Did you know that while we’re here on earth, doing this earth thing, as followers of Christ we’re guaranteed persecution? Tweet this!
Speaking to His disciples about the end of the age, Jesus declares:
Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another (Matthew 24:9-10).
Does that freak you out just a little bit? It does me! What will I do? Am I and are my children ready?
Will we lay down our lives for Jesus’ sake (John 13:38)?
Will we lay down our lives for others (John 15:13)?
Are we willing to drink the cup the Father gives us (John 18:11)?
Are we willing to stand alone (John 19:17)?
If we think of persecution only in terms of being tortured, imprisoned, or killed for our faith, then perhaps we here in America can breathe a sigh of relief. Maybe. For a time.
Others don’t have that luxury. They are losing everything now, and news of current events has drawn my attention to its relevance NOW and our need to know what to do NOW.
With every heartbreaking and terrifying report out of northern Iraq, where Christians are losing everything for Jesus, including their lives and their children, I cried out to the Lord to show me what He would have me do, and I sought answers in His word, reading the entire New Testament for God’s perspective and answers on persecution.
The #pray&takethiscup challenge with its 30 Ways to Pray Scripture Once a Day for Persecuted Christians was just a beginning for me. It is a great tool to heighten our and others’ awareness, deepen our convictions, and give us practical ways to help, but there’s so much more in God’s word to encourage and equip us, and I need it most of all!
I can’t say with certainty that I am ready to face the kind of persecution that our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq and around the world are facing. I can tell you it’s my prayer that the Lord would make me ready, and I can tell you that the more time I spend in scripture and see the goodness of God and His faithfulness, the more I believe it is possible – not because of me, but because of Him. Tweet this!
Here’s what I discovered in His word and will share in this series:
- God’s Perspective on Persecution: Blessed Are You!
- A Loss for Christ Is Our Greatest Gain
- The Hate that Rules the Heart that Hates
- The Purpose of Persecution
- The Power of the People
- Persecutors’ Predictable Tactics
- Persecutors Can’t Shake What’s Entwined with Eternity
- 10 Truths to Embrace in the Face of Persecution
- What to Do When You’re Persecuted: The Mind and Heart
- What to Do When You’re Persecuted: The Will
- What to Do When You’re Persecuted: The Mouth
- What to Do When You’re Persecuted: The Risk
- What to Do When You’re Persecuted: The Power of Prayer
- Enduring Persecution Together: The Church
- What to Do When It’s Happening to Someone Else
- The Peter Factor: God’s Faithfulness Through Our Failure
- The Peter Factor: Eight Interesting Insights from Peter’s Denial of Jesus
- The Peter Factor: 12 Life Lessons from a Redeemed Failure
Ironically, the promise of persecution introduces the good news of forgiveness, eternal life, and unshakable hope through Christ Jesus! Tweet this! It is a message every single American needs to hear, especially in the face of the deteriorating freedoms and morals that threaten the stability, prosperity, and liberty we have become accustomed to in America.
With each blog, I will include a few scriptures with questions for you to ponder and/or use for discussion with your kids, your friends, your Bible study group, or whomever. You can even start a discussion on Facebook or join the one on my Facebook page. What I desire more than anything else is for God to draw all of us into His word so His word defines us, and as we become wholly His through obedience, that we would discover the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ.
Some blogs are short (enjoy!). Others are longer (hang in there!). I pray all are worth your time in reading them, thinking about the word of God presented therein, and hopefully, engaging in conversation with others reading and considering God’s truth alongside us either by commenting on my blog, Twitter, or Facebook.
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The desire of my heart in this is to see the body of Christ experience the unsearchable riches of Christ by becoming wholly His through understanding and obeying God’s word. If this series and the resources I make available help just one person, it is worth every bit of time and effort. Always, freely share what is freely given.
Lord, strengthen and deliver our brothers and sisters in Christ who risk everything for Jesus’ sake. As we study Your word, encourage and equip us for the persecution that’s to come. Help us to fear You and not what man can do to us as we become more wholly Yours in the face of increasing opposition.
FOR THOUGHT AND DISCUSSION:
- When you read Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:9-10: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another,” what is your response? Like me, does it freak you out just a little bit? Why or why not?
- Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” What is going to give us the courage to stand in the face of persecution? Faith in the word of God! If that’s true, then what’s our most powerful tool in preparing for persecution? What scriptures can you recall or find that will be a great encouragement to you and others that we can implicitly trust the Lord, regardless of our circumstances? Would you be willing to share at least one here?
- Ephesians 6:13 instructs us to “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” The author, Paul, then goes on to list all the pieces of armor and their functions, which are all for our protection or defense, except for one: “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (verse 17). What does this tell you about the importance of knowing and using the word of God? Have you seen this to be true in your life? Would you share an example here?