The Scripture that our prayer group focused on this week was, “Let the message of ChristÂ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdomÂ through psalms,Â hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” (Colossians 3:16)
It was the word “dwell” that really caught my attention. ItÂ catches meÂ different right now than at other times in my life, maybe due toÂ a big summer of intentional time spent inside the walls of my new home, unpacking, ordering, creating “home”. So, I spentÂ some time thinking onÂ the word of Messiah â€” The Message â€”Â dwelling in us as I considered how we could pray for our persecuted family this week.
The book of 1 Peter grabbed me, especially when I remembered it wasÂ written directly to exiles from their homeland. Persecution was a reality for many and Peter spoke directly to it. HisÂ encouragement is grounding which is exactly what they needed in their transient state, uprooted from the homes they knew. Here’s three things (among many others) I saw Peter pouring into the church for them to be strengthened:
1. Courage. He wanted them to understand that whatÂ they were experiencing began way before them. They were a part of something HUGE. Like walking into a story that wasn’t written by themselves, there was an Author to trust, and in fact, their part of the story was long anticipated, even by the angels…
“The prophets who told us this was coming asked a lot of questions about this gift of life God was preparing. The Messiahâ€™s Spirit let them in on some of itâ€”that the Messiah would experience suffering, followed by glory. They clamored to know who and when. All they were told was that they were serving you, you who by orders from heaven have now heard for yourselvesâ€”through the Holy Spiritâ€”the Message of those prophecies fulfilled. Do you realize how fortunate you are? Angels would have given anything to be in on this!” (1 Peter 1:10-12)
Incredibly, this is a chapter that is still unfolding in our day, we and our family all over the world, have inherited it like treasure incomparable. The enemy of our souls comes to kill, steal and destroy, which is why this next point of Peter’s is so important and has a keeping power:
2. Purpose. The testing of their faithÂ wasÂ purposeful and powerful, andÂ not only inÂ their present. They were part of a cosmic plan moving toward an unprecedentedÂ future thatÂ they nor we can imagine.
“Pure gold put in the fire comes out of itÂ provedÂ pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes outÂ provedÂ genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, itâ€™s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.”
“What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, weâ€™ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heavenâ€”and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when youâ€™ll have it allâ€”life healed and whole.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)
“When we find a redemptive perspective on our suffering it ceases to be suffering.”
â€” Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl,
“I, Peter, am an apostle on assignment by Jesus, the Messiah, writing to exiles scattered to the four winds. Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you…” (1 Peter 1:1)
This is so important. I believe with my whole heart that we can continue to speak these things to our brothers and sisters through the power of the Holy Spirit in our prayers.
Let’s read the Scriptures out loud, to them and to all the heavens surely listening, watching and anticipating the story God is revealing through our family.
Be bold today, knowing your part of the story is significant and long anticipated. “Let the Word of Christâ€”the Messageâ€”have the run of the house.Â Give it plenty of room in your lives.”(Colossians 3)
“Keep your eyes onÂ Jesus, who both began and finished this race weâ€™re in. Study how he did it.” (Romans 12)
Feel free to share what you are learning, reading, dwelling on, this week in the comments below. It will encourage me and others. I’m off to visit with my parents who have come for their first visit here since our move! Thanks for journeying with me here,
With you in remembering Jesus this week,
Raynna, for the whole family
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