From: Rich Carlson
Date: January 29, 2020
Subject: It's January 29; Good Morning Union

So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should…”             1 Peter 4:19

Peter has been writing, according to the first verse of this letter, to the believers in what today is Turkey. The places listed in that verse were all Roman provinces it what was then called Asia and today is Turkey. It sounds like, as I read this letter, there were faithful followers of Jesus scattered throughout the region, but though they may have been faithful, they needed some encouragement because it sounds like they were having their fair share of challenges. Ridiculed for their faith, challenged in their faith, persecuted because of their faith, and suffering for their faithfulness, Paul consistently challenged them with one message—FOCUS!!

Focus on Jesus, focus on following Him, focus on serving Him by serving others; just focus. That’s what my verse reminded me of today. My first ah-ha as I considered the application of this message to my life today was the “according to God’s will,” qualifier. Sometimes I suffer because I made a bad choice; sometimes I suffer because life is full of junk and at times that junk hits me and I suffer. But the suffering I see Peter talking about here is that which appears to come as a result of doing God’s will. So before I try and apply this text to my life as I suffer, I first need to check on the cause of my suffering. If I eat too much junk food and get the flu, that suffering is NOT “according to God’s will.” I need to make better choices!

But when I suffer because I am choosing to do God’s will and follow His ways with my life, THEN Peter gives me clear encouragement and direction:

  1. “Commit yourself to your faithful Creator,” and
  2. “Continue to do good.”

When I’m following God and suffer for doing so, Peter says, “Remember your Creator is faithful so hang in there with Him, and stay focused on just doing good.” Focus, first on His faithfulness to me, then on my faithfulness to Him and others.

Have a great day focusing,

Pastor Rich


Quote for the day:      “Quality transformation comes with deliberate reflection.” Elena Cornwell

PS        This would be a good time to go to uWorship and record your community and spiritual involvement activities.