Thursday, February 7th, 2019 -
Kathie has been trying to get me my medical alert necklace in orthodontics for 2 months. I tried to bring them with me into the prison when I arrived, but they would hear nothing of it. The only thing allowed wear my eyeglasses and wedding ring! But finally after having them returned to her already once, I received them today. I was thrilled and I know Kathie will be too!
In my Bible reading today, I begin 1st Peter, which is taken on a whole new meaning for me since being arrested for helping to prevent a seven-year-old girl from being sexually abused. For it was written to encourage believers to endure the intense persecution that was just beginning for them!
We're reminded right off the bat in verse 2 that it is the holy Spirit who sanctifies us and purifies us. But in that process we are endured through that spirit obedience to Christ as we are sprinkled with His blood -- a picture of His purification process. And as a result we are born again to a living Hope (v.3), with an internal inheritance we can look forward to that will never disappear unlike earthly inheritance, reserved for us in heaven (v.4).
In the meanwhile we are protected by the power of God through faith (v.5), even though we may face various trials (v.6) in order to prove our faith (v.7). This testing may be severe (by fire), yet we are not to lose our joy but continue to praise Him (v.7). So, says Peter, you are to "gird your minds for action, keep sober in Spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (v.13). Furthermore, we are to conduct ourselves in "fear" during our time on the earth (v.17) and be holy in all our behavior (v.15) and fervently love one another from the heart (v.22).
And, in chapter 2, we are admonished to "abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul" (v.11), keeping our behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing which they slander you as evil doers, they may account your good deeds, as they exert observe them glorify God in the day of visitation" (v.12).
This was actually to be my main defense in my trial but the prosecution nor the court would allow any of this as evidence, nor the mention of Isabel Miller's sexual abuse, to be brought out in my trial! Yet in verse 19 we hear we are to bear up under sorrows when suffering unjustly! "For what credit is there if, when you send in a harshly treated, you order it with patients? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God" (I Peter 2:20)! Peter goes on in the next verse to actually say that this is the purpose He has called us to, "since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps" (v.21)!
Indeed, Christ was sinless. He did no wrong. He was falsely accused of treason in subordination. He bore the sin of the entire world for He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by his wounds you were healed." (I Peter 2:23-25). How glorious this is to me, and being in my predicament these scriptures come alive like never before!
Who am I to complain, after what Christ has done for me? Indeed, His endurance and actions in the midst of His own sufferings must be a model for me -- and for all of us when the time comes, of how we are to react to persecution.