Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Staying Awake

Passage Romans 13:11-14

Prayer

Our Father, victorious deliverer,may I be found in Christ, not trusting any righteousness of my own - because I've none. Let me know him and the power of his resurrection. May I share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, so I might attain the resurrection of the dead.
O God, let me obtain it! Let me be awake! Let me put on the armor of light! Let me put on the Lord Jesus and his righteousness, and be found in him! Let me trust, obey, even suffer, in order to have the victory!
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Last Days

Passage Romans 13:11-14

Prayer

Gracious Father, object of my desires, everything points to the fact that we live in the last days. Knowing what hour it is, let me wake up from my sleep!
For salvation is nearer to me now than when I first believed. The night is far gone. The day is at hand.
Lord please help me cast off all the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Let me conduct myself as becomes one of your people, not in reveling or drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling or jealousy.
Rather, let me put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provisions for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Strengthened with His Love

Passage Romans 13:9

Prayer

Heavenly Father, generous giver,Love sees needs and shares resources. How lacking I am in this regard. Please forgive me and make me better.
Please give me a spirit of generosity not only to me, but also to my wife, my children, and my whole extended family - also to my spiritual family, your church.
Help all of us to be giving people, because you are a giving God. Move us to serve a needy world. I praise you and thank you for all your mercies. You are so bountiful in your gifts.
I love you, good and gracious God. I love your Son. I love your Spirit. I love your people. I love the lost. All because you loved me first.
My prayer is to love you and them more. In the name of Jesus and with the Spirit's help, I ask these things. Amen.

The Debt of Love

Passage Romans 13:8-10

Prayer

Father, I owe love to my fellow man, as you have said in your Word. What an endless debt! How can I keep your command to love my neighbor as myself?
What would it be like to live in a world where such unselfishness prevailed?
Ah, it would be heaven on earth, therefore such behavior is a precondition of our heavenly inheritance.
But Lord, be gentle in your judgment toward me. I fall so far short on this. Love would absolutely do no wrong to one's neighbor - never taking anything that was his, or even wanting to.
So fill me with love, so that I may fulfill your law. In the name of Jesus, help me, Lord. Amen.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

No Debts Except...

Passage Romans 13:8-10

Prayer

Our Father, senior Partner in my business, please help me get completely out of debt and stay out! Let me follow your word, "Owe no man anything! . . . except to love one another."
Help me be a good steward of my business affairs. Spur me on to work smart as well as hard.
Let me be very wise, even shrewd, in the way I order my business. While conserving resources, let me move forward, even taking risks when such is best.
Help me, Father, to see you as the senior partner in what I do. And may I always render a generous portion of my income to do your work in the world.
In the name of Jesus and with the Spirit's help, I ask these things. Amen.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Authority

Passage Romans 13:1-7

Prayer

Our Father, from whom all power comes, help me to show proper respect for the duly constituted authority of government.
Help me to do what is good, that I may receive the approval of those who serve you for the enforcement of good order.
Please teach me to be subject, not only to avoid the punishment of the state and to avoid your wrath, but also for the sake of my own conscience.
O Lord, give me the integrity to pay taxes to whom taxes are due, to give revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.
May my subjection to proper human authority reflect my subjection to your authority because all authority comes from You.
Don't let me resist your will and incur judgment from you.
In the name of Jesus, who has all authority, I pray.
Amen.

Living in Harmony

Passage Romans 12:16-21

Prayer

Peaceable Father, God of the lowly, help me live in harmony with others - without haughtiness, without conceit, willing to associate with the lowly.
Please help me to repay no one evil for evil, but to take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.
As far as it depends on me, let me live peaceably with everyone.Let me seek no revenge for myself, but leave it to your wrath, O God. Help me, Father, not to be overcome with evil, but to overcome evil with good. In the name and authority of Jesus I boldly come, asking these things according to his will. Amen.

Inspired by Love

Passage Romans 12:9-15

Prayer

Our Father, empowering God, let my love be genuine for everyone in heaven and on earth. Help me hate what is evil at all times and everywhere. Help me hold fast to what is good, the old and the new.
May I love my fellow disciples with brotherly affection. May I show them greater honor than they show me.
Let my zeal not cool. May it blaze with energy from your Spirit. May I rejoice in hope and be patient in tribulation. Let me be constant in prayer. May I contribute liberally to the needs of your holy people. Help me be very hospitable.
And Lord, help me to bless those who persecute me. Help me to bless them, not to curse in return.In the name and authority of Jesus I boldly come, asking these things according to his will.
Amen.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Value of Interdependence

Passage Romans 12:3-8

Prayer

Our Father, who wills our interdependence, having gifts that differ, let us use them appropriately according to your will.
If prophesy, in proportion to one's faith. If service, diligently serving. If teaching, instructively teaching. If exhortation, strongly motivating encouragement. If giving, with liberal and generous contributions. If giving aid, with zeal. If acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Great Giver, give your gifts to your people through your people. But let us always give you the glory! Praise to you, our Lord.
It is in the name of Jesus, who shares all spiritual blessings with us, we ask for a growing love among all your people. Amen.

Sober Personal Assessment

Passage Romans 12:3-8

Prayer

Our Great Father, who wills our interdependence,Help me not to think more highly of myself than I ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, according to the measure of faith which you have assigned me.
I know that I am but one member in the body of Christ, and while important, no more important than any other. For as in one body, we have many members, and all members do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of each other. Help me to understand and practice the interdependence necessary for the healthy functioning of the body of Christ. May each member be in sympathetic union with all others.In the name of Jesus, who shares all spiritual blessings with us, we ask for a growing love among all your people. Amen.

The Temple of God

Passage Romans 12:1-2

Prayer

O God, dweller of my temple,Please give me the mind of Christ and make my body a temple of the spirit of holiness which is his.Make me holy through and through. May my whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless by your power until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.I trust you to do this because you are the one who has called me, and you are faithful. Your word says that you will do it!By the authority of Jesus and in his name I ask for this growth in grace. Amen.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Invited by God

Passage Romans 11:17

Prayer

O God our Father, King of banquets, may I enter your halls wearing the appropriate garment, the righteousness of Jesus Christ, not that of my own making.
The false righteousness of adherence to man-made rules is a worthless covering. Only the true righteousness of belief in your Son will make my appearance acceptable to you.
Grant me true humility. If I boast, let it be about you. Let my pride be in what you have done for me, not in what I make of myself.
In the name of Jesus, the honoree of the banquet, I offer thanks for inviting me to your feast of good things.
Amen.

Grafted In

Passage Romans 11:17

Prayer
O Father, king of banquets,Like that unknown hearer of Jesus long ago, I say, "How blessed it will be to eat bread in the kingdom of God."
Please, Lord, don't let me be like those who were invited to the marriage feast honoring the king's son but who scorned it in favor of business deals and family matters. They were left out while the king filled his house with those from the highways and country lanes. Your ancient people, Israel, rejected your invitation, and we non-Jews have filled your halls of festivity and salvation. But, Lord, we are unnatural branches, grafted in. Let none of us become proud. Rather, let every one of us stand in awe of your severity toward those who reject your Son and your mercy toward those who accept him.
May I continue in your kindness, lest I be cut off. And may your ancient people repent and accept their Messiah, for this would be life from the dead!
In the name of Jesus, the true Messiah of Israel, I pray.
Amen.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Unbelief of Israelites

Passage Romans 10:18-11:16

Prayer

Our heavenly Father, how sorry I am that the people you chose, the nation of Israel, has spurned your Messiah and turned away in unbelief. But how thankful I am that because of their unbelief you have sent your message to Gentiles so that we can be adopted into the family of Abraham, grafted as wild shoots into the natural olive tree.
I rejoice that even today you have redeemed in Christ thousands of Abraham's natural descendants for your kingdom, and you will save more until the full number of the elect is saved.
I rejoice that I share with them the blessings you gave.
Thank you that we are one family. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Confess!

Passage Romans 10:1-8

Prayer

Holy Father, thank you that Christ is the end of the law to those who have faith.
Thank you that I am justified by faith in him, not by some system of merit. May I not think of Christ as being so high in heaven that he is inaccessible to us, or, like unbelievers, think of him as being dead and not available.
May I continually confess with my mouth the belief that is in my heart: Jesus is Lord! And God raised him from the dead!
Please help me rather to know that He is nearer than breathing! In Jesus' name. Amen.

Rock of my Salvation, Anchor of my Soul

Passage Romans 9:25-33

Prayer

Almighty Father, Ruler of the ages,You have called we who were "not your people" to be "your people" we who were "not your beloved" to be "your beloved."
How gracious you have been to us (yes Lord, to me!) that we (that is I!) should be called "sons of the living God"!
Thank you, loving Father! I am overjoyed!
Why did your ancient people fail to attain your righteousness Because they sought it based on their works of merit under the law. But, praise you, Lord, you have given righteousness through faith.
You have laid in Zion a stone that makes men stumble, a rock that makes them fall. Your Messiah, Jesus, is that Stone, that Rock.
But I believe in him, trust in him, and will never be ashamed of him.
In the blessed name of Jesus, the rock of my salvation, I pray.
Amen.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chosen For Glory

Passage Romans 9:21-24

Prayer

Wise Father, ruler of the ages,You, O God, are the Potter who has the right over the clay to make of it whatever you please.
What if you, desiring to show your wrath and to make known your power, have endured with much patience the objects of wrath made for destruction? What if you put up with sin in order to make known the riches of your glory to the objects of mercy prepared for glory?
Thank you for selecting your chosen ones from every nation of the earth. And thank you for preparing your chosen ones to share in your glory.
Thank you, O holy and mighty God! I am overwhelmed by your grace that you have lavished on me!
In the blessed name of Jesus, the rock of our salvation, I pray. Amen.

Friday, February 10, 2012

God's Sovereign Choice

God's Sovereign Choice

Passage Romans 9:19-20

Prayer

Oh Father, thank you that graciously you determined that all who are descended from Israel do not belong to Israel, nor are men counted as Abraham's children by mere physical descent.
You, O Sovereign Lord, have chosen, according to your own desire and purpose, those you want to continue your work in the world.
Thank you, dear Father, that your choice and mercy has reached to me. Thank you for all that you are doing in my life.
Thank you for teaching me to love the descendants of Israel by the flesh. May my share in their inheritance cause even one of them to turn to Jesus Christ in saving faith and give thanks to you.
In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Salvation for the Israelites

Passage Romans 9:1-18
Prayer
Good Father, keep me and all who are related to me from any hint of hatred toward Israel, your ancient people.Let us love them and pray for their good always, longing so much for their salvation and even take the Gospel to them just as strive for others because God desires all men to be saved. Grant that we, like Paul, should have sorrow and unceasing anguish because of their alienation from you.
Father, you gave such honor and wonderful gifts to them: You called them by your name; they are Israelites. To them belong the sonship, the glory, the worship, and the promises.
To them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, came the Messiah, your Son Jesus Christ, who is over all things, God blessed forever. Amen.Their rejection of Christ does not mean your word has failed. Your word never fails. It is people who fail.
In the name of Jesus I pray.
Amen.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

More than Conquerors

Passage Romans 8:34-37

Prayer

GREAT & AWESOME Father, our ultimate security and joy,Since Christ Jesus, who died, is at your right hand interceding for us, who shall separate us from your love? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, not even the sword, for it is written,
"For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."
Shall any of these terrible things change your love one bit for me and all who have trusted your Son Jesus?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through you, the awesome God who loved us with an awesome love.
May I never forget your love or ignore your sacrifice. May I never use trouble as an excuse for not doing good, for you have the power and authority to use trouble to produce good, and so I submit myself to your transforming power.
In the name of your holy Son, I pray.
Amen.

FOR CHRIST'S SAKE



WHEN YOU SUFFER FOR CHRIST! 2
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify god in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of god, and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of god? And ¨if the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?¨” Therefore let those who suffer according to God´s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (1Peter 4:14-19)

What is surprising, that you suffer trials for your faith or that you have never experienced them? What trials have you had to suffer for your faith? Have you lost relatives and friends, property and money, job and reputation because you had to take a Christian position in your life? The Lord Jesus said that it was essential that you suffer for His sake. He reiterated this through His apostles that it is very needful that His followers have to suffer.
Apostle continues with encouraging his readers who are going through a difficult time of being persecuted simply because they were Christians. In fact this is the third of the only thee places where the word ´Christian' is used – the other two being the very first time in Antioch and when Felix wondered and sneered at Paul that he was out of his mind to even try to make him a Christian.
John Brown writing about Christian suffering as being not surprising for believers says:
¨Suffering for Christ, in some form and degree or other; seems to be essential to the formation of the Christian character; and that character has usually, reached nearest to perfection in those who have had the largest share of that kind of trial.¨
In this case here you suffer ridicule so that your name, integrity and reputation are put in jeopardy. Would you be willing to be insulted and reviled so that you are put to open shame simply because you said that you are a Christian?
I have  three lessons for us to apply to our lives in this passage:

1.     We should expect blessings when we suffer for Christ (v.14)
The Lord told the disciples in His sermon on the mount, Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness´ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, fir your reward in heaven for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matt. 5:10-12) The last two of the beatitude (blessings) all are to do with the blessedness of sufferings for the sake of Christ and his righteousness. Every time Peter remembers the beatitude in his letter, he talks about the beatitudes of suffering (3:14; 4:14), He both says,  you are blessed!  Here the beatitude forms part of the conditional sentence where he says that if the harsh reality of bearing the brunt of unbelievers in the verbal abuse is on one side of the coin, the reward of heavenly happiness is on the other -  Rejoice and be glad, fir your reward in heaven!
What sort of blessings are to be found in painful suffering? How can there be anything good in being on the receiving end of any suffering? According to the Lord, being on the receiving end of suffering trials shows indeed how much blessing you have from the Lord. They are blessed (in the past tense) those who are persecuted and reviled and persecuted! They first have the heavenly inheritance! Many want to own pieces of land in this city – especially if it is a prime plot one would really know that he is somewhere. This is why there is such a struggle to own land and houses that people are easily being cheated by crooks who want to make cheap money from unsuspecting people – who are also too eager to own land that is perishable – not that it is wrong to own property. But here we are talking of owning prime mansions in heaven! Not in Kileleshwa or Runda – in glory! With  and in God´s presence!
Suffering for the name of Christ is an authenticating mark of being heirs of glory... yes, of being a beneficiary of the reward from God. It shows that you belong to the same flock as Elijah and Jeremiah! Surely this should make everyone to rejoice and celebrate that the trials are the signs of what await you! Simply put the Lord is saying that whenever we suffer got His name, we should expect blessings from him.
The name of Christ means that one is identified with the Person and the work of Christ. This concept of bearing the name of Christ includes the ministry of preaching, teaching witnessing, baptizing, praying, breaking of bread and all forms of Christian fellowship that are the distinctive marks of being Christians. All attempts by Christians to live godly lives are looked down upon by unbelievers and their express their disgust in their talking. You are ridiculed because you sought permission to leave early to attend the prayer meeting – and even what is called early is leaving work at 5pm! You are told that you act ´holier than thou´'when you say that you will not take a bribe and yet is what everyone else is doing. When you attend an interview and you say that you will not be willing to work on Sundays, the panelists ironically remark that you are a ´saint´ or an ´angel´. When you tell your employer that your Christian ethic demand that you will need to go back home on time to be with your children then cynically remark, are you the only or the  first one to be a parent. When your friends ask to buy you a beer you tell them that you do not drink they remark that you are a monk! When the boss attempt at you ladies and you tell that you do not want their overtures, they will sarcastically ask, are you a nun? And the list is endless of the sort of things that you have to endure because you identified yourself with Christ.
But the question is, are these blessings only to be expected in future? Peter answers this question by saying that, ¨If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed¨ Not that you WILL be blessed but  you are blessed! The blessings are now and here! What sort of blessings are these?
He says that, because you are slandered and ridiculed for belonging to Christ, the Spirit of glory rests upon you and of God rests upon you!
What does this mean?
You notice that this is a conditional sentence because he uses the participle if to indicate that he is describing a reality. With the clause if you are insulted,  he is pointing to actual insults that Christians have to bear. Christians meet many time scathing verbal attacks even from people that you would not expect – their relatives and friends as well as employers  very easily sneer and insult believers.
The last part of the verse is difficulty ti explain because even there text variations. For example KJV reads, For the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But there very few manuscript that have this text and so many translations have deleted this last sentence. e.g. NIV and ESV, and so I will ignore it since my Bible does not have it. But RSV adds another  addition, ¨the Spirit of glory and power¨. This simply put is the that Spirit who has exceeding glory but many translators have ignored it. The third difficulty is the literal wording of the statement, with a double subject with a verb in the singular. This then demands that the word spirit has to be supplied in the translations to make it sensible for the English readers because for the Greek readers the double subjects are obvious. But then this leads us to the question, Is the spirit of glory different from or identical to the Spirit of God?
It will help to note that this is a quotation from Isaiah 11:2 – ¨The spirit of the Lord will rest on him¨ in reference to Christ so that Peter is inferring to the Trinity. What this means is that the phrase,  the Spirit of glory points to Christ as in John 1:14. Therefore, the Spirit of Christ and of God rests on the individual Christian under suffering.
What a joy to know and enjoy  the eternal blessings of the Triune God! What an honor to have God in His fullness rest upon us! This is the strength and joy of the believer when he goes through problems for being identified with Jesus. These are eternally permanent blessings that we enjoy. It means that the presence of the Lord will always be with those who undergo such persecutions – whether verbal or physical. For verbal persecutions we should always ask the Lord by His Spirit to give us the wisdom and grace to respond in a manner that will dumbfound the attackers like it happened to the apostles. For example, the Spirit of God gave them such wisdom that they spoke with great boldness so that the Sanhedrin was baffled. They could not believe that they were uneducated, common men – until they remembered that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). He who have had the privilege of being with Christ will be wise and gracious because  he has the counsel of the Lord.

2.     We should never be ashamed of suffering for Christ (vv. 15-16)
John Brown commenting on this writes, ¨The most ignominious treatment, when it is unmerited, reflects dishonor not on him who innocently endures, but on him who unjustly inflicts it. To profess what we believe to be true, and to do what we believe to be right, to refuse to give either explicit or tacit approbation of what we account false and wrong, to acknowledge obligations to a Divine benefactor for favours of unappreciable value in the manner that Divine benefactor enjoins, can never be dishonorable¨ 1Peter vol. 2 page 406
Peter starts by pointing out who humanly speaking deserve to bear the brunt of the law in punishment – these are,  a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or a meddler. He point out  these are the ones that are disgraceful if a Christian suffers for them. He implies that for someone to be designated the suffering that comes from the law then, it will be because he has engaged in illegal activities – obviously this is not so for Christians because they have nothing to do with any such illicit activities. Christians are law-abiding citizens who are examples to the society as the light and salt. They are never to be found involved with such who are law-breakers and so ought to never be classified as criminals who are guilty before the civil courts of law. The point is that it would be a great shame not only for the individual Christian to be named among law-breakers but also the name of Christ will be put in open shame. Should a Christian suffer for illegal activities then he would no longer be a good testimony for Christ.
Who is a meddler? These are busybodies who interfere with other people´s affairs. A meddler interferes with the peace of people so that there is turmoil and discord. Christians are admonished by Apostle Paul to live quietly, to mind their own business and to work with their own hands … so that you may may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one (1Thess. 4:11, 12). When a person is ever meddling in the affairs of other people he opens himself to open criticism and shame for himself and the church of Christ so that the name of the Lord is blasphemed by the unbelievers.
This verse then prepares the ground for the manner in which a Christian deals with suffering for the name of Christ, by taking away all the possibilities of exposing oneself to shame and ridicule. It first makes sure that a believer is not one who is focused on godliness and contentment in which there is great gain both for the Christian and for the course of Christ. The contrast between verse 15 and 16 is marked by ´however´. The Apostle explains that the suffering which believer go through is not because of criminal activities as the authorities of the time laid accusations to believers. When a Christian suffers persecutions it is with a clear conscience, so that he is able to defend himself without any shame.
Many time when we suffer, we are ashamed, even when there is no reason to be ashamed. Peter as a wise, experienced pastor knew the heart of man. When a believer meets scorn and contempt, ridicule and sarcasm, sneers and jeers because of his faith, shame often will prevent him from being a faithful witness of the Lord in that context. This is the tactic of the enemy who roams around. Thankfully, we are not ignorant of his tactics – a believer should always triumph over shame because we bear a great name of the King immortal – the Rock and horn of our salvation.
We should celebrate that we are counted worthy of the name of God. We should very gladly rejoice like the apostles that we are counted worthy to suffer to dishonor for the name so that we do not cease from talking about Christ as the One who has granted us what us salvation, who has an eternal reward reserved for us where moth, rust, thieves and enemies cannot reach. We should be grateful that we bear the Name of God the Creator.
It is the duty of every believer to make sure that he does not suffer as law-breakers in disgrace. It is shame to commit murder and therefore it is a great disgrace to suffer as a murderer. It is shameful to steal and so a Christian should not suffer the punishment of stealing. All who break the law of the land (that is not contrary to the law of God) are punished so as to shame them and never should a Christian be counted among them. All who are punished for gross misconduct are shamed and never should a believer in the Lord of all grace be disgraced because one who profess to belong to him has committed such as is shameful. We are to know that the name that we bear is a holy name and should be glorified not shamed. This is because it is terrible to put God or His Son or His church to shame. We should never give occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme him or His church.

3.     We must commit our souls to God the faithful Creator (17-19)
The ultimate manner in which we are deal with suffering for the name of Christ is to submit our cares to the One for which we are suffering.  Verses 17 and 18 are the basis for which we are to commit our soul to the faithful God. It simply states two things – one, that severe afflictions await those who are believers in Christ coming from God for  their sake and secondly, there are still more terrible evils impending for all unbelievers. The last category might as well imply those who fall from faith in apostasy, even it where as a result of severe persecution for the name of Christ.
The house of God in the Old Testament would be a reference to the temple in Jerusalem. Figuratively it would be a reference to a household or family or the people of Israel. A clear category of believers as the household of God and unbelievers as those who are called ungodly and sinners. But both go through the judgment of God the former for the positive purpose of establishing them and the latter for the purpose of punishment.
The period of judgment is  not in future – it is now . It is the time for judgment and it has already began with the sufferings of the believers. When the sinners persecute the believers, they make a distinction between them and us – as those who belong to different worlds or destiny, owned by different Fathers and those who have different inheritances. Those who belong to the household of God are together with the apostle himself because he is talking of us and furthermore are described as the righteous.
Christians go through  the present trials in order to prepare them for what is to come. And the Lord had prepared them for the trials to go through in these life. He said, ¨Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name´s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another... and because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. Bu the one who endures to the end will be saved¨ (Matt. 24:9-13). Great grace is needed to suffer all these  according to the will of God.
Peter here echoes the OT about God´s judgment on His own people as well as the world as described by such prophets as Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Amos – the lesson is that God will punish His own people when they sin. The judgment begins from the house of god as it happened in Ezekiel 9:6 , where the Lord instructed that the judgment was to begin at the sanctuary. But he goes a step further to show that Christians who are the elect of God find blessings in the afflictions for the sake of the Name of Christ in that they are finally saved. We notice that the word used is judgment not punishment because the believers who suffer scorn and ridicule from the world, though they may be going through the chastening of the Lord, they are God´s people, belonging to His family; Peter calls them ¨a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation¨ (2:9) this is because Christ endured all wrath and punishment from God for them to set them free. God has made them to escape the condemnation of judgment through forgiveness of their sins by the atoning work of Christ on the cross, so that the fellowship and peace with God is completely restored. God will first of all bring judgment on his own people to keep them safe and then inevitably to all who do not obey the gospel. The question Peter deserves a personal consideration by all of us – have you obeyed the gospel so that you may escape the judgment of God?
Quoting from Proverbs 11:31 and through it points how difficult it is for Christians to be saved ( although they are saved) through the narrow gate, because through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). You should never think that the Christian road is a smooth one for the believers – it hard and full of difficulties. It requires work and fear and trembling for Paul says, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling , for God works in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12,13 ).   
On the other hand are those who are ungodly and sinners. This means those who do not worship the true God, they  don love Him as their God and so they have no place for Him in the their lives. Sinners are those who willfully transgress his law and commands. These are not going to stand since it is so hand even for those who have the favour of God.
The persecuted Christians are encouraged to commit their souls to the Lord. Committing or entrusting the soul to the Lord reminds of the manner in which the Lord Jesus committed His soul to the Father before His death on the cross. This is the same thing that Stephen did – he entrusted His soul to the Lord and died for being a faithful witness to Christ. We would always be wise to keep our souls to the good Guardian who is both faithful and the Creator who can, not just renew the soul but create anew. He is faithful to protect and support the souls and bodies of all who trust Him.
Committing the soul to the Lord means that one is prepared to face death from the persecutors if it comes to it – He is not going to bulge or be shaken so as to give up. Committing the soul to the Lord also means that one will continue to do good as the Lord has instructed so as to honor Him. It is this that characterizes the life of a believer, making the distinction with sinners so great. Many times Peter encourages Christians to do good – 2:15, 20, 3:6 11, 17). the manner in which a Christian shows his commitment to the Lord is that he does the works of God – of love and mercy toward other people, because we show our love to God by showing it to our neighbour.
 Let us be those who will not bulge or give up at the face of danger. May the Lord help us to be courageously faithful and diligent in the face of threat, danger, ridicule, contempt, slander, false accusations as we entrust ourselves to the help of the Lord.


Monday, February 6, 2012

All Things for my God

Passage Romans 8:28-34

Prayer
Good Father, who is totally \"for-us,\"How wonderfully reassuring to know that in everything you work for good with those who love you, who are called according to your purpose.
Thank you that whom you foreknew you also predestined to be conformed to the image of your Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren. Thank you that those whom you predestined you also called; those whom you called you also justified; and those whom you justified you also glorified.
What can I say to all this If you are for me, who can be against me. If you did not spare your own Son but gave him up for us all, will you not also give us all things with him Who shall bring any charge against your chosen people.
Since you alone do the justifying, who is to condemn In the name of Jesus and by his authority I come, asking for the confirmation of the faith I have expressed here. Fill me with it and let me walk according to your purposes. Amen.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Waiting for Redemption

Waiting for Redemption

Passage Romans 8:26-27

Prayer

Our Father, who knows my secrets, help me to wait patiently for my redemption. Thank you for giving me your Holy Spirit to make up for the inadequacies of my body and spirit. I know not how to pray as I should, so I praise you for your Spirit, who takes my inexpressible groanings and lifts them to the Lord Jesus, thus sharing in his intercession for me.
I thank you that the Holy Spirit searches out the remotest cranny of my heart, knows me in a way that I cannot even know myself, and expresses to you what I wish that I could say but cannot. How wonderful! How loving! Thank you, Lord, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Hallelujah. Amen. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you again!
In the name of Jesus and with the support of your Spirit I come to you, with gratitude for doing these things. Amen.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Abba Father!

THE COMING GLORY

Passage Romans 8:15

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Prayer

ABBA Father, creator and re-creator of the world,Whatever I may have to suffer is nothing compared to the glory you will reveal in your people, and therefore in me.
Your creation waits in eager longing for that better day in which we, your children, shall be revealed in glory. Your glory will be shared with us, and ours with it!
Inwardly, Father, I groan while bearing the frustrations of life and the weakness and pains in my body. I long for the time when the adoption process is complete, when my body will be resurrected and redeemed from all this. This is the hope of my salvation.
Thank you, dear Lord, for that hope. In the name of Jesus and with the support of your Spirit I come to you, anticipating your glory.
Amen.

Living in Christ

Passage Romans 8:9-15

Prayer

Everlasting Father, who indwells me, show me that I do not really live in the flesh, since your Spirit really dwells in me, else I would not belong to you.
So with Christ living in me, my spirit is alive because of righteousness, even though my body is dead (doomed for decay!) because of sin.
May the same Spirit which dwelled in Jesus continue to dwell in me and give life to my mortal body. Enable me by the Spirit to put to death the deeds of the sinful body, and thus find life.
Help me cast off the spirit of slavery, and be a true son of yours.
Thank you that I can call you \"Abba, Father,\" as a fearless testimony of my sonship. Thank you, God, for condescending to be my Father and for making me an heir of your glory.
It is in the name of Jesus and by his authority that I have such boldness to come to you, asking these things according to his will.
Amen.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Living in the Spirit

Walking in the Spirit

Passage Romans 8:1-8

Prayer

Living God, how I thank you that there is now no condemnation for me now that I am in Christ Jesus. Through the principle of the Spirit of life in him I have been set free from the principle of sin and death.
You, my God, did what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. You sent your own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin. Through him you condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in your people, of which I am one.
So please help me walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Set my mind on your Spirit, so I might live by your Spirit and find life and peace.
It is in the name of Jesus, who gives his Spirit, that I ask these things. Amen.

A Gracious Answer

Passage Romans 7:21-8:1

Prayer

Oh God of all grace and mercy, I delight in your law even though evil keeps planting suggestions of rebellion in my mind.
Please help me to truly want to do what is right in your sight, Father.
Thanks be to you, my God, through Jesus Christ my Lord! You have provided a sufficient answer to the conflict within me - the life and sacrifice of Jesus and his resurrection.
Thank you, Father, that there is now no condemnation for me because I am in Christ!
In the name of Jesus I thank you and praise you for the mercy shown to me and all your chosen ones. Hallelujah. Amen.

Inner Conflict

Passage Romans 7:1-20

Prayer

Great God and Father,I have died to the world (and to the idea that I can be justified by keeping a set of rules) through the body of Christ that I might belong to Christ.He was raised from the dead that I might belong to him and bear fruit in his name.
Please help me to bear fruit for you in the way I live. Let me serve you in the new life of the Spirit.
Give me strength to resist suggestions to do evil. For even though I want to do good, opportunities to do evil lie close at hand.
Don't let my inner rebellion convince me to do the opposite of what you command.
In the name of Jesus resolve the conflicts of my life and give me a clear course to walk as I follow him.
Amen.