1 Peter 1
December 7, 2021Day 341
Just imagine Peter, the rough fisherman that he was “BC”—before he met Jesus! Could he ever have imagined being a church leader and writing two letters to be circulated around the early churches? He betrayed Jesus on the night of His trial, and didn't even feel worthy to continue as a disciple. But apparently Jesus thought Peter's fall and repentance equipped him for dealing with God's “lambs,” (see John 21) and you can see that in these letters. There is love and compassion throughout. What is your favorite verse in this chapter?
December 6, 2021Day 340
Greed, says James, is a terrible thing. It destroys those who give in to it. Instead, we are to keep our eyes on God, watching for the coming of the merciful Judge. Notice the imagery in verse 7. Perhaps you live in an area that faces drought, one in which farmers need a lot of faith, just to plant their seeds instead of eating them. We, waiting for Jesus to come, must also be patient, though it sometimes looks as if the seeds God plants in us will never bear fruit. How does James say we should occupy ourselves while we wait?
December 5, 2021Day 339
We all have desires and wishes. Many of them are good in themselves. But when we spend all our energy on our wishes and desires, they become our masters, and we start fighting and quarreling. James says that all comes from the “lust for pleasures” in our sinful natures. Our sinful natures, if we listen to them, can turn even godly desires into destruction. What does James advise as the solution to this problem?
December 4, 2021Day 338
James spends a whole chapter on the power of the human tongue. God created the whole universe through His words alone. And He gave us a tiny spark of His creative power. So our words can bring death or life, too, though in a much smaller way than God's words. The safest thing is to have our tongues well stocked with His words, and then we're safe. It would be wonderful to memorize all of verses 17 and 18. Make a list of all those qualities of wisdom. Is God developing those in you?
December 3, 2021Day 337
Like Paul, James believes that love is the fulfilling of the law. This makes it easy to see if people are really living by their faith or not. Are they loving? Even beginning Christians who still don't have a lot of knowledge and make a lot of mistakes, can be loving. And people can see and know that. Be careful with the second half of this chapter. Read it in its entirety and don't take verses out of context. Verse 14, for instance, doesn't mean we aren't saved by faith—it means faith that doesn't show results isn't faith. It's just a claim. Anybody can say they're a Christian. The question is, does it show by their love?
December 2, 2021Day 336
We don't know for sure which James wrote this book, but it was clearly a leader in the church, and could possibly have been Jesus' brother! This is a man who is all about practical Christianity. He says it's all well and good to call yourself a Christian, but if your life doesn't match your words, there's no point. List three things in this first chapter that you think are particularly useful to you in strengthening your faith.
December 1, 2021Day 335
As always, this letter ends with personal exhortations and encouragements. People are told to be hospitable (when Abraham was, he made dinner for angels!) They are told to help and encourage each other, and to be faithful in their marriages. Above all, they are assured that Jesus has everything they need, and will strengthen them to do all that pleases Him. Which are your favorite parts of the chapter?
November 30, 2021Day 334
This chapter speaks of the discipline of loving fathers, which no one (least of all the father) enjoys at the time, but which helps us grow. Yet, lest anyone think it means to be harsh and stern, look at the study verses. This is what true, loving discipline looks like. Of course, sternness is sometimes needed, when someone is determined to rebel, but most of the time, people are trying, and they need encouragement, not punishment. What does this attribute of God mean to you?
November 29, 2021Day 333
Here is the great Faith Chapter. If anyone thinks that in the Old Testament, people were saved by their obedience to the law, all they have to do is read this chapter. By faith every single one of these Old Testament heroes—men and women, young and old, great and less-known—only by faith did they live and move and act for God. Only by faith were they saved. Which are your favorites in this chapter?