Friday, May 20, 2011

May 20, 2011 … Rejoicing Through The Spirit

Passage of the Day: 1st Peter 4: 14 [see bold highlight] … 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that 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.

My Journal for Today: And today we continue on with Peter’s contextual message to those suffering for their faith with the 14th verse of 1st Peter 4. Can you just imagine Christians in the Circus of Rome or in Asia Minor having pitch poured over them, which was lit by the Roman guards; and then to hear, as was reported historically, these burning Christians proclaiming Christ’s Name and singing His glory? It’s tough to see myself being able to praise God in that light; but I do believe it happened; and I know it’s possible.

Peter points out, in today’s verse, that such devotion, faith, and proclamation of joy in Christ, in the face of “fiery trials,” could only take place because of “the Spirit of glory” (i.e., the Holy Spirit), Who indwells all born-again believers. Again, I refer any reading here to the wondrous texts from Paul to the Corinthian Christians (and to us) in 1st Cor. 10: 13 and 2nd Cor. 12: 9. Can you see how many times I refer to these scriptures and why I say that these two would be two of the best passages from God’s word to commit to memory?

John MacArthur, in his devotional for this date in Strength for Today, reminded me (us) that this Spirit-driven power in the first martyr for Christianity, Stephen, was the power that allowed him to witness so deeply to his faith just as Jesus had done on the cross, asking God to forgive those who were stoning him to death (go back and read Acts 6: 15 and Acts 7: 55 – 60). And in Stephen’s story of martyrdom, we have the same grace in the face of human weakness, again spoken of by Pau, whom BTW was a witness to Stephen’s stoning, l in 2nd Cor. 12: 9, that would allow this man, Stephen, being stoned to death, to do a super-human act of Christlikeness. And all of us who are truly in Christ have that same power in us.

The question, at least for this war weary Christian soldier this morning is, … “Has my belief and challenged faith been strengthened and developed to the point that I could/would rejoice in the face of any fiery trial as did Stephen or the Apostle Paul?” I would like to answer “yes” to that question; but going even deeper into my relationship with Christ and practicing the disciplines of the faith with even more diligence can only make my belief stronger and my skills as a Christian warrior more battle ready. So, in the Spirit, I press on even as I am this morning! (see Phil. 3: 13-14)

My Prayer Today: Glory be that You are in me and for me, Lord! Amen

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