Acts 5:39-42 Video Devotional

“So they took his advice, 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. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.” (Acts 5:39b-42)

Would you rejoice about suffering for your faith? Would you consider the idea of suffering to be an honor that you would seek to be worthy of? I bet a lot of the time the word inconvenienced would fit better than rejoicing. Sure, in theory it would be awesome to be used by God in any way, but sometimes when the rubber meets the road it’s not that fun.

People generally imagine the idea of suffering for our faith as some intense battle between spiritual forces where we are feeling and fighting the enemy over someone’s soul. Or maybe it’s that prayer-warrior battle that finds you agonizing for a long time over a specific issue. But what if it is being late for a family dinner because you were sitting with a friend who needed you there, but kept repeating the same problems? Or having to forgive someone for the same mistake for the 212th time?

A lot of the time we look at the big things and want to serve (or suffer) in those areas. But what about the mundane, the annoying, or the frustrating? Peter and John were for sure doing those “big things” in this part of the story, and it led to beatings for them, but are we willing to suffer in the small, not so noticeable ways as well? 

Whether it is physical, mental, emotional, or reputational, there is no one-way the enemy fights and therefore there are lots of different ways we can suffer for the cause of Christ. Some may be “big” with crazy stories that will be told throughout the rest of your life. And some will be things you hope you forget – or can get out of as quickly as possible. (This is just like when some of the biggest ministry opportunities come when all you want to do is go home). 

Are you willing to answer the call when it is late…or inconvenient…or gives you a headache? Follow God in the small, mundane annoyances is just as rewarding and powerful as any opportunity God offers. Don’t look past a single one – or you’ll miss out on what God wants for you.

Genesis 45:4-8 Video Devotional

“So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 45:4-8)

Friends, this pandemic has been long and frustrating, testing all parts of our resolve, endurance, faith, strength, and patience. It is easy in times like this to ask why, and let our anger get the best of us. Stresses are high and if the news is any inclination, there is a strong mix in each person of fear to reengage mixed with strong desire to do so.

I encourage you to look at this time to Joseph. His suffering was longstanding and difficult. Yet he saw (without knowing the future) there was purpose to what God was doing and later on (as shown in the verses above) was able to see the connection between his suffering and the salvation of many.

We do not know or understand the purposes behind God allowing this COVID-19 crisis to happen. But we do now know a lot of people (each of us in our own circles) that are at the point of desperation, where they may actually be ready to listen. Are you ready to be a witness? Are you ready to show love through your words AND actions?

People are starting to see that they need God more than ever right now – the challenge is to us to take the opportunities given and return glory to God through our actions and discussions. Praise Him! And pray that He would use you for His glory, which He is working out in the minds and hearts of those around us.