I was awakened early this morning by a strange sound. As I focused in on the noise I had to smile when recognition finally came to me. It was the dog rapidly licking her mouth which could only mean one thing… she had caught another pesky cricket!
A few weeks ago I had ordered some bed risers so that I could raise the front of our bed with the hopes that it would help relieve the drainage difficulties that Piper experiences at night. The other thing that the extra four inches did was give the dog room to crawl under the bed at night to sleep!
And you guessed it! That’s exactly where she was last night when I spotted her with a little red cricket in front of her. I thought that she had learned her lesson with the last cricket she had cornered. You see, these little critters emit certain distasteful fluids when they get caught. During the last contact, Mandie began to foam at the mouth, spit out the insect and feverously licked her mouth to rid herself of its residue. Well, I didn’t see any foam this time, but each time the dog attempted to pick up the bug she quickly spit it out and resumed her licking! I was thankful when she finally gave up and I was able to get back to sleep!
The thought of distasteful incidents in my own life came to me as I pursued my study in the book of Acts. Chapter five recounts the story of the disciples return to the temple courtyard and their further preaching of the Good News following Peter and John’s first encounter with the religious leaders. This time they were all thrown in jail but it seemed that God was getting a little fed up with this course of action. In Acts 5:19-20 we find that God sent an angel to release them from their bondage. My interest was drawn to what happened next as they were instructed to not run away but to go right back to where this event had happened and to keep on preaching the Message they had been given!
From there they were re-arrested, brought before the Jewish Council, threatened, beat and finally released. Then to top it all off, Luke documents that “The Apostles left the council room. (And) They were happy to have been considered worthy to suffer dishonor for speaking about Jesus” and continued to go out and share the Gospel “in the temple courtyard and from house to house.” (Acts 5:41-42 God’s Word ©)
The ending of that chapter rang a familiar bell with me because we had experienced a similar course of events. After the initial surprise and shock wore off following the things that were said against us a few years back, the adversity served only but to stir us up and like the Apostles, become more resolute and determined to follow the course of action we knew to be led of the Lord for us. Like Peter and the Apostles had stated in their defense to the accusations that were brought against them, we dug in even deeper and held more firmly onto our stand of faith and clearly understood that “we must obey God rather than people.” (Acts 5:29 God’s Word ©)
I can line myself up with the Apostles reaction in that I am actually a little happy and thankful for the persecution because it further cemented my unwavering trust in the Word of God and in His faithful love for us. The blatant falsity of it also made it simple to see who the real perpetrator of the attacks were! In feeling “worthy to suffer dishonor” the Apostles must have also felt special in realizing that the enemy saw them, their actions, their faith and their joyful dispositions as an actual threat to his plans to “kill, steal and destroy.” (John 10:10) I am sure that when they thought about it, they began to see how special and loved they were to Papa God!
Is that the way you respond when your words, actions and faith are criticized because of your Christian beliefs? Are you happy when persecutions are directed your way, or do you find complaining words emanating from your lips? I would think that the example of the leaders of the early church would be as stimulating and real to us and our daily walk today as it was back then! Have a great rest of your week. Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I going to be happy about today?”