Standing Strong Through the Storm - Monday, October 28, 2013

GOD FIRST

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. Romans 1:16

Eighteen-year-old Nina lives in an Asian country where Buddhism is the faith of the majority. Since her mother is a devout Christian, she is constantly exposed to stories and lessons from God’s Word. At school, her faith in Jesus Christ is often tested. Because Nina showed great aptitude at school, she was selected to be part of a team that would compete in a high school annual science competition. On the day of the competition, however, the Vice Principal, a very strict disciplinarian, decided to take the team to the Buddhist temple first. Nina fidgeted anxiously in her seat while aboard the school bus with her teammates.

As she tried to figure out what to do upon arriving at the monastery, the first of the Lord’s Ten Commandments resonated in her mind—no other gods, except Him. I can’t disobey my God, after knowing who He is, she thought. Nina felt trapped and confused. Obeying God meant disobeying the Vice Principal. Nina uttered a silent prayer. “God, you changed the hearts of many kings before, surely you can do it again! Please Lord, speak to his heart!”

When the team reached the temple, everyone entered except Nina, who stood at the gate. As Nina’s teammates came out of the temple, the Vice Principal approached Nina with a stern look on his face. “Why did you not come in the temple with us?”

“Sir, I was born a Christian. When my mother gave birth to me, I was weak and at the point of death. Christians prayed for me and God heard their prayers,” shared Nina.

“You could have just entered with us and not participate in the ceremonies,” explained the Vice Principal, whose face and tone softened. Nina knew then that God had just answered her prayers.

“I did not have peace in my heart. I felt that I would be disobeying God if I entered the temple, sir,” Nina responded. The Vice Principal did not pursue the matter any further; neither did he chide Nina for it. The team placed third during the science competition.

Nina testified during a youth training program that Open Doors organized. “I was surprised to see how God suddenly changed his heart; he rarely speaks that way to students. He is often firm and strong…His wife has had many miscarriages. I’m praying for his wife to have a baby soon. I’m also praying for him to know Jesus Christ. I’m sure it will happen someday!”

RESPONSE: Today I will put God first in every situation I face.

PRAYER: Pray for all young Christians who face the cultural challenges against putting God first.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

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