Tuesday, June 4, 2019
But Peter and John answered and said to them (the Sanhedrin), ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard.’
I recently had the privilege of travelling to France and listening to Mr. and Mrs. Hazeltine tell amazing stories of God’s providence during their forty years as missionaries.
One such story took place during their brief time in Albania, when Mr. Hazeltine was arrested by authorities and commanded to hand over the names of all the Christians he knew. Upon refusing, the beleaguered interrogator stuck a pistol in his temple and threatened to kill him.
Mr. Hazeltine bravely declined, saying, “I will not give you their names, and if you kill me I will go straight to heaven!” Surprisingly, the commander then lowered his pistol and let Mr. Hazeltine go.
Have you ever talked with an old veteran disciple who has suffered for Christ on many occasions? It is one of the most inspiring and challenging things you can ever do for your faith. Their stories not only have the power to challenge us, they have the power to change us.
I love Foxe’s Book of Martyrs for that reason, because it recounts the legacies of men like Hugh Latimer who was burned at the stake for his protestant beliefs, and William Tyndale who was killed for translating the Bible into English, and Attalus who was martyred in the 3rd century while wearing a sign around his neck that read: “This is Attalus, the Christian.”
Real life accounts such as these get under your skin and prick your heart in a way mere devotional books can’t. Why? Because God’s living, active Truth heralded in the lives of living, active people is the most compelling drama on the face of the earth!
Look at Peter here in Acts 4:19-20. He and John are boldly preaching to the same powerful men who just brutally massacred their Savior! Where is his fear of death now? It is gone. Where is his vain desire for men’s acceptance? It is being suffocated by a newfound desire for God’s acceptance.
Let that be true for you today. Proclaim your faith boldly in the workplace, classroom, gym, club, and neighborhood council. Don’t cower somewhere behind the curtain. Demonstrate purity while the rest of the world scrapes for the next promotion.
The next generation is in desperate need of contemporary role models who will take a stand for God regardless of the cost. Your kids and grandkids are watching. The world is watching. Angels and demons are watching. But most importantly, God is watching.
Take a stand for Him today.
Prayer Point: Get real with God. He saw you this week. He heard your thoughts and knew your motives. So pray for His Spirit to expose those areas in your life where you desired to please men rather than Him. Then ask Him for strength to tear down those idols in your life today.
Extra Refreshment: Acts 4:19-20 is an example of Peter’s boldness in the face of opposition, but in Galatians 2 we discover that Peter still struggled with his desire to please men rather than God. Read this passage and see it as a vivid reminder that integrity is a daily battle . . . not something we ever master.