“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:10-12 KJV).
“One day when he happened to visit one of the public squares, [John] Calvin witnessed the burning of a heretic. In the tortures of that dreadful death and under the terrible condemnation of the church, the martyr displayed a faith and courage that the young student painfully contrasted with his own despair and darkness. He knew that the ‘heretics’ rested their faith on the Bible. He determined to study it and discover the secret of their joy.
“In the Bible he found Christ. ‘O Father,’ he cried, ‘His sacrifice has appeased Your anger, His blood has washed away my impurities, His cross has taken my curse, His death has atoned for me…. You have touched my heart, so that I may turn away in disgust from all other merits except those of Jesus.’
“Now he determined to devote his life to the gospel. But he was naturally timid and wanted to devote himself to study. The earnest appeals of his friends, however, finally led him to agree to become a public teacher. His words were like dew falling to refresh the earth. He was now in a provincial town under the protection of the princess Margaret, who loved the gospel and extended her protection to its disciples. Calvin’s work began with the people in their homes. Those who heard the message carried the good news to others. Calvin went forward, laying the foundation of churches that would produce fearless witnesses for the truth.” LF 93.6 – 94.1
“John Knox turned away from the traditions of the church to feed on the truths of God’s Word. The teaching of Wishart confirmed his decision to forsake Rome and join the persecuted Reformers.
“His companions urged him to preach, but he trembled with fear at its responsibility. Only after days of painful conflict with himself did he consent. But once he had accepted the position, he pressed ahead with unfailing courage. This truehearted Reformer had no fear of anyone. When he was brought face-to-face with the queen of Scotland, John Knox was not to be won by favors, nor did he lose courage in the face of threats. The queen said that he had taught the people to receive a religion prohibited by the state, and so he had transgressed God’s command for subjects to obey their princes. . . .
“Mary said, ‘You interpret the Scriptures in one way, and they [Roman Catholics] interpret in another; whom shall I believe, and who shall be judge?’ ‘You shall believe God, who plainly speaks in His word,’ answered the Reformer. ‘The word of God is plain in itself; and if any obscurity appears in one place, the Holy Spirit, who never contradicts Himself, explains it more clearly in other places.’
“At the risk of his life and with unfailing courage, the fearless Reformer kept at his mission, until Scotland was free from Catholicism.” LF 102.7 – 107.6
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for examples among common timid men who fearlessly stood for Truth. Bless me to remember that the spirit of fear is not of You, but love, power and a sound mind is. Please bless me to fearlessly stand for You (always doing what is right) in the presence of my family, my friends, and others. With a grateful heart, I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
NOTE: These devotionals began as daily texts to encourage my academy roommate and dear friend of nearly 50 years, until she suddenly passed a few weeks ago (Feb 2023). Now I continue to compile and send them to anyone who wants to receive them and to her family in honor of their mom. First, I pray and look for a Bible verse or passage and find a suitable commentary (or vice versa) and add a prayer. Some days, only a Scripture and prayer are ordered. I might even add a song. If you agree to receive them, then this way I not only honor God but the memory of a very dear friend whom I desperately miss. My personal prayer is that God will bless me to find ways to multiply this gift. So please feel free to forward to your loved ones or to anyone, as God leads you. I’m calling them Barb’s Devotionals.