Devotion

His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus and let them go.

The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

Acts 5:40-42

Who in this world would volunteer to be persecuted? Did you raise your hand? I wouldn’t. Let’s be honest, most people want to live quiet lives surrounded by those who love and respect them. I’m no exception to this rule. But the apostles had a different perspective. They knew and appreciated the value of persecution.

A friend, who recently went on a mission trip, told me that believers in lands where they experience daily persecution feel sorry for us. Can you believe it? They feel sorry for us.

Why? Because we have such comfy, safe lives. As the apostles did, these persecuted believers count it an honor to suffer for the name of Jesus. They understand what we have forgotten in this country—without the hardship, there is no testimony.

Let me say that again loudly:

Without the hardship, there is no testimony.

If you and I want to have something to say about Jesus that will impact other people it won’t be: “God blessed me with this big house and my new Lexus.”

But it might sound more like: “God held my hand through disappointment, heartache, fear, anguish and I learned I could trust Him with everything.”

Dear Lord, remind us daily what it means to take up our cross for You. Though we may never be in danger of execution in this country, let us bear gracefully those hardships You allow into our lives. Let our testimony reflect Your amazing grace. In Jesus’s precious name, amen.

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