Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Courage Under Fire

Chuckle:  "In 1920 the U. S. Post Office ruled that children could not be sent by parcel post.  Makes you wonder what was going on before the ruling!" 
Quote:  "Courage faces fear and thereby masters it.  Cowardice represses fear and is thereby mastered by it." --Martin Luther King
    "The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13 NLT).
To say that a soldier "showed courage under enemy fire" is a great compliment.  But there are many types of enemy fire, much of which come from Satan himself.  There are those who would silence us from proclaiming the gospel message of Jesus Christ and would like to see our society totally free from religious influences.  It seems there is growing animosity toward Christians and our freedom to express our values and to worship freely may become threatened.  We must be bold and courageous even in the face of threatening opposition, and we can take courage from the lives of early New Testament Christians like Peter and John.
In our text, the ruling religious leaders of Israel were doing everything in their power to silence the powerful voices of those proclaiming the message of Jesus Christ.  Many were beaten, imprisoned, and even killed for their actions.  When you face ridicule and persecution for expressing your faith, take heart because you are not alone and your are not dependent upon your own strength to see you through.
The boldness and courage of Peter and John caused great consternation in the minds of the Ruling Jewish Council.  They were amazed that these unschooled and ordinary men were so powerful and articulate in preaching their message.  When you feel you are just too "ordinary" to be used of God, forget it.  That's the Devil speaking to you.  In our day and time, Our Lord needs every Christian to act and speak boldly, in love, as we defend our faith and as we work to elect leaders who will protect our freedoms to do so.
Your power to act and speak boldly is the same power evidenced in the courage of Peter and John.  When our lives reflect the characteristics of Jesus in the power of the Spirit, those around us will be amazed by what God is doing through us.  A changed life convinces people of Christ's power.  One of your greatest testimonies is the difference others see in your life because you belong to Christ.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if people around you observed: "We can tell he or she has been with Jesus by the way he/she acts and speaks."  

Love, Jerry & Dotse


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