Saturday, December 20, 2008

Suffering

December 20: 1 Peter 1-5


6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7

20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
1 Peter 2:20-21

14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.
1 Peter 3:14-17

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
1 Peter 4:12-16

8 ...Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5:8b-11

Suffering

As I was reading through the book of 1 Peter, I noticed that every single chapter has some reference to suffering for Christ. In Chapter 1 we are told that we suffer for Christ to test our faith. Chapter 2 reminds us that even as Christ suffered for the Gospel, so should we be willing to walk in His steps. Honor Christ in your suffering and always be ready to make a defense for the reason for the hope within you, we are told in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 tells us to not be surprised by the fiery trials we experience, but rather glorify God in the midst of our suffering. And, chapter 5 we are reminded that after we suffer for a little while, God will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us.

I think it is interesting to note that we are reading this book at a time when the world calls us to be merry and full of good cheer. The world does not have a clue as to the real meaning of Christmas; it is just a time of fun, laughter, and frenzy. Yet, as Christians, we should not be fooled by this appearance of good will, but rather understand that we are at war. The more faithfully we live for Christ, the more suffering we will face on this earth.

Christ, that babe in the manger, did not bring peace to this world, but rather a sword! He did, however, bring peace to those who are saved by His precious blood spent for a people who did not love Him.

As God calls you into times of suffering, ask God to be gracious to you and to help you praise His name for being called to suffer for Him, who gave His life for us!

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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