First Pres Joliet

A Daily Devotional from our faith community @


June 2015

Lead By Example

1 Peter 2:11-25

This passage basically says to lead by example. In verse 12, it specifically states “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” For those of us, like me, who are not good at evangelism, and asking people directly about their faith, we can still spread the good news of the Gospel not by quoting Bible verses, but through leading by example. As the hymn states, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.” Or as the Golden Rule states, “Do to others as you would have them all do to you.” In all of these examples, we are called as Christians to lead by example. We are not to lead by hate, death and destruction. Those who lead with hatred ultimately will fall, but those who lead a faithful life will be raised up by God. This includes how we react to those who mistreat us. As this passage states in verse 20, “But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.” It goes on further to state that just as Jesus was innocent, yet endured much suffering, those of us who endure suffering for the sake of the Lord, without retaliating, will be held in much higher regard in the eyes of the Lord. So, lead by example. Let those around you know God’s love for all not only by discussing their faith, but also by your actions. And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

Matt Blaser

Re: Shepherding

1 Peter 5:1-4

Peter presents himself to this Christian community of church as a fellow elder and witness to the passion of Christ (v. 1). This passage is an appeal for humility to the elders (vv. 2-4), the young (v. 5a), and everyone else (v. 5b). The author does not appeal to his preeminence over all of them; rather he addresses them as a fellow elder who’s like identity is made from the suffering of Christ.

The mission of the elders is to shepherd the flock of God. We are not told what this shepherding consists of. Any ideas? The emphasis is placed on the manner and attitudes involved in carrying out this work rather than the work itself. The elders are to model devotion, service, and generosity in contrast to the desire for profit; the abuse of power, and despotism normally displayed by the rulers of their day and to some extent ours.

Craig Randolph



I Peter 4:12-19 (NIV)

“Don’t be surprised” at suffering for Jesus, Peter writes to the followers of Christ.  They were suffering.  And Peter informs them that suffering, “make[s] you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.”

Those who suffer for Jesus know more of who Jesus is and have more of a fellowship/partnership with Jesus.

Paul encourages us to not just “boast in the hope of the glory of God” but we should also “glory in our sufferings” (Romans 5:2-3).

Who wants to suffer?  I don’t hear that desire from folks I know. The Christ-Followers to whom Peter writes were surprised that they were suffering for the Gospel.  Today, many followers of Jesus around the world suffer for their Lord.

“So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you” (I Peter 4:19).

Perhaps, more people would be drawn to Jesus if we were willing to suffer for the sake of sharing Christ and following where he so leads.


The words we speak…

control your tongues

1 Peter 3:8-22

The household code has just been completed in this book – similar to Colossians and Ephesians but shaped by the circumstances in Asia Minor.  The addressees remember are “aliens” – different than the surrounding culture.  Think about countries in which Christians are a minority – Pakistan, etc and you will see and understand better the problems identified in 1 Peter.

In the first part of today’s passage, on which I will focus, we find the virtues listed in verse 8 are in reference to how Christians speak with others.  The words of the referenced psalm speak of requirements requiring controlling one’s tongue then moves to verses about seeking peace and concluding with the promise for those who do good.  Today…most of this country especially rails against constraints on free speech.  The psalm alludes to appropriate speech when dealing with volatile or violent situations.  The psalm suggests responding with a “blessing” but it doesn’t necessarily imply the need to spout prayers.  It could mean, in today’s jargon, that quiet words of respect, sympathy and, yes, even disagreement are appropriate.  The text presents us a challenge…it suggests that God hears not only how we pray…it suggests that God hears how we speak to others.


I Peter 2:1-10 (NIV) 

In Chapter 1 Peter reminds the followers of Christ that they are called to be holy, that is different from the society around them.

Here he begins chapter 2 with  practical teaching about what is not part of the life of faith.

Then he writes of uniqueness, wonder, and significance of Jesus, the living Stone,…a chosen and precious stone.  Upon him the church is built and thrives.  Those who believe in him become/ are built into the church.  Unfortunately,  there are those who reject him; they stumble in life.

However, those who believe are part of a new reality. They are the church, a special people.

A Future in God – The Message

1 Peter 1:13-25

A future with God starts with a call to be holy, knowing who God is. When we respond to this call, we are challenged to live our lives different, to labor for those around us, in love and giving of who we are, but also it is the start of a journey where we get to know God, where each one of us is invited to understands how deep and perfect is God’s love.

Today I pray that our lives would be indeed lives of service, lives lived with a purpose and at the same time each day we can discover something new about God.

Be Blessed,

Bo M.

Living Hope…


1 Peter 1:1-12

We start a new book today…one that is short but packed with a great deal.  First Peter was written to Christians who were experiencing various forms of persecution, men and women whose stand for Jesus Christ made them aliens and strangers in the midst of a pagan society. Peter desired for these Christians to endure amidst the struggles…to have a behavior that stood taller than the rest of the society around them. This book opens with great warmth combined with practical instructions…all to encourage believers who live amidst conflict with and within their culture.

Peter provides a basis for encouragement amidst difficult times.  Time and again, there is reliance on God’s grace toward believers and God’s call to salvation…this is the living hope that is to be a foundation for daily life.  More importantly, as we see beginning in this section, and what will continue throughout the book, is that there is to be a lifestyle on the part of the believers that rises above the culture.  This living hope then yields present joy for the believers.  What is often hard for many Christians to grasp is addressed by Peter here…a Christian’s joy is independent of his or her circumstances.  The trials and difficult times, though they may indeed cause temporary pain, they cannot lessen the joy that is rooted in one’s living hope in Jesus Christ.



Costly Reconciliation

Just a note before our devotional today.  For the summer we’ll be continuing the blog but we’re going to give those who share a little more freedom so it might look a little different day to day. The format will be similar but will focus on a few verses of the authors choice depending on what God’s using in everyones life.  As always, if you’d like to write and never been asked; just shoot me an email!

2 Samuel 24:18-25

In the first half of the chapter we read about David’s sin.  Taking a census today helps us to figure out changing demographics and better address social problems.  In David’s time King’s usually only took a census for one reason: to figure out how strong their army was.  David obviously wouldn’t need a census because he understood that first and foremost God was his army.  Taking a census was nothing less than turning his back on God.

In our passage this morning we see the aftermath of David’s sin.  After 70,000 have died, God makes peace with David.  If we’ve ever been tempted to say that sin isn’t a big deal to God, we would do well to remember this passage.  Sin is very serious.  As if the death of all those people wasn’t enough, the sacrifice David makes is pretty expensive too.  He ends up spending quite a sum of money to atone for his sin.  I think sometimes we forget just how damaging sin is because our price has already been paid.  Our sin has already been atoned for.  We don’t fear that our sin will result in a plague or that we’ll have to pay a year or two worth of wages to make sacrifices to God.  Let’s not let the fact that our sin has been paid for allow us to forget just how high the cost really was.



II Samuel 23:8-39 (NIV)

Here we read of the mighty warriors who supported David over the years.  They protected the King from harm or attack.  They went into battle with David and fought with him and for him.  They risked their lives for David and were loyal to him.  Without their help and protection David would not have become or remained King and Israel would not have had success as a nation.  Everyone needs those who support them.

Who are the people who support you?  Think about them throughout the day.  Perhaps, today, you can give thanks and pray for those who stand by you, encourage you, and love you.  We read that we are to speak, “what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen… Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4:29,32).

Give thanks today for those who build you up and are kind and compassionate to you.  How good it is to have that kind of support!


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