pushing forward


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Submission to Authority

Read 1 Peter 2:13-15

I would say that this portion of the text from chapters 2 – 3 revolves around these phrases from the text: 

“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution…” (ESV)

“For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority…” (NLT)



Here is a definition of "submission" as it is to one being turned, given in,  or to divulge…

"to place (oneself) under the control of another, to yield oneself," from Latin to yield, lower, let down, put under, reduce…"



            “For the Lord’s sake…”

What does Scripture mean when He says, “For the Lord’s sake?”

These will be instructions for our benefit. 

So, as we will prepare to hear what it is that Peter is preparing us for…

…we should know what that is for our sake but how so for His?


Let’s put it in context to our living today. 

We have heard people say, “for your mother’s sake, do this or do that” 

Typically, it means that you must do something so that those who are being named for their sake will gain something from what you do.

For your children’s sake, stay out of the streets!

-For mom’s sake, drop in on her from time to time, and see how she is doing. 


“For the Lord’s sake…submit to all human authority…”

“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme…” (KJV)

How does God benefit from our willingness to submit to human authority?

God benefits, or in other words, He gets the glory when we show our willingness to do what He asks. 

This can be in any kind of obedience to God. 

However, this text is specific to submitting to human authority, so we need to go deeper here. 

As an example, I want to go back a bit to the Old Testament. 

I want to pull from the book of Jonah. 


Often, this is a story that is taught with the lesson of what happens when we are disobedient to God’s commands. We are told from this book how not to respond when in ministry or even in our daily life.

However, there is so much more and I think that in this context, we can pull from God's wisdom as it applies here. 

Today within the framework of today’s lesson on submission to human authority, I want to show how Jonah despised the people of Nineveh. 

God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, to warn them of His judgment. (1:1-2)

…but he refused and took the first boat away from it. (1:3)

As Jonah ran from God and His instructions, the ship he was in fell victim to a wicked storm. (v.4)

…to then be swallowed up by a giant fish for three days and nights. (v.17)

Stopping the story there, you might be waiting for the correlation between Jonah’s lack of obedience to God with submission to people.

Here is the keynote to jot down:

It was people whom Jonah was not willing to serve and in turn, was his lack of willingness to serve God!

I can hear the words a person from an old friend from way back say, “I have a problem with authority.” 

What that means is, when someone who holds authority in whatever setting you are in requires something of you, the initial instinct is to resist. 

My old friend had trouble with authority like Jonah did with the Ninevites. Why, because of what was known of them from their past. They remember their experiences and let them destroy any further growth or service God had for them.

God is asking, why are you resenting service toward the people you despise thus, ignoring my instruction? 

An obvious example of authority is police officers who work in common scenarios in relation to us in our day-to-day life. 

A person wearing the uniform may automatically trigger past traumatic experiences. Some may have been a child and watched as the officer or officers stormed off with a loved one. 

Some may have had a direct experience such as being arrested and losing the freedoms and reputation once held. 

Granted, if looking at those experiences from the outside looking in, it might be noted to be the result of poor action on the part of the sufferer. 

Or, there may very well be an abuse of the police officers' liberties that caused the trauma. 

Either way, if the person continues to let the hatred fester and destroy any potential for peace because of past experiences, the resentment will continue whether or not those officers hold true integrity. 

The motivation to hate, despise or reject anyone simply for their position of authority or reputation is a sin. 

The motivation to hate anyone despite their previous known or conceived actions is a sin. 

Especially if it causes you to reject God's command to serve them. 

God is saying, “for His sake, do this for me”

He asked Jonah, to go to this wicked nation and tell them that His coming punishment is justified. 

Jonah simply wanted God to bring down the hammer without any word or warning. He figured, why even send me, just do it. 

(Note, a warning is what God was providing through Jonah yet, Nineveh repented.)

Mark my words though that this message is NOT to be obedient or submissive to those who are seeking to do evil. 

-What this message is teaching is that the text is stating to be submissive to God first. 

Then, He instructs us to show the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control), while discerning to who we are being submissive. 

Another example-

The Book of Daniel

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego found themselves in a tough spot. (3:19-27)

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon who had just taken over Judah allowed the royal families to be taught and of their ways. 

Some might see this as selling out. 

Many would blame the three for accepting the culture of their conqueror. 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were submitting to these people.

They did what they had been asked to do. They earned the Babylonian culture and became acquainted with their customs and everyday life. 

Until the golden calf was made and the command to bow to it. 

Remember, verse 14 says, 

“…sent by Him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.”

Whomever it is you are submitting to should be in the light of God. 

…and even if they are evil, we are to remain good, not fighting evil with evil. 

Jonah did not understand this in the story and was rebellious even as he was in Nineveh. 

-Though Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down to any other God but were willing to die.

Daniel 3:16-18

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this is so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. [a] 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

V. 28-30

28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside[a] the king's command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.


 Our bottom line is to understand how we as servants who submit to authority will be mirroring Jesus as He submitted. When we go to our jobs, when we are in the grocery stores or are around people in general; our ministry is a submissive one that counts as second. When we are a forgiver, a peacemaker, an ambassadors for Christ, we live to serve Him for His benefit. 







"As A Spiritual House"

Read 1 Peter 2:4-8

As we will usually do, let's break down each verse and discover what the Lord has for us.

  • Verse 4 “…as you come to Him…”

There are many places where we will be exposed to vulnerabilities. Some of us have unfortunately visited emergency rooms recently. There, we know and observe rules within them such as washing hands, a limited number of visitors, and so on. Especially since Covid first hit, many were witnessing changes in hospitals to a new reality. 

From another vantage point, we may be aware of construction zones or dangerous areas. There are policies that require anyone in those dangerous areas to wear a hard hat, hazmat suit, or other protections. These precautions do not prevent harm but they limit the harmful outcome.

These are examples of how we as people will either experience reasons to take such precautions or will be guided by others so that harm will not come to us in the first place. For example, children need parents or caretakers to guide children through dangerous obstacles. Yes, this will look differently as lessons are learned but more or less, the point is that young children often do not understand the dangers before them. 

We as people of a fallen world are vulnerable to the dangers of sin. Some may disagree that the things we enjoy can be classified as sins. A person claiming the title of a Christian does not always represent one. The choices we take and the lifestyle we live are examples of who we are and what our priorities are. This is where the problem persists as we try to navigate our spiritual walk with God.


Verse 4 reminds us that as we come to Him, we are to notice our vulnerability. This is true both in a voluntary and involuntary state of vulnerability that humbles us in the presence of God. What I mean is, that when we decide to be vulnerable in the presence of God, we are allowing for our insecurities, hurts, and regrets to be healed by His grace. He wants us to willingly give in so that our growth is through the mutual love of the relationship. 

When we are involuntarily vulnerable, it is either when life, a consequence of sin, or the enemy drops us to our knees. Here, we can be blindsided and will often react poorly to the situation as it presents itself. As we come to Him when this happens, are we humbled, or are we demanding something better from Him? Involuntary vulnerability can cause the nicest people to curse, lash out and even recoil into seclusion. 

So, when we come to Him, we must understand our brokenness, our vein perspectives, and our limited self...

…but feel the warmth of our Lord receiving us. 

...be purified by asking forgiveness and guidance constantly. 

...and surround our souls with Him and allow God to love you. 


  • "…a living stone rejected by men…"

Matthew 21:42 

Jesus said to them, 

“Have you never read in the Scriptures:

‘The stone which the builders rejected

Has become the chief cornerstone.

This was the Lord’s doing,

And it is marvelous in our eyes?’’

Just as Jesus sacrificed, we too must sacrifice. 

The stone which the builders rejected is like a world that is only seeking the stone that is pleasing to the eye. 

The absence of God leaves people with a desire for short-term or immediate gratification.


When we look at ourselves, deep into our souls, we will often find frightening things. 

Yet, as we walk with Jesus, we see Him chipping away at the darkness, but we must let Him. Here, many will push back on the "let him" thought. Those who do might say that the almighty God doesn't need us to "let him" do anything. This is true, but that is all the more reason for His glory and love for us. He stands back and allows us to choose Him. Our stepping forward is a reaction to His glory but not a need from Him. He doesn't need us, but He does want us. 

Remember, we are like a LIVING STONE.

Living because of our sanctification (making Holy) by Christ. 


  • “…but in the sight of God chosen and precious…”


The thought on how we as people always see beauty. Most of us are very critical regarding our image and body.

If I asked you to name five things that you would like to change about yourself, I bet you could name ten. 

Teens especially go through a transition that leads to insecurities regarding their image. 

Their ability to be themselves is difficult. 

Isolation and depression among teenagers and adolescents, in general, can be prevalent. This can also be true with adults as well, especially after the recent pandemic.


I have included the description of a Twilight Zone episode for some perspective:

“Janet Tyler has undergone her eleventh treatment (the maximum number legally allowed) in an attempt to look normal. She is shown with her head completely bandaged so that her face cannot be seen. Her face is described as a "pitiful twisted lump of flesh" by the nurses and doctor, whose own faces are always in shadows or off-camera. The outcome of the procedure cannot be known until the bandages are removed. Unable to bear the bandages any longer, Janet pleads with the doctor and eventually convinces him to remove them early. As he prepares, the doctor develops great empathy for his patient. The nurse expresses concern for the doctor and admits she still is uneasy about Janet's appearance. The doctor becomes displeased and questions why Janet or anyone must be judged on their outer beauty. The nurse warns him not to continue in that vein, as it is considered treason.

The doctor removes the bandages and announces that the procedure has failed, and her face has undergone no change. The camera pulls back to reveal that, by the contemporary viewer's standards, Janet is beautiful; by those same standards, the doctor, nurses, and other people in the hospital are ugly, with drooping features, large, thick brows, sunken-in eyes, swollen and twisted lips, and wrinkled noses with extremely large nostrils, almost like pigs' snouts. Distraught by the failure of the procedure, Janet runs through the hospital as what is considered normal in this alternate society "State" is revealed. Flat-screen televisions throughout the hospital project an image of the State's leader giving a speech calling for greater conformity.

Eventually, a handsome man (again, by the contemporary viewer's standards) named Walter Smith arrives to take the crying, despondent Janet Tyler into exile to a village of her "own kind", where her "ugliness" will not trouble the State. Before the two leave, Walter comforts Janet, saying that she will find love and belonging in the village, and that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder", meaning that even though the people from the State and their society might find Janet Tyler "ugly", others will find her beautiful.”


The Twilight Zone “Eye of the Beholder” -Circa 1960, Wikipedia.


Notice how in the episode, the depiction of beauty was completely opposite from what you and I would consider beauty. 

Janet Tyler so desperately wanted to be "normal". Yet, she was horrified and so were the doctors and nurses. 


What is beauty? 

This isn’t a point to say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder as to mean that beauty can be found in anything.

Yes, beauty can be found everywhere but only if it is in the presence of God. 

Some may read that and wince, so let me further clarify.

Those dictators, murderers, and other violent abusers of our past and present-day may have found great joy in their acts. Beauty may be found in the destruction of others and so, for them to see it as beautiful is a distorted view. So, beauty in this context is a dark one that most of us can agree is evil. 

So then, how can we define beauty?

Are we beautiful if we are mangled or riddled with scars or disfigured? 

God says yes, but do we agree?

God says that while we appear ugly, He knows of our beauty and potential. 

God says that our souls, as well as our outer bodies, can both be ugly when we refuse to love, and yet are loved. 

As it is loved, any part of our body that is judged by people as ugly is outshined by our glorious inner body. 

However, still loved, when our soul is ugly from the absence of God, there can be no beauty. 


  • “…you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”


Here is a very exciting portion of the text. 

When we make a commitment to Christ, we are committed to Him. 

Like marriage, we will honor God for eternity, and that means in the good and bad, in sickness and in health. All of it!

So then, God does the same. 

He promises to build us up. Well enough to be a spiritual house. 


Hebrews 5:14 “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

We are like children who at first take the milk of the mother. 

Then as we mature, are eating mature food. 

Make decisions clearer that honor God.


1 Cor. 14:20 “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.” 

Ephesians 4:15 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,”

1 Cor. 13:11 “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”


It is exciting because God no longer lives in a particular place that you must go to. Like the Old Testament, for you to be in the presence of God, you must travel to the temple designated by Him. Since Jesus made it possible on the cross, He dwells in us. 

When you accept Christ, He dwells in you. 


1 Cor. 6:19 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own…”

Romans 8:9 “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact, the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”


Read 1 Peter 2:6-7


Originally, "Zion" was to be referred to as Mount Zion or the City of David. (Old Testament)

When the arc of the covenant held the commandments or the “Ten Commandments” that temple was then known as “ZION”

The theme here continues in the New Testament. 

"Zion" is then referred to as the “sacred place” where God’s people dwell. 

So when Peter is saying Behold, I am laying in Zion, he is saying that He is in a dwelling place. 

Our soul can be that holy place.

We can stop and meditate, in prayer, as our bodies can be made His temple, His dwelling place. 



"Like Newborn Infants"

*Read 1 Peter 2:1-3

Let us first peel back the layers of this onion.  I have chosen to select what I feel are flag words from Peter as the message speaks from God. 


Malice (hatred, spite, nastiness, cruelty, evil)

The most significant destruction has come from people who could not let go of their hatred over someone. 

I say "someone" because generally, people seek fellowship, or harmony in the family, along with a sense of a belonging and so when it goes wrong, it is because of…someone.

A person who is hurt is a person who can feel the emotion of hate and if not handled, will then be passed on to someone else. That other person can act out as well but it depends on their circumstance on how that looks. The acting out of hatred can continue as long as someone lets it. 


“History tells us how hate can be exploited to lead an entire nation to commit unspeakable crimes against a particular racial, religious, political, or ideological group.

If hate is left unchecked, it intensifies from intolerance to a wish to annihilate the other. Hate strips us of our humanity. Hate eliminates the ability to show empathic concern for the injustice done to others. Hate numbs the guilt and shame that we should feel for our prejudiced behavior. Most importantly, it eliminates our ability to understand why we feel this hatred and how to eliminate it by addressing the real issues that gave rise to it.

It strikes at the core of our humanity.”

(The Psychology of Hate Lobsang Rapgay Ph.D. -Psychology Today, 2018)


A quote from Booker T. Washington illustrates how we might push back on hatred. At a time when legislation perpetuated racism, Wahington refused to carry on the acts of hatred by rejecting the notion of a counterattack:

“I would permit no man, no matter what his color might be, to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.”

(“Up From Slavery”, Booker T. Washington.)

Washington is mirroring Christ here as he is deciding to reject the emotion of hate stemming from the hatred poured out onto him.

Just as Jesus had trash thrown at Him, whipped, a crown of thorns placed on His head, and nailed to a cross, lovingly persisted to take it as the scapegoat for the very people who had done it and every other sinner who follows Him. 

Washington took this queue by Jesus and refused hate but instead worked toward education and sought to provide one with the Tuskegee Institute

Deceit (Dishonesty, trickery, fraud)

I have heard people from different professions look at deceit as a method of restitution.

I have heard those in law enforcement say, “…of all the stuff I have gone through and how I have been treated, I deserve this.” (Alluding to taking bribes or cheating the system.”)

Many marriages have gone bad and have led to either spouse looking toward a vengeful act or even one that might be gratifying like adultery.

Or in history,  there are examples of Jesse James and Robin Hood who claimed the banner of “robbing the rich to give to the poor”. 

However, both are examples of how one can see deceit as a way to rationalize leveling the playing field. 

No matter how we see a deceitful act, it is always one more person picking up the sword of evil for the same benefit of the cause!


This leads us to…

Hypocrisy (insincerity, a two-face, double standard)

-Here is a delicate but high-impact aspect of the text. Peter is imploring each of us to avoid hypocrisy just as Jesus strongly charged the Pharisees with their own hypocrisy. 


“While hypocrisy (as a form of lying) is intrinsically evil, we should be slow to judge someone a hypocrite if only because the marks of hypocrisy are ambiguous and its conditions exacting. There are many reasons why one's deeds may not accurately communicate one's character.

Consider Bruce, the self-identified health nut, who is caught eating junk food. He could simply be incontinent, that is, a man who sincerely believes one should only eat healthy food but who, in a moment of weakness, was overcome by his desire for Twinkies.

Alternatively, Bruce could be delusional: he could falsely believe that Twinkies are healthy when they are not. Again, Bruce could be an actor playing a health nut who intends to dissimulate but not to deceive. (All hypocrites are pretenders, but not all pretenders are hypocrites.)

Yet again, Bruce could be someone who wishes to be a health nut but only half-heartedly, and who therefore dissimulates negligently and not out of malice.”

(SCHULZ, J. W. "Hypocrisy as a Challenge to Christian Belief.")


The hypocrisy that Peter is warning us of, is insincerity, our intent to gain a personal benefit while looking to improve another. 

Or the religious hypocrisy that leaves people with “church hurt”. 

“Church hurt" is a negative feeling or emotional imprint on a person who has had a bad social experience while being in a church. Some have felt this way after attending a church and have been rejected, or ostracized. Church hurt doesn't necessarily come as theological topics are challenged, but instead, by the lack of empathy or acceptance of the congregation toward visitors or friends of a member. Also, it comes with the inability to seek humility while meeting new people. While insecurity can happen on either side, pride, and self-preservation destroys any possibility of fellowship. 

It is unfortunately common for churches to grow inward rather than as a group of growing disciples. The church members are to be mature or become mature disciples in order to avoid the pitfalls of those entering their doors. In this, visitors can see the hope in them as members can by living examples. People with "church hurt" leave when visiting a fellowship of people who claim to live out the teaching of Christ yet, there is little to no humility. 

Instead of open arms, growth, finding purpose, and all of it done with morality and led by the Holy Spirit there are tight clicks, limits on who can be allowed to participate, pride, and exceptions to God’s law when it is convenient. 

We all struggle with hypocrisy on some level in our lives, but to be a continuously healthy church, we must acknowledge them as they are brought to us by God.

Instead, we often choose to look at ourselves and those around us as if all is well. This ignores our brokenness, our messiness, and our need for Jesus…together. 


Envy (jealousy, resentment, spite) 

-Envy is dangerous which is why Peter includes this in his message. God wants us to resist any desire for another's possessions along with any desire that is withheld in particular instances. Basic examples are desires for a better car, body, job, etc. while deeper desires can be cures, separation, love, etc. 

It may be hard to hear that the desire to be cured of a disease can be envious, but when we struggle through it, our emotions can be elevated toward hatred...toward God.

  • "Why doesn't God heal my sickness, why did He heal others?"
  • "Why did he/she leave me?"
  • "Why did he/she have to die?"

Questions such as these are difficult, and because they are so painful, they are that much more dangerous when not worked through. A deep resentment can grow against family, friends, or anyone else around which causes isolation and depression. 

In my opinion, the greatest example of envy comes with the devil, when he was an angel of God. 


Isaiah 14:12-15:

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God, I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.” (ESV)


Or, read how it translates in the New King James Version:


“How you are fallen from heaven, O [a]Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!13 For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north;14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’

 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the [b]lowest depths of the Pit.


The pinnacle of envy can be found in this portion of Scripture. 

He was glorious! 

Yet still, it wasn’t enough. It will never be enough when envious. 

As Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” (Luke 10:18)

In a past message, I mentioned how we need a scapegoat. 

Someone to blame for our hurts. 

I said how Jesus taught us not to hold onto the hatred and so, we must recoil our pointed fingers at others. 

Well, when we are envious, we often blame someone for not having what or who we want however that looks. 

Often, we feel justified, which is why envy creeps in. 

-Thus, envy can be the leading factor in filling a void in the form of porn addictions, substance abuse, workaholics, bitterness, depression, and on and on…


Slander (defamation, character assassination, the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another's reputation.)

If you have EVER been accused of something you did not do…

…is it not a desperate attempt to make it known that you are not that or did not do that?

Slander can often happen through unrighteous judgment. 

This means the religious leaders before the crucifixion were supposed to be preserving God’s law. 

They should have been the first to see that Jesus was the savior (messiah)!

The intent of the Sanhedrin was like the U.S. Supreme court in that, they were the final authority on decisions that affected the religious and political life of all Jews.

The Great Sanhedrin (Greek means 'a sitting together' or 'council')

They were able to do this while the Romans ruled over them. 

-So, it was very important for those of the Sanhedrin to keep God’s people disciplined with what God had intended for them. Though, pride and all that comes with it distorted their integrity and in turn, their instruction. God's law was soon interpreted through so many stipulations that they lost the love that our Lord intended. 

The Sanhedrin was the prime motivator for the torture of Jesus. They accused Jesus of blasphemy, attacked His character, and led others to believe He was a threat!

-Remember, Jesus was honored when entering Jerusalem on a donkey with people crying out “hosanna”!


-Yet, Jesus said as he passed them:

42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” 

(Luke 19:42-44) ESV

Jesus knew of their true hearts.

Hearts that were not planted with true love, trust, and faith in Him were instead, hearts looking from a narrow and short-term vision rather than universal love.

-They wanted Jesus to liberate them from the Romans but didn't see Him liberating them from eternal death.

When it seemed that Jesus could be put to death, they turned on Him!

From that point, it was easy for the Pharisees to portray Jesus as a heathen and blasphemer because of what the people expected and did not get. 


malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander. Put these all away! Place them at the cross! In other words, say to Jesus, I don't want these sins or help me with the emotions that cause me to have these sinful traits. 

So many of us struggle with depression that can come from loneliness, heartache, trauma, or so many other examples. Jesus has often been brushed aside as a solution. Yet, why isn't he tested as Nicodemus asked Jesus how could He be the solution? (John 3)


(Verse 2) “…like newborn infants….” 

I have described an infant as selfish which can induce awkward reactions. 

What I mean is that newborns are not able to provide for anyone including themselves. 

Newborns, as they are delivered and then cared for do not know anything more than what can be consumed. A breath of oxygen, the mother's milk, a warm blanket, and the comforting and cradling arms will initially be all the child knows.

With this thought, a newborn baby is completely vulnerable to the world. The child receives as the environment gives.

Completely dependent and the reasoning and knowledge capabilities are either instinctual or based on their experience. 

All the while, the newborn in this vulnerable state is accepting the milk of the mother, the love of the arms, the warmth, and the comforts that it gets. 

Soon learning of its dependability, the goodness of the experiences, recognizing the voices that care for him or her, the smells, and soon the love that develops from the bond that provides.

In the same way, let us be like newborn infants!

When we are made new, when we surrender our lives to Christ, we are born again. 

We can then let go of the malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander and seek our God. 

We can then be like newborns who at first consume what He provides, but then grow in maturity. We can then recognize His voice, His guidance, and direction. We can be reassured by His loving arms through encouragement and discipline and crave His presence. 

Our Father provides for us; He wants us to not seek comfort in anything other than Him. (John 14:6)

-Seek the spiritual milk that nourishes our body. (2 Cor. 1:3-4)

-Does this mean that our sins will stop? (2 Cor. 12:9)

-Of course not, but our sins will become less tempting. (James 1:12-16)

-When a newborn stops crying when in the arms of the mother, we too are comforted by the arms of Yahweh. (Psalm 23:4)

-God is good. Our Father wants to provide a rich bond that we may not have been provided here on earth. (Mark 12:29-31)

-Loving Him is not to love Him because a law commands it. Loving Him is to experience the greatest relationship we could ever have. (John 3:16)


God, I pray that those who read this are being relieved of the weight of any pressure. We pray that those pressures coming from shame, insecurities, isolation, heartache, or even separation are resolved by you. Lord, I ask that we all are reminded that nothing can escape your love and that sadness, anger, and fear will be conquered by you. Help us to depend on you and your wisdom. As we push forward, pull us into your word, and help us gain maturity through it and fellowship because of it.


"Brotherly Love"

Read 1 Peter 1:22-25

 Sinclair Ferguson wrote in a book, “The Trinitarian Devotion of John Owen” about the phrase “God of Love”.

Sinclair Ferguson said it well this way:

“Yes, people will tell us they believe in a God of Love. But they are self-deceived, and their lives reveal it. They neither love Him with heart, soul, mind, and strength in return, nor do they worship Him with zeal and energy. The truth is that their mantra My God is a God of Love is a smokescreen, a phantasm of their imagination. Underneath it all is a deep mistrust of God- otherwise, why not yield the whole of life in joyful abandon to whatever He says or asks?”


What is Ferguson saying here? 

Maybe that love is being taken for the meaning that brings happiness regardless of its morality. 

To believe in a God of love, without knowing God, is like saying, 

“I love you, as long as you do as I want, or as you don't get in my way."


Or we often look at a god of love as being one who permits an “anything-goes” mentality. 

-However, we are not to live under strict legalistic worldviews that eliminate love as God intended, though as…


Mark 12:30 ESV reads...

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”


…loving God with all your heart…

  • Whatever is driving you, whatever it is that you are passionate about is what “the heart” is addressing. 


…with all your soul…

  • You are not a body with a soul, but a soul WITH a body. Loving God with all your soul brings your forever state or potential future state to be ever closer to God. So take care of it with Biblical gloves. 


…with all your mind…

  • Your brain while in the world is what is filtering your state of cognizance. So, the worldview that you have adopted permeates into the rest of you; your heart (desires) and soul (who you are) are affected by your mind. 


When Ferguson said, “But they are self-deceived and their lives reveal it…”, talks of the flesh that gets in our way. 

-The flesh often is the mind’s response to the body. 

-The body suffers but it can while the mind is well. 


Sinclair Ferguson also said:

“The real test that I believe that God is Love is that tragedies don’t separate me from the conviction that God is love.”


…so, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart…” (verse 22) 


Peter is reminding the reader of the importance of having a rock-solid relationship with God because of the tragedies that can come. 

…but not to say that we only do it because we want to avoid tragedy…

...but so that we don’t drift from Him when we experience one. 


Purifying our souls is a constant soul searching of it by asking God to reveal how we may improve. 

The obedience comes with then following through with the process of letting go of the issues of our lives that cause turmoil.

Also, being patient with us and trusting in God’s process. 

This reminds me of the serenity prayer:

God, give me the grace to accept with serenity (stillness)

the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things

which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish

the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,

Enjoying one moment at a time,

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,

Taking, as Jesus did,

This sinful world as it is,

Not as I would have it,

Trusting that You will make all things right,

If I surrender to Your will,

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,

And supremely happy with You forever in the next.


-Reinhold Niebuhr.


-This is a prayer with words of obedience, soul searching, with the quest for a purified heart and obedience to the truth. 

-With this, we can then love our brothers and sisters. 

-To love each other is to be healthy ourselves. 

-The old saying or analogy of a plane is emergency fits here. 

-You must first put the mask on yourself before placing it on the child. 

-If you place one on the child, how can you breathe, or function to do so for the child? 

-A sincere brotherly love, is caring with the ability to do so. 

…from a pure heart. 

…a born-again pure heart.


…because of the Truth.


"All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” (Verse 24-25)


We know that God gave us this body. 

However, this body is not what we will see in our forever home. 

Thank goodness! 

Our forever body will be made new!

One that will be able to love in the presence of God. 


Though, right now, we constantly work to preserve it. 

-I think it is interesting to see how Peter mentions the preservation of each of our minds, body, and soul along with brother love together. 

-It leads me to think of the fruits of the Spirit…

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things, there is no law.” Gal. 5:22-23


These are the fruit of the spirit or in other words, benefits or good results from allowing the Holy Spirit to work our soul. 

We confess our sins; we then work to alleviate them from our lives…

Then we can be clearer about what God wants of us. 

We can then disciple others on this. 

Loving others means that we care for others. 

It does NOT mean that in order to achieve happiness, to accept any action as good. 


Living our lives in the way we want, and ignoring the attempt at purifying our souls…

…through obedience…

…is ignoring the truth. 


Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)


We are a holy people when we follow Christ. 

We are blessed because we know the good news, the gospel. 


"Am I Worthy?"

In regard to 1 Peter 1:15-19;

What does it mean to be holy? 

Isaiah 6:3 claimed: 

“And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”

Read Exodus 19:6-12

Something to note in Exodus when speaking on holiness is that God is giving specific instruction to Moses. 

He first states how His people will be a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. 

That’s encouraging!

Imagine God, our creator bestowing on us a kingdom! 

Then, for him to say that we will be priests, a holy nation!

So, going back to the question, “holy” is an expectation by God of us. 

If this church is to be holy, it is to be first obedient to God and second to glorify Him. 

Both compliment each other. Glorifying God is done through obedience. When we are in line with Christ, we glorify God.

Obedience is a type of surrender because it requires one to let go of their own desires in order to fall in line with God's.

It is a commitment, a transformation, and then sanctification from the justification. 

In other words, when we are holy, it is because of our first believing in Christ and then saying, I will seek further maturity of the truth. To then be saved by that position of faith, and then, glorify God in the actions you do from that point on. 

…a disciple. 

Being holy is being a disciple who is committed to loving Jesus. Thinking, saying, doing, and portraying, all whether in private or in public as Jesus would are examples of holiness.

Look at verse 8…"All the people answered together and said..." 

“All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

Then, God tells Moses after mentioning the kingdom of holy people…

I am coming back in a thick cloud so that they know that I am here!

No excuses! 

Verse 12 gives a warning though. 

“Take care…”

"Take care" is the warning that God provides because of the potential lack of holiness. 

People have a reputation.

You see, God is not in the business of smacking people down. 

He does not or never has or will want to see the destruction of His people. 

Many have claimed that God is not loving. They claim this based on examples in the Bible of the death that comes from His wrath. 

But rather, and this may seem like an ironic statement, those examples are the love that comes in the form of justice. 

When God says “take care...” he is making it known that He is God!

…that this is a holy place and your awe or fear of the Lord needs to be intact. 

They are to be holy by having reverence for God and so respect for the place that we are not able to cross. 

He is teaching us humility here. 

Here is where we can see the harmony in 1 Peter, verse seventeen. 

“…And if you call on Him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourself with fear throughout the time of your exile.”

In both Exodus and in 1 Peter is the warning to a vulnerable nation that sin seeks to devour humility. 

In the story of Adam and Eve, God asked them both why they did what they did.

Adam and Eve lost their sense of humility when taking the apple, and replaced it with pride and then shame. 

They played the blame game to reason their way through God's questions. 

Before that, they allowed their pride to reason away their limited ability to give them reach into what God allowed. 

So, when Peter said, “…conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.”

He is conveying the message of steadfast endurance and faith as we make strides through our consequences of sin.

Still hold true to being holy. 

When we are holy, we are trusting in God and His promises.

This is what propels us. 

The last part of this scripture is how Peter confirms our mistakes but with hope. 

“…knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ. Like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” (Verse 18-19)


In other words, we are taught as generations teach other generations, that it will be of little use to try getting past our sins. Unless we are saved by the blood of Christ that we are His, it is then that we can heal. 


Pasqual said: “We must learn our limits. We are all something but none of us is everything.”

C.S. Lewis said: 

“We’re not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”

We being holy people is NOT that we are to be perfect or to have been perfect.

We are holy because we have made it the promise that we will allow the Holy Spirit to work in us. 

The pain of a veteran who suffers from PTSD is one with a lot of memory. 

He or she remembers...




...the choices he or she had to make...

That soldier coming home always comes back feeling like dirty rags. 

That person often feels unworthy of their return. 

Questions are asked, "why do I get to come home?" Why me?"

This example is one of many that create doubt in the hearts of people. 

Our sins often cause us to doubt, and when we are vulnerable, it can lead to shame. 

The fear we have can come from our pasts, we then look to soothe our spirit. 

Be warned! God is near, so be in awe of Him. Love Him and know that He can save you. 

Is it something you need help getting over? 

Is it a decision, memory, or exposure, that you think will keep you from feeling holy? 

Jesus paid it all. 

He makes it possible to move forward. 

As we feel like we are living in exile…a foreign land…are we feeling weak?

I am praying that you are healed of your doubt. As we all live with it, we shall all overcome it with the power of the Holy Spirit. 



The Scapegoat

Read 1 Peter 1:13-15

The book of Peter was most likely written just before or shortly after July of 64 AD. 

When the city of Rome burned. 

The Romans believed that their emperor, Nero, had set the city on fire. 

He was believed to have done so due to his lust to build. 

So, to build more, he had to destroy what already existed. 

The Romans were devastated. 

Their culture in a sense went down with the city. 

-All the religious elements of their lives were destroyed- their great temples, shrines, and even their household idols were burned up. 

The people were homeless and hopeless. 

Many had been killed. 

Their bitter resentment was severe, so Nero realized that he had to redirect the hostility. 

-The emperor’s chosen scapegoat was the Christian, who was already hated because they were associated with Jews and because they were seen as hostile toward the Roman culture. 

-Nero spread the word quickly that the Christians were at fault which resulted in passionate persecution. 

When people are in a situation such as the Romans were, they look for someone to blame. 

This could come from our human nature which knows morality or recognizes it as an instinct. 

However, the instinctual knowledge of right or wrong is provided by the Holy Spirit.

The instinct is what some might call our "moral compass".

However, when one has not surrendered to the Holy Spirit, their "moral compass" is misguided. 

When Peter mentions in verse 13, Therefore, preparing your minds for action…

-…the preparation of our minds includes the sensitivity of others while standing firm to God’s conviction. 

 The first part of that is difficult. 

…to be sensitive to those who persecute us takes maturity with the Holy Spirit. 

-Peter is saying basically that we need empathy (compassion, understanding) for our persecutors. 

-Think of people who have persecuted (wronged, victimized, oppressed, pursued, harassed, hunted, bullied, tortured, tormented) innocent lives on all levels. 

It is difficult to have empathy for your persecutor because again, you want justice!

You want to see what is due to those who wronged you. 


In chapter ten of the book of Luke, scripture describes the Lord sending seventy-two out to every town to minister to them. 

The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” (Luke 10:2 ESV)

Those who went out would be going to the mission fields, or some might see it as enemy territory to save the lost. 

Just as Desmond Doss felt called to go out to serve in WW2. 

He felt it was inappropriate to carry a gun but still wanted to serve his country. 

He eventually worked through the obstacles to go out to the battlefield to then see friends die around him. 

He asked, “what is it that you want of me?” It is claimed that at this moment, that he heard the voices crying out for him. 

His calling to care for those on the battlefield was not limited to his own soldiers but to humanity. 

This isn't to say that a battlefield whether spiritual or not is without violent recourse. 

Soldiers at war are required to defeat the enemy when defending their cause. 

This can be justified by God as it is depicted in the Bible. (Joshua 1:10)


The case can be defended as we may notice how Jesus sent the seventy-two out to save the lost. 

The repentant sinner is guilty. 

We are guilty.

Justice should fall on us like a hammer! 

Yet look at Luke:

Luke 10:17-18 

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

In this example, the Christian soldier goes out into the battlefield to save those who act out against God. They, as we once did, need to first hear the gospel from a messenger to then receive the grace and mercy of the Holy Spirit. 

Read how Rene Girard describes the deceiver and his tactics:

“If we listen to Satan, who may sound like a very progressive and likable educator, we may feel initially that we are "liberated," but this impression does not last because Satan deprives us of everything that protects us from realistic imitation. Rather than warning us of the trap that awaits us, Satan makes us fall into it. He applauds the idea that prohibitions are of no use and that transgressing them contains no danger.”
René Girard, I See Satan Fall Like Lightning

In other words, when Peter said in verse thirteen to prepare our minds, he wants us to prepare for the tricks of Satan. 

Girard is saying that Satan wants us to move away from God and be ok with "progressive" thought. 

"Progressive" in this sense is not actually progressive but instead, an excuse to let go of morality. 

That’s what Satan wants. 

-When Jesus speaks on the importance of family, a mother and father’s presence in the home, the importance of loving a wife and a husband, and so on…Satan lies with notions of “freedom”!

But giving in to your impulses and what your heart yearns for isn’t freedom, it is a rejection of harmony as God's creation. 

Those who give into adultery and other sexual impulses, as well as addictions, or emotional responses are not free. 

Here is where we must pay attention to the consequences. We as Christians must seek to look at why a person surrenders to their sins, rather than the act itself. 

Many people today feel either shame for their sins or have come to terms with them as a type of freedom as mentioned earlier. This freedom or progressive ideology has vindicated the sinner by being convinced that it is acceptable. 

However, there are consequences to the break in God's boundaries. 

Then, when consequences happen, there needs to be someone to blame, a scapegoat as Girard explains:

“The peoples of the world do not invent their gods. They deify their victims.”
René Girard, I See Satan Fall Like Lightning


I want to make sure that I am not misunderstood. 

I am not advocating that a Christian is to be judgemental or passive. The Christian must be firm regarding harmful people yet with a steady and calm mind, heart, body, and soul. 

When people persecute others, we are to defend the weak and be their advocates. 

Psalm 82:3,

“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

This would be the same verse one can refer to when thinking about the abortion issue in this country. 

We Christians need to stand up for the million-plus babies of all nationalities who are being exterminated. 

Thus, we then look to the mothers who either seek that as an answer or who have already done it and provide grace through the gospel. We nurture the woman before and after; before as we guide them away from the need to do such a thing but while seeking the brokenness to healing where it causes the desire in the first place and/or after to provide grace to combat the shame. 

“And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” (2 Tim. 2:24-26 ESV)

This is done with humility and not unrighteous judgment.

Christianity has often failed in this area.

This may be why many who oppose Christianity usually do so just as the Romans did in the fire. 

They saw the believer as the one threatening their happiness, their way of life, but most of all their purpose and ideology. 

They believed the lies of Satan regarding a progressive lifestyle. 

To be Holy isn’t to chastise but to lead with humility. 


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