May 18, 2015
Ephesians 3:20-21, Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Yesterday, I was honored to celebrate 20 years as the Pastor at Cottonwood Creek. Over those 20 years, I’ve seen a lot of changes. Our community has grown greatly in those years and so has the church.
However, the greatest thing for me as a Pastor is that I have seen people grow. I have had the privilege of seeing struggling families put back together, and I have watched parents dedicate their children in our church, and then shake those same kids’ hands as they have graduated high school and headed off to college.
In a nutshell, I have been blessed. It has been an honor to serve not only at Cottonwood as Pastor, but to serve in this incredible community for these past 20 years. I can only imagine what God has planned for our church community in the next 20 years.
Thank you for 20 amazing years and have a blessed day!
John Mark Caton, Ph.D
FRIDAY- May 8, 2015
1 Peter 5:8-11 New International Version (NIV)
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
- How many times in I Peter does Peter challenge you to be “alert and of a sober mind”?
- How active is the devil in his desire to harm you?
- Can you resist the devil? If so, how and what is the final result?
THURSDAY-May 7, 2015
1 Peter 5:5-7 New International Version (NIV)
5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
1. What does it mean to be truly humble?
2. Can you think of a person in Scripture God showed favor to because of his/her humility?
3. Anxiety can be a Christian killer. What areas do you struggle with that cause you anxiety and fear?
WEDNESDAY- May 6, 2015
1 Peter 5:1-4 New International Version (NIV)
1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
1. Who are elders in your mind and according to Peter and Paul, read I Timothy 3?
2. Who is spiritually “under your care”?
3. What is your attitude when you serve?
TUESDAY, May 5
1 Peter 4:12-19 New International Version (NIV)
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
1. What is the purpose of suffering?
2. Can you think of a time when personal suffering produced God’s glory being revealed in your life?
3. Why should we not be surprised when suffering does come our way?
MONDAY: May 4, 2015
Ready, Set, Go!
1 Peter 4:7-11 New International Version (NIV)
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so 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.
- Ready: Thinking about your prayer life, what keeps you from talking to God?
- Set: Do you know what your Spiritual Gifts are? Take a few minutes today and discover them by taking a Spiritual Gift Assessment at http://elmertowns.com/spiritual_gifts_test/
- Go: Serving others is not an option but an expectation, not done in your strength but God’s, what areas of life do you serve others in on a regular basis?
Friday, May 1 Scripture & Devotional 1 Peter 3:18-
1 Peter 4:1-6 New International Version (NIV)
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in His body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
Q. What does it mean that “whoever suffers in the body is done with sin”? How does this impact your view of suffering?
Q. What is the natural reaction of those around you when you surrender your life to Jesus? Is your surrender to God more important than your friends’ approval?
Q. Thank God today for His saving power and His grace for you today!
Thursday, April 30 Scripture & Devotional
1 Peter 3:18-22 New International Version (NIV)
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 19 After being made alive, He went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— 20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to Him.
Q. What was the purpose of Christ’s sufferings?
Q. How does the flood of Noah’s day compare to the symbolism of baptism today? What is the significance of water baptism to you?
Q. How significant is it to know that Christ ascended above all angels, authorities and powers? Praise Him today for who He is!
WEDNESDAY April 29, 2015
1 Peter 3:13–17 New International Version (NIV)
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
Q. How do we typically view suffering? What do these verses say our view of suffering should be?
Q. What did Jesus say about suffering? If not sure, use a concordance (word search) to find a few examples.
Q. What does it mean to “revere Christ as Lord”? (v 15) How does that change the way we live?
1 Peter 3:10-12 New International Version (NIV)
10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Q. Ready: According to verses 10 & 11, what do we need to do in order to love life? Why do you think that is?
Q. According to verse 12, who does God listen to? How does this make you feel?
Q. What areas of my life do you need to ask God to “clean up” to keep the lines of communication open?