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January 22, 2013 • By Ed Wrather
So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." So when they had further threatened them, they let them go.... - Acts 4:18-21a NKJV.
In response to the threats Peter and John prayed, "Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus." And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. - Acts 4:29-31 NKJV.
One day last week I passed a home where workers were attempting to trim a huge Elm tree. I had never really noticed it before, but this huge tree had branches hanging out over a second story of the house. Amazing that a storm had not already sent one of those limbs crashing through a roof! When I passed by the home the next day I could see that the limbs had been safely removed, and the tree no longer threatened to damage the structure.
Being threatened by men, nature, or situations appear to be a common occurrence for all people and especially for those belonging to the Kingdom of God. Nehemiah was threatened. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were threatened and the threat was carried out. Daniel was threatened and the threat was carried out. However, God protected all of these men. Jeremiah was threatened. Peter and John along with many of the early disciples were threatened and some paid with their lives for their obedience to their Lord.
What do you do when you feel threatened? What do you do when it feels like huge branches are hanging over you bending closer and closer to the breaking point? How do you handle it? How do you react?
Here are some suggestions:
First, It is always good to have other strong Christians around you who can encourage you and pray for you. Church is the most likely place to find other Christians like that.
Hebrews 10:24-25 NKJV says, "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."
Second, Encourage yourself in the Lord. When David faced the horrible situation of all of the wives and children of his and his men being taken captive, there was talk by David's men of stoning him. The Bible tells us what David did,
"David encouraged himself in the Lord his God (1 Samuel 30:6c)." The result recorded in 1 Samuel 30:19, "David recovered all."
You can encourage yourself in the Lord by reading the Bible, praying, praising God, reading Christian materials and spending time with God's people. You encourage yourself in the Lord, by spending time with Him.
When you can hear the branches above you creaking and cracking don't forget to encourage yourself in the Lord. There is never a bad time to spend time with your God, especially when you are facing threatening situations in your life.
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