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Soldier4Christ
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« Reply #5985 on: December 04, 2017, 09:08:05 AM »

Believing God

“Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” (Acts 27:25)
 
Most people believe in God—some kind of god—but it’s a different thing altogether to believe God! And our text makes it clear that believing God simply means believing what He says, “that it shall be even as it was told me.” Paul spoke these words at the height of a terrible storm at sea, when it appeared certain that “all hope that we should be saved was then taken away” (v. 20). But God had spoken otherwise, and Paul believed God rather than adopting the fears of those around him. Abraham, “the father of all them that believe” (Romans 4:11), had set the example. “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform” (Romans 4:20-21).
 
God does not speak to us audibly today as He did to Abraham and Paul, but He does speak far more comprehensively to us through His written Word, and we have even less excuse for unbelief than they might have had. It is a terrible offense against our Creator to question His Word. This, indeed, was the very sin of pride that led to Satan’s fall and then to the fall of Adam and Eve. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God [literally, ‘is God-breathed’]” (2 Timothy 3:16) and thus should be fully believed and explicitly obeyed, for “he that believeth not God hath made him a liar” (1 John 5:10).
 
But what about those Scriptures that modern scientists claim to be wrong? “Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:3-4). “For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth” (Psalm 33:4). HMM
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« Reply #5986 on: December 05, 2017, 09:31:24 AM »

Forget Not His Commandments

“My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments.” (Proverbs 3:1)
 
It is vitally important that even though we are saved by grace and not by the works of the law, we never forget that God’s law is essentially a statement of God’s holiness. We should desire to know and follow God’s commandments simply because they are “holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12), not because we seek salvation through them.
 
It is noteworthy that the anonymous writer of the longest chapter in the Bible (Psalm 119), in which practically every verse refers to the Scriptures, stressed seven times that he would never forget the laws and commandments of his Lord. May the Lord teach us to share the same determination. Note:
 
“I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word” (v. 16).
 
“For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes” (v. 83).
 
“I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me” (v. 93).
 
“My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law” (v. 109).
 
“I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts” (v. 141).
 
“Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law” (v. 153).
 
“I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments” (v. 176).
 
This seventh reference is actually the closing verse of this remarkable 119th Psalm. It beautifully points up the urgency of not forgetting the commandments of God. He will seek us when we stray and bring us back home to Him, for we remember and love His law. HMM
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« Reply #5987 on: December 06, 2017, 10:10:44 AM »

Get Your Mind Ready

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13)
 
We have been born again (1 Peter 1:3), Peter tells us, to an incorruptible inheritance in heaven (v. 4), which is secure (v. 5) even though the intervening time is difficult (vv. 6-7). Such a salvation as we have is both mysterious and hard to understand, pondered by both the saints of old (v. 10) and angels (v. 12). Yet, we have it with more complete understanding and fulfillment than even the prophets ever dreamed possible.
 
Our rightful response to this knowledge and experience is given in today’s verse. We are to “gird up the loins of [our] mind.” Just as the flowing robes worn by the men of New Testament times had to be bundled up and tied at the waist to allow for rapid, unencumbered movement, so the Christian is expected to be ready to be on the move, to discipline his or her mind by the renouncing of all sinful and/or confining habits and attitudes.
 
To do so we must “be sober,” be clear-headed, calm, and in control. We must “hope to the end,” or more explicitly, “hope to the utmost degree” in our ultimate glorification at the return of Christ. The construction of “hope” implies a command to “fix our hope” on Him, a sure hope, not a wishful hope. This is the “grace that is brought [present tense] to the believer.”
 
Furthermore, we must renounce “the former lusts in [our] ignorance” (v. 14), being “obedient children” of our Father.
 
It is not enough simply to eliminate sinful patterns from our lives. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy” (v. 15).
 
A mind that is disciplined and purified is ready for action and victory. JDM
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« Reply #5988 on: December 07, 2017, 10:34:35 AM »

Be Diligent

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge.” (2 Peter 1:5)
 
The importance of diligence is urged by Peter as basic in the development of the seven other virtues listed by him—that is, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity—as vital additions to our faith. Diligence is seldom considered as a particular Christian attribute, but it is essential if we really desire to develop the other Christian virtues in our lives. They do not come by wishing or hoping. Peter also exhorts us to “give diligence to make your calling and election sure” (v. 10), and then to “be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (3:14).
 
Essentially the same Greek word is also translated “study” and “labor” and “endeavor.” Paul commands, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). He beseeches us always to be “endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). We are even told to “labour therefore to enter into that rest” (Hebrews 4:11).
 
There are many other such exhortations in which Christian diligence is urged or shown in reference to other Christian virtues. There is one key verse, however, in which diligence itself is commanded as a Christian duty: “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11). Here the word “business” is the same as “diligence.” That is, each Christian is commanded to “be diligent in diligence!”
 
Christian salvation is received solely by grace through faith. The Christian life, however, demands diligence. Can we not, as today’s verse commands, give all diligence in our service to the Lord who gave His life for us? HMM
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« Reply #5989 on: December 08, 2017, 11:09:37 AM »

Mt. Ararat and the Resurrection

“And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.” (Genesis 8:4)
 
The story of Noah’s preservation through the awful Flood has been recognized by all Bible students as a beautiful picture of the resurrection. It is, of course, a true story that actually happened the way the Bible describes, but it is also a beautiful analogy.
 
The Flood was sent as a judgment upon the sinful world of Noah’s day (Genesis 6:5-7, 11-13, 17). The “wages of sin” (Romans 6:23) has always been death. But God provided a way of salvation (i.e., the Ark that Noah built) to those eight souls who believed, Noah and his family (Genesis 6:8-9, 14-16, 18-22).
 
Although the analogy is not perfect, it does beautifully illustrate the fact that the punishment for sin is still death and that God has provided a perfect way of salvation to those who believe in His Son Jesus Christ and in His death on the cross.
 
In that light, it is interesting to note the date in today’s verse, which has great significance. The calendar was changed by God at the time of the Passover, another beautiful prefigure of Christ’s work. The seventh month became the first month (Exodus 12:2), and the Passover was to be observed on the fourteenth day of that month (v. 6) each year following. “Christ our passover” (1 Corinthians 5:7) was sacrificed for us on that day (John 19:14) and rose again the third day, the seventeenth day of the first (formerly the seventh) month.
 
This was the anniversary of the landing of Noah’s Ark on the mountains of Ararat, providing its inhabitants new life following judgment of the world and its destruction because of sin. What a blessed picture of our new resurrection life based on Christ’s death for our sins. JDM
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« Reply #5990 on: December 09, 2017, 09:16:49 AM »

Faint Not

“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (Hebrews 12:3)
 
The Christian life and ministry can grow wearisome and hard at times, but with Christ Himself as our example, the Lord admonishes us not to faint but always to press on.
 
If our prayers seem to go unanswered, He reminds us that “men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1). When we grow tired and are tempted to quit, the Scriptures assure us that “in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9).
 
When God has entrusted us with a certain ministry, we need to learn to say, as with Paul, “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not” (2 Corinthians 4:1). As we see God’s mercy-drops of blessing begin to fall, we then can say, as he did, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). We can even encourage others to faint not, as he did: “Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory” (Ephesians 3:13).
 
The same Greek word is translated “weary” in 2 Thessalonians 3:13: “Be not weary in well doing.” Finally, even when God has to rebuke us, we must learn to take it patiently. “Despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him” (Hebrews 12:5).
 
But with all these strong exhortations to faint not, we also need to know just how we can obtain the needed strength to keep on keeping on. The answer is in God’s great counsel to Isaiah: “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). HMM
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« Reply #5991 on: December 10, 2017, 09:29:21 AM »

Blessed Is He

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity.” (Psalm 32:1-2)
 
What true believer is there who is not eternally thankful for the truths found in today’s verse? Sins of omission, sins of commission, sins of deliberate action, sins of the heart, youthful sins, covert sins, “big” sins, “little” sins, etc. What a thrill to know that the penalty for our sins has been paid in full if we but accept His free gift. What rejoicing and freedom forgiveness brings.
 
Note that there are three different expressions for wrongdoing in today’s verse—transgression, sin, and iniquity. The differences in these words are not insignificant, but precise differentiation is beyond the scope of this discussion. Suffice it to say that they can be understood to mean the whole gamut of sinful activity.
 
Likewise, there are three separate aspects of God’s forgiving grace mentioned: “forgiven . . . covered . . . not imputed.” In every way possible, our sin is removed from us, and no more payment is necessary.
 
However, God’s forgiveness must be conditioned on the individual’s action. A lack of action results in the bearing of the sin, the guilt, and the consequences, again specified in a threefold manner. “My bones waxed old . . . my roaring . . . thy hand was heavy upon me” (vv. 3-4).
 
In keeping with the pattern of the psalm, three such actions are mentioned. “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD” (v. 5). The result? “And thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.”
 
Because of all this, we should have a threefold response: “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart” (v. 11). JDM
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« Reply #5992 on: December 11, 2017, 10:57:52 AM »

Without Natural Affection

“Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.” (Romans 1:31)
 
The phrase “without natural affection” is the translation of one Greek word, astergeo. It was a characteristic of many pagans of the ancient world. Significantly, it is also prophesied to be a characteristic of the humanistic pagans of the end-times. “In the last days . . . men shall be . . . without natural affection” (2 Timothy 3:1-3). These are the only two occurrences of this word in the New Testament.
 
The word stergeo (“natural affection”) is one of four Greek words for “love,” but it is never used at all in the New Testament. It refers to the natural love that members of the same family have for each other. It is such a common characteristic of all peoples that there was apparently no occasion to refer to it at all—except when it is not present, when people lose their instinctive love for their own parents and children and thus are “without natural affection.” One thinks of the widespread abortion of these last days, as well as the modern breakdown of the family in general.
 
Another Greek word for “love” is eros, referring to romantic love, or passion. Like stergeo, eros also is never used in the New Testament. The other two words, however, are used frequently. Phileo, referring to “brotherly love,” occurs over 30 times. It indicates fondness, based on a community of interest with the person or persons so loved.
 
The fourth “love” word, of course, is agape, which is used over 300 times. This is the type of love called out of one’s heart by the preciousness of the object loved, the love that impels one to sacrifice his own interests for the benefit of the person loved. This is the love of Christ, who “loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). And this is the love generated by the Holy Spirit in the believer, for “the fruit of the Spirit is love” (Galatians 5:22). HMM
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« Reply #5993 on: December 12, 2017, 07:58:31 AM »

A New Name

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” (Revelation 2:17)
 
This intriguing promise is one of seven promises in Christ’s letters to seven representative churches—promises made “to him that overcometh.” Although there are various opinions as to who constitute these overcomers, 1 John 5:4 would indicate that “whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
 
On this assumption, all who have been truly born again through faith in Christ will someday be given a new name by their Lord. No one will know what his new name will be until he receives it, and even then it may remain unknown to everyone else.
 
It would be reasonable to assume, however, that each new name will reflect the Lord’s evaluation of the character and service of the one who receives it. We have the primitive examples of Abram, Sarai, and Jacob being given new names by God, perhaps to serve as types of this coming investiture. Abram became “Abraham” (meaning “Father of Multitudes”), Sarai became “Sarah” (meaning “Princess”), and Jacob became “Israel” (meaning “Prevailing Prince with God”). See Genesis 17:5, 15; 32:28.
 
Whatever each of our new names will turn out to be, our Savior will also know them, of course, and this will perhaps be how we will be addressed by Him from then on in the new earth. This should be a great incentive to godly living and faithful service here on this present earth, for we surely desire to receive a good name there from our Lord on the future earth. HMM
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« Reply #5994 on: December 13, 2017, 09:04:00 AM »

Seek Ye First

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
 
This has become a favorite memory verse for millions and has even been set to music by a number of artists. Indeed, its truth is of foundational importance. Let us look with care at what it says.
 
First, notice that the tense of the verb “seek” in Greek implies a command to establish an ongoing habit or lifestyle of “seeking” the things of the kingdom. We are commanded to put first things first on a continual basis and watch Him take care of the items of secondary interest.
 
We should strive to make His priorities our priorities—to so mold our thinking by the Word of God that we think as He does on every issue. Our lives should exhibit the purity and righteousness that He exhibited when on Earth. While it is true that we will never fully achieve such perfection this side of heaven, we should be striving, i.e., “seeking,” to do so by the power of His Spirit living in us.
 
The chapter surrounding today’s verse is permeated by the concept of proper priorities in relation to pride (vv. 5-8, 16-18), treasures on Earth (vv. 19-21), singleness of purpose (vv. 22-23), serving two masters (v. 24), or anxious thoughts about the future (vv. 25-32, 34). Remember, “your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” (v. 32).
 
If we reverse the proper order, not only will we not attain kingdom priorities and His righteousness, but we will probably miss the secondary “things” as well. The word “added,” a mathematical word, implies the prior existence of something to which other things can be added.
 
Surely in our “seeking” we should also adopt the prayer Jesus taught His disciples: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (v. 10). JDM
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« Reply #5995 on: December 14, 2017, 07:15:40 AM »

What Paul Knew

“And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.” (1 Corinthians 8:2)
 
There are many things that none of us can know—not even the apostle Paul. Yet even with his realistic modesty, there are certain key truths that Paul could affirm with certainty, and so can we on the same grounds as he.
 
One essential thing each of us should know first of all is this: “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing” (Romans 7:18). A person needs to know that he is a lost and hopeless sinner before he will ever really come to Christ for salvation.
 
Once a lost sinner does receive Christ as Savior, however, he then should be able to declare with Paul the certainty of his own salvation. “For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).
 
The Christian life, once begun, is not necessarily easy. With Paul, in fact, it involved “labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, . . . In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness” (2 Corinthians 11:23, 27). Yet he could say with confidence, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
 
Because of such an assurance, he could also say, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound” (Philippians 4:11-12). Whatever life might bring, it could never shake his certainty of the life to come. “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1). HMM
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« Reply #5996 on: December 15, 2017, 09:30:32 AM »

Old Testament Prophecy

“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you.” (1 Peter 1:10)
 
Our verse today and the verses that follow tell us a good deal about Old Testament prophecy and, rightly understood, answer many of the questions raised by modern “scholars” who scoff at the divine authorship of Scripture.
 
First, we can see that much prophecy was devoted to the theme of “the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (v. 11), long before the events took (or will take) place. That these prophecies were not mere human contrivances is seen in the claim that they were due to “the Spirit of Christ which was in them.”
 
Furthermore, the prophets themselves didn’t fully understand what they were writing. For instance, Isaiah wrote both of the glory of the coming Messiah (chapter 11) and His sufferings and death (chapter 53) with no indication that he knew how to put the two together. Peter claims the prophets “enquired and searched diligently” (1 Peter 1:10) “what, or what manner of time” (v. 11) these things would come to pass. Indeed, even “the angels desire to look into” (v. 12) these mysterious passages and doctrines.
 
Finally, the prophets evidently knew that the mysterious prophecies were not for them to understand but for us to understand (v. 12). Much of what so puzzled them has been revealed to us “by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven” (v. 12).
 
Because of the ultimate authorship by the Holy Spirit, and the eventual explanation by the same Spirit, these prophecies have never failed. They provide irrefutable evidence for the inspiration of Scripture, clear reasons to trust in the message of Scripture, and a grounded faith in the consummation of God’s plan for the ages. JDM
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« Reply #5997 on: December 16, 2017, 09:35:12 AM »

God Is Faithful

“God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:9)
 
When we place our trust in Jesus Christ as omnipotent Creator and gracious Redeemer, He then faithfully undertakes to provide everything we need to live an effective, fruitful, victorious Christian life.
 
For example, when we are tempted to sin or are tested in any other way, “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). In this connection, He undertakes to ground us firmly in His truth and to keep us from moral and spiritual harm. “The Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil” (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
 
When we do sin, however, He assures us that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). With all our failings, He has undertaken to eventually perfect us in Christ, and He faithfully will continue this until it is done. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; . . . Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
 
All that He has promised, He will do. Even when we are unfaithful to Him, He remains faithful to us. “If we believe not [that is, ‘are unfaithful’], yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
 
Today’s verse above, assuring us of God’s faithfulness, follows the promise that He will “confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:8). Therefore, we seek also to be faithful. “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised)” (Hebrews 10:23). HMM
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« Reply #5998 on: December 17, 2017, 10:02:12 AM »

Our Inheritance

“To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:4)
 
Our heavenly inheritance, among other things, is an “eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15), held jointly with Christ (Romans 8:17) and “all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). We who are born again “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” and “kept by the power of God” (1 Peter 1:3, 5) find such an inheritance described in today’s verse.
 
First, we notice that our inheritance is incorruptible, or undecaying, immortal. Note how the same word is used in verse 23: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God.” Therefore, “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt” (Matthew 6:20).
 
Second, it is undefiled, pure, uncontaminated by sin. Remember, Christ is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26), and so, evidently, is our inheritance.
 
Third, it fadeth not away. “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (1 Peter 5:4).
 
Lastly, our inheritance is reserved in heaven. Christ prayed, “Holy Father, keep [same word] through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are” (John 17:11). Surely our inheritance is as secure as we are, guarded by none other than the all-powerful guard.
 
So, we see that our inheritance cannot die, cannot be tainted by sin, will never fade, and cannot be lost. “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). JDM
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #5999 on: December 18, 2017, 08:49:23 AM »

An Answer in Suffering

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15)
 
The words of this verse have much to say concerning a ministry such as ICR’s and have been oft-discussed in these pages. In short, they consist of a mandate to be always prepared to give a systematic, logical (scientific, if necessary) defense of one’s faith, with the proper motives and attitudes, of course. Let us today place the verse in its immediate context, verses 13 through 17.
 
Normally one would not expect opposition for doing good, but such a situation must be expected, particularly if a person is a zealous follower of good (as in v. 13). Such a person is enthusiastic about his cause, not in an irrational way, but a wholehearted way. This intimidates and infuriates those who “loved darkness . . . because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
 
“But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye” (1 Peter 3:14). Our natural response of fear need not overtake us, for Peter warns us to be prepared, and he gives several commands. First, “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” (v. 15). He must occupy the supreme position in our hearts. Next, we must “be ready always” with our defense. This implies forethought, study, and preparation. Lastly, he insists we must maintain “a good conscience” (v. 16), a lifestyle so pure and blameless that any accusations will be to the shame of the accusers.
 
It may be, however, that in spite of our walk with the Lord, our preparation, and lifestyle, unjust persecution may come. It may be in “the will of God” (v. 17) for us. If so, so be it, “for it is better . . . that ye suffer for well doing than for evil doing.” JDM
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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