Acts 13:52 Joy Amidst Persecution

And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:52

When trouble hits a person, most people get depressed or discouraged. During attempts to accomplish something, it is common for a person to run into some roadblocks. Often this discourages the person and he gives up in order to try something different.

Joy is rarely seen in a person in the midst of major problems. Instead of joy one will see anger, frustration, depression, or fear. The focus or desire is often lost or given up.

As the disciples were preaching the gospel, many Jewish leaders were against them and pushed them out. The disciples left the area with joy and with God’s Holy Spirit.

The world does not like to hear the gospel message of Jesus. There are also many ‘believers’ in the church who get offended at hearing the full truth in God’s word. It means that they are wrong and must change. These people will often push out or persecute true believers who are preaching the whole of God’s word.

Just as the world gets depressed and discouraged, many believers will also get depressed and discouraged under persecution. This occurs because people have the wrong focus. Too many believers expect an easy, problem free life as a believer. Jesus actually promised the exact opposite.

Those who are going through trouble and persecution can have joy knowing that they are walking the path God has for them and that God is with them. During persecution, the believer can pick up and move on to the next location to reach others who are willing to listen. They do not need to stay stuck in one place, wallowing in despair of failure.

The joy of God’s salvation and presence gives the believer strength to move on despite all troubles.

As you are a witness for Jesus there will come times of trouble or persecution. Do not allow yourself to be discouraged or to give up. Look to God for your joy and strength.

Remember how much persecution Jesus went through for you. Remember that Jesus promised persecution. But also remember that God has promised you eternal life in the end with no more suffering.

Walk with joy and God’s Holy Spirit moving forward to a new place. Find new places to be a witness. Seek out others who will listen. Do not stop or give up. God is with you.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will be a witness for Jesus; that God will fill you with His joy; that you will be filled with God’s Holy Spirit; and that God will give you strength during persecution and troubles.

2 Chronicles 20:17 Not Your Battle To Fight

Standing still

You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you. 2 Chronicles 20:17 

Everyday people face difficult situations. Situations where there is a battle being drawn up to fight. The enemy is coming against a person in some form. Sometimes it is physically, many times it is in other ways outside of being physical attacks. These attacks can be mentally or socially damaging attacks.

Most people will want to rise up and fight against the attack or they will flee quickly from the attack. Very few people like to stand still when an attack is immanent.

Several armies had banded together against Judah to wage war against them. The number of soldiers was so great, that King Jehoshaphat immediately went to God about it. God told him that the battle was not his and that he was just to stand still and watch what would happen. God would win the battle without the help of King Jehoshaphat and his army.

Very few people like to stand still when there is an enemy coming against them. Most will rise up to fight, but sometimes the best thing to do is stand still and let God fight the battle.

There are many battles that people cannot win on their own. Fighting back will result in more injury on both sides with a loss of the battle by the believer. There are times when it is God’s battle to win. The believer must just stand still, trusting God and watching what He does.

God is the ultimate warrior. He cannot lose any battle. When God wins a battle like this, it is to His glory and honor. There is no doubt that God did the work.

You may have enemies coming against you in your life. These enemies could be actual people or they could be non-physical enemies, such as sickness, pain, injury, mistreatment or more.

As a human, you are limited in what you can do. Seek God and find out what He wants you to do. Sometimes He may give you the strength and direction to fight the battle. Other times He may have you sit still and watch Him fight the battle for you. Let God guide the battles and win the battles in your life.

I pray today that you will know God’s power; that you will trust God’s strategies; that you will see God winning the battles; and that you will be a testimony of God’s work to this world.