Things couldn't have started out better for the Early Church. Thousands of people placed their faith in the risen Christ, and everyone enjoyed a deep sense of community in the holy city Jerusalem. 

And then "a great persecution arose against the church . . . and they scattered" (Acts 8:1). Stephen was stoned to death. Saul breathed fiery threats against Christians. Somebody turned up the heat in the church. Can anything good come from persecution? As the early believers scattered, so did the gospel. The good news spread all the way to you and me.

Is God turning up the heat in your life? "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:10). 

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