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July 16th

"And when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus.  And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus."  Acts 6: 40-42

If you read Acts 6: 17-42:  The apostles are arrested and put them in prison for preaching about Jesus.  At night, an angel of the Lord comes and opened the prison doors and brought the apostles out, and told them to go back to the temple and preach about Jesus.  When the high priest came, they called the council together, and sent to the prison guards to bring the apostles to them.  But they did not find them in the prison, and reported that the guards were standing at the doors of the prison but they were not there.  Someone else came and told them that the apostles are at the temple, preaching about Jesus.

So they had the apostles brought to them, and they beat them.  How many of us would continue to preach about Jesus, if we were beaten for following Jesus?  How many of us would run because we have been threatened for serving Jesus?  How many of us would be willing to go to prison for serving Jesus?  This is something that we do not even want to think about today!  Persecution is a part of being a Christian in many places around the world, and is coming in these last days.  God's Word tells us that we will be hated, rejected, thrown in prison, beaten just like the Apostles.  What would we do?

After they beat the apostles, they told them that could not teach or preach about Jesus.  Stop talking about Jesus!  No more church, no more worship, no more Bible Studies, no more outreaches, no more witnessing.  What would we do if we were just beaten and now told to stop talking about Jesus?  Would we stop talking about Jesus?  This is happening in America today - we see it when in some states you can no longer worship God with singing in church.  In some states, worship services are shut down indefinitely.  Persecution is happening to Christians today!  What are we going to do?

What did the apostles do?  They left the council and they were rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for Jesus!  Think about this: They were just beaten and told no more talking about Jesus!  And they leave REJOICING!  Why?  Because they thought that suffering was a way to glorify Jesus! That they were living like Jesus!  Would we be rejoicing if we were suffering?  Sadly, many times when we go through persecution, rejection, etc., we feel that it is not a good thing!  Are we living in a way that the world sees us living like Jesus, and we will be willing to suffer for our relationship with Jesus?  

What did the apostles do?  They did not stop because of the suffering, threats, the beatings, but it tells us every day they went to the temple, and from house to house and preached that Jesus is the Truth, the Way and the Life!  This is not the time for the church to stop ministry, but to continue to declare that Jesus is the Answer, for the world!

Lord, help us to be able to stand up an stand strong in the days that we are living!  Give us the faith of the apostles to know that "if God be for us, who can be against us."

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