PERSECUTION (BIG – Day 11 – Acts 11)

We tend to think of any thing we consider to be persecution as bad, but that may not always be the case.  In the book of Genesis we read about a young man named Joseph who was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery.  Many years later he saved their lives and then confronted them with what they had done to him.  As he spoke to them he said:  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (Gen. 50:20).   In other words, God had a purpose in what happened – even though it would have been hard to understand when it was happening.

When the early Christians were persecuted, it forced them to move out into different parts of the world and as they went many were faithful to be witnesses (Acts 1:8).   Acts 11:19-21  states:  Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

In the midst of what seemed like something bad, God used it for good and these persecuted Christians shared the good news about Jesus everywhere they went so that A GREAT NUMBER OF PEOPLE BELIEVED & TURNED TO THE LORD.

The next time you are going through a difficult time, maybe you need to pause and ask God what He wants to do in or through you in this situation; it might be that He will use the way you respond to bring others to faith in Christ!

About bjrutledge

BJ & Janet were married in July 1977 They have three grown children who are all married: Jeremy & Whitney Rutledge, Chris & Julie Hurst, and Josh and Hannah Rutledge. They also have four grandsons, and a granddaughter. BJ says perhaps our greatest legacy is even though our kids are PK's, they love Jesus and are all involved in ministry in the local church. BJ has served at churches in Dallas - Bossier City, LA - Houston - and was at Fellowship of the Woodlands (Woodlands Church) in The Woodlands before coming to Grace Fellowship. BJ is the Lead Pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Paradise, TX.
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