"They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the town, leaving him there for dead." —Acts 14:19
When St. Paul smiled, you could see he was missing a couple of teeth. He also had patches of hair pulled out. One side of his face was black and blue, and his jaw swollen. He had cuts and scabs around his eyes and walked with a limp. Paul had been attacked by an angry mob at Lystra and left for dead. Yet after being raised from the dead, he went right back into that town and resumed his missionary work (Acts 14:20).
As Paul visited the Christian communities he had recently established, he encouraged the disciples to persevere in the faith. He gave them the message: "We must undergo many trials if we are to enter into the reign of God" (Acts 14:22). A man with a mangled face and broken teeth is certainly experienced in the many trials necessary "if we are to enter into the reign of God."
This Easter season and Pentecost the Lord wants to give us Paul's zeal and courage. Will you accept these graces? Will you witness for the risen Jesus no matter what? Will you live for Him and die for Him? Love Jesus even in suffering and death.
Prayer: Father, give me the privilege of suffering persecution for the gospel (Phil 1:29).
Promise: " 'Peace' is My farewell to you, My peace is My gift to you; I do not give it to you as the world gives peace. Do not be distressed or fearful." —Jn 14:27
Praise: Although suffering greatly from chronic illness, Michelle accepts everything as it comes and gives it all back to God.
(For a related teaching, order our tape Evangelization & Christian Community on audio AV 80-1 or video V-80.)
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