own understanding.
V. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil:
A. Lead us and deliver us, Lord, from the traps of our own making the devil has lined up for us.
1. What are the traps?
VI. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever…
A. This may not be heaven but it is your kingdom
1. Help me find your glory in it.
B. Your Word has power
1. Strengthen my prayers
C. Unite my today with your forever.
A. May it come to pass every day and all tomorrows Lord.
“I Peter 4:7b Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.”
This book of I Peter and my absorption with current events have made it clear I really need to pray for our country and our government. There IS a constructive purpose to being “alert and of sober mind” than goes beyond consuming information…”so you may pray.” Sometimes praying is complicated and information doesn’t always make things clearer when it evokes so much emotion.
Recently our pastor has spoken about how he deals with the complexity of who, what and how to pray by using the familiar words of the Lord’s Prayer as his basic outline to filter the events and emotions of his own life. That’s certainly what I need.
OK, OK, OK…to I Peter, to the Pastor…and to practicing what Jesus preached in Matthew 6 when he said “This, then, is how you should pray…” I’ve got information, now I need basic application.
Thanks to Brad Boydston for these prayer ideas he’s made available so what Jesus taught can become a personal reality.
Thanks also to Rick Hamlin for explaining “we really do need [the Lord’s Prayer] words to help us. [It’s] An outline to hang our different concerns and fears on, a guide so that we cover all the basics.”
I Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
I wish I was writing about something else today. I read this chapter over and over looking for something other than this passage but it was stuck in my mind in light of current events. The airways and print media are filled this week with reports of the very public loss of the ability to keep the “tongue from evil” and “lips from deceitful speech.” It’s impossible to watch, listen and read about them and believe there are “good days” ahead.
These scripture verses are obvious and absolute truths that seem so contrary to those events that all I could think was “They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. ” That’s absolutely true but they don’t care, and I can’t change them. The shocker is with all my highly sensitized awareness of a truth that’s so needed for “them,” I haven’t been willing to do the one thing the Lord’s watching and listening for from me that can help.
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer…”
Current events make our country seem like an x-rated, made-for-TV production but God promises a something very different if we will watch, listen AND pray for his reality.
I Peter 2:11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Have you ever thought of yourself as a foreigner or exile? I doubt I’m the only one who needs to think about that question. We are foreigners and exiles, but from what? I’ve been in social situations where I felt completely out of place. I didn’t like that feeling or my response. In that uncomfortable place I realized how much I wanted to fit in rather than be a foreigner or exile. Fitting in is the “war against your soul.”
That uncomfortable place is where the battle lines become clear. There are two sets of values; one for fitting in and another for spiritual things. There’s only one defense that will save us – the integrity of faith.
In·teg·ri·ty: the state of being whole and undivided.
Whole and undivided faith is the winning strategy that makes it possible to “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
Note to Self: You may be a foreigner and exile but people see the integrity of your faith and will remember it’s purpose even if they don’t agree with it…yet.
I Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
I once had someone ask me “what does born again mean anyway? I didn’t know quite how to answer except using some analogy I’d heard about an airplane and a pilot that I can’t even remember. I could tell my response made no sense to the one who asked and now I understand why. I was trying to explain what someone else understood. It gets more complicated because it’s so personal.
Stories of what God has taught others are good but they are only meant to be a small cell the Holy Spirit plants in you with the possibility what “they” understood might become something more for you…spiritual curiosity. That’s spiritual conception.
It’s the work of the Holy Spirit that leads you to something more over a period of time. Spiritual curiosity develops the desire to “search and find” spiritual answers. That the period of your spiritual gestational development.
Finally curiosity, conceived and developed, gives birth to your own praise to “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” knowing with complete certainty that “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” the Holy Spirit has personally taught you spiritual truths you’d never known before.
That dear friends is your “new birth into a living hope” and an inheritance “that can never perish, spoil or fade.”
1 Peter 1:15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
“It needs no proof that it is of infinite importance to know aright what God has called us to…You may have heard that God calls you to salvation or to happiness, to receive pardon or to obtain heaven, and never noticed that all these were subordinate…It was to Holiness in the first place…” From Holy in Christ by Andrew Murray
I Peter and Andrew Murray’s quote made me wonder “why” God didn’t just go ahead and “make” us holy while he was doing all that other good stuff? “Be holy” reads like an impossible demand and basically ends with the more familiar parental response…”just because I said so.”
Then I remembered how well that response had worked for God so long ago when he first spoke all of creation into being…just because he said so. Much later it was that same “just because I said so” that spoke my own salvation into being.
It’s much more personal now that God would say “Be holy, because I am holy.” It’s not an impossible demand at all but the much needed assurance that personal holiness really will come to pass…just because he said so.
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
This would be a perfect world if verse 8 could only be true. Post-election the exact opposite seems to be the case in our nation. It’s a dangerous truth right now. There doesn’t seem to be bottom line of thought from which to begin to work toward agreement let alone imagine like-mindedness. I’m caught trying to figure out who’s the enemy in this whole mess.
There’s an enemy at work, for sure, but contrary to the evidence of the emotional response to this election, it’s not of our making. Evil is the enemy. It’s an enemy that’s chosen to wreak havoc among us. It’s an enemy that’s clever enough to know how to do just that; by wearing the disguise of the choice you “didn’t” want. Either choice!
This enemy is afraid of the truth of these two verses. Verse 8 is God’s vision of what he’d like us to be, and verse 9 is reality of how to see through the enemy’s disguise to get there. When you can’t stand what’s happening, kneel.