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July 1, 2014

Facing crisis with courage

“Go to the Temple and give the people this message of life!” Acts 5:20 (NLT)

How do you deal with crisis? Some crises are unavoidable. In fact, there’s false assumption among many believers that a blessed life is crisis free. That’s not true. In Acts Chapter 5 we find the apostles in a crisis. The very High Priest and religious leaders that had just crucified Jesus less than two months before have arrested them for the second time for preaching the Good News of Jesus in the Temple. Yet, while in jail, the Bible says that an angel of the Lord came at night and opened the gates of the jail and brought them out! It was the first prison break! Sounds like the crisis is over right? Hold on. The angel then instructs them, “Go to the Temple and give the people this message of life!” (Acts 5:20 NLT) That command would lead to a brutal flogging. See verse 40. “In flogging, leather thongs made into whips were beaten across both chest and back.” They could receive up to 39 lashes! How would you respond to that kind of crisis? The Bible says that after the apostles were released, they left the high council “rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus. And every day in the Temple and in their homes, they continued to teach and preach the message: ‘The Messiah you are looking for is Jesus.”’ (Vs. 41-42) Wow! Empowered by the Holy Spirit, these men were men of courage and conviction. They didn’t live their lives by convenience and comfort. They understood that obedience may result in the unavoidable crisis of pain and suffering, yet they recognized that being persecuted for Christ led to a deeper kind of blessing. Do you live your life by a consciousness of convenience or conviction? Pray for clarity in knowing the will of God, conviction to follow it and courage to do it, even if it means discomfort or crisis. You’ll experience the same deeper blessing these men did.