Blog Devotionals

Deeper Faith in Difficult Times

October 24, 2022 | Sam Rainer

When you follow Christ, He will take you on a road filled with twists, turns, potholes, dangers, and incredible views.

Jim Elliot wrote in his diary, “The Lord made mountains to climb, not just to look at, and up there one understands why – seeing the vista that most folks never see, with a sense of farness that most never feel.”

He would be martyred by the Auca tribe he was trying to reach. His wife, Elizabeth, would return to the tribe and win them to Christ. An easy life produces weak and untested people. The difficult times grow us, strengthen us, and allow us to be more like Christ.

Use the following guide to prepare for Sunday. Onward!

Monday’s Passage to Read: Read 1 Peter 1:1-25 and 3:13-17. You have three choices when life knocks you down: stay down, fail trying to get up on your own, or look up to Jesus and grab His hand. As you read today, consider all the ways Jesus has given you His hand of support. When was a time when you delayed accepting His help? How did it go? When was a time when you immediately sought Him? Did it go any better?

Tuesday’s Devotional Thought: Peter was an influential figure in early Christianity. He was the spokesperson and leader of the apostles. He was part of the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples with James and John. He wrote two letters, which we will cover in depth on Sunday. Ultimately, he died a martyr under Nero’s reign.

In Luke 6, Jesus named Simon “Peter.” The nickname meant “rock,” Petros in Greek or Cephas in Aramaic. Why did Jesus give him this nickname? It was the opposite of what he was—impetuous, impulsive, and irrational. The nickname was a reminder of who Peter was supposed to be, not who he was.

He is mentioned in the Gospels more than anyone except Jesus. No one speaks as often as Peter, and no one is spoken to by Jesus as often as Peter. In about an 18-month timeline, the disciples were trained, failed, then redeemed by Jesus. He then ascended to heaven leaving behind betrayers, deniers, and doubters to do His work.

Peter failed badly. He denied Jesus when He needed help most. A few years later, Peter writes these two amazing letters. Has he forgotten how he denied Jesus? His impulsiveness? His selfishness? No. He’s grown. He’s matured. This is discipleship—learning from your mistakes and teaching others.

Peter’s two letters are filled with hope. The hope we have as believers is a reality, not a feeling. You don’t just feel hope. You must know hope. We often use the word “hope” in the context of doubt. I hope I don’t get sick. I hope my team wins. I hope I get a good grade on my test. The word “hope” in the Old Testament conveys confidence and security. In the New Testament, “hope” is connected to our faith in Christ.

While we may use the word “hope” with an element of doubt. (I hope something does or doesn’t happen), the Bible uses the word “hope” without any inclination of doubt. Yes, we can lose a lot of things. But you will never lose our Savior Jesus.

Wednesday’s Proverb:

The lips of the wise give good advice;

    the heart of a fool has none to give.

Proverbs 15:7

Think about someone who gives good advice. What makes this person wise? How can you emulate this person? Wisdom is something to be shared. Are you ready to provide sound advice to people who ask?

Thursday’s Prayer through Scripture: Read 1 Peter 1:23-25. How much effort do you pour into eternal matters? What amount of energy do you expend on things that will ultimately fade? Spend some time today in prayer, asking God to give you more of a focus on matters of eternity.

Friday’s Bible Project Video: Watch these videos on 1 Peter and 2 Peter. What makes the books different? How are these letters similar? What themes stand out to you?