1 Peter 4:7-11 (New International Version)
7The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 11If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it 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.
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
What a great set of verses Peter shares with us for the New Year! I’ve based my goals for the year to be on these verses. This verse exhorts us to be:
- clear minded (v7)
- self controlled (v7)
- prayerful (v7)
- deeply loving (v8)
- hospitable (v9)
- not grumbling (v9)
- serve others using our gifts (v10)
- faithful administrators (v10)
- speak God’s words (v11)
- serve in God’s strength (v11)
- Praise God in all things (v11)
I love it! I took each of these and examined myself and how I am doing in each of these areas and what I can do to improve. (That will remain private!)
I was particularly interested in what Peter says verse 8 – “above all, love each other deeply.”
When I want to know more about a verse, I initially do three things:
- Pray and ask God to reveal it to me
- Look at other translations of the verse
- Look up the references in the Bible (the Bible often explains itself)
Looking in the King James version it says “And above all things have fervent charity.“
So looking up the references for the word fervent, I found 7 other verses where this word was used in the New Testament:
- Acts 18:25 25This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. (This was about Apollos when Aquila and Priscilla found him in Ephesus.)
- Romans 12:11 – 11Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
- James 5:16 – 16Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
- 2 Peter 3:10 – 10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
- 2 Peter 3:12 – 12Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
So in this case, I will say that fervent means intense (Acts 18:25), strong (Romans 12:11), frequent and intentional (James 5:16), and melting and relentless (2 Peter 3:10,12).
I like that fervent heat will melt the earth because fervent, intense, strong, frequent, intentional love will melt the hardest of hearts!
How do we love fervently?
We pray and ask God how to love each individual.
For some, they are hungry — cook for them.
Some are lonely — visit them.
Some are angry — be patient and kind.
Some are weak — help them clean and attend to their needs with dignity.
Some are dishonored — give them respect.
Some are busy — help their lives be easier.
Some are tired — give them time to rest.
Some are worried — listen to them.
Some are discouraged — write them notes of encouragement.
Some are overwhelmed — get up under their burden and bear it with them.
Pray for all of them.
I want to love fervently. This so well fits in with the end of time as discussed in Matthew 25:31-46.
37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
“Whatever we do, it is because Christ’s love controls us… Those who receive his new life will no longer live to please themselves. Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised for them. 2 Corinthians 5:14,15 NLT
The way Peter died reminds me of the necessity that we intentionally follow Christ. The Roman Christians knew that Nero was determined to execute Peter and everyone urged him to flee. He resisted but finally gave in and was leaving the city.
“As he approached the city gate, he saw Jesus walking in the other direction.
Peter fell to his knees and said, ‘Lord, where are You going?’
Jesus answered, ‘I’ve come to be crucified again.’
Peter took this to mean that it was his time to die as Jesus had prophesied to him in John 21:29 so he returned to the city.” Jesus Freaks
He was captured and crucified upside down as he did not feel worthy to die like Jesus.
The last chapter of Peter’s life relates to us today. We have a direction we wish to go. It is usually a selfish way. When we travel in ways opposite of Jesus’ will He is literally crucified again. It is only by bringing our will and wishes in line with Him that we are “controlled” by Christ’s love and that we “will live to please Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15)
Lord, let me show love deeply. Let me follow Christ to love others in ways that only He can reveal to me. Let me start at home by being kind to my family,cognizant of their needs, and a willing servant to them. Let me be hospitable to my own family without grumbling but in humble submission. Whether I am cooking a meal, scrubbing a toilet, or wiping a face, I do all of these things to the glory of God with all prayers that I have to give. I love you, Lord. May my life show evidence of what you’ve done in my heart. I appreciate your forgiveness and that I am your child. I am listening. As I have always prayed, let me reach thousands for Jesus Christ. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
International Prayer Needs Today
I am so convicted to pray. My church has as its unreached people group the Tuareg people . We have been praying for them. I”d like to share some of the things that have been happening and ask all of the readers of this blog to unite in prayer for this unreached people group.
People Group Profile: Living on the edges of the Sahara Desert, the Tuareg (pronounced TWAR-eg) are spread throughout several countries in West and North Africa. The greatest concentration (approximately 1-1/2 million) of these nomadic people is in Mali and Niger. Once known as the “Lords of the Sahara” because of their control of the camel caravans and salt trade, most of these people today only know of that lifestyle as history. During the droughts of the 1970s and 1980s, up to 90 percent of their vast herds of camels, cows, sheep and goats were lost. Most have never recovered from that economic disaster. Some have moved to the cities to find jobs, while others still live in leather tents and subsist on a few animals and crops that they can raise. Challenges in reaching the Tuareg people for Christ include an intricate social class structure, several dialects in their Tamashek language, and their being spread over great distances.
December 19, 2005
TUAREG OF WEST AFRICA (TWAR-eg). There are a couple of projects underway to get some Bible stories in oral form in Tamashek, the language of the Tuareg. Pray for those who will be working on translating and preparing these stories for recording. In a culture where oral learning is the norm and there are few readers, it is essential to get the gospel in a form that people can understand.
December 7, 2005
TUAREG OF WEST AFRICA (TWAR-eg). The man who became a believer during the recent food distribution project has been sharing his faith. He has 10 people who are interested in following Christ. Pray for those who will follow up by discipling these new believers. Pray for this new fellowship of believers that God is starting.