Perspectives on persecution

 Persecution  Comments Off on Perspectives on persecution
Jan 312018
 

We certainly don’t feel blessed when we’re being insulted and persecuted.
But Jesus said in Matthew 5:11 that we, in fact, are blessed in those times!

The Lord’s perspectives on persecution differs from ours.
He considers it a positive thing if we suffer in His name.

You may ask why persecution benefits us.

Persecution-

Proves our faith!
The only way we can know the capacity of our faith is through testing.

When we persevere through a trial, we begin to understand our ability to remain steadfast and obedient in the midst of challenges.

We also learn the magnitude of God’s strength to support us through persecution.

Purifies our lives!
It snaps our attention away from meaningless things and onto the Lord.
We’re driven into His arms by suffering.

As we grow closer to Him-
He’ll remind us of wrong attitudes and actions.

Some may be related to our trial and others may not.
Persecution is a powerful cleansing tool.

Prepares us for greater service!
Suffering breaks our pride and self-reliance, attitudes that hinder our usefulness for the Lord.

Pride crumbles when we realize we’re incapable of living the Christian life alone, especially when we’ve been insulted and hurt.

A life of ease and pleasure isn’t always a sign of blessing.

If persecution proves our faith, purifies our hearts, and prepares us for greater service-
– then we should thank the Lord for the way He’ll use it in our life!

(PA)

Two immediate rewards

 Persecution, Trials  Comments Off on Two immediate rewards
Jan 212018
 

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).

God’s commands sometimes defy human logic!

For example-

Rejoicing in persecution doesn’t make sense until we realize the effect of praise.

It keeps us focused on the Lord and the good things He brings out of hardship.

The apostle Paul faced greater abuse and suffering than most of us ever will.

He was beaten, put on trial, and imprisoned (Acts 16:20-24).

But he looked beyond these difficulties to what the Lord was accomplishing through his life (Acts 16:20-25).

For instance, he didn’t rejoice that he was a captive.

But he did celebrate the great ministry he had among his prison guards.

If we believe the Lord is in control and He keeps His promises-

– then we must trust in the principle of Romans 5:3-5.

“…we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope…”

This passage assures us that our hardships have purpose.

They develop our endurance, strengthen our character, and solidify our hope.

Two immediate rewards of suffering are-

– the building up of our faith and

– the preparation for greater service to His kingdom.

We’re able to rejoice because we’re maturing believers whom God uses for His purposes.

The Lord will bring good from our persecution, just as He did for Paul.

But if we allow doubt to cloud our faith-

– we won’t be able to rejoice in what He’s doing through our life.

And if we can’t rejoice-

– we’re in danger of giving up before God’s good work is completed.

Rejoicing keeps us focused upon the Lord and His purpose.

(PA)

Weight of the Worldly!

 Commitment  Comments Off on Weight of the Worldly!
Sep 292017
 

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).

“On Sunday, believers arrived at a house church in the Soviet Union in small groups throughout the day so not to arouse the suspicion of KGB informers.
They began by singing a hymn quietly.

Suddenly, in walked two soldiers with loaded weapons at the ready.
One shouted, “If you wish to renounce your commitment to Jesus Christ, leave now!”

Two or three quickly left.
Then another.
After a few more seconds, two more.

“This is your last chance.
Either turn against your faith in Christ,” he ordered, “or stay and suffer the consequences.”

Two more slipped out into the night.

No one else moved.

Parents with children trembling beside them looked down reassuringly-
– fully expecting to be gunned down or imprisoned.

The other soldier closed the door, looked back at those who stood against the wall and said:
“Keep your hands up–but this time in praise to our Lord Jesus Christ. We, too, are Christians. We were sent to another house church several weeks ago to arrest a group of believers.”

The other soldier interrupted, “But, instead, we were converted! We have learned by experience, however, that unless people are willing to die for their faith, they cannot be fully trusted.”
(From “Living Above the Level of Mediocrity,” by Chuck Swindoll).

Can you imagine being faced with a decision to run or die for our faith?

We are living in a day where this could very well become reality!
But how many of us would be willing to stand?

Let’s start deepening our relationship with the Lord today so that-
– our minds may be focused on heavenly things and not consumed with the weight of all the worldly ones.
That it would be easy for us to make a stand for Him should that day ever come.
(PA)

Weight of the Worldly!

 Commitment  Comments Off on Weight of the Worldly!
Sep 262017
 

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).

“On Sunday, believers arrived at a house church in the Soviet Union in small groups throughout the day so not to arouse the suspicion of KGB informers.
They began by singing a hymn quietly.

Suddenly, in walked two soldiers with loaded weapons at the ready.
One shouted, “If you wish to renounce your commitment to Jesus Christ, leave now!”

Two or three quickly left.
Then another.
After a few more seconds, two more.

“This is your last chance.
Either turn against your faith in Christ,” he ordered, “or stay and suffer the consequences.”

Two more slipped out into the night.

No one else moved.

Parents with children trembling beside them looked down reassuringly-
– fully expecting to be gunned down or imprisoned.

The other soldier closed the door, looked back at those who stood against the wall and said:
“Keep your hands up–but this time in praise to our Lord Jesus Christ. We, too, are Christians. We were sent to another house church several weeks ago to arrest a group of believers.”

The other soldier interrupted, “But, instead, we were converted! We have learned by experience, however, that unless people are willing to die for their faith, they cannot be fully trusted.”
(From “Living Above the Level of Mediocrity,” by Chuck Swindoll).

Can you imagine being faced with a decision to run or die for our faith?

We are living in a day where this could very well become reality!
But how many of us would be willing to stand?

Let’s start deepening our relationship with the Lord today so that-
– our minds may be focused on heavenly things and not consumed with the weight of all the worldly ones.
That it would be easy for us to make a stand for Him should that day ever come.
(PA)

Jun 092016
 

15889-he-is-risen

“All those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).

Timothy’s timid, sickly nature was a liability in a day-

– when people were thrown to the lions for their faith in Christ.

So Paul tried to prepare him for the dangers ahead-

– by warning him that anyone who practiced Christianity would be persecuted.

The only way to avoid persecution was to deny Christ.

Some Christians take suffering as a sign that they’re out of God’s will.

They spend their entire lives avoiding anything that causes them discomfort, even when it could be that God wants them to endure some discomfort for his sake.

Look at it this way:

If God were only concerned that we be happy one hundred percent of the time, Jesus would never have gone to the cross.

John the Baptist would never have been beheaded.

Paul would never have been imprisoned.

God is more concerned with our obedience than with our comfort.

Now, you will probably never be thrown to the lions for your faith-

– but you may be mocked at school or at work.

You may be excluded from certain programmes.

You may not be as popular as you might have been.

If you seek to live a godly life-

– be assured that persecution will come.

Nevertheless, when you overcome it-

– you will share in the same glorious reward as John the Baptist, Jesus, and Paul.

The Bible assures us that no suffering in this life can match-

– the wonder of being loved by God for eternity!