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First World Problems

Daily Reading:  1 Peter 3


But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3.15)


Devotional Thought: "First World Problems."  That's sometimes what I think when I complain about my "suffering."  My problems are not really that big.


People who suffer generally have these responses to suffering: complaining, playing the martyr, retaliating, or demanding their rights.  When we do not respond to suffering in these ways, people will notice.  “How can you have such hope in the midst of your suffering – even unjust suffering?”  We need to be ready with an answer! 


How can we be ready to testify?  The most important preparation we can make for being a witness is to do what Peter says in the first part of the verse: “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.”  Instead of allowing the suffering to dominate your thinking and to take control of your attitude, set apart Christ as Lord!  When he is Lord, truly the Master of your life, then he stands ready to help you.  When he is Lord, truly Master of your life, then you stand ready to receive his help.


In Acts 4, Peter and John, apostles of Jesus, had been treated unfairly and unjustly.  But, they did not demand their rights or complain that life was unfair.  They simply proclaimed Jesus Christ as the Lord.  Their persecutors took note that they “had been with Jesus.”  There was something different about these two simple fishermen from Galilee.  That difference had come from being with Jesus.


Take this challenge: when life treats you unfairly or unjustly, cast aside all anger, self-pity, demands for justice, and complaining.  Know that how you are treated is not the determiner of your destiny, Jesus is!  Keep him as the Lord and he will indeed be Lord!  And others will take note that you have been with Jesus!


Prayer: Lord, help me to identify with those who are suffering, Christian brothers and sisters as well as non-Christians.  Help me, then to be a bearer of hope for those in despair.  Amen.


Psalm of the Day: Psalm 57:1-5

1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.

2 I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.

3 He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!

4 My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts-- the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.

5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!

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