Bad things … Good People

Some people think that when bad things happen to you, it is because you are not living right with God. But think about this for a moment. Bad things can happen to people who are sincere and devoted to the faith. And in fact, the bible has many tales of believer’s suffering for the sake of the faith. Peter and John were making progress in speaking daily in the temple courts, and as a result of their ministry, they were arrested. The Bible says, “But an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail during the night, brought them out, and said, ‘Go and stand in the temple complex, and tell the people all about this life. In obedience to this, they entered the temple complex at daybreak and began to teach.” Acts 5: 19-21 When they were found to NOT be in jail but in the courts preaching, they brought them in before the Sanhedrin. The Jewish rulers wanted to kill them, but a man, by the name of Gamaliel, made a very wise plea on their behalf. Here is what he told the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, be careful about what you’re going to do to these men. Not long ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about 400 men rallied to him. He was killed, and all his partisans were dispersed and came to nothing. After this man, Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and attracted a following. That man also perished, and all his partisans were scattered. And now, I tell you, stay away from these men and leave them alone. For if this plan or this work is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even be found fighting against God. So they were persuaded by him.” Acts 5: 35-39 After that, they were flogged and set free. They went away praising God that they were found worthy of being beaten for the cause of Christ, and it strengthened them to continue preaching. I wonder, would I continue under such harsh treatment? Would I consider it pure joy to be found worthy of being beaten for Christ? The Holy Spirit was with them, and they continued preaching and the bible says that the disciples in Jerusalem multiplied greatly, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith. You can’t outgive God, and if we were willing to do whatever it took to proclaim the gospel, I believe that we would again see a magnificent revival all over our nation, because God’s word will not return void. Let’s think about that the next time we are being called names for the sake of Christ, and we call that suffering. Can we even compare it to what the saints of old suffered for Christ? I want to live my life as a reflection of the One who lives in me, and I pray that each of us be given strength from the Holy Spirit to live the way He desires and not out of fear of being persecuted. Let’s step out in faith today, and actually live the way He would want us to live. Not necessarily standing in an arena proclaiming the gospel. He would call us to that if He wanted that. But what about the one you meet at the grocery, who you know in your heart needs a word of encouragement from you? What about the needs of the one trying to find enough work to feed his family. There are many opportunities around us to be like Peter and John, and proclaim the good news about Christ, then reach out a helping hand to those you are led to. Pastor Andy

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