Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Standing Strong Through the Storm - LOSE THE FEAR OF DYING

We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8

Our Open Doors colleague, Ron Boyd-MacMillan, shares the following insight from his teaching, “Why I Need to Encounter the Persecuted Church.”

There is a famous book called The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker. It is his contention that the whole of the western world is really a gigantic playground to distract us from ever facing the fact that we will all die! Thinking about death is all but forbidden. Preparing for it is seen as a sign of morbidity. We arrange for the elderly to die out of sight in hostels and hospitals. And huge multinational companies produce products that promise to keep the effects of aging at bay.

Inevitably, when we are too scared to face death we end up being a slave to it. Even Christians can show the same dread of it as others. But an encounter with the persecuted can go a long way to diffusing this sense of dread.

Over twenty years of reporting on the suffering church, I have interviewed literally hundreds of Christians who thought they were going to die for their faith. All of them—and I really do mean all of themexhibited two amazing characteristics: they experienced unspeakable peace and joy in the midst of the pain as they began to feel death draw near; and they were as surprised as anyone that they were not afraid of death at the time.

Take Pastor You Yong, kidnapped by Islamic extremists from his church outside Madiun, central Java in December 2001. Furious that his church was full of Muslim converts, the extremists showered him with questions, trying to provoke him to attack them. They beat him and finally held a long machete to his throat. He assumed he was about to die. But what was going on inside Pastor You? Deeper than all the pain or fear? This is how he put it. “I was amazed that throughout the ordeal I felt an incredible peace. I was also amazed at the answers I was able to give them. That verse came true—‘when you are brought to trial, do not worry about what to say, for when the time comes, you will be given what to say’ (Mt 10:19). The more they tried to provoke me, the more peace I felt.”

And so when death reaches out its icy hand even in more everyday ways—when the plane hits an air pocket, or the results of the suspected cancer scan are due—I remember the experiences of my persecuted friends and I am strengthened to think, If they have been where I am about to go, and still testify that Jesus gives unaccountable peace, well, it is no tragedy to tread this well-worn path. Their experiences in the face of death help to take the dread away.

Of course, I know all this from the Bible, where Paul says that to be with Christ is “far better.” And I have read that wonderful passage in Acts seven when Stephen has the face of an angel when he is stoned to death. But the truth comes with more power when a flesh-and-blood person who has faced death puts their arms around you and says, “You will have peace, and Jesus will be with you in the midst of it all.” Death just cannot be that bad if Jesus is that great!

RESPONSE: Today I will live in the peace of God that takes away the fear of dying.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for the encouragement of the persecuted to trust You in life and death.

Girlfriends in God - Don’t Stop Too Soon

Today’s Truth

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV).

Friend to Friend

Can I make a confession? Sometimes I quit too soon. I’ve quit when what I really needed to do was to press on and press through. Sometimes I’ve gotten tired of trying. Sometimes I’ve gotten tired of the struggle. And you know what? I’ve missed many blessings because I got tired of the battle. I don’t want to do that any longer. I’m taking my cues from Joshua.

The battle plan to take the Promised Land was as simple as it was strange. March around the city of Jericho with all the armed men. Do this in silence, once a day for six days. Then on the seventh day, walk around seven times with the priests blowing the trumpets. Have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go straight in.

Now, that was a strange plan. God’s infinite ways often don’t make sense in our finite minds. Sometimes you have to be willing to look ridiculous and be radical to live a remarkable life. The choices you make when you feel God’s nudge will become the hinges on which your destiny swings. Each individual decision you make, to obey or ignore God’s promptings and directives, is a thread that weaves the tapestry of your life.

Jericho was tightly shut up. Sometimes it can feel that our promises are tightly shut up. That doesn’t mean that we give up. That means that we suit up, step up, and keep moving forward.

God said, “See, I have delivered them into your hands.” Notice that verb tense. God did not say, “I will deliver them into your hands.” He said, “I have delivered them into your hands.” He had already done it, but they had to obey and put their foot down to receive it. I love how God speaks in past tense to our present problems.

But here’s the conundrum: What do you do when what God says doesn’t match up with what you see? When all you see is a big wall standing between your promise and your present situation?

There will be times when you are doing everything you know to do, and you still don’t see any movement. The Israelites walked around Jericho for six days, and as far as they could tell, nothing happened. I’m sure it unnerved the people behind the wall, but as far as the walkers could tell, not one brick fell.

This is where many give up—when they don’t see any progress. The son is still taking drugs. The daughter is still living with her boyfriend. The husband is still cold and aloof. The bank account is still hovering on in double digits.

“God, throw me a bone,” I cry. “Show me a little something! Let me see just a hint of progress! Can I see one brick fall?” And God says, “Keep walking … by faith.”

Just because you don’t see God working does not mean that He isn’t. Jesus said, “My Father is always at work” (John 5:17). The writer of Hebrews notes: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:35).

Today, you might be on lap number seven and not even know it. Joshua told them to march around Jericho, but he didn’t tell them how many times they were going to have to do it. He just said to “march forward” and “remain silent.”

Supposed they had stopped on day six saying, “This is ridiculous. I’m not feelin’ it. Not one stone has fallen to the ground. I don’t see any progress. Those folks are probably in there laughing their heads off. I’m going home.”

They would have missed the blessing.

I wonder how many times I have missed the blessing because I stopped too soon. Perhaps you’ve wondered:
  • How much longer will I have to wait until God brings my prodigal home?
  • How much longer will I have to struggle with this unbelieving husband?
  • How much longer will I have to endure this dead-end job?
  • How much longer will I have to go without a job?
  • How many more laps will I have to walk around Jericho before the walls come tumbling down and I can take hold of my Promised Land?
I don’t know the answer to the question of how much longer, but I do know this, tomorrow could be the final lap. Don’t give up too soon.

Can I tell you something? Sometimes I get tired of writing books, posting devotions, and crafting blogs. But as I sit down to the keyboard, I realize that something I say might be just what someone needs to take that last lap around her walled up promise. So I write. And then someone has the courage and sustenance to take one more lap.

Keep going, my friend!

Let’s Pray

Lord, sometimes I just get tired of trying. Tired of hanging on. Tired of believing for a miracle. Fill me with Your power to persevere. I’ll take the next step and believe for the next day. I will not give up!
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Go back and read the story of Joshua and the fall of the wall of Jericho in Joshua 5:13-6:21. I know it ends in a bloody mess. The Sunday school teachers left that part off the flannel board story. Don’t get stuck on that. Concentrate on those laps around the wall. On what day do you think you would have started grumbling?

On what day do you think you would have thought Joshua had a crazy plan?

On what day would you have wanted to give up?

On what day did they see the victory?

I hope this gives you hope! Keep going! One more day. One more lap. But who knows, it could be your last.

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s devotion came from my latest book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold. Let’s take hold of all that Jesus has already taken hold of for us and placed in us! Check it out at where you can download a free chapter and watch a video book trailer. The book also comes with a Bible study guide. Make sure and sign up for my weekly blog for more great deals and inspiration.

Un Dia a la Vez - Camina una milla extra

Él nos da mayor ayuda con su gracia. Por eso dice la Escritura: «Dios se opone a los orgullosos, pero da gracia a los humildes». Santiago 4:6

En la Biblia, el Señor Jesucristo nos enseña a que cuando nos ofendan, nos insulten o nos hieran en una mejilla, pongamos también la otra mejilla. La pregunta ahora es: ¿Qué haríamos nosotros en semejante situación? ¿Pondríamos la otra mejilla?

Llevémoslo a nuestro diario vivir: ¿Cómo nos comportaríamos ante las personas que nos humillan y nos ofenden? ¿Estaríamos dispuestos a caminar la milla extra o reaccionaríamos con la misma grosería y violencia? Lo más normal es desear vengarse y pagar, como dice la ley del talión: «Ojo por ojo y diente por diente».

Así que mi reflexión para hoy es que evitemos caer en altanería y en grosería. Debemos recordar que tú y yo representamos a Jesús en la tierra y que muchas de las miradas del mundo están sobre nosotros. A decir verdad, esperan nuestras respuestas y reacciones.

Con esto no quiero decir que permitamos el maltrato y el abuso, sino que caminemos la milla extra y oremos hasta por nuestros enemigos, como nos ordena la Palabra de Dios. Cuando estés en una situación así, lo mejor es callar y pensar: «¿Qué haría Jesús en mi lugar?».

No se trata de que te vean como un tonto sin carácter. Al contrario, debes sentirte feliz de ser diferente. Por eso no trates de defenderte y deja que sea el Señor el que te defienda y represente.

Verse of the Day - December 07, 2016

John 11:25 (NIV) Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;

Read all of John 11

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The Daily Readings for WEDNESDAY, December 7, 2016

First Reading:
From the Old Testament

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory." The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: "Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: "Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out." Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I; send me!" And he said, "Go and say to this people: 'Keep listening, but do not comprehend; keep looking, but do not understand.' Make the mind of this people dull, and stop their ears, and shut their eyes, so that they may not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and comprehend with their minds, and turn and be healed." Then I said, "How long, O Lord?" And he said: "Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is utterly desolate; until the LORD sends everyone far away, and vast is the emptiness in the midst of the land. Even if a tenth part remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak whose stump remains standing when it is felled." The holy seed is its stump. (Isaiah 6:1-13, NRSV)

Second Reading:
From the Epistles

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering. For it is indeed just of God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to the afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes to be glorified by his saints and to be marveled at on that day among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. To this end we always pray for you, asking that our God will make you worthy of his call and will fulfill by his power every good resolve and work of faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:1-12, NRSV)

The Holy Gospel:
According to St John, the 7th Chapter

Then each of them went home, while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, sir." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again." (John 7:53-8:11, NRSV)

Morning Psalms

Psalm 38 Domine, ne in furore
1   O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger; do not punish me in your wrath.
2   For your arrows have already pierced me, and your hand presses hard upon me.
3   There is no health in my flesh, because of your indignation; there is no soundness in my body, because of my sin.
4   For my iniquities overwhelm me; like a heavy burden they are too much for me to bear.
5   My wounds stink and fester by reason of my foolishness.
6   I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; I go about in mourning all the day long.
7   My loins are filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body.
8   I am utterly numb and crushed; I wail, because of the groaning of my heart.
9   O Lord, you know all my desires, and my sighing is not hidden from you.
10   My heart is pounding, my strength has failed me, and the brightness of my eyes is gone from me.
11   My friends and companions draw back from my affliction; my neighbors stand afar off.
12   Those who seek after my life lay snares for me; those who strive to hurt me speak of my ruin and plot treachery all the day long.
13   But I am like the deaf who do not hear, like those who are mute and who do not open their mouth.
14   I have become like one who does not hear and from whose mouth comes no defense.
15   For in you, O LORD, have I fixed my hope; you will answer me, O Lord my God.
16   For I said, "Do not let them rejoice at my expense, those who gloat over me when my foot slips."
17   Truly, I am on the verge of falling, and my pain is always with me.
18   I will confess my iniquity and be sorry for my sin.
19   Those who are my enemies without cause are mighty, and many in number are those who wrongfully hate me.
20   Those who repay evil for good slander me, because I follow the course that is right.
21   O LORD, do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God.
22   Make haste to help me, O Lord of my salvation.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 119: Daleth Adhæsit pavimento
25    My soul cleaves to the dust; give me life according to your word.
26   I have confessed my ways, and you answered me; instruct me in your statutes.
27   Make me understand the way of your commandments, that I may meditate on your marvelous works.
28   My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.
29   Take from me the way of lying; let me find grace through your law.
30   I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set your judgments before me.
31   I hold fast to your decrees; O LORD, let me not be put to shame.
32   I will run the way of your commandments, for you have set my heart at liberty.

Psalm 119: He Legem pone
33   Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end.
34   Give me understanding, and I shall keep your law; I shall keep it with all my heart.
35   Make me go in the path of your commandments, for that is my desire.
36   Incline my heart to your decrees and not to unjust gain.
37   Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless; give me life in your ways.
38   Fulfill your promise to your servant, which you make to those who fear you.
39   Turn away the reproach which I dread, because your judgments are good.
40   Behold, I long for your commandments; in your righteousness preserve my life.

Psalm 119: Waw Et veniat super me
41   Let your loving-kindness come to me, O LORD, and your salvation, according to your promise.
42   Then shall I have a word for those who taunt me, because I trust in your words.
43   Do not take the word of truth out of my mouth, for my hope is in your judgments.
44   I shall continue to keep your law; I shall keep it for ever and ever.
45   I will walk at liberty, because I study your commandments.
46   I will tell of your decrees before kings and will not be ashamed.
47   I delight in your commandments, which I have always loved.
48   I will lift up my hands to your commandments, and I will meditate on your statutes.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.

The Daily Meditation for WEDNESDAY, December 7, 2016

From Forward Day By Day
Written by Hugo Olaiz

Psalm 55:5 (NRSV) My heart quakes within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me.

My friend Jackson has a denervated heart. That’s a heart that is not connected to his nervous system. If you startle him, he will feel startled, but his heart will not react by pumping blood faster. This is a life-threatening disorder.

My husband and I met Jackson in church. He was 26 years old and dying. He desperately needed a new heart, and there was no certainty he would receive one before his gave out. We invited him over to our house for dinner. We visited him in the hospital. We prayed with him. Jackson became part of our lives, a friend to both of us.

The only reason Jackson is alive today is because someone did something truly unselfish by donating their organs for transplantation. That act of compassion saved Jackson’s life.

Have you considered becoming an organ donor? Once we are gone from this earth, what will we leave behind?

Join more than a half million readers worldwide who use Forward Day by Day as a resource for daily prayer and Bible study.

Our Daily Bread - Beautiful Unity

Read: Ephesians 4:1–6 | Bible in a Year: Daniel 5–7; 2 John

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:3

Seeing three large predatory animals cuddle and play together is extremely unusual. Yet this is precisely what happens daily in an animal sanctuary in Georgia. In 2001, after months of neglect and abuse, a lion, a Bengal tiger, and a black bear were rescued by Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary. “We could have separated them,” said the assistant director. “But since they came as a kind of family, we decided to keep them together.” The trio had found comfort in each other during their time of mistreatment, and, despite their differences, they live peacefully together.

Unity is a beautiful thing. But the unity Paul wrote about in his letter to the believers in Ephesus is unique. Paul encouraged the Ephesians to live up to their calling as members of one body in Christ (Eph. 4:4–5). By the power of the Holy Spirit they would be able to live in unity as they developed humility, gentleness, and patience. These attitudes also allow us to lovingly bear “with one another in love” through the common ground we have in Christ Jesus (4:2).

Despite our differences, as members of the family of God we have been reconciled to Him through the death of our Savior and reconciled to each other through the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Heavenly Father, help me to grow in gentleness and patience toward others. Show me how to love others, even when we may have differences.

We keep unity by being united in the Spirit.

© 2016 Our Daily Bread Ministries

Nuestro Pan Diario - Hermosa unidad

Leer: Efesios 4:1-6 | La Biblia en un año: 2 Juan

Solícitos en guardar la unidad del Espíritu en el vínculo de la paz (Efesios 4:3).

Es sumamente raro ver tres depredadores abrazarse y jugar juntos. Sin embargo, esto sucede todos los días en una reserva de animales en Georgia. En 2001, después de meses de negligencia y abusos, un león, un tigre de bengala y un oso negro fueron rescatados por el Refugio Animal Arca de Noé. «Podríamos haberlos separado —dijo el director adjunto—, pero, como llegaron siendo una especie de familia, decidimos mantenerlos juntos». Los tres se habían consolado mutuamente mientras los maltrataban, y, a pesar de las diferencias, vivían juntos en paz.

La unidad es algo hermoso. Pero la unidad de la que les escribió Pablo a los creyentes de Éfeso era única. El apóstol los alentaba a vivir a la altura de su posición como miembros del cuerpo único de Cristo (Efesios 4:4-5). Por el poder del Espíritu Santo, serían capaces de vivir en unidad, cultivando la humildad, la mansedumbre y la paciencia. Estas actitudes también nos permiten soportarnos «los unos a los otros en amor» por el fundamento que compartimos en Cristo Jesús (4:2).

A pesar de nuestras diferencias, como miembros de la familia de Dios, fuimos reconciliados con Él por medio de la muerte de nuestro Salvador, y los unos con los otros por la obra constante del Espíritu en nuestras vidas.

Señor, ayúdame a crecer en el amor mutuo.

Mantenemos la unidad al estar unidos al Espíritu.

© 2016 Ministerios Nuestro Pan Diario

Unser Täglich Brot - In schöner Eintracht

Lesen: Epheser 4,1-6 | Die Bibel In Einem Jahr: Daniel 5–7; 2.Johannes

Seid darauf bedacht zu wahren die Einigkeit im Geist durch das Band des Friedens. (Epheser 4,3)

Der Anblick von drei Raubkatzen, die sich aneinander kuscheln und miteinander spielen, ist äußerst ungewöhnlich. Doch genau das kann man in Noahs Arche, einem Tierasyl in Georgia, Tag für Tag beobachten. Ein Löwe, ein bengalischer Tiger und ein Schwarzbär, alle drei völlig verwahrlost und vernachlässigt, konnten 2001 von den Mitarbeitern gerettet werden. „Wir hätten sie trennen können“, sagte der stellvertretende Direktor. „Aber da sie als eine Art Familie kamen, haben wir beschlossen, sie zusammenzulassen.“ In der Zeit der Misshandlungen hatte sich das Trio gegenseitig Trost gegeben und trotz ihrer Unterschiede leben sie friedlich zusammen.

Eintracht ist etwas Schönes. Doch die Einigkeit, von der Paulus in seinem Brief an die Epheser schreibt, ist etwas ganz Besonderes. Paulus rief sie dazu auf, ihrer Berufung als Glieder am Leib Christi gemäß zu leben (Eph. 4,4-5). Durch die Kraft des Heiligen Geistes konnten sie einmütig sein in Demut, Sanftmut und Geduld. Diese Eigenschaften helfen auch uns, einander in Liebe zu ertragen, weil wir in Jesus Christus eine gemeinsame Basis haben (4,2).

Als Mitglieder in Gottes Familie sind wir trotz aller Unterschiede durch den Tod Jesu versöhnt mit Gott und können durch das Wirken des Heiligen Geistes in unserem Leben auch miteinander versöhnt leben.

Himmlischer Vater, hilf mir, anderen gegenüber freundlich und geduldig zu sein. Zeig mir, wie ich sie lieben kann, auch wenn wir unterschiedlicher Meinung sind.

Einig bleiben wir, wenn wir im Heiligen Geist vereint sind.

© 2016 Unser Täglich Brot

Хлеб наш насущный - Прекрасное единство

Читать сейчас: Ефесянам 4:1-6 | Библия за год: Даниил 5-7; Евреям 11:20-40

Умоляю вас... сохранять единство духа в союзе мира. — Ефесянам 4:1, 3

Весьма необычно видеть трех крупных хищников, играющих вместе. Именно это происходит каждый день в заповеднике штата Джорджия. В 2001 г. после нескольких месяцев жестокого обращения лев, бенгальский тигр и черный медведь были спасены организацией «Ноев ковчег». «Можно было их разделить, – говорит директор, – но они подружились, и мы решили оставить их вместе». Трое животных поддерживали друг друга в трудные времена и теперь, несмотря на видовые различия, мирно живут вместе.

Единство – прекрасное явление. Но то единство, о котором писал Павел в Послании к ефесянам, уникально. Апостол убеждал читателей жить в соответствии с высшим призванием – быть членами одного тела во Христе (Еф. 4:4-5). Силой Святого Духа они могли уживаться друг с другом, взращивая в себе смирение, кротость и терпение. Эти добродетели и нам помогут снисходить «друг к другу любовью» на основании того общего, что мы имеем в Господе (Еф. 4:2).

Вопреки всем различиям, мы, члены Божьей семьи, примирились с Ним смертью нашего Спасителя и сближаемся друг с другом, благодаря продолжающемуся труду Святого Духа в нашей жизни.

Отче Небесный, помоги мне возрастать в кротости и терпении к окружающим. Научи любить их, несмотря на все различия.

Мы сохраняем единство, соединяясь в Духе.

© 2016 Хлеб Наш Насущный

Notre Pain Quotidien - Une merveilleuse unité

Lisez : Éphésiens 4.1‑6 | La Bible en un an : Daniel 5 – 7 et 2 Jean

[Vous] efforçant de conserver l’unité de l’Esprit par le lien de la paix. (Éphésiens 4:3)

Il est extrêmement rare de voir trois grands prédateurs se câliner et jouer ensemble. Pourtant, c’est précisément ce qui se produit chaque jour dans un sanctuaire animalier de la Géorgie. En 2001, après avoir été négligés et maltraités pendant des mois, un lion, un tigre du Bengale et un ours noir ont été secourus par le Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary. À leur sujet, le directeur adjoint a déclaré : « Nous aurions pu les séparer, mais puisqu’ils nous sont arrivés comme un genre de famille, nous avons décidé de les garder ensemble. » Ces trois amis avaient trouvé du réconfort les uns dans les autres durant leur période de mauvais traitements, et, malgré leurs différences, ils vivaient en paix ensemble.

L’unité est une merveilleuse chose. Par contre, l’unité au sujet de laquelle Paul a écrit dans son épître aux croyants d’Éphèse est unique. Paul a encouragé les Éphésiens chrétiens à vivre conformément à leur vocation de membres du corps de Christ (ÉP 4.4,5). Par la puissance du Saint‑Esprit, ils parviendraient ainsi à vivre dans l’unité en acquérant humilité, douceur et patience. Ces attitudes nous permettent également de nous « supporter les uns les autres avec amour » (V. 2).

En dépit de nos différences au sein de la famille de Dieu, nous avons été réconciliés en lui par la mort de notre Sauveur et les uns avec les autres par l’oeuvre continue du Saint‑Esprit dans notre vie.

Nous préservons notre unité en étant unis par l’Esprit.

© 2016 Ministères NPQ