12/9/2005

Encouragement for Today

 

“Confident Christians”

Marybeth Whalen, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

 

Key Verse:

Proverbs 28:1, “The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”  (NIV)

 

Devotion:

I grew up loving “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.”  I loved Peter and Susan, Edmund and Lucy.  But most of all, I loved the great lion, Aslan.  Today marks the release of the feature film of this timeless story. I am excited to take my children to it. They have seen the children’s play based on the book, watched the animated video and listened to the Focus on the Family drama as well.  They are well steeped in the symbolism of the story —   telling of God’s redemption of man through His Son’s willing and humble sacrifice.  No matter how many times I see it, I am still moved to tears when Aslan is slain by the White Witch and all of her evil henchmen laugh with glee.  I am still elated when that great Lion rises again.

 

God has called us to be bold like a lion.  The word “bold” here actually means “confident”.  And yet, do we have the confidence of a lion or do we walk around like timid mice — afraid to offend anyone lest we lose friends?  I know I have been silent and scared when I should have boldly spoken up many times.   Why?  We have God on our side!  The great Lion of Judah is in our corner!  We are His people, and He wants us to experience the freedom to love Him extravagantly and live radically — not be bound by our fears and inadequacies.

 

In Acts 4, the disciples are preparing for the persecution they know is coming as a result of their faith.  And yet, when Peter and John pray, it is not to be spared from persecution, but for boldness (vs. 29-31) in the face of this persecution.  As believers, we are still facing the same challenge thousands of years later.  We live in a world that is polluted by evil.  And yet, this evil should not cause us to shrink back — not when we can claim the victory that has been promised us.  Will we undergo persecution in the process?  Yes!  But we can face this persecution by praying for the courage to withstand it.  Being different, acting different, looking different is hard.  But we are not excused from it just because it is hard. 

 

All over the world, martyrs are suffering and dying for their faith.  They are withstanding fates we can’t even imagine in America.  All for the cause of Christ.  This is true persecution, not the rejection and petty concerns we call persecution here.  We are free to worship God, free to tell others about Him, free to own a Bible and free to raise our children to know Him.  This is a precious gift.  We should be living accordingly. 

 

Today, as many people will go to see what may just seem like a simple, family-friendly movie for kids, we will have the opportunity to tell people the story of the real Aslan and what He has done for us.  May we be bold and courageous to step out and share Christ.  May we be unashamed of the gospel and our Savior who died for us.  May we be like the disciples — praying not to be spared of persecution, but for the boldness to withstand it.  And may we make Jesus proud that we are living the way He intended, as bold as a lion.

 

 

My Prayer for Today:

Dear Lord, thank You for fighting our battles for us.  Thank You that we are promised victory in the end.  Lord, as You send opportunities into my life, please give me the courage to speak up for You.  Help me to share Your Word and Your hope with lost people. Please help me to be a confident Christian, the way You intended.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Application Steps: 

Make it a point to pray for the persecuted Christians in the world.  Pray that they would be equipped with boldness and that God would comfort their hearts.

 

Ask God to put people in your path and words in your mouth to share Him this week. 

 

Ask an unsaved friend or neighbor to see “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” sometime during this holiday season. Go out for coffee afterwards and see what comes up.

 

Reflection Points:         

Are you a confident Christian? 

 

Do you share Christ when you have a chance or do you live in fear of rejection?

 

What steps can you take this week to better equip yourself with the confidence you need?  (regular time in the Word, prayer, accountability with another Christian, etc.)

 

Power Verses: 

Revelation 5:5, “See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.  He is able to open the scroll and the seven seals.”   (NIV)

 

Genesis 49:9, “You are a lion’s cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son.  Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness, who dares to rouse him?”  (NIV)

 

Psalm 138:3, “When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.”  (NIV)

 

Acts 4:31, “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.  And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly.”  (NIV)

 

Ephesians 6:19, “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.”  (NIV)

 

Additional Resources:

A Family Guide to The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, by Christin Ditchfield

 

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_radicallyObedient.htm

 

Do You Know Him?

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/knowHim.htm