Lord Jesus, we hold before You today so many friends who are weary under the burden of disability, health crisis, marriage storms, financial strain or other kinds of suffering. Our comfort comes from knowing You are always present and loving with a Plan to use all circumstances for our good and Your glory when we trust You. Thank you, Almighty God, for the countless reassurances in Your Word that the Good News of Your grace and power are MULTIPLIED through suffering — and this is just as true today as it was in days long ago when the earliest Christians were being persecuted. As we ponder these few verses right now, Lord, enlighten us to catch a clearer vision of Your perspective and purposes in our own personal challenges. Strengthen us to press on with hope, peace, and joy even when things aren't going the way we would like them to. Thank You, precious Holy Spirit, for the gift of Your comfort, counsel and might! AMEN
"And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith."
"And Saul approved of (Stephen’s) execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles."
"Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word."
"For I (God) will show him (Paul) how much he must suffer for the sake of my name."
"So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied."