The Coming Persecution
Persecution is coming and for many Christians in nations around the world it has already arrived. I know people who have never experienced persecution may find this hard to believe, but persecution is useful because it forces a person to rethink what they really believe deep down inside. It is easy for a person to say they are Christian when their life is not endangered. However, when a person is persecuted for their actions, and pursued because of their beliefs, and they continue to spread God’s word anyway, then people will say of them, “They are what they claim to be.” In the first century the early church scattered to the four winds when death, prison time and persecution began to rain down upon them. Do you think God’s hand might have been involved in this scattering? I do. In the beginning the Christians were perfectly happy hiding out in Jerusalem because the persecution wasn’t all that severe, but God needed His Word to spread throughout Judea, Samaria and the outer most parts of the world; and if the Christians stayed in Jerusalem that would not have taken place and eventually all the Christians would have been captured, imprisoned, or killed, and God’s Word would have ceased to have any major effect on the world. During this time, the devil did his best to see that God’s Word did not spread beyond Jerusalem, but God always has a plan to get His Word into the areas He wants it to go and when it gets there, miracles as we call them began to take place, people get saved, new churches are formed, and the Word prospers. It was a dangerous time to be a Christian in Israel, but God does not raise up cowards to take His Word to the hurting, He raises up lions whose boldness awes even their pursuers. God has not changed His tactics in spreading His Word. It still takes great boldness to stand in the face of the enemy and refuse to yield to him even if it means death for the Christian.
We who live in America know very little about real persecution because the 21st century church has always had the right to worship our God freely, but that is not so in many nations of the world. While we complain about higher taxes, less medical coverage, higher mortgage and rent payments and such things, those Christians living in distant lands are doing the job God gave them to do and dying for it. If we took a good long look at the stuff we possess; how important are those things in the grand scheme of things? Life is not about us, our possessions, and how much money we have, despite what we may think. Life is about the Lord and His plan for man. Always has been and always will be. God wants His Word spread around the world, to see lost people saved, to see His church bring glory to His name, but that isn’t going to happen unless we experience some persecution. Don’t you think it is time we got off of our duff and start doing what the Lord has called us to do? You already know, as long as we are satisfied with the way things are, we are not going to get out of the house and do much of anything for the Lord, but we will when persecution comes, and it is coming, then we will see who the real Christians are and who the pretenders are. During that time Christians will voluntarily separate themselves from the pretenders, and God’s Word will spread, miracles will happen, and people will come to the Lord in droves. But until that time comes, we need to practice what we preach, put away childish things, and seek the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves. This is the way God has chosen to do things because the world is full of pain and people are hurting, and we ignore them. However, one day the persecution will come to America in earnest and I pray we are prepared for such a day and understand that life is all about God and the spreading of His Word. Life is not about us and our lust for more things. We cannot love mammon and God equally. DThrash