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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Sunday, April 19, 2015
Peter developed the qualities of tenderness and humility the hard way. In his early days with Christ, these attitudes did not come naturally to his impulsive, strong-willed personality (see Mark 8:31-331; John 13:6-92 for examples of Peter’s blustering). But the Holy Spirit changed Peter, molding his strong personality to God’s use and teaching him tenderness and humility.
In our fallen world, it is often deemed acceptable by some to tear people down verbally or to get back at them if we feel hurt. Peter, remembering Jesus’ teaching to turn the other cheek, encourages his readers to pay back wrongs with a blessing, such as praying for the offenders. In God’s Kingdom, revenge is unacceptable behavior, as is insulting a person, no matter how indirectly it is done. Rise above getting back at those who hurt you. Instead of reacting angrily to these people, pray for them.
Too often we see peace as merely the absence of conflict, and we think of peacemaking as a passive role. But an effective peacemaker actively pursues peace by building good relationships, knowing that peace is a by-product of commitment. The peacemaker anticipates problems and deals with them before they occur. When conflicts arise, they are brought into the open and dealt with before they grow unmanageable. Making peace can be harder work than waging war, but it results in life and happiness.
Rather than fear our enemies, we are to quietly trust in God as the Lord of all. We must believe that Christ is truly in control of all events. When he rules our thoughts and emotions, we cannot be shaken by anything our enemies may do.
You may not be able to keep people from speaking evil against you, but you can at least stop supplying them with ammunition. As long as you do what is right, their accusations will be empty and only embarrass them. Keep your conduct above criticism! (NLT)
1 Peter 3:8-17 – Finally, all of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it. For the Scriptures say, “If you want a happy life and good days, keep your tongue from speaking evil, and keep your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”
Now, who will want to harm y0u if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t be afraid and don’t worry. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But you must do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak evil against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!
Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called – that you might inherit a blessing. – 1 Peter 3:9 (NRSV)
I would like to share a touching story written by Violet Mutasa (Mashonaland East, Zimbabwe); Violet titled her story “DO GOOD ALWAYS”.
“My sister Portia and her four children were ordered out of the house by her husband. He had decided to end their 20-year marriage. Our parents took her in, but soon we saw her slip into depression. A neighbor advised us to take her to a counselor where Portia learned the importance of forgiveness. Then one day we noticed a great change; Portia was smiling.
“Portia found a job and moved out of our parents’ house. For the next 10 years she raised her children alone. The Lord guided her and the children. Later each one attended university.
“Then one day Portia called to tell me that her ex-husband had died. Our family accompanied her to the funeral. A few months later she received word that her ex-husband’s wife was dead. The couple left behind four children who were still at primary and secondary levels. No one from the husband’s family was willing to take the children, but Portia offered to do it. Her four working children helped her take care of these orphans.
“God worked miraculously. All eight children are now working, some overseas. Each one calls her ‘mother.’ Portia is a role model to me and to our community; she never repaid evil for evil. She is a testimony of what real love means.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Even if the future appears bleak to us, God has another outlook.
Prayer: O God, when we face rejection may your Holy Spirit help us understand that forgiveness heals us. Amen.
Prayer Focus: SINGLE PARENTS
To read other stories in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
For more Helpful Inspirational Material:
ACCEPT, ACCEPTABLE, ACCEPTANCE: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/accept-acceptable-acceptance/
ATTITUDE, ATTITUDES: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/attitude-attitudes/
CONFLICT, CONFLICTS: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/conflict-conflicts/
GOOD, GOODNESS: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/good-goodness/
VALUE, VALUABLE: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/value-valuable/
MEANING, MEANINGLESS: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/meaning-meaningless/
1 Peter was not considering God’s purposes but only his own natural human desires and feelings. Peter wanted Christ to be king, but not the suffering servant. He was ready to receive the glory of following the Messiah but not the persecution.
Peter was often the spokesman for all the disciples. In singling him out, Jesus may have been addressing all of them indirectly. Unknowingly, the disciples were trying to prevent Jesus from going to the cross and thus fulfilling his mission on earth. Satan also tempted Jesus to avoid the way of the cross. Whereas Satan’s motives were evil, the disciples were motivated by love and admiration for Jesus. Nevertheless, the disciples’ job was not to guide and protect Jesus but to follow him. Only after Jesus’ death and resurrection would they fully understand why he had to die. (NLT)
Mark 8:31-33 – Then Jesus began to tell them that he, the Son of Man, would suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the leaders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, and three days later he would rise again. As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and told him he shouldn’t say things like that.
Jesus turned and looked at his disciples and then said to Peter very sternly, “Get away from me, Satan! You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
2 Imagine being Peter and watching Jesus wash the others’ feet, all the while moving closer to you. Seeing his Master behave like a slave must have confused Peter. He still did not understand Jesus’ teaching that to be a leader, a person must be a servant. This is not a comfortable passage for leaders who find it hard to serve those beneath them. How do you treat those who work under you (whether children, employees, or volunteers)? (NLT)
John 13:6-9 – When he came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, why are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now why I am doing it; someday you will.” “No,” Peter protested, “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “But if I don’t wash you, you won’t belong to me.”
Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”
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