Humble Yourselves by Casting Your Cares on Him

God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand by casting all your cares on him because he cares for you. [1Peter 5:6-7 NET]

There is something humbling about prayer. In a sense, prayer is is an admission to ourselves that we are powerless and not in control. In this verse, Peter presents an image of one who has prostrated themselves before God releasing all of their worries and cares to Him. The image is humbling, heartfelt and helpful.

Prayer is a reflection of the One to whom we pray. We pray because we know He cares for us. We entrust our deepest pain to Jesus because we know that he understands. Hebrews puts it this way:
"For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help."
We pray because God cares about our cares. Jesus understands our struggles and is with us in them.

I am not in control. I choose to trust you Lord. I release all of my cares to you.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

Clothe Yourselves with Humility

And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. [1Peter 5:5 NET]

Is there a more expressive image of the spiritual life than a person who is clothed in humility? So what does it mean to put on humility? Perhaps it is good to recognize that clothing is visible to others and can take on many forms. In that respect humility is like clothing. Visible by actions. Varied by demeanor.

When one puts on humility they put on Christ, the humble king. They embrace his compassion for others. Like Jesus, their humility bleeds as red as the love of God. These who put on humility know God and who they are in Him. God is for such people. He daily empowers them with divine grace.

Teach me Lord. To reject the rags of pride. To choose the beautiful clothing of humility.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

Do not lord it over those entrusted to you.

Give a shepherd’s care to God’s flock among you, exercising oversight not merely as a duty but willingly under God’s direction, not for shameful profit but eagerly. And do not lord it over those entrusted to you, but be examples to the flock. [1Peter 5:2-3 ISV]

I have a memory of a pastor who, when I was young, told me that my job as a leader was to submit to his leadership. To the damage of my soul I said yes thinking that it was my responsibility to follow his leadership. I so want to point the finger at people like him who have lorded it over me. And yet.

I have learned that such people, those who demand loyalty, are the ones who least deserve it. Those who have earned it are the ones that, as Peter put it, give a shepherd's care to God’s flock. In truth, we all lead by influence. And the best way to lead is to influence by genuine love and care.

Lord, I pray for those who have been called to lead. Help them to be divine examples to your flock.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

Trial by Fire

Dear friends, do not be astonished that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as though something strange were happening to you. [1Peter 4:12 NET]

When I think about fire I am reminded that there are things that cannot be burned up when exposed to a flame. Paper will burn. Wood will be turned to ash. Gold will be refined. It will be purified. It will be reshaped into something beautiful and useable. This is the image of one tried and tested by the fires of life.

In truth, life is meant to test us. Test our faith. Test our love. Refine us. Purify us. To make us like Jesus Christ. When fiery trials come they are meant to burn away every false thing in us. Like molten gold, these trials purify and reshape us into something beautiful. It is why we can rejoice when we are tried by fire.

To you we turn Lord. Like Daniel's friends, you are the one who stands with us in the fire.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

Stewards of God’s Grace

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. ... Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. [1Peter 4:10-11 ESV]

I think that we sometimes forget that God's grace ordinarily comes through human beings who have been transformed by the Holy Spirit. In that sense, we are stewards or agents of divine grace. Each day we are presented opportunities to sacrificially serve each other with our spiritual gifts.

To that end, as stewards of grace, we are called to love and serve with everything that is within us. Called to use any and every gift that we have been given. Helping gifts. Healing gifts. Gifts of time. Gifts of money. Gifts of friendship. All we have is His to use as we serve as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

Thank you Lord for the gifts you have given to us. Help us to be good stewards of them and your grace.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

Love Covers a Multitude of Sins

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other,
for love covers a multitude of sins. [1Peter 4:8 NLT]

I have found this verse to be one of the most practical ones when it comes to my daily living. Something rises up in me when people hurt me. My initial reaction is to reject them. To lash out. To hurt them back. Then something deeper rises up. It says let love cover their offense. Let good conquer evil.

As Jesus was being nailed to the cross he cried out forgiving those who were inflicting him pain. In truth that is our model of what love really looks like. Like Jesus we are called to a life of forgiving those who cause us pain and suffering. Like him we are called to show deep love and forgiveness for each other.

I am weak Lord. Teach me. Help me. To forgive. To cover the sins of those who hurt me with love.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

The end of all things is near.

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. [1Peter 4:7 NIV]

What comes to your mind when you read the first sentence of this quote? The end of the world or the end of your world? While it could mean either or both, lets interpret it to mean the end of your world. Death is a difficult thing to ponder. Most of us spend little time thinking about it much less doing anything about it.

Then there is the linkage of the second sentence to the first. Perhaps prayer is the correct reaction to the end of your world. Perhaps the only way to prepare for death is living life as a prayer. That said, I think most of us prefer to relegate prayer to a place and time thinking living life as a prayer might consume us.

Lord, help me to be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

Wild and Destructive Things

Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. [1Peter 4:4]

I remember that night in the Spring of 1976 when I showed up to bowl with my friends. We were teammates. We all loved to bowl and drink beer together. Yet something happened to me a few days earlier. I was born again. I stopped drinking. My abstinence was noticed that night at the bowling alley.

For months my friends had been seeing a change in me. My language had been changing. The influence of my wife's transformed life was affecting me. Then in an instance of surrender my heart was transformed. And I found myself acting differently. No one was surprised more than me.

When I consider the way that I once lived, I am reminded of the nights when I plunged myself into drunken stupors. Such wild and destructive living is symptomatic of a man in pain. A bitter soul living without hope. Yet hope came into my life that day when I was born again. And I have never been the same.

Help us Lord to be those who outwardly witness to the transformation that has happened within.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.


Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority. [1Peter 3:22 NLT]
I once heard someone teach on the issue of salvation and lordship. They said that one cannot accept Jesus as Savior and not as Lord. Such a good statement. Being a believer means that one accepts the authority of the risen Christ in our lives. Divine lordship is not optional for us or the angels.

I am intrigued by this verse though. Surely the angels accepted the authority of God the Son before the resurrection or ascension. In writing this, perhaps Peter is reminding us that the eternal authority of the Son is equal to that of the Father. After all, the Son is seated next to, not below, the Father.

With all the angels and authorities and powers, we acknowledge your authority Lord Jesus Christ.

... this devotion is part of my series on the epistles of Peter and biblical words.

If God Wills It

For it is better to suffer for doing good, if God wills it, than for doing evil. [1Peter 3:17 NET]

As I read this verse, I am wondering how people might interpret it. Is Peter saying that God wills doing good or that he wills someone to suffer for doing good? The answer probably reveals how you view God's role in the world. My own view is that God always wills us to good regardless of the outcome. I think that our understanding of God's will always taps into our deep seated views about God.

In the verses following this one, Peter speaks to us about how Jesus suffered for doing good. Some think that this suffering was God's plan all along. Yet some think that God preferred that humans would have bowed to Jesus rather than kill him. Again, it goes back to perspective. How we see God. Is he really the One described as Love? Is he Good all of the time? One's answer reveals how they see God's will.

You are good and loving Lord. Help us to remember that when we are suffering.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.


Keep a clear conscience so that those who speak evil of your good life in Christ will be made ashamed. [1Peter 3:16 NCV]

When I think about the word conscience I am reminded of how James told us that sinning is knowing the right thing to do and not doing it. Obeying our conscience is all about doing what we "know" we should do. And not doing things we "know" we should not do. It is that simple. Yet it is that hard.

In the seventh chapter of Romans, Paul puts it this way: "I do not understand what I do; for I don't do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate." There is a part of us that really wants to follow our conscience but we seem to lack the inner strength to make that happen. So simple yet so really hard.

In the end, I think that it is a process of painfully slow transformation. We so resonate with Paul's struggle with his conscience and his inability to change. Yet while we struggle, we embrace Paul's followup message when he says "there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus."

I am weak Lord. I struggle to obey my conscience. Help me to remember that you do not condemn me.

... this devotion is part of my series on the epistles of Peter and biblical words.

Be gentle as you speak and show respect.

Your heart should be holy and set apart for the Lord God. Always be ready to tell everyone who asks you why you believe as you do. Be gentle as you speak and show respect. [1Peter 3:15 NLV]
This verse reminds me how Paul wrote to the Ephesians about speaking the truth in love. It causes me to wonder how effective our message is when the messenger is not in sync with the message. Is it possible to tell someone that God loves them when we ourselves neither love them nor show them respect?

I think that mutual respect is the heart of civil dialog. Yet sometimes civility is the exception, rather than the rule, when we discuss important things. In this verse Peter seems to be communicating the necessity of civil discourse. And frankly, we show respect more by listening than by speaking.

Help me to be a listener Lord. Teach me to use the ears of me heart in my discussions with others.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off.

If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. [1Peter 3:13-14 MSG]
These verses reminds me of what Paul wrote to the Romans. He put it this way: "If God is for us, who can be against us?" God is always for us. Yet perhaps even more when our hearts are bent on doing good?

This passage reminds me of how there are often unintended consequences when we purpose to love and do good. In truth there is no greater example of one who suffered for doing good than Jesus Christ. In like manner we often suffer when we risk by loving and sacrificing the way that he did.

In reality loving like Jesus may lead to suffering. Love anyway. Doing good may have unintended consequences. Do good anyway. In the end we will be, as Peter writes, better off.

Help me Lord to, with all of my heart and soul, to do good and love others.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

Understanding, Respect and Prayers

In the same way, you husbands should live with your wives in an understanding way, since they are weaker than you. But show them respect, because God gives them the same blessing he gives you—the grace that gives true life. Do this so that nothing will stop your prayers. [1Peter 3:7 NCV]
Sometimes we read verses like this with roles (i.e. husband and wives) in mind and miss the broader meaning. Are we not all called to be understanding with those who are weak? Should not respect be a hallmark in the way that we treat everyone? Do not these qualities help us to pray effectively?

In a very real sense living in a respectful and understanding way is all about trying to walk in another's shoes. History is rife with examples of how the strong have abused the weak. How minorities have been mistreated by those in the majority. How men have not tried to walk in another's shoes.

And in the end, our prayers should reflect an understanding and respect for those who we pray for. For one cannot pray with a prideful heart. A heart that is filled with disrespect. As we approach God we understand our need for humility. Towards God. Towards his creation. Towards our neighbors.

Help me Lord. Fill me with understanding towards, and respect for, those who are different than me.

... this devotion is part of my series on the epistles of Peter and biblical words.