Week beginning: 2nd November, 2014
By Peter Brown | Ballymoney
'But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. ... So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.'2 Corinthians 4:7-9 and 12 (NIV 2011)
Last month's Northern Ireland LCF Regional Conference was a joint event with the local branch of the Christian Medical Fellowship. Entitled "Grappling with issues in life" it focussed on "the big issues that are in the public square and in our own lives". Many of these can be found at intersections professionally, between law and medicine, and spiritually, between our living gospel and our practical faith.
The first session looked generally at Christians in conflict with the law and public bodies and also the opportunities for the gospel. This recognises that even when individual Christians are under pressure in their professional or personal lives, (or Christianity itself being under pressure in the public square), this is an opportunity not only to strengthen our individual and collective faith, but also to proclaim the gospel though our words and actions.
Being under spiritual pressure individually, whether personally or professionally, is an inevitable consequence of being a Christian. We live in an increasingly hostile environment and such pressure should be an experience that refines our faith by removing impurities. Being under increasing public pressure collectively as a faith (from whatever source) is often also an unparalleled opportunity to proclaim the gospel in both word and deed. We should recognise that as a result of having done so, some progress, however limited, is being made in protecting our right to hold, practice and express our beliefs.
1) Give thanks for the unsurpassed treasure that is found in Christ Jesus, and for His transforming power at work in you.
2) Ask for a willing heart that is open and bold to take up opportunities to witness to the gospel in word and deed this week.