VIDEO “So Despised by the World”

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you… but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12-13

According to The Voice of the Martyrs, a group of Christians in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, planned an open baptism celebration, expecting members of their community to try to prevent the gathering. But praise the Lord! Many new believers were baptized, and on that day, at least, there was no sign of community opposition.[1]

Are you afraid of the reaction you’ll get when you mention Christ or articulate a biblical worldview? Keep your eyes on Christ, not on the critics. When we focus on eternity, we’ll realize that temporary suffering has a way of revealing God’s glory. There’s joy in serving the Lord!

Let’s go back to the cross of Christ. Jesus lived with little and died in poverty. But He was buried in a rich man’s tomb, rose in glory, and ascended to guide His children in taking the Gospel to the ends of the world. This is no time to be silenced. It’s time to speak, to share, and to shine!

I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown. George Bennard


The Dos and Don’ts of Suffering – 1 Peter 4:12-19 – Skip Heitzig

Will You Still Love Me?

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Ten-year-old Lyn-Lyn had finally been adopted, but she was afraid. In the orphanage where she’d grown up, she was punished over the slightest mistake. Lyn-Lyn asked her adoptive mom, who was a friend of mine: “Mommy, do you love me?” When my friend replied yes, Lyn-Lyn asked, “If I make a mistake, will you still love me?”

Although unspoken, some of us might ask that same question when we feel we’ve disappointed God: “Will You still love me?” We know that as long as we live in this world, we’ll fail and sin at times. And we wonder, Do my mistakes affect God’s love for me?

John 3:16 assures us of God’s love. He gave His Son, Jesus, to die on our behalf so that if we believe in Him, we’ll receive eternal life. But what if we fail Him even after we place our trust in Him? That’s when we need to remember that “Christ died for us” even when we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). If He could love us at our worst, how can we doubt His love today when we’re His children?

When we sin, our Father lovingly corrects and disciplines us. That’s not rejection (8:1); that’s love (Hebrews 12:6). Let’s live as God’s beloved children, resting in the blessed assurance that His love for us is steadfast and everlasting.

By:  Karen Huang

Reflect & Pray

How does understanding God’s love for you strengthen you to obey Him? How does it impact your view of sin?

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your steadfast and unchanging love.

Giving Jesus First Place

If you long for radical renewal in your life, commit to know God’s Word Philippians 3:7-16

Paul’s priority was to know Christ. The apostle spoke of counting all things as loss in comparison to His relationship with the Lord, and he was given spiritual blessings that surpassed anything the world had to offer. 

When we seek Christ through His Word, we too can expect the following spiritual blessings:  

  • A Quiet Spirit. As we read and meditate on God’s Word, He restores our souls (Psalm 19:7). Then, instead of having stress and worry, we’ll experience peace of mind.  
  • A Stronger Faith. Studying Scripture enlarges our view of God and gives us insight into His desires, ways, and will. The bigger the Lord becomes to us, the more we will trust Him in every circumstance.  
  • A Purified Heart. God’s Word reveals our sins so we can repent and receive forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9). 
  • A Renewed Mind. When we read Scripture and apply its principles, our mind will be renewed to think biblically about God, ourselves, and the world.  

Because Christ was the pursuit of his life, Paul knew joy amidst trials and received the strength to face turmoil and difficulty. These blessings are ours as well when knowing Jesus is our highest goal. 

Recognizing the Son of God

“For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (2 Peter 1:17)

Most people today consider Jesus Christ to have been a great man but will not believe He is the unique Son of God. Nevertheless, He is indeed God’s only begotten Son.

Before His birth, the angel Gabriel predicted it. “That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). John the Baptist identified Him. “And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:34). His disciples recognized Him. “Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God” (John 1:49). “Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). John said that the very purpose of his gospel was to demonstrate “that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31). After Christ’s resurrection, even Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

The powers of darkness grudgingly acknowledged who He was. “And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God” (Mark 3:11). Even the centurion who supervised His crucifixion had to confess, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54). Most important of all was the testimony of God the Father from heaven to Christ’s Sonship, both at His baptism (e.g., Mark 1:11) and on the Mount of Transfiguration, as Peter records in our text.

Therefore, it is necessary for our salvation that we also believe this. “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). HMM

The Holy Spirit Is Not Optional

For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.Psalm 5:12

The stark, tragic fact is that the efforts of many people to worship are unacceptable to God. Without an infusion of the Holy Spirit there can be no true worship. This is serious. It is hard for me to rest peacefully at night knowing that millions of cultured, religious people are merely carrying on church traditions and religious customs and they are not actually reaching God at all.

We must humbly worship God in spirit and in truth. Each one of us stands before the truth to be judged. Is it not now plain that the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit of God, far from being an optional luxury in our Christian lives, is a necessity? WHT046

The fellowship of God is delightful beyond all telling. He communes with His redeemed ones in an easy, uninhibited fellowship that is restful and healing to the soul. He is not sensitive nor selfish nor temperamental. What He is today we shall find Him tomorrow and the next day and the next year….He loves us for ourselves and values our love more than galaxies of new created worlds. ROR015

We Need to Tell Him

In everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.—Philippians 4:6

One of the reasons Jesus taught us to pray “Give us today our daily bread” was because He wanted to build in us a barrier against ingratitude.

Do you pray daily for your physical needs? Do you ask God daily for things like food, shelter, and the other physical necessities of life? I must confess that when I asked myself this question before writing this page, I had to admit that I did not. Now I have made a decision to apply myself to this part of the Lord’s Prayer with greater sincerity.

Of course some people argue that because Jesus said: “Your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him” (Mt 6:8), then it is pointless to inform God of our physical needs because He knows them already. But the central value of prayer is that prayer is not something by which we inform God of our needs and thus influence Him to give things to us. Prayer is designed to influence us; it is we who are in need of this kind of prayer, not God. Of course God knows what we are in need of, but He also knows that unless we come face to face daily with the fact that we are creatures of need, then we can soon develop a spirit of independence and withdraw ourselves from close contact with Him.

Prayer, then, is something we need. God may not need to be told, but we need to tell Him. That’s the point. And unless we grasp it, we can miss one of the primary purposes of prayer.

Prayer

O Father, thank You for showing me that prayer is not begging for blessings. It is becoming a blessing—to myself. I pray, not to change Your attitude towards me, but to change my attitude towards You. Thank You, Father. Amen.

Further Study

Mt 6:19-34; Ps 37:5; 118:8; 125:1

What should be our attitude to worldly cares?

What should be our first priority?

No Secrets

For nothing is concealed that won’t be revealed, and nothing hidden that won’t be made known and come to light.Luke 8:17

One of Satan’s subtle deceptions is that you can do things in secret that will never be revealed. This is simply not so. The Bible stresses that everything done in darkness will one day be brought to light. So before you commit yourself to do anything questionable, seriously ask yourself, “Am I willing for those around me to know what I am about to do? Am I willing for God to watch me participate in this activity?”

The knowledge that God sees what we do, the certainty that we are accountable for every word and action, ought to dissuade us from sin (2 Cor. 5:10). But we can become so alienated from God that even this knowledge does not deter us. God promises that He will publicly expose our sin so that we must give an account to others for our actions. Ultimately, everything we do will be exposed on judgment day.

Still, some people believe they can sin against God, their families, their employers, or their friends and never be discovered. God has provided a safeguard against sin: the certainty of disclosure. Scripture commands us to expose the deeds of darkness as we become aware of them (Eph. 5:11). As Christians we are to be the light that dispels darkness in our world. Sin cannot continue in the Christian’s experience, for light cannot dwell with darkness. The only insurance against having your sins exposed is living a blameless life.