And now behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. (Acts20:22,23).

This is not the health and wealth message being spread about so often today. Listen how Paul responds to this news. “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24) What God said to Paul He says to us today. This is what we see over and again in the stories of the voice of the martyrs. Richard and his wife knew the cost of following Jesus. Following Jesus is not an easy road and was not intended to make us happy as the world’s standard see‘s things. In the book of Acts we see another kind of joy repeated over and again. In Acts 16:40 we see the men going back to the church not to be pitied, but to encourage the body of Christ.

When we enter the afflictions with them in prayer and other kinds of fellowship we begin to grow. The book of Acts encourages us to continue what was started, then to continue today. Let’s not worry about ourselves being called or enabled to stand. How we look at suffering depends on how we look at Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

When God said love your enemies, He provided them so we could do exactly that.

Terry Smith