Posts Tagged ‘Persecution’

But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies!  Do good to those who hate you.  Bless those who curse you.  Pray for those who hurt you.  If someone slaps you on the cheek, offer the other cheek also.  If someone demands your coat, of your shirt also.  Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back.  Do to others as you would like them to do to you.  If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that?  Even sinners love those who love them!  And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit?  Even sinners do that much!  And if you lend money only to those who can replay you, why should you get credit?  Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.  Love your enemies!  Do good to them.  Lend to them without expecting to be repaid.  Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.  You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” (Luke 6:27-36)

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?  Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?  (As the Scriptures say, ‘For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.’) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” (Romans 8:35-37)

“When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony.  They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?”  Then a white robe was given to each of them.  And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters–their fellow servants of Jesus who were martyred–had joined them.”  (Revelation 6:9-11)

Are Christians to take up arms to pursue battle with our enemies?  In a world brimming with violence and hatred, this question has been much debated among Christians.

How can victory be ours if we are being slaughtered?  How can victory be ours if we are being raped, persecuted, tortured, humiliated and oppressed?  Aren’t these things evidence of being conquered, not victorious?

It certainly appeared to the Jewish leaders and, really, all of Satan’s kingdom, as Jesus was dying upon the cross, that they had won; that they had killed their enemy and won the war.  

Had they known that their violent schemes and actions were only fulfilling the purpose of God and His plan to save humanity from the wages of sin (death), they would have never crucified Jesus.  “Yet, when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world, or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten.  No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God–his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began, which none of the rulers of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him’. (1 Corinthians 2:6-9)

In retrospect, we see that God’s hidden plan was hinted at by what happened to Joseph in the oldest book of the Bible, Genesis.  Joseph’s own brothers, out of jealousy and hatred, sold Joseph into slavery, hoping he would be worked to death as a slave.  But their wicked plan only led to countless lives being saved, including their own, because God was with Joseph.  “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.  He brought me to this position so I would save the lives of many people.  No, don’t be afraid.  I will continue to take care of you and your children.’ So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.” (Genesis 50:20-21)  Note that Joseph, upon having power over his persecutors, did not return evil for evil.  No, this whole story is but a shadow glimpse into what Christ would later do for all humanity.

When a crowd arrived in the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest Jesus, Peter attacked a servant of the Jewish high priest and cut the man’s ear off.  Jesus stepped forward immediately and healed the wound.  He did this knowing that the servant was there to arrest him and lead him to his death (Matthew 26:47-55).   There was a two-fold purpose in this: first, that the actions of the men who were arresting Jesus would soon lead to Jesus fulfilling his destiny on the cross, thereby conquering Satan’s kingdom, and second, that the story of Jesus would not be tarnished by any actions of violence.

Nowhere in the Gospels or the entire New Testament do we have even one single instance of a Christian acting violently in any way.  When Peter tried, he was rebuked by his Master, who instantly righted the wrong.

Violence is of this world.  Violence is not of the kingdom of God.

Christians are in this world, but we are not of this world; we are of our Father in Heaven.  We are simply visitors passing through, sharing with as many as we can the story of the Son of God and His saving grace.  We are merely traveling through on an eternal train, picking up as many passengers as we can from this wasteland to take them home.

We don’t know where our last stop on Earth will be, only our Father knows.  Our last stop may be as an old person, simply fading away in the comfort of our bed.  Our last stop may be suddenly, unexpected, untimely; it may be after much suffering in our bodies.  Our last stop may be tragically, on a highway or by a freak accident.  Our last stop may be at the brutal whims of those who are acting out the violent ways of their religion or lack of religion and we may therefore take our place with the countless others who have been given white robes washed in the blood of the Lamb, martyrs.

No matter the nature of our death, we are guaranteed we will all die.  And if it’s at the hands of another because of our testimony of Jesus Christ, then our life and death has assisted the grand purpose of God and our death brings glory to God. Indeed, so many of the very ones who have oppressed, persecuted and murdered Christians have themselves been saved in the aftermath of their horrendous deeds.  The grace of God is at work in everything.  We need only to surrender our lives to Him.

Those who love their life in this world will lose it.  Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.” (John 12:25)  We are not called to seek to preserve our lives on this Earth.  Yes, we are to treat our bodies as the Holy Temple of God and care for them, but we are not to love ourselves so much as to place our lives ahead of or above God’s purpose.  We do not seek risk to ourselves, but if it comes to us, we are to face it boldly and righteously as Jesus would.  In all things, we are to follow Jesus.

And Jesus died for His enemies.  He loved them.

How does the Christian, then, battle wickedness and evil?  We battle by living righteous lives and by prayer.  Jesus led by example and we simply follow Him and pray that God’s Kingdom come soon!

Advertisements

“One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.  He replied, ‘ You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times!‘” (Matthew 16:1-3)

“Jesus told them, ‘Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’  They will deceive many.  And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic.  Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately.  Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.  Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed.  You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.  And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other.  And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people.  Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:4-14)

“Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires.  They will say, ‘What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again?  From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.’  They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water.  Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood.  And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire.  They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.  But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.  The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think.  No, he is being patient for your sake.  He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.  But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief.”  (2 Peter 3:3-10a)

“Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.  Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along.  On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames.  But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.  And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.  And remember, the Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved.  This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him–speaking of these things in all of his letters.  Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture.  And this will result in their destruction.” (2 Peter 3:10b-16)

The whole world is in turmoil and news of world-wide happenings (propaganda or otherwise) is instantly broadcasted everywhere, sowing uncertainty, fear, and discord in the hearts of the world’s inhabitants.

Wars, threats of wars, terrorism, persecution, pestilence, apocalyptic weather, earthquakes, and famine are just some of the signs that give testimony to the times we are living in; signs Jesus told us to look for and pay attention to. These signs, just as a red sky in the morning signals foul weather all day, are signs that the end is near.

Many scoff, “Yeah, yeah, there have been wars, terrorism, pestilence, earthquakes and really bad weather and famines and plagues that have wiped out hundreds of millions of people since the very beginning of time.  How is today any different from the rest of Earth’s history?”

From a spiritual perspective, it is interesting to note that the acceleration of one bad event after another and even simultaneous bad events on the world stage are de-sensitizing mankind’s perspective on atrocities and disasters.  The more we hear of horrendous events happening throughout the world, the less we care.  It is too much to process in our minds and our emotions.  The very things that should be bringing us to our knees in prayer before God are instead eliciting a deep desire to distract ourselves.

It is more desirable to distract ourselves and there is no limit to the distractions at hand in these times.  And so, while the world rumbles, apathy reigns.  And when apathy reigns, evil does, too.

And this may be the most important sign of these times.  Jesus told us that “the love of many will grow cold” and this little gem of truth is the separating factor that answers the scoffers.  In our time, on a world-wide scale, mankind is bombarded with incessant bad news and our hearts are growing cold.

As Christians, we are admonished by our Holy Father in Heaven to guard our hearts above all else (Proverbs 4:23), to turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34:14), fix our thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable; to think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).  We are, each of us, commanded to share the Gospel with others according to our own abilities given to us by God and above all, to love others, especially our enemies (1 Corinthians chapter 12 and 13).

While we witness the sporadic and violent gasps of this age coming to an end, Christians are the ones chosen by the Most High God to usher in the Day of the Lord, which will make all things new.

Our very lives should be a testimony that we belong not to this dying world, but to Christ.  Let us check ourselves and ask God to search our hearts and correct us while there is still time.  He is being patient with everyone, the lost and saved alike.

The fruit of our lives should be godly living instead of a life tossed to and fro by the desires and selfishness of the flesh, prayer for everyone and everything instead of cold apathy to what we see and hear, love and grace given to all including our enemy, and the bold willingness to share Christ whenever the opportunity knocks.

The Christian life is not for the faint of heart nor the fickle, as it demands more from us than we are capable of on our own.  But the Spirit who lives in us is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.  And through Jesus Christ, who has overcome the world, we look forward to the day of God and hurry it along.

When we hear of our brothers and sisters in Christ being raped, violated, persecuted, imprisoned, mocked and murdered across the world, let us remember that Jesus told us long ago it would happen and that it would escalate exponentially in the last days.  We must not be dismayed.  We must watch and be alert and live the way He told us to.  We must pray and guard our hearts from apathy, understanding that these things are happening just like He said they would.  He is near.

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.  As the Scriptures tell us, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.’  Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect.  They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him.  For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’  But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him?  And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him?  And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?  And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?  That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!'” (Romans 10:9-15)

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

For the word of God is alive and powerful.  It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow.  It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God.  Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” (Hebrews 4:12-13)

The Voice of The Martyrs is a ministry dedicated to serving our persecuted Christian family throughout the world.  In all nations, the most common two requests VOM receives is “Please pray for us” and “Please send Bibles!” 

Voice of The Martyrs uses their resources to print Bibles in hostile and restricted nations where persecuted Christians desperately need God’s Living Word, both for the renewing of their own mind and so that they can share His word with others.

VOM offers two opportunities to be part of this work:

1) Bibles To Captive Nations — through this opportunity, you can be involved from time to time as a “One-Time” contributor and VOM will use your contribution to print Bibles and distribute them where they are most needed.   https://secure.persecution.com/p-418-bibles-to-captive-nations.aspx

2) Bibles Unbound — this opportunity is more detail oriented, as you set up your Bibles Unbound homepage, which begins as a blank world map.  You choose which country/operation you wish to contribute to and set up an Ongoing Contribution that VOM can rely upon as a recurring contribution to their Bible Distribution efforts.  Each restricted/hostile country you send Bibles to will be marked on your map.  You have control over which projects you’re funding.  Once you have your homepage set up, you also have the opportunity to make additional One-Time contributions as you want to.  http://www.biblesunbound.com/qry/mc_home.taf

We live in unprecedented times, with resources and opportunities no generation before us has had.  We have the power to literally reach the whole world with the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ.  There are many ways to use our life to fulfill the Great Commission our Lord has entrusted to us and the two opportunities VOM offers are an amazing way to be involved and fruitful in God’s Kingdom, if you have been looking for new ways to help.

Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves.  So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.  But beware!  For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me.  When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say.  God will give you the right words at the right time.  For it is not you who will be speaking — it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.  A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed.  And all nations will hate you because you are my followers.  But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.  When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next.  I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.  Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master.  Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master.  And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons, the members of my household will be called by even worse names!  But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you.  For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.  What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes.  What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!  Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul.  Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  What is the price of two sparrows — one copper coin?  But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.  And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.  Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven.  But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.  Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth!  I came not to bring peace, but a sword.  ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  Your enemies will be right in your own household!’  If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine.  If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine.  If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.  Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me.  If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God, you will be given the same reward as a prophet.  And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs.  And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”  (Matthew 10:16-42)

Life on earth and everything here is temporary.  We bring nothing into the world with us when we are born and we take nothing with us when we depart.  Clinging to anything here when faced with eternal decisions is futile.

Christians who understand this truly know what it means to give their lives to the Lord as well as the lives of all they love.  That is the ultimate display of trust and God asks for nothing less.

All over the world, Christians hear the words “We will slaughter you.  We will slaughter your family” and they live their lives knowing these threats can turn into a real experience at any moment.

This persecution currently comes mainly from Muslims (not radical, as the standard response in Muslim countries to Christian proselytizing and conversion is to kill the so-called ‘offenders’), but Christians world-wide also suffer at the hands of followers of other hostile religions and Communists.  Families are torn apart over conversions to Christianity, with family members committing “honor killings” and other atrocities against their own flesh and blood.

Jesus warned us far ahead of time that it would be so and, as with everything He said, it’s true.

Pray for Muslims, that they would be given eyes to see and ears to hear the truth of Jesus Christ while there is still time.  Pray for persecuted Christians, that in the midst of their great suffering, they would cling not to the world, but to Jesus Christ alone, submitting to His perfect will for their ETERNAL lives.  Pray for boldness and truth in Christ to shine out in the darkness, through the lives of Christians world-wide, especially those who are being persecuted, so that the glory of Christ cannot be denied.  Father, may Your Kingdom come! 

 

This powerful list of 10 ways to pray for our persecuted family in Christ is from the Voice of the Martyrs Ministry.

1) Pray that the persecuted believers will sense God’s presence (Hebrews 13:5)

2) Pray that they will feel connected to the greater Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:20, 26)

3) Pray that they will experience God’s comfort when their family members are killed, injured or imprisoned for their witness (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

4) Pray that they will have more opportunities to share the Gospel (Colossians 4:3)

5) Pray for their boldness to make Christ known (Philippians 1:14)

6) Pray that they will forgive and love their persecutors (Matthew 5:44)

7) Pray that their ministries activities will remain undetected by authorities or others who wish to silence them (Acts 9:25)

8) Pray that they will rejoice in suffering (Acts 5:41)

9) Pray that they will be refreshed through God’s Word and grow in their faith (Ephesians 6:17)

10) Pray that they will be strengthened through the prayers of fellow believers (Jude 20-25)

 

VOM has made a banner available with this list here:  https://secure.persecution.com/p-5821-10-ways-to-pray-fabric-banner-4×6.aspx.

VOM

“After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come.  Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you.  For you have given him authority over everyone.  He gives eternal life to each one you have given him.  And this is the way to have eternal life — to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.  I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.  Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.  I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world.  They were always yours.  You gave them to me, and they have kept your word.  Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me.  They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.  My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you.  All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory.  Now I am departing from the world, but I am coming to you.  Holy Father, you have given me your name, now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are.  During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me  I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.  Now I am coming to you.  I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy.  I have given them your word.  And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.  I’m not asking you to take them out of the world , but to keep them safe from the evil one.  They do not belong to this world any more than I do.  Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.  Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.  And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.  I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.  I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one — as you are in me, Father, and I am in you.  And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.  I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one.  I am in them and you are in me.  May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.  Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am.  Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me before the world began!  O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me.  I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so.  Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.'” (John 17)

The Living Word of God shares with us Jesus Christ’s last prayer before His crucifixion.  In it, we are allowed a glimpse into the mind, dreams and desires of God Almighty.

Why did Jesus do what He did?  Why did He do miracles? Why did he heal every sick person who crossed His path?  Why did He take the time to teach truth in the Temple every single day?  Why did he take the time to travel to those who didn’t go to the Temple, so that they too could hear the truth?  Why did He turn Himself over to suffer and die a terrible death when He’d committed no crime?

It all comes down to love.

Many of us have experienced the absolute bliss of loving someone and being loved by someone so deeply that we don’t want to be separated from each other even for a moment.  We want to always be in each other’s presence; we feel empty without the other.

Some of us have never experienced this, but long for it.

This ability and capacity for love is straight from the very heart of God.  This is His desire with us.  We see it clearly in Jesus’ prayer, “Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am.”  Christ was willing to do whatever it took to make sure we arrive home safely to be with him forever.  With his life, he fulfilled the requirements to make it so and he has entrusted us, whom he calls his friends, to follow in his footsteps and tell the world about him, so that they too may make it home to be with him.

The task is difficult, treacherous, full of suffering and persecution, but we are one with Christ and with each other.  And this is why Christians are also willing to pay whatever price is necessary for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, even risking and giving their earthly lives, just as Christ did.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

More than 19 million people in North Korea are forced to worship the Kim Il Sung family, wear their image on their bodies and praise them as they would God.  This ideology or religion is called Juche.

This video documents the task and difficulties of spreading the Good News of Jesus to people who live in North Korea.

Please pray for them, their efforts, their resolve, their protection and for the recipients of the Word of God, that His truth would take root in their hearts in such a way as to not be plucked from them when persecution comes.  Our Lord loves each of them and wants to be with them for all eternity.  Father, may Your Kingdom come!

 

Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.  I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.’ The godly people in the land are my true heroes!  I take pleasure in them!  Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods.  I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood or even speak the names of their gods.  Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.  You guard all that is mine.  The land you have given me is a pleasant land.  What a wonderful inheritance!  I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me.  I know the Lord is always with me.  I will not be shaken for he is right beside me.  No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.  My body rests in safety.  For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.  You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Psalm 16)

And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people.  He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:27-28)

Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Many people hold the viewpoint that suffering and death on earth are the worst things that can happen.  They even argue that if an all-powerful God of love existed, he would never allow these things to happen, and since they do happen, he must either be cruel and unworthy of our worship or he must not exist at all.

But Scriptures show us the truth, that we are spirits, simply living on earth for a short time in bodies designed to die and decay and return to dust. Every single human being that was ever born has died and everyone knows that they will die, regardless of the manner or method.  Whether in our sleep, in a tragic circumstance, by a slow cancer or at the hands of another, we will die.

And we also know from Scripture that death is part of the human journey, leading to the next mysterious phase of our life.  Death is the springboard into what is, for many, the unknown; a frightful place for many.  But our loving God, through His Living Word, has given us many glimpses into what is next in our journey when we physically die.

And believing Him, we approach our lives and circumstances on earth with confidence that suffering and death cannot hurt us.  Suffering on earth may certainly lead to physical death, but physical death is guaranteed anyway.  It’s just part of life.

For the Christian, suffering on earth, especially for our faith, is simply drinking from the same cup as our Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered for all.  This is a heavy truth and one that those who belong to this world cannot understand.  We must be made able to understand spiritual truths like this by our Heavenly Father who gives us spiritual ears to hear and eyes to see.  We ask the Lord to be the refuge for our eternal SPIRIT.  We ask the Lord to keep our SPIRIT safe, to guard us and grant us the joy of His presence and the pleasures of living with Him forever.  Knowing our physical body will die, we understand that it is our eternal spirit which hangs in the balance. It is our eternal spirit for which the great spiritual war in heaven is fought. 

It is our eternal spirit that our Lord Jesus Christ died for and was raised from the dead to save, thereby conquering the power of death over us who believe.  O death, where is your sting?

So, as we hear of suffering and death across this planet in turmoil, we must not be dismayed.  Such is life on earth because of sin. Our Lord predicted all of this.  He spoke of evil, wickedness and death and told us who is responsible for it all; our enemy Satan.  He warned us that wickedness would increase quickly in the last days leading to His return.  And He promised to always be with us, right beside us, never leaving us.  Believing this, we can be glad and rejoice; experiencing God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand, no matter how badly the earth and its occupants rumble.  Father, may your Kingdom come!

Prayer Needed For Nigeria and its President, Goodluck Jonathan.

From Voice of the Martyrs http://www.persecution.com:

“Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is divided between a Christian culture in the south and a radical Islamic culture in the north that is characterized by massive riots, bombings and a plan to create an Islamic state.   Since 1999, when military rule ended and one-third of Nigeria’s states implemented Islamic law, sectarian violence has resulted in more than 14,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of people displaced. Greed and corruption consume all levels of government in this oil-rich nation, which faces the growing challenge of division along religious and ethnic lines. Nigeria has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the USCIRF since 2009.”

“In 2009 the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, an al-Qaida ally, vowed to rid the north of all non-Muslim influence, including Christians. Since then, more than 3,000 people have been killed.”

Category: Hostile Nation, Religion: Christian 51.3%, Muslim 45.1%, Ideology: Islam, Head of State: President Goodluck Jonathan

The World CIA  Fact Book lists Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan as Christian.  Though Christians currently outnumber Muslims in the nation, Boko Haram, an al-Quaida ally, are slaughtering Christians in northern Nigeria everywhere they can find them.  President Jonathan not only has to deal with greed and corruption at all levels of government, but also with the civil religious war of Muslims against Christians.  He needs our prayers.

Pray for:

President Goodluck Jonathan, for a sensitivity to the will of God and for conviction and wisdom in how he governs the country.

Christians in northern Nigeria, for their protection and a boldness to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ to their persecutors.  

The Muslim persecutors, for conviction, eyes to see and hears to hear the Good News about Jesus Christ so they may be saved.

Voice of the Martyrs ministry, which actively provides tools for evangelism, medical care for riot victims and job training for widows and other affected Christians.

nigeria

“When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony.  They shouted to the Lord and said, ‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?’ Then a white robe was given to each of them.  And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters–their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred–had joined them.” (Revelation 6:9-11)

“As Scriptures say, ‘For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.’ (Romans 8:36)

If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.  The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world.  I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.” (John 15:18-19)

On 9/10/14, the eve of the 13th anniversary of what is known as “9/11”, the day that Islamic terrorists massacred almost 3,000 people in one morning on American soil, the American President broadcast a message to the American people concerning the newest face of Islamic terror, the Islamic State or ISIS/ISIL, and announced that “ISIL is not Islamic.”

Former Muslim, Brother “Rachid” (he must use a partial name since members of the “religion of peace” will hunt him down and kill him if they can) responded with the truth about Islam and ISIS/ISIL in the below video.

Christians, stay alert, praying at all times.  Pray for our leaders, for the persecuted, for the persecutors and for the lost, that they may be saved while there is still time.  “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)  The battle is already decided and it will come to pass exactly as God told us it would, but we each have our duty while we’re alive on earth to pray, to live a Godly life, and to take the Good News of the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ, to the ends of the earth.

Muslims everywhere are seeing the truth about the dead, false religion of Islam.  They are experiencing the love of God through Jesus Christ and becoming Christians, even if it costs them their earthly lives at the hands of other Muslims.  The Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.  May God’s Kingdom come!

“O Lord, why do you stand so far away?  Why do you hide when I am in trouble?  The wicked arrogantly hunt down the poor.  Let them be caught in the evil they plan for others.  For they brag about their evil desires; they praise the greedy and curse the Lord.  The wicked are too proud to seek God.  They seem to think that God is dead.  Yet they succeed in everything they do.  They do not see your punishment awaiting them.  They sneer at all their enemies.  They think, ‘Nothing bad will ever happen to us!  We will be free of trouble forever!’ Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and bitterness.  Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues.  They lurk in ambush in the villages, waiting to murder innocent people.  They are always searching for helpless victims.  Like lions crouched in hiding, they wait to pounce on the helpless.  Like hunters they capture the helpless and drag them away in nets.  Their helpless victims are crushed; they fall beneath the strength of the wicked.  The wicked think, ‘God isn’t watching us! He has closed eyes and won’t even see what we do!’  Arise, O Lord!  Punish the wicked, O God!  Do not ignore the helpless!  Why do the wicked get away with despising God?  They think, ‘God will never call us to account.’  But you see the trouble and grief they cause.  You take note of it and punish them.  The helpless put their trust in you.  You defend the orphans.  Break the arms of these wicked, evil people!  Go after them until the last one is destroyed. The Lord is king forever and ever!  The godless nations will vanish from the land.  Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless.  Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.  You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so mere people can no longer terrify them.” (Psalm 10)

“O Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning.  Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you.  Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.  Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.  O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked.  Therefore, the proud may not stand in your presence, for you hate all who do evil.  You will destroy those who tell lies.  The Lord detests murderers and deceivers. Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house; I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe.  Lead me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me.  Make your way plain for me to follow.  My enemies cannot speak a truthful word.  Their deepest desire is to destroy others.  Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.  Their tongues are filled with lies.  O God, declare them guilty.  Let them be caught in their own traps.  Drive them away because of their many sins, for they have rebelled against you.  But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever.  Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.  For you bless the godly, O Lord; you surround them with your shield of love.”  (Psalm 5)

“I come to you for protection, O Lord my God.  Save me from my persecutors — rescue me!  If you don’t, they will maul me like a lion, tearing me to pieces with no one to rescue me.” (Psalm 7:1-2)

As news reports, gruesome videos and pictures bombard our eyes and ears of the terrors being meted out against Christians throughout the world and especially in the Middle East, the lie may enter our thoughts and hearts that we are powerless to fight evil on such epic proportions.

Christians are not called to savage barbarism and terror, so we do not fight against wickedness and evil that way.  We do not retaliate.  We do not answer evil with evil.  WE ARE CALLED TO PRAY.  The fight is the Lord’s.  We belong to Him and He is our only hope.  He alone raises up those who will march out to the physical battlefield and defeat the enemies of the Lord.  He alone will deliver His people and serve up proper justice!  He raised up Cyrus The Great this way, naming him through his prophet Isaiah and describing what he would do almost 150 years before Cyrus was even born (Isaiah 45).  That is the power of our Almighty God!

We are given the Psalms so we will know how to praise God, how to thank Him, and how to fight for ourselves and others through prayer to God, asking Him to rise up on our behalf and defend us.

It is not our Father’s will that we would live in fear and terror, robbed of peace and joy and the zeal for life.  It is not our Father’s will that darkness, corruption and death would fill the world, as these things do not glorify His Holy Name.  Life, beauty, freedom, love, peace and joy are the work of God.  Death, corruption, oppression, destruction and terror are the work of Satan.

Let’s take control of our hearts and minds and pray that Satan’s plans and his agents of terror be smashed by our Father in Heaven when He rises to defend His children in a hostile world.  As the world news reports about mass killings, beheadings, displacement and destruction, let us remember we have our own News to present to the world while there’s still time: the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world!

We know that Christian persecution, suffering and martyrdom will increase exponentially in the last days, but we also know how the story ends: every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!  It appears that the clock is speeding up and Satan is doing all he can to eliminate the ones who pray to the Most High God.  As we are slaughtered for the Name of Jesus, let us never stop praying for each other, calling on our Father to rise up and rescue us!  Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have.

When our hearts and minds are clouded with the cares of this world, we can read the Psalms aloud.  They’ve been given to us for this purpose.  They are powerful prayers and we can adopt them as our own.

cardensdesign.com

cardensdesign.com