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"Squeezed for Joy"

Date published: 03/19/2012
Acts 5:40-41 “They called the apostles in and had them flogged.  Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” (NIV)  
If each member of your church was flogged for attending as they left church this Sunday, how many do you think would rejoice for having suffered for Jesus?  Do you think their focus would be on the unjustness of the flogging, how reprehensible the people who did it, where were the police to protect them, our country is collapsing morally, or do you think they would rejoice for having suffered for Jesus?  After being flogged, how many do you think would attend the next services at 10:30 and 12:00 knowing that a flogging might be awaiting them when they exited?  Acts 5:42 continues, “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”  Most people would admit their lives have become about themselves rather than how to “proclaim the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”  It is said that when a person is squeezed, you really get to see what is in them! The apostles were squeezed resulting in rejoicing, thankfulness, and continued devotion and love for Jesus.  These verses give you a beautiful picture of the transforming power of Christ to change lives.  The apostles knew the threat of proclaiming Christ, but instead of turning inward or running, they sought God for comfort, direction, and enablement.  Acts 4:29-30 says, “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable Your servants to speak Your word with great boldness.  Stretch out Your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of Your holy servant Jesus."  God answered their prayer and equipped them for the task.  Every day you will be squeezed in multiple ways. Most will not be because of your profession and identification with Christ, but just for the normal things that happen in life.  The question is what will be your response?  Your response will probably be like the apostles…if Christ is Lord and the substance of your life.  But if Christ is a past-time where you perform out of duty instead of relationship, you will probably be consumed by the things of this world.  
Daniel 3:16-18 “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king.  But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.’”  (NIV)