Glowing Embers

April 21, 2011
by Lori Ciccanti

Matthew 27:19 – While Pilate was sitting on the judge's seat, his wife sent him this message: "Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of Him." (NIV)

While reading through the second chapter of the book, I Dared To Call Him Father, an autobiography by Bilquis Sheikh, I was struck by her expression, glowing embers — the words she used to describe the effect of God's Word upon her life. The author, a prominent Pakistani woman, explains that after reading the Bible, which was forbidden by her religion, she began to experience a series of unusual dreams, which led her to the Lord. Subsequently, in spite of losing her family and threats of death, her personal encounter with Christ drastically changed her life forever.

This amazing story reminded me of another prominent woman, the wife of Pontius Pilate, whose sudden emergence at the scene of Jesus' trial was the result of a mysterious dream. According to early church tradition, the name of Pilate's wife was Claudia Procola, and she later became a Christian. It is even speculated that she, "Claudia", is mentioned by Paul in 2 Timothy 4:21. Regardless, she, too, lived in a religious culture that was contrary to biblical teaching. Yet, I find it remarkable that this Roman woman had the courage to speak out for Christ at a time of such extreme opposition, even interrupting her husband's business while "sitting on the judge's seat". Is it possible that she herself had at one time or another been among the crowds of people who heard Jesus' preaching? Had the glowing embers of God's Word already begun to warm her heart, later transforming her life?

The Bible is full of illustrations that depict God's Word in similar fashion. The first example is the conversation between two disciples after Jesus' appearance to them on the road to Emmaus:

Luke 24:32 – They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" (NIV)

Jeremiah 20:9 – But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. (NIV)

Psalm 39:3 – My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue. (NIV)

Because God's servants have not kept silent, many have come to faith in Christ. Testimonies like that of Bilquis Sheik continue to inspire salvation, trust, and courage. Hence, God's truth will have a profound effect on our lives when we open our hearts to the power and blessings of His Word.

Prayer: Gracious Father, we rejoice that You have chosen to reveal Yourself in mercy and love to those who seek Your truth. We also rejoice in the day of trouble, for You will never leave us nor forsake us. Let Your glory and saving power be seen through Your people who boldly proclaim Your Word. Give us the courage to take a stand for what is right and just according to Your Word revealed to us through Your Son Jesus Christ. In His mighty saving name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Lori Ciccanti <dlalsina@mchsi.com>
Ocean View, Delaware, USA

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