May 15th, 2007
If you’re a follower of Jesus living in Australia or Europe or the US, then chances are that you have never been physically abused or imprisoned for your faith. But unless you’ve spent your whole life living under a rock or shopping only in Christian bookstores and talking only to Christian people, then it’s likely that you’ve encountered some form of verbal harassment. There are plenty of strident voices claiming that only idiots believe in God and that teaching children about Jesus is a form of child abuse. But just remember the many followers of Jesus throughout the world who are abused physically, imprisoned, tortured, and even killed when they refuse to deny their belief in Jesus.
Peter’s First Letter — Chapter 5
5:1 As a fellow leader, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and someone who will share in the glory that will be revealed, let me encourage the leaders amongst you 5:2 to look after the flock of God around you, not because you have to but because you want to, for God’s sake, not to make money, but because you are keen to please God. 5:3 Do not dominate over the people entrusted to you; instead make yourselves examples to the flock. 5:4 When the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
5:5 Younger people, submit to the leaders. All of you should behave with humility towards each other, because “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 5:6 Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that he can lift you up in due course. 5:7 Throw all your worries to him, because he cares for you.
5:8 Be self-controlled. Be watchful. Your enemy, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 5:9 Resist him and stay firm in your faith, knowing that your fellow believers around the world are facing the same hardships. 5:10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will renew, support, strengthen, and establish you. 5:11 To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
5:12 I have written briefly to you with the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, to encourage you and to confirm that you are standing firmly in the true grace of God. 5:13 Your sister church in Babylon sends her greetings, and so does my son Mark. 5:14 Greet each other with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who belong to Christ.