When the Cares of Your Heart Are Many

Jon Opgenorth

Read: 1 Peter 5:6-13 He cares for you. (v. 7) One feature of my Apple Watch is a sensor that can somehow tell when my heart is beating in ways that reveal stress. It taps my wrist and displays this line: “A minute of deep breathing can relieve stress.” It offers to guide me through a breathing exercise to slow down my mind. Anxiety, worry, and stress can be toxic cousins that consume us. Peter did not need a sensor …

The Best Pastor

Jon Opgenorth

Read: 1 Peter 5:1-5 Shepherd the flock of God that is among you. (v. 2) When preaching professor Fred Craddock was asked to name the best preacher in North America, he answered, “The local pastor.” Why? Because as a shepherd, the local pastor “knows the sheep and tempers the wind to the shorn lamb.” No outside voice can tend the flock the way a shepherd can. We all need a shepherd in our life who knows us, cares for us, …

Joyful Suffering

Jon Opgenorth

Read: 1 Peter 4:12-19 Do not be surprised at the fiery trial. (v. 12) I have yet to suffer for following Jesus, but I have met people who have. One man told me how his fingernails were pulled out because he confessed to becoming a Christian. I can hardly begin to imagine the pain. And yet, like so many I know, his face displayed an unfathomable joy. I saw in him the instruction Peter gave in verse 13, “But rejoice …

An Epidemic of Loneliness

Jon Opgenorth

Read: 1 Peter 4:7-11 Show hospitality to one another. (v. 9) “You are the first person I have spoken with in two weeks,” a homebound woman said to our youth director when she dropped off cookies as part of a youth mission. It quickened our hearts to arrange regular visits to this sweet saint. That was 20 years ago and she has passed away, but I thought of her again during the pandemic lockdowns of last year. There are 35.7 …

Arms like Christ

Jon Opgenorth

Read: 1 Peter 4:1-6 They are surprised when you do not join them. (v. 4) Some suffering is common to many. Disease or natural disasters come to mind. Other suffering comes from persecution by those opposed to faith. Peter invites a different kind of suffering in this text: a suffering by choice that gives up passions of the flesh so prevalent in our world. He calls the list of passions in verse 3 a “flood of debauchery” (v. 4) that …

Once

Jon Opgenorth

Read: 1 Peter 3:18-22 Christ also suffered once for sins. (v. 18) The church I attend places a baptismal font in the lobby. As people enter, believers are reminded of God’s covenant promises at their baptism. Among them, God promised to completely forgive us through the blood of Jesus. Peter likened baptism to Noah in the ark being “brought safely through water” (v. 20). Our “ark” is the crucified and risen Christ. Baptism is a sign pointing to what Jesus …