Monday, February 11, 2013
Speak Up for the Lord
Acts 18:9 One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent;
Acts 18:10 for I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city who are my people.”
Acts 18:11 He stayed there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
Paul's ministry in Corinth was now extending to the Gentiles. He had begun his ministry by preaching in the synagogue but the Jews didn't want to hear what he had to say. He had to move on and he knew that there were those who were threatening his very life. In the midst of this difficulty the Lord came to Paul and spoke to him in a vision. The Lord encouraged Paul to continue with his ministry for there were many more believers in the city than Paul realized.
It is easy to become discouraged about speaking up and presenting the Good News. Society is making this increasingly more difficult as Christians have been cast in the light of being crazy people (at least in the US). A stereotype has developed on television and in the media and you rarely find the portrayal of a good Christian. So, what are God's followers supposed to do? Are we to be afraid and keep silent? I believe the message that Paul received that night in the vision is just as valid for us today. No matter how crazy our world may be, and no matter how messed up the stereotypes may be, we need to speak up as followers of Jesus Christ. We have the answer to the problems of our world -- Jesus is the healing balm for the walking wounded we meet on a daily basis. If we have the cure, why wouldn't we want to share it?!
The important part to this whole vision of Paul is the second portion. "For I am with you." Here we find the great reminder to all of us. We do not travel this journey alone. We do not speak on the Lord's behalf alone. We do nothing on our own, but he goes with us. If God is with us and beside us and in us -- then why are we afraid? We must not allow our own fears to stifle the move of God's Holy Spirit today.
Finally, there is a promise of God that there are more believers than we think! Sometimes we feel all alone in what we are doing and that there can't be that many left that believe the way we do. Yet, we may simply be unaware of all of God's children. Sprinkled throughout our communities there is a vast army of followers of Jesus Christ. As his children pray and seek his face and intercede for one another we will have opportunities to lift one another up. The body of Christ needs to be supported and not torn down. This includes our own particular body and across denominational lines as well. There are more of us out there than we think -- and that is good news!
Who will we meet today? Let's ask God to prepare the way and the may we be willing to speak up -- to not be silent -- and be outspoken witnesses to new life in Christ.
Lord, thank you for what you have done in my life. Please, help me share that news with someone today. Amen.