“Keep a watchful eye on the people, places, and things that influence your life. A careless thoughtlife will surely lead to a poor understanding of the Truth.”~TB
God programmed us to be free thinkers. This means that the blank software you were born with is free to download whatever information you choose. You don’t have to follow God or even acknowledge His existence! On the same token, He does not have to acknowledge you come judgment day. Make of that as you will. Some will come to know Christ early on. Some will do so later on. And others, well, they chose what they chose. Thank God that we have a choice! So, why is it important that you understand this distinction? Well, friends, not all information is wise or accurate. More to the point, not every activity or deed will bring you peace or contentment.
As society advances, so does the ability to easily practice sin, debauchery, and all types of blasphemous activities. Problem is, much of what is not good for you is marketed as delightful and necessary things. This is why analyzing and understanding what you’re listening to and to whom you’re influenced by is of the utmost importance. Evil people seek to give you poisonous information and will claim such acts as good! And if you’re not paying attention, you will download it, like a virus that will corrupt your system. Friends, be discerning! Let the Holy Spirit guide your thought process. If someone is telling you to make concessions on the Truth, run! If someone is trying to change you or make you believe that you are anything less than what God created you to be, ignore them. In a world that is upside down, and evil is packaged as freedom, choice, and pursuit of happiness, if you are not paying attention, life is more challenging.
Even though we have a choice and God will not inflict His authority on you, He is there! If you are tired of the gnarly viruses of the world, if you are frustrated by the hypocrisy of mankind, turn to the Truth. Forming a genuine relationship with God is beneficial in so many ways. Like the ultimate anti-virus, God will download the Truth, peace, and joy onto your operating system. This new software, The Holy Spirit is not only a useful tool but a true friend that will help guide you in this wicked world. If you take the time to cultivate this relationship, it will serve you well. Make no mistake, to walk with God means to abdicate the sin-fallen world. It means to take up the cross, abandon a flesh-filled life, and to live according to His will. As with anything worth doing, dedication, discipline, and time are necessary to run this race. Friends, you have a choice, make sure you choose wisely.
Are you downloading the Truth or is your operating system full of viruses?
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1How joyful are those who fear the LORD — all who follow his ways!
2You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!
3Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table.
4That is the LORD ’s blessing for those who fear him.
5May the LORD continually bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live.
6May you live to enjoy your grandchildren. May Israel have peace!
“To experience God’s joyful peace, let go of whatever is weighing you down.”~TB
As humans, we all fall short of the mark. There will be offense, mistreatment, accusations, and unpleasant experience that can erode relationships. Friends, let it go. As brothers and sisters in Christ, the standard has to be forgiveness over condemnation. Look at your neighbor as God looks at you. Using the Holy lens to see others is how you can overlook the small issues and remember the greater objective: We are all God’s children and He loves us the same. Even knowing how stupid we can be, He gives us the opportunity for redemption.
When you are unable to forgive others, you are unable to forgive yourself because you’ve forgotten the redemption that God has freely given you. It is impossible to truly love someone if you are unable to love yourself. As the body of Christ, the relationships you build among one another have to outweigh the hurts and offenses that occur within them. Remember the One who loved you first, so that you can practice the Godly love He gives to you daily.
Are you letting go of the small stuff so you can live in God’s grace?
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1I took my troubles to the LORD ; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer.
2Rescue me, O LORD, from liars and from all deceitful people.
3O deceptive tongue, what will God do to you? How will he increase your punishment?
4You will be pierced with sharp arrows and burned with glowing coals.
5How I suffer in far-off Meshech. It pains me to live in distant Kedar.
6I am tired of living among people who hate peace.
7I search for peace; but when I speak of peace, they want war!
“Don’t allow past experiences and events contaminate a growing relationship with God.”~TB
The world can be a scary and traumatic place, where vulnerable innocent people endure unjust hardships. There is no denying that the human experience can be awful. Some of you have deep wounds, committed by those who were supposed to care for you. Some of those very people probably hid behind ‘religion’, trying to cover up their horrendous practices and abuse. They will be judged and dealt with. Friends, don’t allow the transgressions and evil deeds of others taint your understanding of the Lord. False Christians are exactly that, false. In order to heal, you must step out in faith.
No matter your experience, God can and will work within you to heal your wounds and provide you a joyful existence. There are hope and restoration after a destructive beginning. In order to grow with Him, you must let go of the weight of your past. It’s impossible to elevate to the next level when the weight of unforgiveness, shame, and sorrow are tied to you like cement bricks. Friends, give your burdens to God because you can’t handle them on your own. Finish your race victoriously on God’s team.
Are you allowing your experience contaminate your ability to walk with God?
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1Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD .
2Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.
3They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.
4You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully.
5Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees!
6Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands.
7As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should!
8I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me!
9How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.
10I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands.
11I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
12I praise you, O LORD ; teach me your decrees.
13I have recited aloud all the regulations you have given us.
14I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches.
15I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways.
16I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.
17Be good to your servant, that I may live and obey your word.
18Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.
19I am only a foreigner in the land. Don’t hide your commands from me!
20I am always overwhelmed with a desire for your regulations.
21You rebuke the arrogant; those who wander from your commands are cursed.
22Don’t let them scorn and insult me, for I have obeyed your laws.
23Even princes sit and speak against me, but I will meditate on your decrees.
24Your laws please me; they give me wise advice.
25I lie in the dust; revive me by your word.
26I told you my plans, and you answered. Now teach me your decrees.
27Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word.
29Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.
30I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations.
31I cling to your laws. LORD, don’t let me be put to shame!
32I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding.
33Teach me your decrees, O LORD ; I will keep them to the end.
34Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart.
35Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.
36Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money!
37Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.
38Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you.
39Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good.
40I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness.
41LORD, give me your unfailing love, the salvation that you promised me.
42Then I can answer those who taunt me, for I trust in your word.
43Do not snatch your word of truth from me, for your regulations are my only hope.
44I will keep on obeying your instructions forever and ever.
45I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.
46I will speak to kings about your laws, and I will not be ashamed.
47How I delight in your commands! How I love them!
48I honor and love your commands. I meditate on your decrees.
49Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope.
50Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.
51The proud hold me in utter contempt, but I do not turn away from your instructions.
52I meditate on your age-old regulations; O LORD, they comfort me.
53I become furious with the wicked, because they reject your instructions.
54Your decrees have been the theme of my songs wherever I have lived.
55I reflect at night on who you are, O LORD ; therefore, I obey your instructions.
56This is how I spend my life: obeying your commandments.
57LORD, you are mine! I promise to obey your words!
58With all my heart I want your blessings. Be merciful as you promised.
59I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your laws.
60I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.
61Evil people try to drag me into sin, but I am firmly anchored to your instructions.
62I rise at midnight to thank you for your just regulations.
63I am a friend to anyone who fears you— anyone who obeys your commandments.
64O LORD, your unfailing love fills the earth; teach me your decrees.
65You have done many good things for me, LORD, just as you promised.
66I believe in your commands; now teach me good judgment and knowledge.
67I used to wander off until you disciplined me; but now I closely follow your word.
68You are good and do only good; teach me your decrees.
69Arrogant people smear me with lies, but in truth I obey your commandments with all my heart.
70Their hearts are dull and stupid, but I delight in your instructions.
71My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.
72Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver.
73You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands.
74May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in your word.
75I know, O LORD, that your regulations are fair; you disciplined me because I needed it.
76Now let your unfailing love comfort me, just as you promised me, your servant.
77Surround me with your tender mercies so I may live, for your instructions are my delight.
78Bring disgrace upon the arrogant people who lied about me; meanwhile, I will concentrate on your commandments.
79Let me be united with all who fear you, with those who know your laws.
80May I be blameless in keeping your decrees; then I will never be ashamed.
81I am worn out waiting for your rescue, but I have put my hope in your word.
82My eyes are straining to see your promises come true. When will you comfort me?
83I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke, but I have not forgotten to obey your decrees.
84How long must I wait? When will you punish those who persecute me?
85These arrogant people who hate your instructions have dug deep pits to trap me.
86All your commands are trustworthy. Protect me from those who hunt me down without cause.
87They almost finished me off, but I refused to abandon your commandments.
88In your unfailing love, spare my life; then I can continue to obey your laws.
89Your eternal word, O LORD, stands firm in heaven.
90Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created.
91Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans.
92If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery.
93I will never forget your commandments, for by them you give me life.
94I am yours; rescue me! For I have worked hard at obeying your commandments.
95Though the wicked hide along the way to kill me, I will quietly keep my mind on your laws.
96Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit.
97Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long.
98Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide.
99Yes, I have more insight than my teachers, for I am always thinking of your laws.
100I am even wiser than my elders, for I have kept your commandments.
101I have refused to walk on any evil path, so that I may remain obedient to your word.
102I haven’t turned away from your regulations, for you have taught me well.
103How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.
104Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life.
105Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
106I’ve promised it once, and I’ll promise it again: I will obey your righteous regulations.
107I have suffered much, O LORD ; restore my life again as you promised.
108LORD, accept my offering of praise, and teach me your regulations.
109My life constantly hangs in the balance, but I will not stop obeying your instructions.
110The wicked have set their traps for me, but I will not turn from your commandments.
111Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight.
112I am determined to keep your decrees to the very end.
113I hate those with divided loyalties, but I love your instructions.
114You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.
115Get out of my life, you evil-minded people, for I intend to obey the commands of my God.
116LORD, sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Do not let my hope be crushed.
117Sustain me, and I will be rescued; then I will meditate continually on your decrees.
118But you have rejected all who stray from your decrees. They are only fooling themselves.
119You skim off the wicked of the earth like scum; no wonder I love to obey your laws!
120I tremble in fear of you; I stand in awe of your regulations.
121Don’t leave me to the mercy of my enemies, for I have done what is just and right.
122Please guarantee a blessing for me. Don’t let the arrogant oppress me!
123My eyes strain to see your rescue, to see the truth of your promise fulfilled.
124I am your servant; deal with me in unfailing love, and teach me your decrees.
125Give discernment to me, your servant; then I will understand your laws.
126LORD, it is time for you to act, for these evil people have violated your instructions.
127Truly, I love your commands more than gold, even the finest gold.
128Each of your commandments is right. That is why I hate every false way.
129Your laws are wonderful. No wonder I obey them!
130The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.
131I pant with expectation, longing for your commands.
132Come and show me your mercy, as you do for all who love your name.
133Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.
134Ransom me from the oppression of evil people; then I can obey your commandments.
135Look upon me with love; teach me your decrees.
136Rivers of tears gush from my eyes because people disobey your instructions.
137O LORD, you are righteous, and your regulations are fair.
138Your laws are perfect and completely trustworthy.
139I am overwhelmed with indignation, for my enemies have disregarded your words.
140Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that is why I love them so much.
141I am insignificant and despised, but I don’t forget your commandments.
142Your justice is eternal, and your instructions are perfectly true.
143As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands.
144Your laws are always right; help me to understand them so I may live.
145I pray with all my heart; answer me, LORD ! I will obey your decrees.
146I cry out to you; rescue me, that I may obey your laws.
147I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.
148I stay awake through the night, thinking about your promise.
149In your faithful love, O LORD, hear my cry; let me be revived by following your regulations.
150Lawless people are coming to attack me; they live far from your instructions.
151But you are near, O LORD, and all your commands are true.
152I have known from my earliest days that your laws will last forever.
153Look upon my suffering and rescue me, for I have not forgotten your instructions.
154Argue my case; take my side! Protect my life as you promised.
155The wicked are far from rescue, for they do not bother with your decrees.
156LORD, how great is your mercy; let me be revived by following your regulations.
157Many persecute and trouble me, yet I have not swerved from your laws.
158Seeing these traitors makes me sick at heart, because they care nothing for your word.
159See how I love your commandments, LORD . Give back my life because of your unfailing love.
160The very essence of your words is truth; all your just regulations will stand forever.
161Powerful people harass me without cause, but my heart trembles only at your word.
162I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure.
163I hate and abhor all falsehood, but I love your instructions.
164I will praise you seven times a day because all your regulations are just.
165Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble.
166I long for your rescue, LORD, so I have obeyed your commands.
167I have obeyed your laws, for I love them very much.
168Yes, I obey your commandments and laws because you know everything I do.
169O LORD, listen to my cry; give me the discerning mind you promised.
170Listen to my prayer; rescue me as you promised.
171Let praise flow from my lips, for you have taught me your decrees.
172Let my tongue sing about your word, for all your commands are right.
173Give me a helping hand, for I have chosen to follow your commandments.
174O LORD, I have longed for your rescue, and your instructions are my delight.
175Let me live so I can praise you, and may your regulations help me.
176I have wandered away like a lost sheep; come and find me, for I have not forgotten your commands.
“The strength of your character and obedient spirit will bring about an amazing partnership with Christ, being in the center of love, life, and God’s Will.”~ Jon Barnes
From the top, center page of your life, scroll down and focus with all of your might.See and adjust all of the things that are wrong, particularly the evil behaviors until they are all gone.Justify each side and align them nice and straight, and pray that God accepts you before it’s too late.
Respect and take care of what you have so that you can develop the next chapter in your book, enjoying all of the hard work and effort it took.To flow and clean up your own mess, walk in that straight narrow line of love all of the time and during your rest.
Notice how everything is getting better with the touch of your hands,which is the personal responsibility of everyone in the land.The game of give and take is a balancing act of love to be shared between you and me for eternity.Otherwise, your evolution process ends up in the fire of hell.
What do you plan to plant and grow when your partnerships with Jesus Christ, family, and people are not right?
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For Jeduthun, the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 I said to myself, “I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue when the ungodly are around me.” 2 But as I stood there in silence— not even speaking of good things— the turmoil within me grew worse. 3 The more I thought about it, the hotter I got, igniting a fire of words: 4 “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is. 5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” Interlude
6 We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. 7 And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. 8 Rescue me from my rebellion. Do not let fools mock me. 9 I am silent before you; I won’t say a word, for my punishment is from you. 10 But please stop striking me! I am exhausted by the blows from your hand. 11 When you discipline us for our sins, you consume like a moth what is precious to us. Each of us is but a breath. Interlude
12 Hear my prayer, O Lord! Listen to my cries for help! Don’t ignore my tears. For I am your guest— a traveler passing through, as my ancestors were before me. 13 Leave me alone so I can smile again before I am gone and exist no more.
“Parting of ways from negative people to pursue your own life is a sign of maturity to follow God’s Will, Ways, and Might.”~Jon Barnes
Only you can make the choices that stand for something positive in your life. So be bold to look, learn, grow, and work for God to do those things that are right.Taking a stand is an isolated choice of daily decision connected together for a lifetime. In all that you do, understand God’s clues, because you’ll have yours and I’ll have mine.
Search for the missing puzzles of love, joy, liberty, and the freedom to choose from the options you are given. God’s Ways are for you to give and share; never to lose. The Good in life will seek you out, so always find yourself doing good that finds you.Wonderful things will continue to flow your way, as this fact should always be understood and expected.
After you have put in an amount of quality work into following your heart and dreams,
there comes a point in life and time that you’ll understand what it all means.The clues you get from taking a stand for God becomes more clear each and every day.Before long you realize that this is who you are and you will not quite on God Today!
Did you know that Today is every day with God or did you part ways to sing and walk with someone else?
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1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. 2 But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. 3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
4 But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. 5 They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly. 6 For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.
“It’s up to you to look at your relationship with God. Think of it like going on a vacation to a foreign country, or a different place. It puts a new lens on your focus to see the beauty that already exists. Then take that experience and do the same for your spouse, family, and enemies.“~ Jon Barnes
Strategic two-day vacations can help you refocus your attention on God, your spouse, loved ones, family, and friends. Sometimes we miss the obvious things to do.The balance of time spent on your relationships will improve your focus and quality of attention to detail that is needed in maintaining Godly love. Take a step back to check your own work.People will clearly see the good work in your life and the blessing from your faith walk with God.
Dancing is a great way to exercise the love that is in your heart when connecting with God and people. Your daily working movements are a part of your daily dance.Moving in the direction of love is joyful, wonderful, and full of praise and thanksgiving. The way you move says it all. The Arts help us to express the perception of perfection in ways we cannot comprehend or count, yet we see the hand of God with each dancing movement of the clouds.
It is like music to my ears when God smiles at my progress. My spouse is full of joy, and the people around me are full of happiness when I am obedient to God.This great joy should be expressed in the music you make and listen to.The good vibrations of love are needed to fill the air and our hearts with a continuous reminder of how Good God is to us all. We sing praises to God in all our relationships.
Do you have the best relationship with God and the people around you?
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1 Samuel 7
1So the men of Kiriath-jearim came to get the Ark of the LORD . They took it to the hillside home of Abinadab and ordained Eleazar, his son, to be in charge of it. 2The Ark remained in Kiriath-jearim for a long time—twenty years in all. During that time all Israel mourned because it seemed the LORD had abandoned them. 3Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, “If you want to return to the LORD with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the LORD and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.” 4So the Israelites got rid of their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the LORD . 5Then Samuel told them, “Gather all of Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD for you.” 6So they gathered at Mizpah and, in a great ceremony, drew water from a well and poured it out before the LORD . They also went without food all day and confessed that they had sinned against the LORD . (It was at Mizpah that Samuel became Israel’s judge.) 7When the Philistine rulers heard that Israel had gathered at Mizpah, they mobilized their army and advanced. The Israelites were badly frightened when they learned that the Philistines were approaching. 8“Don’t stop pleading with the LORD our God to save us from the Philistines!” they begged Samuel. 9So Samuel took a young lamb and offered it to the LORD as a whole burnt offering. He pleaded with the LORD to help Israel, and the LORD answered him. 10Just as Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines arrived to attack Israel. But the LORD spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven that day, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them. 11The men of Israel chased them from Mizpah to a place below Beth-car, slaughtering them all along the way. 12Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the LORD has helped us!” 13So the Philistines were subdued and didn’t invade Israel again for some time. And throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the LORD ’s powerful hand was raised against the Philistines. 14The Israelite villages near Ekron and Gath that the Philistines had captured were restored to Israel, along with the rest of the territory that the Philistines had taken. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites in those days. 15Samuel continued as Israel’s judge for the rest of his life. 16Each year he traveled around, setting up his court first at Bethel, then at Gilgal, and then at Mizpah. He judged the people of Israel at each of these places. 17Then he would return to his home at Ramah, and he would hear cases there, too. And Samuel built an altar to the LORD at Ramah.
“Most of us are bad at relationships and friendships so, we need to practice with God to improve our “A” game, be friendly, take time, listen and learn how to love.”
You are the trap that attracts poop to your situation. True friends are helpful and they learn from each other all of the time. They practice love to understand and know how to balance charity, hope, and faith. Your trap is not wanting to learn, grow, or obey God’s lifestyle of love.
People grow up when they are helped and held accountable to someone, as they improve and work on issues honestly. Good people have a nature to embrace change for the better, with a balanced give and take exchange, within friendships and relationships. You must accept the pain of doing good and stay the course.
Each person helps to pull up the next person to the higher steps of honesty, love, commitment, time, education, development and work ethic. This practice, like learning an instrument takes years of practice. No one person knows it all or does it all on the team. It is truly a group effort, as the pro in each situation takes the lead. Each person is a pro at some things the other is not!
Are you making the right choices in developing your relationships, within the parameters of God’s lifestyle?
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1 Peter 3
3 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.4 Rather, 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.5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands,6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Suffering for Doing Good
8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.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.”[a]
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[b]; do not be frightened.”[c]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.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,[d] 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.[e] 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.