Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘Peter’

{ Day 361 }.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God‘s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-5

Gentleness (meekness). We need to approach praying for others with a fresh awareness that we don’t have the answers for them but that we know the One who does. This keeps us from presumption and platitudes. Our movements, both physical and verbal, need to be gentle rather than abrupt or harsh. If we can help set them at ease by knowing that they are safe in our presence, then they will be able to receive more easily from the Lord.


Give me a spirit of gentleness, dear Father. Pour Your oil of gentleness over my spirit, and cause it to flow carefully and consistently into the lives of others through a gentle spirit.

Our movements, both physical and verbal, need
to be gentle rather than abrupt or harsh.


Govt Official: Security Problems Plague Health Website.

Image: Govt Official: Security Problems Plague Health Website

By Melanie Batley

A top federal official has admitted that “high” and “moderate” security risks have been discovered on the Obamacare website in recent weeks, giving credence to months of claims by both experts and users that the site is vulnerable to security breaches.

Teresa Fryer, chief information security officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, testified about the risks during a Dec. 17 hearing before the House Oversight Committee which has been investigating issues with the troubled site.

“There were two high findings. One high finding was identified in an incident that was reported in November,” Fryer said in partial transcripts released Friday by committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa.

She said that the functionality in question was currently “shut down,” according to The Hill.

Fryer said that weeks before the debut of, she had recommended against its launch, she said, telling her boss that her “evaluation of this was a high risk.”

Federal health officials, however continue to insist the site is safe and that any issues are being quickly addressed.

“Each piece of the live system that was going into operation Oct. 1 had been tested by an independent security control assessor and testing was completed prior to Oct. 1, 2013 with no high findings,” Joanne Peters, Health and Human Services Department spokeswoman, said this week, according to The Hill.

“All high-, moderate-, and low-security-risk findings… that launched on Oct. 1 were either fixed, or have strategies and plans in place to fix the findings that meet industry standards.”

But since the Oversight Committee started delving into the security issue, it has produced evidence that the government was aware of high security risks in advance of the launch, and also that final top-to-bottom security tests were never implemented.

Meanwhile, in the months since the launch, a number of users have come forward to report that either their personal information had been shared with other users or that they have seen the details of other users. Reports also surfaced that Chinese hackers tried to break into the site in November, raising further concerns about the site’s vulnerability.

Peters, nonetheless insists that all operational components of the websites are compliant with federal requirements.

“To date, there have been no successful security attacks on and no person or group has maliciously accessed personally identifiable information from the site,” Peters said, according to The Hill.

Related stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Does Your Facebook Rant “Honor Everyone?”.

Trevin Wax

die-facebookSometimes, evangelical Christians do more harm than good on Facebook.

Under the veil of “taking a stand” for our values, I fear we are letting loose all kinds of dishonoring, uncharitable speech. We need to stop.

The Cause of Frustration

I understand the frustration of conservative Christians who sense that the values we once shared with the dominant culture are slipping away. Things have changed. We’ve gone from being the moral majority to a minority – and sometimes we feel beleaguered. We come across examples of social ostracism or we hear about the legal challenges Christians face when they fail to compromise. It’s frustrating to watch the brokenness of Washington, D.C, as politicians in both parties seem more concerned about their prospects for reelection than the people they represent.

Evangelicals are having to learn how to be a distinct minority – people who must make a case for our values in the public square rather than simply assuming others share our views. We will soon be known for beliefs that are out of step with contemporary society. So be it. The Church has been in this situation many times before.

The question before us is this: Will we be known for honor?

Conduct Yourself with Honor

The Apostle Peter’s letter was written to “exiles,” believers facing persecution far greater than any of us Americans have ever seen. These Christians were living under a tyrannical government far worse than any bureaucrat in a D.C. office. Yet Peter instructed believers to live honorably among others (1 Peter 2:11-17). The “others” refer to those who are not “in Christ.”

The word “conduct” appears thirteen times in the Bible, and eight of those times are in Peter’s letters. It’s safe to say, Peter cared about how our conduct was viewed by outsiders.

Now, the fact that Peter says we should live honorably among others means we must indeed be among the lost. Some evangelicals, weary of partisan bickering and political posturing from their Christian friends, are ready to throw up their hands and avoid political engagement altogether. I understand that sentiment, but failing to be present or involved in any meaningful sense in a democratic republic would be to forfeit the stewardship we’ve been given. There is no retreat here.

The question is not if but how we will be involved. It’s a change of posture, not political persuasion.

I like the way John Piper puts it:

“Being exiles does not mean being cynical. It does not mean being indifferent or uninvolved. The salt of the earth does not mock rotting meat. Where it can, it saves and seasons. And where it can’t, it weeps. And the light of the world does not withdraw, saying “good riddance” to godless darkness. It labors to illuminate. But not dominate.”

Slander Shouldn’t Stick

We also ought to live and speak in such a way that slander is untrue and charges of hypocrisy don’t stick.

When people claim that pro-lifers are only concerned about the unborn, and not little children or hurting mothers, we ought to be able to say, “Not true” and have the care of thousands of Christians behind us to prove it. Our good works ought to silence the ignorance of people who would slander us in foolishness (1 Peter 2:15).

Honor Everyone

But here’s where it gets hard. We are to honor everyone, Peter said. Even the emperor (1 Peter 2:17). Yes, the bloodthirsty, sexual maniac on Caesar’s throne must receive honor from Christians suffering under the thumb of a dictatorship.

Please don’t tell me Obama is worse than Nero.

Paul backs Peter up, telling us to outdo one another in showing honor (Romans 12:10).

The Honor Filter

So, instead of just putting up internet filters so we can control what comes into our computers, perhaps we should put up an “honor filter” that will help us control what goes out of our computers. Consider what questions an “honor filter” we could ask of our Facebook and Twitter statuses.

  • Is my point of view offered with respect to those who disagree?
  • Do I assume the best of those who are my political opponents?
  • Does it look like I am raging against injustice or against people made in God’s image?
  • Am I showing honor when reviled or slandered?

For the Christian, it’s not about winning a culture war. We win through how we engage our neighbors. Our honor should be on full display… even on Facebook.

Words of positive faith…

By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Matthew 12:37

In the Bible, we discover that faith and fear are not experienced primarily as emotions. Faith and fear, instead, are experienced most often through words. Whenever great faith is shown, it’s nearly always revealed through what people say.

For example, the centurion comes to Jesus, asks him to heal his servant, and Jesus says, “I’ll come right away.” The centurion responds saying, “No, Lord. Just say it and he’ll be healed.” “I’ve never seen greater faith than this,” Jesus says. Based solely on what the centurion said with his words, Jesus thereby heals the servant.

The Samaritan woman asks Jesus to heal her daughter and Jesus asks, “Do dogs eat from the table of their masters?” Though she could have found his reaction demeaning, she nonetheless answers positively saying, “The dogs eat from the table of their masters.” In response to her words of trust in him, Jesus says, “No greater faith have I ever seen than this.”

The reverse is also true. When Peter says, “Lord, don’t go to the cross,” Jesus is displeased with his disciple’s lack of faith in that instance, and says, “Get behind me Satan.”

In another story, Jesus wants to heal a little girl, but the people gathered nearby doubt and mock him with their words. Jesus tells these people of little faith to leave the room so that he can heal the girl, which he does with only the faithful by his side.
The blessings and cursings in our lives are hinged on what we say about ourselves, what we say to others, and how we respond with our words when God wants to give us good things.

Remember, there’s power in our every word.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I have faith in you. I know my words speak loudly about my faith, so I will speak positively knowing you are in control. Amen.

Reflection: When has your positive attitude of faith helped to change a negative situation into a blessing?

The Dangers of Self-Pity.

sad woman on railroad track

Overwhelmed and undone, Job cried, “Have pity upon me, O ye my friends” (Job 19:21). His presentproblems were twofold: his awesome troubles and awful self-pity. Let’s give some thought to the latter.

An unhealthy, obsessive sorrow for oneself arising from a selfish viewpoint of one’s troubles, self-pity afflicts us all. Whenever it arises, anger,unthankfulness, and unmercifulness are also present. We’re inwardly angry because of unfair treatment, real or imagined, from people—and God, who, in our view, isn’t helping us sufficiently!

We’re unthankful because we’re failing to appreciate our past and present blessings. We’re merciless because we’re ignoring or minimizing others’ sufferings which equal or surpass ours. For the moment we see no one but ourselves and nothing but our troubles. There’s nothing innocent or benign about self-pity.

It isn’t a natural transition, unavoidable letdown, or harmless passing mood. It’s satanic! When Jesus announced He was going to the cross, Peter responded, “Be it far from thee, Lord” (Matt. 16:22). By suggesting Jesus reject His divinely chosen hardship, Peter was urging Him to pity Himself: “Be kind to thyself, Sir” (YLT); or, “Spare thyself” (Gill’s Exposition); or, “Pity thyself” (KJV translators’ notes). Jesus’ response exposed the real spirit behind Peter’s suggestion: “Get thee behind me Satan!” (16:23). Let’s learn more.

Self-pity arises as a faulty reaction to adversityoffenses, injustices, indignities, injuries, or crosses which come because we’re doing God’s will or obeying or ministering His Word. It may also be triggered by disappointment over unrealized hopes; sinful attitudes, such as envy (1 Sam. 22:8); severe or prolonged sicknesses, as Job’s; God’s correction; poverty; bereavement; or other hardships or losses.

Self-pity resides in our sin nature, which the Bible refers to as our “old man” (Rom. 6:6) or “flesh” (8:12). It’s one of the attitudes, or fixed patterns of thinking, that make up our unrenewed, unspiritual “carnal mind” (8:7).

Self-pity captivates us when we fail to recognize and “cast down” our self-sympathizing thoughts (2 Cor. 10:3-5). Or it may be suggested through the overly sympathetic words of friends, family, or fellow Christians who, though they mean well, lack a spiritual (biblical) viewpoint toward our problems (Acts 21:12).

Self-pity’s effects are powerful. It traps us in a revolving door of spiritual stagnation that keeps us from finishing the race set before us. It renders us weak and unfaithful in duty and encourages self-indulgence (excessive self-comfort). It moves us to slander our adversaries. It distorts our view of others, events, and ourselves.

Ultimately, it destroys us. It also stumbles our companions by causing them to misjudge and condemn those we complain about, and question God for seeming to neglect us. Highly contagious, it infects them. After talking with us, they lose their positive outlook and start pitying themselves!

Many overcome self-pity and finish their courses.

The apostle John rose above his lonely exile and received rich spiritual rewards: a vision of Jesus, an open door in heaven, and a “Revelation” like no other! John the Baptist forsook self-pity in prison and received high praise from Jesus (Luke 7:23, 24-28). In her widowhood Ruth threw off self-pity and God tossed rich blessings her way: a husband, home, child, and honorable family line. But others succumb.

King Saul indulged his self-pity until his soul was barren, his spiritual walk halted, his anointing lost, and his destiny aborted. We must eliminate, not indulge, self-pity.

We remove self-pity by:

  • Confessing our self-pity to God (1 John 1:9) and others (James 5:16)
  • Commanding Satan, “Be gone!”
  • Believing we can do “all things,” including mastering self-pity, “through Christ” (Phil. 4:13)
  • Developing a spiritual mind by seeing our troubles through the wide viewfinder of Scripture, not the narrow spyglass of self-sympathy
  • Accepting all difficulties come from our Father’s hand for “good” (Rom. 8:28)
  • Thanking and praising God in our adversities, and for them, since only by mastering them can we become like Jesus
  • Rising to minister to others’ needs, which breaks the chains of selfishness and frees us to live and serve joyfully
  • Looking around us and considering how others are suffering as bad as we are, or worse!

If persisted in, these simple measures will eliminate self-pity and make us the rarest of wonders, overcomers—mature Christians who, no matter what happens to them, are able to continue walking closely with Jesus, worshiping Him, faithfully serving others, and giving thanks for what they have. If we don’t eliminate self-pity, it will eliminate our usefulness to God. So examine yourself.

Are you pitying yourself over anything present? Past? About to happen? If so, ponder and practice these few thoughts on self-pity.



Greg Hinnant is a Bible expositor, teacher, and writer based in High Point, North Carolina. His books include Walking in His Ways, Spiritual Truths for Overcoming Adversity, Precious Pearls from the Proverbs, the devotionals Sweeter Than Honey and Not by Bread Aloneand others. Greg teaches with Christian Life Educators Network and speaks at churches and conferences. Visit him

{ Day 328 }.

Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon his GodIsaiah 50:10, NKJV

Isaiah 50 describes the person who walks in the fear of the Lord. Part of the process of spiritual maturity is coming to the edge of our understanding, then walking on ahead without knowing what will happen next. God sometimes calls us, as He called Peter, to walk on water—to proceed in faith, but with uncertainty. Walking in darkness as it is used here doesn’t refer to moral darkness that comes from sin or demonic oppression. It simply means walking in unknown territory without clear light and reassuring direction. God’s silence forces us to grow in our confidence in Him as a person while we walk through the darkness, lacking a sense of direction. We eventually realize He was nearby all along. In this way, we develop our own personal history with God.


Give me the courage, Father, to walk with You in blind faith, even when I do not understand Your plan and purpose. As long as I can sense Your presence in the darkness, I will confidently place my trust in You.

Do not manufacture an artificial light out
of your frustration with the darkness.


Saint Peter’s Bones on Display as Pope Francis Marks ‘Year of Faith’.

Image: Saint Peter's Bones on Display as Pope Francis Marks 'Year of Faith'

Pope Francis kisses relics of Saint Peter the apostle on Nov. 24 in St. Peter’s Square.

Bones believed to belong to Saint Peter, one of the founding fathers of the Catholic Church, went on display for the first time Sunday, as Pope Francis held a ceremony to end the “Year of Faith”.

Tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered to catch a glimpse of the remains, eight fragments of bone between two and three centimetres (around one inch) long displayed on an ivory bed within a bronze chest on a pedestal in St. Peter’s Square.

Doctor Reveals Healing Powers of Prayer 
The chest, given to pope Paul VI in 1971 and usually kept in the tiny chapel of the papal apartments, was decorated with a carving of Peter, who was a fisherman before becoming the Church’s first pope, casting his nets into the sea.

At the start of the solemn ceremony, Francis prayed before the chest, bordered by white and yellow roses, before blessing the bones with incense.

The bones have long been the object of controversy between historians and archaeologists: they were first discovered in a 1940 dig next to an ancient monument honouring Saint Peter, but ended up gathering dust in a storage box.

It was not until archaeologist Margherita Guarducci discovered graffiti near the excavated tomb reading “Petros eni”, which could mean “Peter is here”, that she requested tests on the fragments.

She found they belonged to a robust man who died aged between 60 and 70 and had been buried in a purple, gold-threaded cloth — enough to convince Paul VI to say in 1968 that Peter’s bones had been identified “in a convincing manner.”

With no DNA evidence to support the find, the debate over whether they really do belong to one of Jesus Christ’s apostles is likely to continue, but the Vatican has said it “has no intention of opening up any argument.”

“Faith, the people of God, have always believed these to be the relics of the apostle Peter, and we continue to venerate them in this way,” Rino Fisichella, head of the pontifical council for evangelisation, said in the Vatican’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

The ceremony brought to an end the Vatican’s “Year of Faith”, a Benedict XVI initiative which began on October 11, 2012 to mark the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vatican II Council, which approved key Catholic Church reforms.

The project’s principle aim was to tackle the decline of religious practice in the developed world, particularly in Europe.

The Vatican said the “Year of Faith” had attracted 8.5 million pilgrims to Rome.

© AFP 2013


Blessing Bundles: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
2 Corinthians 13:14

Recommended Reading
1 Peter 1:1-2 ( )

The Trinity is the most unique aspect of Christian truth. Christians believe there is one God who eternally exists in Three Persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a doctrine that is easy to state, yet impossible to understand. After all, if God were small enough to be understood, He wouldn’t be big enough to be worshipped.

Watch This Week’s TV Broadcast ( )

Perhaps the simplest explanation for the Trinity comes from Charles Colson, who described the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as: God Above, God Beside, God Within. We have a Father —  God above us. We have a Savior — God beside us. We have a Spirit — God within us. That’s a humble explanation for the Trinity, but it’s not inaccurate.

God’s grace is conveyed to us through the Trinity. We are triply blessed in every way, as reflected in the Apostolic Benediction of 2 Corinthians 13. Anytime we see a passage in the Bible mentioning all three members of the Trinity, it is invariably a passage of blessing and grace (see Revelation 1:4-6). We are healthier people when we understand and enjoy God above us, God beside us, and God within us.

The Trinity … answers the deepest needs of the human heart, offering a depth of spirituality unknown in any other religion.
Charles Colson, in  The Faith

Acts 27-28, Romans 1-3

By David Jeremiah.

Standing on the promise…

By Dr. Juan Carlos Ortiz

“Through these (Christ) has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
2 Peter 1:4

Now read this very carefully because we need to understand a little better the amazing grace of God.

Listen: We were spiritually dead. That means totally disabled. God loved us so much that he gave us life! Then he gave us faith to believe in him. Because he loved us, he did not count our bad behavior, and forgave us all our mistakes. Then he created us anew in Christ, giving us a new birth, making us new creatures, giving us obedient, new hearts. He also prepared good works for us to do, and placed those good works before us so we may find them on our journeys. He produced in us the willingness to please him and gave us the capacity to do it. On top of all of that, he promised eternal rewards for doing those good works.

The Apostle John puts it this way: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…they will rest from their labor, for their (good works) will follow them.” God is at work in you so that you will desire and do what always pleases him.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I want to do only that which pleases you. You brought me new life and I want to use that life doing the work you have planned for me to do. Amen.

Reflection: What do you do that you believe pleases God?

{ Day 295 }.

But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. 1 Corinthians 12:11, NKJV

The word used in the New Testament for spiritual gifts is charisma or, literally, “gifts of grace.” In other words, these gifts are given freely and are not earned. It was Simon the sorcerer who misunderstood the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit, thinking they could be purchased (Acts 8:18-24). What a terrible thing, we think. No doubt Simon had a wrong equation, and Peter severely rebuked him because of the wickedness in his heart that would allow him even to consider buying the power of God. But there’s not much difference between earning gifts and buying them. Money is only a function of effort and labor. Contrary to some commonly held equations, the gifts and power of God are distributed at the will of the Holy Spirit. They are not given as a token or a badge of God’s approval of a person’s level of spiritual maturity. Neither are they earned by our consecration. They are grace gifts.


Father, teach me that spiritual gifts are gifts freely given because of Your great grace. I cannot earn these gifts, and nothing I can offer to You will purchase them. You bestow these gifts freely as the gift of grace.

Spiritual gifts are given freely and are not earned.


Tag Cloud