Note: Today’s message was originally published on May 21, 2013. It has been modified to align with current standards and formatting. There are also some edits to the “Reflection” to include a current viewpoint.
When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus. And since they saw the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in response.
After they had ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin, they conferred among themselves, saying, “What should we do with these men? For an obvious sign, evident to all who live in Jerusalem, has been done through them, and we cannot deny it! However, so this does not spread any further among the people, let’s threaten them against speaking to anyone in this name again.”
So they called for them and ordered them not to preach or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it’s right in the sight of God ⌊for us⌋ to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
After threatening them further, they released them. They found no way to punish them, because the people were all giving glory to God over what had been done; for this sign of healing had been performed on a man over 40 years old.
Acts 4:13-22 HCSB
Father may I never fear punishment or any mistreatment for believing, following, worshipping, speaking, praising, honoring, acknowledging, and praying to You and Your son Jesus Christ.
May I never be ashamed of who I am as Your servant and child. May I always proudly and confidently perform my duties while spreading Your Word and testifying about Your love everywhere I go.
Keep Your name and Jesus’s name from ever coming out of my mouth in vain, for I only want to glorify and reflect You. I humbly pray these things today and forever. Amen.
Speaking to those who recognize themselves as Christians—-a closet Christian is not a “true” (fully or adequately invested) believer or follower.
There should be no question in the minds of those who encounter you if you believe, love, and worship God. They may not know your denomination, but through interacting with you they should at least know that you see yourself as a servant of and for God. They should feel the energy of spirituality flow through you. They should be able to feel and see the Light.
If you are a believer AND follower of Christ then you should have no problem letting others know in both your personal and professional lives.
Let me pause where your mind was about to take you.
I’m not saying to be loud, boisterous, pushy and obnoxious.
I’m not saying to line your office or cubicle with crucifixes, Bible verses, and the like.
I’m not saying to force God onto anyone.
Where do you ever read about Jesus, Moses, or any servant called by God assuming their role and then being “extra” with it?
When was it ever a case where Jesus or Moses forced anyone to do anything?
Jesus stayed as low-key as He could so that those who were healed would praise God. He tried to make it less about Him and more about His Father. But it was never a doubt that He loved, worshipped, and served God. He was never “too good” to break bread with commoners or sinners. That’s God love demonstrated.
It’s not about the outward “show” it’s about the giving of what you carry inward that matters. And giving through the gratitude of what God has given you.
You should never worry or question if you should mention God during your interactions with others. If He is in you then you should be sharing Him with others. If you are His perfect creation and reflection, then the world should see Him through you.
In my signature line of my email I have included some passages from the Bible that hit home with me:
Luke 1:37; Luke 17:21; Matthew 4:10; Matthew 6:34; Isaiah 1:17; Proverbs 21:5; Proverbs 21:30; Proverbs 31:10-31
I share them with others who may need some inspiration or reassurance that day. It’s not forced on them. They don’t have to read the passages. It’s a small gesture that can have a big impact on someone.
On my social media sites I proclaim myself as a change agent through God, and a servant leader. It is my affirmation, my daily challenge. Respectfully, I don’t care if someone is offended or uncomfortable. That is between them and God. I’m a servant and I’m here to share what God calls on me to share.
I used to be nervous about being open about my beliefs. I didn’t like having conversations about religion and spirituality, just like I still don’t like having political conversations (but I will engage when important issues need to be addressed).
The reasons for my apprehensions have always been because people are so passionate about religion and politics to the point that they can become belligerent and even violent about two topics that they have absolutely no control over.
I didn’t want to get into a debate over which way is the right way to pray, worship, praise, be saved, be baptized, etc. I didn’t want to debate with people about my choice to pray first before ever considering medical interventions. Just like I shouldn’t have to debate and defend my beliefs about:
– The politicians I vote for
-Women’s rights (and that no one should have the right to tell me what to do with my body)
– Gay marriage (and the hate being focused at people who love each other and are being loving)
– The marginalization of Blacks and other minorities
– The targeted racism and discrimination of Latinos and Muslims, and other groups.
– Numerous other issues
I’ve matured over the past year to realize something, I don’t have to debate or defend.
I don’t have to explain myself to anyone. I don’t have to defend myself. God knows. God guides. God corrects. I don’t have to defend Him. I have my own relationship with God and with Jesus, and no one can change that. So I have nothing to fear, be ashamed of, nervous about, or uncomfortable with—I am here to live my purpose, with purpose, and on purpose, as God intends.
I’m here to be loved, share God’s love, and be loving. I don’t need to drill down or wear someone out about Christ. I just need to touch a life, even for a moment—knowing that God always handles the rest.
So don’t be afraid, ashamed, embarrassed, or nervous about who you are and to Whom you know you belong. You don’t need to be a deep student of the Word to know and share God’s love.
Acts of kindness, having dignity and restoring dignity in others, and being considerate of all people, are ways in which we share His love and follow Jesus’ teachings.
Stand proudly and confidently as a believer. Be bold but never pushy, obnoxious, or judgmental!
Loving you always,