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Let’s Create Perplexity before a Watching World

By John A Carroll

Week 48 in the Word—November 26-December 2, 2021

For those following the Concealed and Revealed schedule, this week we will conclude Ezekiel, First & Second Peter and begin First John.

Peter’s first letter addresses the subject of suffering explaining that some suffering comes because of our own sin and foolishness. It is deserved. But believers sometimes suffer simply because they follow Christ. Peter calls that “suffering for righteousness sake” (1 Peter 3:14). How should Christians respond in such cases? Here are four things Peter tells his readers to do:

· Expect to be blessed.

· Be fearless, but remain calm.

· Keep honoring Christ in your heart.

· Prepare to answer questions about why you have hope in suffering. [See 1 Peter 3:14-16.]

Any follower of Jesus who finds him or herself under pressure, persecution, threats, and antagonism (but who exhibits the above attitudes and behavior) will create perplexity in observers. Such perplexity may stir up in others the curiosity to ask “what makes you tick?”

Tim Keller (@timkellernyc) recently tweeted three truths from Romans 8 which help me grasp how I might be able to keep expectant, fearless, calm and even happy in the face of potential suffering for righteousness sake.

Three truths Christians believe that should be a constant source of happiness:

1. Our bad things will turn out for good (Romans 8:28).

2. The good things we have can never be taken away from us (Romans 8:29-31; 37-39).

3. The best things are yet to come (Romans 8:18-21).

The saints of God down through the ages, like Ezekiel, Peter, John, and Paul all had this eternal perspective. They relied on God to make all things turn out for good, to safeguard their eternal inheritance, and to get them home safely to enjoy the fulness of glory with God forever.

Are you suffering for righteousness sake? Let us pray that we endure suffering and be ready to answer the questions that may come. Have a great week in the word and let’s create some perplexity before the watching world.

Week of November 26-December 2, 2021

November 26/Day 330 Suffering before a Perplexed World (Ezekiel 36-37; 1 Peter 3)

November 27/Day 331 Glory Revealed (Ezekiel 38-39; 1 Peter 4)

November 28/Day 332 The Sufferings of Christ (Ezekiel 40; 1 Peter 5)

November 29/Day 333 Keeping the Tension between Equality and Calling (Ezekiel 41-42; 2 Peter 1)

November 30/Day 334 When Shame is Good (Ezekiel 43-44; 2 Peter 2)

December 1/Day 335 Stability in Spiritual Conflict (Ezekiel 45-46; 2 Peter 3)

December 2/Day 336 Fellowship with God (Ezekiel 47-48; 1 John 1)

This schedule and devotionals are taken from my book Concealed and Revealed: a year in the old and new testaments. Available here.

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