1 Peter 4:12-16
We discover the strength we have in Christ in the midst of adversity. It is interesting to observe that most of the Psalms were written during times of difficulty. Many of the New Testament Epistles were written in prisons. The book of Revelation was written while John was in exile. Most of the great thinkers in history had their most profound discoveries while in time of tribulation. It seems that when God has important plans for a person He takes him into the fire. In the 4th century A.D. 318 delegates gathered for the Nicene Council. Less than twelve had lost an eye, a hand, or had been made lame by torture. Daniel, Jeremiah, Paul, and John all were brought to the depths in order to know the strength of Christ as they brought glory to the Father in their works and words. On the wall in Charles Spurgeon’s bedroom hung a plague that said it well. “I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10) A clay pot can sit in the heat of the sun indefinitely and know no change. It will remain a clay pot. It is only when it is placed in the intense heat (between 2,192 °F and 2,552 °F) of the kiln that it can become porcelain.
by Dr. Gayle Woods
Tim Bowden in his book “One Crowded Hour” tells of an incident that took place in Borneo in 1964. Napalese soldiers preparing for combat were asked if they would be willing to jump from airplanes flying over Cambodia. They had never done this before and didn’t completely understand the implications of the request. Bravely, however, they stated their willingness asking only that the airplane they were to jump from would fly slowly over a swampy area at an altitude of 100 feet. The puzzled officer making the request told them this was not possible. Their parachutes would not have time to open at this low altitude. The Napalese soldiers answered in surprise. “You didn’t mention parachutes before.”
This amusing story illustrates the type of dedication that is demonstrated by those who serve the Lord. Strengthened by Him they face challenges they would otherwise avoid. David Livingstone, is a good example. He over 29,000 miles through Africa in order to minister to the people. During this time his wife died and he faced strong opposition from his Scottish supporters. In spite of these problems and the added burden of being half blind he continued his work. An entry in his diary states his resolve: “Send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever me from any tie but the tie that binds me to Your service and to Your heart.” (http://kaarre.wordpress.com/tag/god-go-with-me/)
by Dr. Gayle Woods
Two teens enthusiastically talk about their French classes. Both have several years in the language study and tell of the rigor of learning to speak the language fluently. Another is consumed with his love of music. He spends hours with his guitar perfecting his method with dreams of entertaining grandeur. A third is engrossed in his computer. He is a “gamer.” For hours he concentrates on besting his internet opponents. A fourth lies down on the weight bench determined to press more weight than before. He flexes his muscles. He is determined to “bulk up.” Zeal. It is something we respect and even admire at times in those who have an inner dream, a drive, a determination to accomplish some goal in life.
A zealous person sees one thing, lives for one thing, and is swallowed up in one thing. The one who is zealous for God is no less consumed with a driving purpose than those who have secular interests. He has an inner burning desire to do the will of the Father. His central focus in life is to please God in all that he says or does.
by Dr. Gayle Woods