Stand Up!

Today, my pastor’s message inspired us to stand up strong for what we believe.

In the book of Daniel, we saw 3 friends, believers in God, refuse to bow down to an idol. They were consequently thrown into the fiery furnace, a fire so hot it killed the soldiers who brought Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to it.

In the book of Acts, we saw that Peter and John were thrown into jail for sharing about Jesus and healing a man in Jesus’ name. Instructed by the rulers and elders to keep quiet about the name of Jesus upon their release, they refused to remain silent.

This, in itself, is inspiring, but I believe the key is this: in both cases, these men had experienced the very presence of God in their lives. When observers looked into the fiery furnace, they saw not 3, but 4 men walking around! And that 4th man is described by the king as looking like the “son of god”. And the observers of Peter and John said that “when they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished, and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” When we follow their example, we will stand because we stand with Jesus. We will fall if we stand in our own strength.

In our service today, we were encouraged to stand up for our faith. There will come a time when it will be at great sacrifice for us to do so. The church is growing most rapidly in countries where Christians suffer persecution, and the early church grew and spread because of persecution in Jerusalem. I pray that we will stand strong long before we are faced with formidable opposition, but sadly, history indicates that persecution is an effective means of growing the church.

Now, I do not mean that we are to behave in an assertive or aggressive manner. I don’t believe that we should trample unbelievers with our demands. What I do believe is that we must be salt and light in a dark world. We should appear to have been with Jesus. This means that His grace, peace and love are apparent in how we relate to others, but we will refuse to compromise that which dishonors God. And if we fall, if we should miss an opportunity to stand strong, remember our story about Peter. Previously, on 3 occasions, he had denied that he knew Jesus, yet God used him repeatedly in mighty ways after that.

Our service concluded rocking to that old Tom Petty song, “I Won’t Back Down”:
Well I won't back down, no I won't back down
You could stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down
Gonna stand my ground, won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won't back down
Hey, there ain't no easy way out
Hey I will stand my ground
And I won't back down
Well I know what's right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I'll stand my ground and I won't back down
Susan

3 comments:

Nancy said...

You go girl!!! I love it, great inspiration for a Monday morning!

Joanne said...

Great encouragement, only hours before election time!

I had forgotten about the growth of the church from persecution. Great reminder for my heart today.

Jeannie said...

Susan:

i so enjoy reading your messages each and every time. However, today's was extremely an inspiration. although i still remembered yesterday's talk and singing the song throughout the day today, it was so good to see it up on the screen tonight as i read my e-mails. i am going to print it out and put it inside my Bible. i am ever so greatful that we have the freedom now to worship as we please, whenever and wherever we wish to.

God Bless you,


jeanie