Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her.
When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. They brought them before the magistrates and said, "These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice."
The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!"
The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household." Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.
Look up these words:
Looking at his disciples, he said:
"Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when men hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
"Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.
“When love fills the heart, it will flow out to others, not because of favors received from them, but because love is the principle of action. Love modifies the character, governs the impulses, subdues enmity, and ennobles the affections. This love is as broad as the universe, and is in harmony wit that of the angel workers. Cherished in the heart, it sweetens the entire life and sheds its blessing upon all around. It is this, and this only, that can make us the salt of the earth”
Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 38).
You will find the answers to these questions in your reading for today.
Teens often find themselves walking a tightrope. On one side are the kids who want to make a statement with external things to show who they are (clothes, hair, friends, possessions, activities, and music). On the other side are the ones who are trying not to stick out. They prefer to conform to what is safe and acceptable. Eventually you’ll have to make a choice about which side you want to be on too.
Sometimes this choice is conscious, driven by a desire to be unique and to express yourself or by a fierce drive not to be noticed. One’s choice will depend largely on their personality. It will affect how you fit in with others not only in school, but also at church. Certain people may notice right now that some youth group activities make them feel uncomfortable and that others get them jazzed up about sharing Christ with others. You can use these feelings to begin to figure out your own personal witnessing style. God asks us to witness for Him, but He doesn’t tell us how we have to do it. We can be joyous, outgoing fools for His cause or we can do radical, behind-the –scenes work and let others make the really big splashes. It all depends on where we feel most comfortable. While it can be beneficial-and fun!—to stretch the limits of your comfort zone at times, we’re most effective doing what we feel comfortable with.
Now is a great time to explore witnessing and discover your style. Take a few witnessing risks. Try something you may not be crazy about—singing in the youth group or passing out literature at the mall. Dare to be crazy for God and see what happens. You may discover a witnessing style you never knew you had.
What was Paul’s style of witnessing?
How did Daniel’s three friends witness?
Name the ways that Daniel witnessed.
Can you apply Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, pp. 30 and 31 to Daniel’s experience?
Did you know that praying can be a witness?
“The fact that the Lord has been represented as harkening to the words spoken by His witnesses, tells us that Jesus is in our very midst. He says,” Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst.” One person is not to do all the witnessing for Jesus, but everyone who loves God is to testify of the preciousness of His grace and truth” (In Heavenly Places, p. 92).
Make a list of witnessing activities.
Look up these verses, and use them to answer the questions below.
“Christ’s followers are to be more than a light in the midst of men. They are the light of the world. Jesus says to all who have named His name, You have given yourselves to Me, and I have given you to the world as my representatives. As the Father had sent Him into the world, so, He declares, ‘Have I also sent them into the world.’” John 17:18 (Thoughts from the Mount to Blessing, PP.40)
The answers to these questions are found in your reading for today.
When it comes to sharing your faith, you’ll find most people have an opinion about how it should be done. You could face criticism from those who think you are too forward, not forward enough, too radical, not radical enough, too safe, or not safe enough. Everyone’s an expert. But remember—how you share your faith is between you and God.
If you receive criticism about how you witness to others, talk to people you trust: your parents, pastor, and youth group leader. Get their advice. Maybe your methods do need to be revised. Be open to their suggestions. But if the criticism is not constructive, they can support you and help you gently confront your critic.
When witnessing, you’re out on the front lines of the battle. In a war, the soldiers on the front lines are under the heaviest fire. In a spiritual battle, it’s the same. Satan’s heaviest attacks will fall where God’s troops are doing the most good. Prepare for this by praying. Only prayer and open communication with God will be effective against Satan’s attacks. But the good news is that this war is already won.
Ellen White says it like this:
“As the rays of the sun penetrate to the remotest corners of the globe, so God designs that the light of the gospel shall extend to every soul upon the earth.
“If the church of Christ were fulfilling the purpose of our Lord, light would be shed upon all that sit in darkness and in the region and shadow of death. Instead of congregating together and shunning responsibility and cross bearing, the members of the church would scatter into all lands, letting the light of Christ shine out from them, working as He did for the salvation of souls, and this ‘gospel of the kingdom’ would speedily be carried to al the world” (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 42).
Take the comfort zone challenge. List three witnessing opportunities that are available to you right now.
Now choose one that you consider to be a stretch, something you would not ordinarily like or feel really comfortable doing. In the next week, do it and write your reflections below.
What I did.
What I thought about it.
Rate this activity on a scale of 1-10 (1 being “new fave,” 10 being “never try again”)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
If all goes really well, or not so well, try repeating the exercise or choosing a different activity this time.