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Struck on the Mouth

Daily Reading: Acts 23

Scripture Focus: The high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. (Acts 23.2)

Devotional Thought: The Apostle Paul spoke in the language of his listeners, and thereby gained a hearing. Yet, people did not necessarily like what he had to say. Paul discovered that quickly, as he testified before the high priest concerning his relationship to Jesus. Ananias ordered that he be struck on the mouth! The enemies of the gospel were striking out at the very instrument of communicating the gospel - the mouth. What Paul was saying was a threat to their worldview and their way of life. He had to be silenced!

Shocking to us, such conduct was quite normal in that day. The power of rulers was taken much more seriously, and the rights of subjects were not taken into account. But, as we consider today's political and social climate, are things that different? The message of Christ is not popular, and there are cultural powers that would strike out at the very instrument of communicating the gospel. Satan would silence the message if he could. Even eating at a chicken restaurant is seen as threatening to those who would silence the truth, so they strike it on the mouth!

Jesus said that when we follow him, we will make enemies. They hated the Master, they will hate the student... But, threats, jeers, reprisals, and accusations of intolerance must not silence the message of love. "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Prayer: Jesus, you are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. But sadly, there are those who oppose truth. Help me today to lovingly stand on the truth of your Word, even if the culture lashes out at me in fear, anger and hatred. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 73.1-11

1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. 5 They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. 6 Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment. 7 Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies. 8 They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression. 9 They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth. 10 Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them. 11 And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?”

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