Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Word Remains Forever: Day 30

1 Peter 4:12-16 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. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
As we have seen again and again in Peter’s letter, suffering should come as no surprise to the Christian. It was a part of everyday life for the first Christians. Even Martin Luther says in the Large Catechism, “where God’s Word is preached, accepted, or believed, and bears fruit, there the holy and precious cross will also not be far behind.” This is hard to hear, after all, who wants to suffer a fiery trial?

Yet, Peter calls us to rejoice! He reminds us of what Jesus taught in the great Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12). Following Christ will come with a cross, but rejoice, for your reward is in heaven. No matter how awful it is here, it will be infinitely better when Christ returns and raises you to a new life!

The good guys always have enemies. The bad guys are against you because you belong to Jesus, the only Good Guy. He has loved you and made you His own, though you are born sinful and unclean, that is, as one of the bad guys. But, He has saved you from that place of darkness. Rejoice! The attacks you receive are not from God, but His enemies. He is for you, for you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s (I Corinthians 3:23)!

Father, despite my sin, you have made me your own. This means the world despises and disowns me, just as they did your Son. So, I pray for you to strengthen me with the promise that you will raise me like you raised Him. AMEN!

*The symbol on the top of this devotional stands for “Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum.” It is a Latin phrase which means “The Word of the Lord endures forever.” This phrase, based on I Peter 1:24-25, served as the battle cry of the Lutheran reformers as it reminded them that God’s Word alone was sufficient to teach them God’s will. The symbol was on flags, banners, uniforms, and even swords as a sign of unity among those who suffered for confessing their faith in Christ alone. *

Pastor Bob


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