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What they Fear

What they Fear

Words of Faith 2-10-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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1 Peter 3

       [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 what they fear; do not be frightened."

 

        It must have been difficult reading something like this once the real persecution of Christians broke out under Nero.  Evil is capable of such incredible atrocity.  The ancient world was a scary place for Christian believers.  In those days, thousands were impaled and burned in ways I do not care to describe.  Some became torches to light Nero's garden at night.  Others were torn apart by animals for entertainment.  Is this not harm?

        Yes, there are times when God miraculously protects the innocent who are seeking to do good.  I have heard stories from the most credible of witnesses about angels keeping guard.  But we also know of Christians seeking to do good who have met vicious death.  Missionaries are killed.  Nuns are raped and murdered.  According to the well-known tradition, Peter was crucified for his faith, requesting that he be executed upside down because he did not deserve to die in the same way as His Savior.

        So, this requires some eternal perspective.  "Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?"   Peter clearly understood that even if a persecutor takes our mortal life, we have an eternal life that cannot be taken from us.  Peter goes so far as to suggest that such suffering, though we would never seek it, is a blessing.

       What about fear?  Such an atmosphere is one of terror.  I have never been in harm's way for the sake of the Gospel except in the simplest of ways—things such as family members harassed, tires slashed, anonymous calls, and menacing notes.  Such things are "child's play" on the landscape of Christian and Jewish history.  In those situations, there was no great danger, but there was still fear.

         How do we deal with such fear?  Peter says: Do not fear what they fear. The people of the world fear many things.  They fear the loss of life because they do not know of eternal life in Christ.  They fear the opinions of men because they do not know about the opinion of God.  They fear the loss of money because they do not know that God owns everything.  They fear the loss of reputation and prestige, which are worldly definitions. 

        We know that our life in Christ.  We do not fear the same things because we concern ourselves with the opinion of God.  He is our final judge.  His perfect love for us casts out all fear. He will provide our needs.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

         It seems there is only one answer.  In the hard times, the persecutions that may come when terror attempts to strike us, but if we keep our eye on Jesus, the most important things cannot be taken from us.

 

         Lord, Jesus, I pray today for those around the world who are suffering for You.  I pray that those under persecution will sense your presence and strength as they keep their eye upon You.  Keep me focused on the things that cannot be taken from me.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

 

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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