The early church thought of persecution as a normal and expected deal

Praise Him in My Dismay
A Bad Day at the Office – Part 1

Scripture Reading:  Acts 14:19-28

Key Verse: Acts 14:22b

We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

Paul and Barnabas were traveling from town to town faithfully preaching the good news of the gospel.  In a town called Lystra, Paul noticed a crippled man who Paul sensed had “faith to be healed” (vs. 9).  The man obeyed Paul’s instructions to stand to his feet and was healed instantly!  The crowds were amazed and started spreading the rumors that “gods” had come to visit their town.  Of course, when Paul and Barnabas heard this, they rushed into the streets shouting that they were mere men and it was the living God that had touched this man.

However, men came from other towns and stirred up trouble for Paul and Barnabas.  So much so that the crowds that once thought Paul was a god were now throwing stones at him.  This forced the duet to go to a nearby town and preach there.  Our printed key verse gives the summary message: “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (vs. 22).

The early church was trained to think of persecution as a normal and expected deal.  They did not immediately accuse God of abandoning them.  The early believers were taught to praise God in spite of the trials and persecution.  Why do we struggle to see hardship as part of the journey with God in this world?  (Continued)

Father, I want to be faithful even when the going gets rough.  Help me to praise you even when I’m dismayed.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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