I do not think that it is likely that any of us will be called to be martyrs in the full sense of the word. However, I am sure that we are called to be martyrs in terms of dying to ourselves on a daily basis. Perhaps this is a harder sort of martyrdom as it is ongoing in our lives. It is not easy to put aside all the personal desires and passions to prioritize God?s will at all times. Yet, this is precisely what it means to be called to follow Jesus.
17 ?But do you gird your loins; stand up and tell them all that I command you. Be not crushed on their account, as though I would leave you crushed before them; 18 for it is I this day who have made you a fortified city, a pillar of iron, a wall of brass, against the whole land against Judah?s kings and princes, against its priests and people. 19 They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you,? says the LORD.
P S A L M
Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17
R: I will sing your salvation.
1 In you, O LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. 2 In your justice rescue me, and deliver me; incline your ear to me, and save me. (R) 3 Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for you are my rock and my fortress. 4 O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked. (R) 5 For you are my hope, O Lord; my trust, O God, from my youth. 6 On you I depend from birth; from my mother?s womb you are my strength. (R) 15 My mouth shall declare your justice, day by day your salvation. 17 O God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds. (R)
G O S P E L
Herod?s weakness is that he is not his own man so to speak. He is beholden to the thoughts of others. He is unable to stand firm behind his convictions and beliefs and is easily swayed by the opinions of others. Let us pray for the grace that we will never fall into this sin and that we are willing to stand by our faith no matter what the consequences for us may be. In this day and age of individualism and relativism, it is time for Christians to take a stand and be true to their faith!
17 Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married. 18 John had said to Herod, ?It is not lawful for you to have your brother?s wife.? 19 Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. 20 Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him. 21 She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee. 22 Herodias?s own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, ?Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.? 23 He even swore [many things] to her, ?I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.? 24 She went out and said to her mother, ?What shall I ask for?? She replied, ?The head of John the Baptist.? 25 The girl hurried back to the king?s presence and made her request, ?I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.? 26 The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. 27 So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison. 28 He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
think: We are called to be martyrs in terms of dying to ourselves on a daily basis.
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READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Ezekiel 22-24