Praise God for shielding me.

Genesis 38-40

And/or

Further up and further in: Psalm 42, Psalm 46, Psalm 100, Psalm 102, Psalm 121

Verse: 1 Peter 1:5 – You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

Prayer: Lord God, thank you for guarding me with your great power.  The assaults of the Devil against my soul are far beyond my ability to resist.  If you left me alone for a moment, I would fall.  The attacks of my own nature against me are more than I can handle.  The thoughts of my own mind lead me to think that you have abandoned me, that you are against me and not for me.  Don’t leave me alone, Lord, or I won’t make it.  Don’t abandon me, Lord, or I’ll stumble and fall.  You have ascended to your throne Jesus and you sit there ruling all things in my life for my good.  Deliver me from evil. Shield and guard me by your mighty power that I might be safe in the grasp of your love.  Keep me safe from all the attempts on my life and soul.  With you, I am safe. Under your care, I am protected.  With your guarding, I will make it safely to the end of faith’s race.  Thank you for guarding me with your power.  Amen.

Praise God for an imperishable inheritance.

Genesis 34-37

And/or

Further up and further in: Matthew 6:19-21, Matthew 13:44-46, Matthew 19:16-30

Verse: 1 Peter 1:3-4 – Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefined, and unfailing, kept in heaven for you.

Prayer: Lord God, so much of my life is spent chasing after the wind and I don’t even know it.  I chase a meal and just a few hours later I need another one.  I chase a paycheck and in just a moment every dollar is spoken for.  I chase treasures and they decay.  I put something aside and someone ruins it or steals it.  It is a chasing after the wind.  I try to hold these treasures and in a moment, for one reason or another, they’re gone.  But God, the treasure that you’ve given me in your Son and the inheritance stored up for me in heaven isn’t like that.  It isn’t a chasing after the wind.  In fact, it’s not even a chasing!  You’ve already given it to me. You’ve already promised it to me as a free gift. Heaven and its inheritance is already stored up and kept for me by your might and power.  Lord God, help me to treasure your heavenly gifts most of all.  They are the one and only thing that will not perish and will never slip through my fingers.  Grant me faith to hold tightly to these treasures and to let go of every earthly treasure.  Amen.

Praise God for new birth.

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1/15/18

The Christian life is hard.  That much is already clear as we have begun our walk through 1 Peter.  He’s writing to a group of people who have been exiled and driven from their homes.  It’s hard to praise God in the storm.  It’s hard to see what God is doing when it’s raining outside, when the waves are crashing over the side of the boat, when waves are driving us below the surface of the water.  In this section of Peter that we’ll cover this week, Peter leads us in a overflowing song of praise God for his eternal work in our life.  We’ll praise God for his work in our life from the very infancy of our faith, even from the very infancy of our lives.  We’ll praise God for his work in our life through the trials that refine our faith.  We’ll even learn to rebound with inexpressible joy because all this means that we’re about to see and receive that salvation of our souls. Soon – yes, very soon – we will be receiving the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+30-33&version=NIV

And/or

Further up and further in: John 3, Romans 6, Ephesians 5, Galatians 3:26-27

Verse: 1 Peter 1:3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Because in his great mercy he has given us new birth. CSB

Prayer: Dear Lord God, my baptism is such a gift to me.  It did for me and for my soul what nothing else could ever do for me.  It raised me from the depths of spiritual death and raised me up for a new life.  Instead of grave clothes and filthy rags, my baptism clothes me in Christ.  Most and best of all, my baptism brings me into your family so that now I get to call you, God, my dear Father in heaven.  Father, hear my prayer today.  Whatever this day brings, whatever hardship, trouble, or challenge or joy, lead me to praise you for this new birth that you’ve given me.  My baptism is one of your greatest gifts to me.  Lead me to praise you for this new birth whatever today brings.  Amen.

I am safe.

Genesis 27-29, Psalm 3

And/or

Further up and further in: 1 John 2:15-16, John 10:27-30, John 17:13-18, Romans 8:31-39

Verse: John 10:28-29 – I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.  No one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all.  No one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

Prayer: Dear Savior, there are many times in my life when I don’t feel safe.  I’m afraid of the danger that threatens me.  I’m afraid of the unknown and the uncertainties of my future.  Sometimes I’m even afraid that I’ll lose you as my Savior and my Friend.  Sometimes I’m even afraid that you’ve left me.  These are the most comforting words.  You choose me to be your own.  You called me to be your child.  You are at work in my life to make me holy by your Son.  All my footsteps were known to you.  That means that no path of my life is ever outside of your care.  And no matter where I may be scattered by the winds of life, you will go with me there.  And even there you will keep me safe.  No one and no thing can separate me from you. You hold me by my right hand and after all this you will take me into glory. And the best news of all – you won’t ever let me go. Amen.

I am in need of more.

Genesis 24-26, Psalm 2

And/or

Further up and further in: Lamentations 3:22-27, Ephesians 1:3-9, Romans 5:18-21, Psalm 130

Verse: Lamentations 3:26 – It is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD. CSB

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, I need you and I’m waiting on you.  I need more grace.  I really do.  I daily sin much.  I need your forgiveness as much today as I have ever needed it, maybe even more because I am more aware than ever of my sins against you.  I need your mercy.  I need you, Lord, to look at my helpless situation and help me.  Here I am a scattered exile in this world, an alien outside of his home country.  I’m living against the stream.  My way of life runs contrary to much of the rest of the people with whom I interact on a daily basis.  Help me live upstream.  Give me strength.  Give me wisdom.  When I seem to be all alone, remind me that you are with me and you are the only One for whom I’m living my life.  Lord, I’m waiting for you like a watchman waits for the morning.  I can’t wait for the morning of your new grace and mercy to dawn in my life. Lord, keep my eyes open, my faith burning, and my resolution strong as I wait for your to act and pour out more of all that you have for me in your grace and mercy.  Amen.

I am a scattered exile.

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Genesis 20-23, Psalm 2

And/or

Further up and Further in: 1 Peter 1:1-2, 1 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 11:8-40

Verse: 1 Peter 2:11 – Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and exiles to abstain from sinful desires which wage war against your soul. CSB

Prayer: Lord Jesus, it’s really hard not to fit in.  It’s hard not to belong.  And I don’t think I really understand how real the struggle is.  I’ve never been the outsider.  I’ve hardly ever been in the minority.  I’ve never been an alien in a strange new country, a refugee forced to flee from my home.  But, Jesus, that’s what it is to be a Christian.  It means that I am a stranger here because heaven is my home.  It means that my values are radically different than the values of the world.  It means that my priorities in life are radically different than everyone else.  Lord God, help to fight against being normal.  Help me to resist fitting in.  Lead me to live as your child, an alien and a stranger in this world.  Amen.

I am sanctified.

Genesis 17-19, Psalm 2

And/or

Further up and further in: Romans 8:28-30, Acts 17

Verse: Acts 17:27 – He did this so that they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. CSB.

Prayer: Lord God, you have carefully arranged all my days to carry out your plans for me.  Nothing is outside of your control or your guiding.  You put me when I am, in this particular time of history.  You put me where I am, in this family, in this community, in this church.  You even put particular people in my life to impact me and so that I might impact them.  Lord Jesus, help me to see your hand in all of this.  Use me when and where you will so that others might be made holy by your Son, Jesus, through faith.  Use them when and where you will, so that I will be found in Jesus and be saved by him.  Most of all, Father, I am thankful for your plan that has brought to this day in the faith.  Thank you for the people that you put in my path, who have told me about Jesus.  Thank you for the people, whom you place in my path that I can tell them about Jesus.  Keep on working in my life and through my life so that many more people might be saved.  Amen.

I am foreknown.

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Genesis 14-16.

And/or

Further up and further in: Matthew 10:29-31, Hebrews 4:13, Psalm 139.

Verse: Psalm 139:16 – Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began. CSB.

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, as I look ahead at the year that is in front of me I like to think that I have a grasp on what this year will bring.  This year is full of hopes and dreams for me.  It is also full of uncertainties that creep into my heart and are bringing fear into my heart.  It sometimes feels like all the balls of my life are thrown into the air all at once and I am left dashing back and forth trying to keep them from hitting the ground.  Father, I can’t handle that. It’s too much.  What hope you give me when you tell me that you knew me before I was born, that you have written the story of my life before it began!  It’s amazing that you would care so much about me that you would lay out a plan for my life, that you would use everything in my life for my eternal good.  Lord, thank you for writing my story and for including me in your story of salvation.  Set my heart at rest knowing that you have good plans for me, plans to save me, to give me hope and a future.  Amen.

I am chosen.

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We’re taking it nice and slow as we walk through 1 Peter.  We’re only going to meditate on and contemplate the first two verses this week: 1 Peter 1:1-2.  As we get to know Peter’s audience, we also learn to hear Peter comfort us in his opening “hello” of 1 Peter.  He is writing to you!  He is writing to me!  This week, we find comfort in this radical identity that we have from our: chosen, foreknown, sanctified, scattered exiles, who are in constant need of more grace and more peace.  In this our identity from our God, we are safe. Enjoy your time with your Savior this week as he comforts you and solidifies you in your identity.                

Genesis 12-13

And/or

Further up and Further in: 1 Peter 1:1-2, Ephesians 1:3-9

Verse: Ephesians 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him. CSB.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I can’t believe it. It seems to be good to be true.  I know well my failures and my flaws.  I know well how I have sinned against you and against so many other people. But you chose me to be yours.  You redeemed me with your own blood.  You made me holy and blameless through your blood and perfect life.  You picked and chose me to be yours.  What a precious choosing!  Lord Jesus, now I pray, keep me in this faith to which you have called me. Keep me from falling away from this grace you gave me.  Keep me from wandering away after my own devices.  Lord Jesus, just as you chose me in love to be yours, so in love keep me safe in the faith until I reach eternity with you.

Following Jesus in 2018.

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Genesis 10-11

And/or

Further up and Further in: Psalm 1-2, Ephesians 2:1-10

Verse: Psalm 1:1-3 – How happy is the one who does not walk in the advice of the wicked or stand in the pathway with sinners or sit in the company of mockers! Instead his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night.  He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not whither.  Whatever he does prospers. CSB

Prayer: One thing is needful; Lord, this treasure, teach me highly to regard.  All else, though it first gives pleasure, is a yoke that presses hard.  Beneath it my heart is still fretting and striving, no true, lasting happiness ever deriving.  This one thing is needful; all others are vain – I count all but loss that I Christ may obtain.  Amen.

Inspired.

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Genesis 8-9; Psalm 12

And/or

Further up and Further In: 1 Peter 1, 2 Peter 1:16-21, 2 Timothy 3:14-17, Ephesians 2:19-22; Matthew 7:24-29

Verse: Ephesians 2:19-20 – So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. CSB

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you have given me such a foundation on which to build my faith and to lead my life.  You have inspired them to write your Words for me and for my salvation. They aren’t making stuff up out from their own imaginations.  It’s not coming for a smoke-filled room.  Their words are your words, and they are perfect, good in every way.  Every word of the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Help me to open my ears and my hearts to listen carefully to every Word that you have given.  Teach me to lead my life and build my faith on the sure and certain foundation of your Word.  Amen.

Emboldened.

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Genesis 6-7

And/or

Further up and Further in: Acts 3-5

Verse: Acts 4:20 – We are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard. CSB

Prayer: Lord Jesus, when you conquered death and appeared to your disciples, when you poured out your Holy Spirit on your disciples, they lived and preached with a whole new boldness and confidence.  Where they were previously timid and afraid, now they were unafraid and unabashed in their preaching and ministry.  Lord Jesus, let your resurrection fill me with the same confidence.  Let your Spirit give me the same boldness.  I am yours!  You bought me and I belong to you.  I cannot lose since you conquered death and defeated all my enemies.  Your message is true and powerful whether people believe it or not.  It will never return to you empty or void, but is like the rain that pours down from heaven.  Set me on fire with resurrection and Spirit-given swagger to keep on living.  Let these words of Peter be mine: “I can’t stop speaking about what I believe!”  Amen.

Abandoning but not abandoned.

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Genesis 3-5

And/or

Further up and Further in: Matthew 10:32-33, 16:13-28, 26:36-46, 26:69-75, John 21:15-19

Verse: John 21:19 – After saying this, he told him, “Follow me.” CSB

 Prayer: Jesus, after all the ways in which Peter betrayed, abandoned and failed you, these last words you speak to him are amazing to hear.  Even after all the ways in which he had abandoned you, you never abandoned him.  In fact, even after all the ways in which he had failed you, you still wanted to use him for the kingdom; you even touched my faith and life me by his writing and his teaching!  God, this inspires so much hope in me.  Your compassion and mercies are new for me each day. This day, Lord, forgive me as this day begins.  Cleanse me and create in me a new heart, O God.  Your calling to follow you is new this day too, Lord Jesus.  Help me to follow you as my Lord and God, today.  Wonder of wonders, you still call me to follow and you still desire to use me. Help me make the most of my moments today.  Amen.

Discipled

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John 1:1-3; Psalm 8; Psalm 104

And/or

Further up and Further in: John 2:1-12, Mark 5:21-43, Mark 9:2-13

Verse: John 2:11 – Jesus did this, the first of his signs; in Cana of Galilee.  He revealed his glory and his disciples believed in him. CSB.

Prayer:  Lord God, the Bible is full of accounts from your ministry and life that demonstrate your power and your glory, your grace and mercy, your compassion.  Each story presents you to me as my Savior.  Each story shows me what you are like and how deeply and dearly you care about me.  Each story drives me to believe in you and to put my trust in you.  As I follow you this year, and dive into your Word, show me who you are that I may believe in you and be saved by you.  Amen.

Peter: Called

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Genesis 1-2; Psalm 1-2

And/or

Further up and Further in: Matthew 4:12-22, John 1:29-42, Acts 4:13-22, Matthew 10:1-42

Verse: Acts 4:13 – When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus. CSB.

Prayer: Lord God, you called, trained and then used fisherman to be your disciples, to be your apostles and even to lay the foundation for the church through the Spirit-inspired teaching, preaching and writing.  Father, you have called me to be your child.  You have made my holy by your Son’s blood and by the Spirit’s work.  Use me, just as I am, just as you have created me, to serve you this year.  Equip and disciple me this year for every work that you have prepared in advance for me to walk in it.  Inspire and set me on fire to follow you with devotion and dedication this year.  This is your year and the life you have given me to live.  Help me dedicate all that I do to you and to your glory. Amen.

Here is an overview of the book of Peter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhP7AZQlzCg

He is pleased with me!

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Proverbs 31, Psalm 148-150

Psalm 149:4 - For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.

God, this is amazing.  The grace that you show me. The love that you lavish on me. It is all too wonderful.  That you would call me your child and bring me into your family.  That you would exalt me over all my enemies and give me glory and honor.  That you call me to be a husband to such a wife!  That you would call me to be a dad to such kids!  God you have show such grace and pleasure to us, to me. You have done so marvelously with me that I can hardly handle it as I look back at my life to this point.  God, my whole being praises you.  Every bone in my body sings your praises.  My heart weeps with joy at all your goodness to me.  Amen.

What is your life?

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James 4-5, Esther 5-10

James 4:14-15 – What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, “If the LORD wills, we will live and do this or that.”

Lord God, I am just a mist.  I’m here for a moment and then I’m gone.  Help me to live and act and move and plan according to your will.  Make my life about what you want instead of about what I want.  Make my life about making the word of God known.  People – including me – are like grass of the field; here today and tomorrow thrown into the fire.  But the message that you’ve given me to share, that Word, your Word endures forever.  Fix my eyes on that one unchanging and everlasting gift you’ve given to us.  Focus my life’s work on passion on that enduring Word to my wife, my children, my church, and my community.  Help me point people there.  Help me point people to your love and your unchanging Word.  Then, then, Lord I will do something that lasts beyond me.  Amen.

For such a time.

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James 3, Esther 1-4

Esther 4:14 – And who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Lord God, all your ways are good.  All your plans are good. All your working in my life is good.  You have put right where you want me to be to that I might know you and so that I might help other people know you.  According to your own planning and working you have settled me right here, right now, with these people for their good and for mine too.  That’s what you did in Esther’s life. You put here right where she was, right when she was, for the saving of many people.  Lord God, help me recognize your working in my life, help me see the season of life in which I’m living, and use the time that you give me to the best of my strength and the best of my ability.  Give me courage.  Give me strength.  Give me wisdom.  You are my God and all you do is good.  Use me whenever, wherever, and however you see fit.  Amen.

Ask for Wisdom.

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James 1-2, Jonah 1-4

James 1:5-6 – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting; for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

God, I need wisdom and you’re the only one who can give it.  I’m looking at my life.  I’m looking at this next year.  I’m looking at the circumstances in my life. I’m looking at the people in my life.  You have given me so much good. Please, I pray, give me wisdom to know not just what to do in my life but wisdom to know how to do it.  You have given me much knowledge and information from your Word and from the experiences of my life.  Give me now wisdom to put that information into practice.  Purify and forgive every thought in me that is of sin and not of you.  Give me good counselors in my life who can know me and who can pour wisdom from you into my life.  God, the only way in which I will have these gifts is if you give them. Take away any doubt that lingers in my heart about your giving.  Take away all my hears and all my doubts as I put my trust in you.  Let my heart, soul and mind be stabilized and settled by you and your Word.  Amen.

Unchanging.

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Revelation 22, Malachi 1-4

Malachi 3:6 – For I the LORD do not change; therefore, you, O children of Jacob, are not destroyed.

Lord God, thank you for your unchanging character. Though you have every reason to turn your back to me and on me because of my sinful and ever-changing character, you don’t change.  The beautify here is this – that even though you do not change, you do change me.  You, O God, remove my sin, resurrect my spirit and set me up before you as the one who love, the one whom you love dearly.  I am the one whom you love.  You turned your Father’s heart to me and sent your Son to save me.  What good news, Father!  And Jesus, you turned your brother’s heart to me and gave yourself up for me.  And your Spirit, dear Jesus, set his seal on my head and heart to mark me as a redeemed child of God.  The news doesn’t get any better than that, God!  So what I am worried about?  What am I stressing about?  Lord God, you have my family and I in your grasp.  You know our footsteps.  You turn us to yourself in faith and trust.  You want to to lead forward in faith and trust.  Holy Spirit give greater faith to me to trust your unchanging character. Amen.