For the Name of Jesus

She looked at me with disgust, “Keep that stuff to yourself” she snarled. “God bless you!” I called out to her as she stormed away. I was young in my faith and bold – maybe brazen is the better word. I was sitting in the food court of the local mall with a friend who was giving witness to God’s work in her family. I raised my hands and shouted, “Wooo! Praise God!” That’s when the woman at the next table picked up her bags and launched her bomb at me. I wasn’t fazed. In fact, I wore it as a badge of honor. I counted it as “religious persecution,” and for the time and the culture, I suppose it was.

But what I called persecution was not even a slap on the wrist compared to believers in China, India, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Nigeria, Cuba, and dozen more. There the threats are not merely verbal but physical, economic, and relational, and often end in violence and death. I dare say their faith has been forged in the fire. Just as the apostles’ was.

Even after being ordered to stop preaching and teaching in the name of Jesus, His followers didn’t quit. The religious leaders were filled with jealousy and ordered them to be arrested (Acts 5:17-18). They responded by escaping jail with the help of an angel who said, “Go, stand in the temple courts and tell the people the full message of this new life” (v. 20). After being brought again before the Sanhedrin – the ruling council of the Jews – they declared, “We must obey God rather than men!” (v. 29). In return they were flogged and the Bible says they “left the Sanhedrin rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” (v. 41).

In our modern, western culture, religion is regarded as a personal preference, not a life-giving entity.  It is kept private and should not be allowed to spill over onto others.  In schools, workplaces, among our peers, and even in the food court at the mall we are told to keep our religion to ourselves, or “save that stuff for church.”  And we do because we don’t want to rock the boat.  But true Christianity – the kind that changes the world – is all-or-nothing. Beloved, it’s time for you and me to not only rock the boat but get out of it and walk on the water.

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10 thoughts on “For the Name of Jesus

  1. Praise God🙋‍♀️ The Church must be prepared to suffer for Christ. You are so right, what many American Christians think of as persecution is just rudeness of others. There is a wave beginning of persecution in the world, and we are seeing it here with the government dictating what we can and can’t say. Thanks Beth. We must stand firm on the Word.

  2. I thought I left a comment, but can’t find it. The wave of persecution is beginning in the Western Church. The culture is trying to tell us what we man ‘preach’ or consider it ‘hate speech.’ We, Christ followers, are called haters, yet we should be the example of God’s Agapé love to the world. 🙋‍♀️❤️ Thank you, Beth

  3. Beth, excellent post today. I want to be ready to accept what ever may come with great JOY. My life is His to do with as He pleases. Beautiful words, strong encouragement! God is on the move!!

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