Proverbs 25:12

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Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold
is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear. - Proverbs 25:12

Dear Lord,

Thank you for this simple passage that reminds me that you want me to have a listening ear and an open heart to the wise rebukes of those have been bold enough to correct me when I was straying.  Since I know that I am already forgiven and secure in your family, I can accept correction without worrying that it means I am being rejected. It can be so hard to discern the difference between my will and yours.  I'm learning to depend on the observation and evaluation of others.  Give me the wisdom and humility to welcome advice even when it comes to me unsolicited.  

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

The hard bump from family and godly friends is usually in God's direction. 

Psalm 103:19-22

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The Lord has established his throne in heaven,  and his kingdom rules over all.  Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding,  who obey his word.  Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.  Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion.  Praise the Lord, my soul. – Psalm 103:19-22

 

Dear Heavenly Father,

Oh God, you tell us that you have a myriad of angels serving you.  You also tell us that you send them to serve us.  They must really like their jobs.  They make you happy by doing so many good and wonderful things beyond our sight but not beyond yours.  Give them their reward dear Father and bless them for all they do for you.  And keep them close around your thrown to enjoy your presence and strength for their eternal days.  Accept their perfect praise along with our flawed praise as we all look to you as the author of life. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Angels are the perfect complement for God’s creation.  They serve him and the crown of his creation with flawless motivation and movement.

Psalm 103:13-18

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field;  the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,   and his righteousness with their children’s children, with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. – Psalm 103:13-18

Dear Heavenly Father,

I find great comfort in knowing that you see my weakness and have compassion on me instead of judgement.  I love your comparison as a father with his children.  I am a father and I love my kids in spite of all their weaknesses.  I will never turn my back on them and you tell me that you are a 1000 times less likely to turn your back on me.  My life is so short here on earth.  Thank you for reminding me that I have a place in your heart and your heaven.  It gives me comfort in the face of the brevity of life and the weaknesses that cause me to live messy in it. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

God is a great dad, always loving, always molding, always listening to us. 

Psalm 103:7-12

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God made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. – Psalm 103:7-12

Dear Heavenly Father,

When I am in rural areas at night and look into the sky, I am amazed at the vastness of space.  The stars seem so close and so far away at the same time.  When I read here in Psalm 103 that you remove my sins as far as the heavens are above the earth, I think of those night skies and get great comfort.  You pack all my sins into one vessel and throw them on a spaceward trajectory that goes on forever.  They seem so close to me in my memory but you have made them so far away.  Thank you for being the compassionate God who is slow to anger.  Use your mercy and grace to make me the person who is slow to anger too. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

God’s grace and forgiveness are the biggest blessings we will ever possess.

Psalm 103:6

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The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. – Psalm 103:6

Dear Heavenly Father,

It’s so easy to see the chaos in the world and to think you wound up the clock at the beginning and then just walked away.  But it simply isn’t true.  You are working slowly in every situation to bring about justice for those who are mistreated by the evil of others.  It comes in your time and way but I always want it to be right now.  Give me the faith to believe that you watch over all the oppressed and neglected.  Help me to be a part of your goodness and justice for the oppressed by intervening when it’s right for me to.  Give our public servants who are called by you to protect people, a supernatural ability to lead the people so that more of them are protected and rescued.  Work in and through all of us who are living to make a positive difference for the oppressed people of the world, just like your Son did when he walked the earth. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

God is always working good for everyone, even when he takes his heavenly time doing it.

Psalm 103:1-5

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Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,  and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,  who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,  who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. – Psalm 103:1-5

Dear Heavenly Father,

I spend so much of my prayer time asking you to fix problems, meet needs, and help those I love.  I love how this psalm leads me to thank and praise you for all the blessings you give me.  Your forgiveness tops the list.  You should have sent me away a long time ago.  But you didn’t and you don’t.  You always remember your Son on the cross for me.  You forgive me and I am very thankful for that.  You also have sustained me through many health problems that I am aware of.  How much more have you spared me when I was unaware?  You give me blessings through good people, good work, and good recreational things to do.  My life is marked by your blessings everywhere I turn.  Please accept my feeble praise and thanks and give me the strength and wisdom to live a happy, thankful life before you and others as I keep in mind how you have blessed me.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

We are more blessed than we ever care to admit to ourselves or God.

1 Peter 5:12-13

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With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.  She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. Greet one another with a kiss of love.  Peace to all of you who are in Christ. – 1 Peter 5:12-13

Dear Jesus,

You have given me a few friends like Silas was for Paul who deeply understand the power of grace and the meaning of the Christian life.  They help me serve by encouraging me to stay centered in you and your word and by doing things for me that I can’t do by myself.  They understand me, forgive me and help me live for you.  Thank you for my closest friends.  They are a gift from you.  Help me to be a friend to them too, to help them grow, to help them be happy in you and to help them have everything they need to get along in life.  Your peace and grace are so powerful that they exist in any and every situation.  Give me that peace today so I relax and help my family and friends relax too. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Grace and peace and true Christian friends are three of Jesus’ biggest gifts for us.

1 Peter 5:8-11

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Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 5:8-11

Dear Jesus,

I am no match for the enemy of my soul.  He knows my biggest weaknesses and exploits them.  I know he and his demons are attacking all your children.  You see us battle and lose.  You know what we are going through.  Please protect us with your Holy Spirit and his thoughts.  Protect us with your angels.  Protect us because you love us.  Don’t let the lion devour any of your children.  We look forward to the restoration you will bring when the entire war is over and we are safely on the other side of the veil that hides you.  Make me strong in the hope that you are coming to rescue me in life or by death. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Don’t ever try to fight the devil with your own strength.  Only Christ in you and for you can take him on.

1 Peter 5:7

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Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

Dear Jesus,

I’m often surprised and overcome with feelings of anxiety and worry.  Sometimes I don’t know what to do with all my concerns about what’s going on in my life and the lives of the people I love.  But you tell me to give my worries to you because you care for me.  So here they are, every one of them.  You get to be God today.  I will just be a little person who knows so little but trusts a whole lot.  You have fixed my biggest problem.  I’m a sinner who needs forgiveness or I will most certainly be lost forever.  You forgive me of everything.  I will live forever even though I die.  You will work everything out for my good, even the problems I create.  I cannot lose since you are the God who cares for me.  So, worrying is worthless.  Help me to keep this holy thought all day today.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

There will always be things that scare us.  Just the same, God will always be the place to put our fears.

1 Peter 5:5-6

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In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. – 1 Peter 5:5-6

Dear Jesus,

The only posture for a sinner is a humble one.   I know that when you see us priding ourselves in our own talent, intelligence and strength that it’s unattractive and embarrassingly inappropriate.  I see how you have humbled me at times to purge pride from my heart.  Thank you for rescuing me from thinking I was better than others especially my elders.  Help those saints whose minds are young and whose bodies have not begun to fail them to recognize their great need to live humbly before their elders.  Help them to realize that they will not avoid the same slow slide and to respect the patience and wisdom their elders have to keep going and keep smiling as they live with half the physical and mental acumen they once had but with twice the wisdom.  And help the older saints to be kind and understanding as they guide younger men and women to serve humbly with them.

AMEN

Pastor Don Patterson

Humility isn’t judgmental and self-conscience.  Instead it’s gentle, kind, respectful and helpful.

1 Peter 5:1-4

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To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. – 1 Peter 5:1-4

Dear Jesus,

Being an elder or pastor in the church is hard.  You not only have to watch out for yourself, which is a full-time job, but you must also look after other souls.  It can be exciting to share in a sinner’s restoration, but often it is painful and full of conflict.  Lord, help pastors and elders everywhere not to shrink back from watching over the souls of others humbly and bravely.  Give them clear truth to share. Truth that guides wandering souls back to your fold.  Help them to be willing to say the hard thing and happy to share forgiveness freely when the moment comes for the sinner to be soothed with unconditional love and its sweet expressions.  And remind them in their hearts that they will be encouraged and rewarded for their hard work when they enter their rest in your palace. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

If God did not leave his shepherds on earth we would all be lost forever.

1 Peter 4:12-19

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Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And,

“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
    what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. 1 Peter 4:12-19

Dear Jesus,

By nature I think all suffering is bad.  But when I suffer because I am a Christian or am doing the right thing in honor of you, it actually has merit.  It glorifies your name, shows that you are worth suffering for and it gives the truth of your gospel clothes to wear. Help me make doing the right thing my highest goal today instead of getting my own way.  And when I suffer any kind of insult give me the spiritual wisdom and ability to meet it with love, respect and an example of patience.  AMEN

Pastor Don Patterson

All people are selfish. But God’s people kennel their selfishness so love can move freely about their lives. 

1 Peter 4:10-11

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Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4:10-11

Dear Jesus,

I remember what it was like as a kid thinking that I had talent that I really didn’t have.  I frustrated myself and everyone else.  But you guided me patiently to realize what my strengths and weaknesses were and gave me the courage to be who I really am and to stop trying to be something I am not.  That’s when I noticed my productivity for the good of others go up tremendously.  Help me now to work hard at refining my strengths so I become the team member you want me to be in my family, church and community.  Give me the wisdom to help other friends and family find their niche too.  Make me humble enough to ask for help when you have put people in my life who are better at filling what I need than I am.  We all do more to praise and honor you when we stay in our position and hone our skills faithfully to serve others.  Thanks for making me a piece of the puzzle.  I don’t need to be the puzzle but only a piece. 

AMEN

Pastor Don Patterson

We are all just a piece of the puzzle that makes up God’s masterpiece.  

1 Peter 4:7-9

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The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. – 1 Peter 4:7-9

Dear Jesus,

If Peter taught us that the end was near in his life 2000 years ago, how much closer is the end today?  Please help me stay focused that my time is short on earth.  Help me make the most out of each day so the spiritual footprint I leave behind will work for you long after I am gone. Give me the wisdom and desire to live in love for others so that I cover over a multitude of sins and share grace with everyone.  Make me hospitable and free from judgmental grumbling.  Give me the supernatural ability to be positive and encouraging toward everyone I meet.  If you left me to myself I would be a grouchy hermit.  Oh, Jesus, squeeze out of my life blessings and truth until my very last breath.

AMEN

Pastor Don Patterson

Knowing Jesus and the brevity of life makes us give and love more this very moment.

1 Peter 4:3-8

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For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. – 1 Peter 4:3-8

Dear Lord Jesus,

This is a powerful section of scripture blowing the foggy haze away from all the arguments for living a self-indulgent life.  You put your finger on the exact things that happen to so many people caught up in the party scene.  The social expectation to join in on lusts of the flesh only make it all that more difficult for people to get free from substance abuse and addiction to pleasure. But you have given us more than any party or sexual encounter could ever give.  You give us love, peace, and power to control ourselves.  You give us meaningful things to do to change the world and you give us rescue forever.  I have a great life without the party scene because of your Holy Spirit has led me to you and has taught me the meaning of life. By his strength help me be intoxicated with loving others and helping them in their faith life instead of constantly obsessing about the next entertaining thing I get to do. 

AMEN

Pastor Don Patterson

The high life is lived without lows of substance, regret, guilt and hangover.

1 Peter 4:1-2

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Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. – 1 Peter 4:1-2

Dear Jesus, you denied yourself all selfish desires and you could discern good and evil on a highly refined level.  That made you keen to do everything God wanted you to do.  You didn’t miss one opportunity to serve others and you knew before anyone else that serving God meant dying early in a very tortuous way.  I am so grateful for your perfect life and innocent death.  Now, I need your help.  I need you to help me arm myself with the same attitude that says, “I will serve God and others above myself.”  It’s a real game changer, making me argue less and bless more.  Oh Jesus, make me live for our Father’s will more than anything else.

AMEN

Pastor Don Patterson

When we decide to serve God before our day starts, then we know it will finish well. 

1 Peter 3:20-22

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In Noah’s ark only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. – 1 Peter 3:20-22

Dear Jesus,

We don’t often think of Noah’s flood as saving anyone.  It killed millions of people.  But you point out through Peter that the water of the flood saved people and that those ancient waves symbolize baptism that saves me.  I would be swept away in guilt and shame had you not changed my identity when I was baptized.  I went from being lost and condemned to being forgiven, loved, adopted and owned by you.  I have a clear conscience not because I haven’t sinned but because you have washed my sins away and still wash every new sin away in grace.  I am saved, even though I am a sinner.  My identity is a child of God who has you in heaven talking to the Father on my behalf.  Thank you for adopting me and help me to remember that I am baptized (saved and adopted) every time I feel lost and guilty. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Baptism is something God gives to us and not something we give to him. 

1 Peter 3:18-20

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 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. – 1 Peter 3:18-20

Dear Jesus,

This is one of the most difficult passages to understand in the entire Bible.  The first is beautiful and faith building.  You died for me and rose again to declare me forgiven.  I love you for that.  But the next verse about you preaching to spirits in prison from Noah’s flood, that verse is a mental challenge.  I believe those who tell me you went to hell to proclaim the victory over Satan and unrepentant evil people.  I believe that you celebrated in front of them that the death the demons caused was actually the very act that saved all people.  I believe you love it when I rejoice in your victory too.  Help me to go through today with a celebratory smile knowing that you have defeated the devil’s schemes to take me to hell along with him and the evil people you damned during the flood. Give me spiritual positivity from your resurrection. 

AMEN

Pastor Don Patterson

Since Jesus really has defeated Satan’s biggest plan, don’t fret when Satan wins little battles. 

1 Peter 4:13-17

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 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. – 1 Peter 4:13-17

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for showing me through Peter that when I suffer criticism or trouble because I did the right thing, I am blessed and not cursed.  You re-frame the way I look at unfairness and discrimination.  It’s an opportunity for me to show your supernatural love in the face of injustice.  It gives me the power to demonstrate to another sinner your love in a very personal way.  Help me to set aside a holy place for you in my heart so I am ready to give those who treat me unfairly a taste of your goodness.  I want to tell them gently how my hope resides in your promises and not the dealings they have with me.  Give me the wisdom and love to suffer for doing good without a self-righteous martyr complex too.  You are my Savior.  Now be my strength to become like you in the world. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

When we believe in Christ's goodness we also let him transform us into being good like him.  

1 Peter 3:9-12

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Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For,

“Whoever would love life
    and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
    and their lips from deceitful speech.
They must turn from evil and do good;
    they must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
    and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” – 1 Peter 3:9-12

 Dear Jesus,

Our natural inclination is to treat others how they have treated us.  It’s almost an instantaneous response.  Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to help us seek peace with all people.  As I begin my day, give me the clarity of mind to seek peace with everyone so matter what level of dealings I have with them.  And if I am treated poorly, give me the quick mind and willing heart to respond with kindness and gentleness.  That way I will make you and your gospel as attractive as it really is. 

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

Meet insult with kindness and you'll plant flowers in the desert.