Overflowing Joy 4

The Aim of this devotional study is to grow in perspective and desire for godly JOY.


1 Peter 4:12-14

12  Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  13  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.  14  If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

Observations and reflection

This letter of Peter is written to a suffering church.

  1. Read these three verses a few times – perhaps even out loud. Then write down Peter’s message in your own words.
  2. How do you understand suffering as a “fiery trial”? What does Peter mean by that?
  3. Verse twelve says that the church should “not be surprised” when suffering comes – that it is not “something strange”. What are your thoughts about that verse?
  4. Why are Christians surprised when they suffer? What do people tend to think when they suffer?
  5. Do you think it strange that he instructs the readers to rejoice in suffering? Can you identify with that statement? Why can Christians rejoice in suffering?  Think and write a few biblical reasons that come to mind.
  6. Do you see the promise of eternal joy hidden in the second half of verse 13? What is it?
  7. How do you interpret verse 14? Why were the readers blessed to suffer while the Spirit of God rests on them?

Application and prayer

  1. Spend some time and prepare your heart in prayer with God so that
  • You may not be surprised when you suffer as a Christian
  • Than you may see suffering on earth as temporal testing of your faith and character (“fiery trial” v12)
  • That you see suffering as a Christian not as abandonment or punishment from God, but rather as identification with Christ, with eternal glorious rewards.
  1. Spend some time to pray for a friend who is suffering in some way – for his faith to remain steadfast in God, to be anchored in God’s love, and for joy to fill his heart.

Baptism 4

The Aim of this devotional study is to grow in understanding of “the baptism of suffering” with a readiness to grow in full surrender to the will of God.


Luke 12:50

“I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!”

Mark 10:35-39

35  And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”

36  And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”

37  And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

38  Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”

39  And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized…


  1. The Scriptures above quote Jesus referring to a baptism he himself would be baptized with – what is this baptism?
  2. When James and John requested honorary positions in Christ’s future kingdom, Jesus said it would require “being baptized with the same baptism” he would experience – what did Jesus refer to?
  3. Biblical baptism refers to being “immersed” in something so that afterward you enter another desired state of being / reality of life (see three previous posts on Baptism for examples). To what desired reality would this Baptism of Suffering lead Christ as well as James and John?

Reflection and Application

  1. Why does the baptism of suffering lead to honour / glory / promotion?

Consider that suffering while doing the will of God brings one to a point of greater surrender to the will of God – where you metaphorically “pick up your cross and follow Christ” (Matt 16:24).  And because you surrender more of yourself to God, God can entrust more to you.  The point of the Baptism of Suffering (sometimes called ‘baptism of fire’) is exactly that – willful surrender and entrustment of self to God – even when it hurts. And God honours that. (Phil 2:1-10)

  1. Can I escape the Baptism of Suffering as a Christian? (hint: 2 Timothy 3:12)
  2. It seemed as though Paul looked forward to this Baptism, so that they may know Christ: “That I may know Christ, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.”(Phil 3:10)

How do you feel about Paul’s passion to share in the suffering of Christ?  Do you already relate with this suffering, while doing the will of the Lord?


Pray freely to God about this baptism of suffering – whatever is on your heart.

For further reflection read these posts on suffering

Suffer well http://walklikejesus.net/2014/08/18/suffer-well/

Suffering, our good tutor http://walklikejesus.net/2014/08/25/suffering-our-good-tutor/

When you walk through the fire http://walklikejesus.net/2015/01/07/when-you-walk-through-the-fire/

Biblical Faith 4

The Aim of this devotional study is to grow in understanding and appreciation of Biblical Faith, and to gain greater eternal perspective of our faith and suffering.


1 Peter 1:3-9

3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4  to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5  who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7  that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8  whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9  receiving the end of your faith–the salvation of your souls.


  1. These verses are loaded with descriptive terms. In two short sentences give the summary of this text.
  2. Write the characteristics of the hope we are born into as Peter describes it here – and what does it mean? In short, what is this hope?
  3. Write the characteristics of our faith as Peter describes it here, and what does it mean.
  4. What is the relation between hope and faith here?
  5. What is the relation between suffering and faith here?
  6. What is meant by the phrase “that the genuineness of your faith… through tested by fire”?
  7. What is meant by the phrase “receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls.”


  1. It frequently happens that people who suffer (while being righteous) gets shaken in their faith, or disillusioned in their hope. Recall the last time you went through a hard patch – what did that do for your faith or hope?
  2. How would Peter’s text here (written to a suffering, persecuted church) be meaningful for people undergoing suffering today? Send a message similar to Peter’s encouragement to someone you know who needs encouragement.
  3. How does the hope that Peter writes to you make you feel? How do you relate to it?  Do you long for it?  Why / why not?


In prayer mediate and talk to God about the “living hope” and “salvation ready to be revealed in the last day”.  Also talk to God about the “testing” and “genuineness of your faith”.

And then pray for someone who is going through a tough time along these lines as well.