Opposition and Opportunity

‘Consider Him who endured such opposition.’ Hebrews 12:3 NIV

The world around us is often ready to test us to our limits. Many of the people that we meet don’t share our faith, can’t understand it, refuse to listen, and may even take delight in criticising and tearing us down because of it. And that can be extremely difficult to deal with. But Jesus shows us how. Though He was perfect in all ways, He was criticised continually. His enemies called Him a ‘glutton and a drunkard.’ (Matthew 11:19 NIV) They even accused Him of being possessed by a demon (see John 8:48). But He never allowed bitterness or discouragement to defeat Him. To Him, every obstacle was an opportunity for grace.

His heart was broken by those He loved, but He understood and comforted others. He saw disease as an opportunity to heal those who were sick; hatred as an opportunity to love His enemies; temptation as an opportunity to overcome the carnal impulses we all deal with; and offences as an opportunity to forgive. He went through life turning trials into triumphs—and He’s our example. The Bible says, ‘Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.’

In His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: ‘You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbour and hate your enemies.” But I say to you, love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. If you do this, you will be true children of your Father in Heaven… you must be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect.’ (Matthew 5:43–48 NCV) That’s how Jesus lived—and that’s how He wants you to live too.

SoulFood: Lev 23:15–22, Acts 2:1–18

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2019

Today’s Readings

Leviticus 23:15–22 ()

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15 “You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. 16 You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to the LORD. 17 You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven, as firstfruits to the LORD. 18 And you shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, and one bull from the herd and two rams. They shall be a burnt offering to the LORD, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD. 19 And you shall offer one male goat for a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. 21 And you shall make a proclamation on the same day. You shall hold a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a statute forever in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.

22 “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God.”

Acts 2:1–18 ()

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2:1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

17   “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
  that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
  and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams;
18   even on my male servants and female servants
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

Sun 09 June, 2019


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