They were compelled to speak up--they couldn't help it--because they had been with Jesus! They had been with Him when the blind received sight, the ears of the deaf were opened, the lepers were cleansed, the lame walked, the tormented were set free, the dead were raised to life!
How could they ever be silent again?
Our youngest daughter, Rachel-Ruth, recently gave birth to our first grandchild--a little girl named Ruth Bell Wright. She is softly pink with big blue-gray eyes, a halo of golden brown hair, perfect little ears, long fingers and--I could go on and on.
My husband and I are totally enthralled with this little girl. She fills our hearts! We can't help talking about her to anyone who will listen.
I'm not afraid to talk about her. I don't plan in advance how I will talk about her. I don't worry about offending someone with my talk about her. I don't read books on how to talk about her.
Little Ruth Bell fills my heart! And what fills my heart comes out on my lips!
Why do we make speaking up for Jesus so complicated? If He fills our hearts, He is going to come out on our lips! Like Peter and John, we will not be able to help "speaking about what we have seen and heard" of Him!
Today, in our God-blessed nation of America, no one is crucified or thrown to the lions or burned at the stake because he or she believes in Jesus as the only way to God. Yet the average church member seems to be so lacking in deep convictions concerning who Jesus is that he or she cowers under a raised eyebrow, a whispered innuendo or a politically incorrect label.
Are you convinced that Jesus is the only way to God, the only truth about how to get to heaven, the only life that is eternal and abundant? Are you convinced that no one will ever be accepted by God the Father, except they come to Him through Jesus Christ?
If these statements, which paraphrase Jesus' own claims, are your convictions, then do you have the courage to state them publicly--today--to your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers? Many church members in our pluralistic, tolerant society not only lack the courage to stand up for the truth that faith in Jesus Christ alone is the only way to God; they actually reproach others who do stand up!
In the light of such spiritual anemia, my heart's cry is, Please, Jesus, give me more of Your courage in my convictions. I want the courage to stand out and speak up about my convictions in the way Christians have exhibited in every century since the cross and Resurrection.
In response to my heart's cry, Jesus has whispered in my heart, "I will give you more courage, Anne, when you stand out and speak up for Me!"
Anne Graham Lotz is the author of My Heart's Cry from which this article is adapted. Used by permission. For more on Lotz's ministry, click here.
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