Posts Tagged ‘Suffering’

But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)

“Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder.  Now others are building on it.  But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have–Jesus Christ.  Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials–gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw.  But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done.  The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.  If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.  But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss.  The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.”  (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)

“Then Jesus left Capernaum and went down to the region of Judea and into the area east of the Jordan River.  Once again crowds gathered around him, and as usual he was teaching them.  Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question, ‘Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife?’  Jesus answered them with a question: ‘What did Moses say in the law about divorce?’  ‘Well, he permitted it,’ they replied.  ‘He said a man can give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away.’  But Jesus responded,He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts.  But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation.  This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.’  Later, when he was alone with his disciples in the house, they brought up the subject again.  He told them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against her.  And if a woman divorces her husband and marries someone else, she commits adultery.” (Mark 10:1-12)

What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.  What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.”  (Isaiah 5:20-21)

“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.  For people will love only themselves and their money.  They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.  They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control.  They will be cruel and hate what is good.  They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.  They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.  Stay away from people like that!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” (Luke 6:31)

“One day Jesus said to his disciples, ‘There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting!” (Luke 17:1)

Last week was a historical week in both the world and for God, as the one nation on Earth that the whole world recognizes as a Christian nation made homosexual marriage legal in all 50 states via a Supreme Court ruling that required literally a majority of 5 votes.  5 people is all it took to pass this “law” and trump the 14 states left in America who were holding on to God’s definition of marriage, which was, is and will always be, the uniting of one man and one woman in a sacred union before God that makes the two of them one.  Therefore, the sexual union of any other variety of participants does not meet the requirements needed to fulfill the definition of sacred marriage before God.

One oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms bonded together makes water; no other combination of elements makes water.  Combining other elements together may make a variety of liquids, but calling any of those liquids “water” does not make it so.  For the Christian, one man and one woman bonded together in a sacred union before God makes marriage.  Calling any other union “marriage” does not make it so; it insults God, our Father, and the Author of marriage.

The spiritual implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling on homosexual “marriage” are enormous, as marriage, to God, is an earthly shadow representation of the Lord’s Heavenly, Holy and perfect order in the spiritual realm.  God created and defined marriage.  The Lord will not be mocked on this matter.  Any Christian who celebrates the “equality in marriage” law that was passed last week in America is deceived.  

The deception threatens the relationship with God of all Christians, not just gay Christians.  A straight Christian does not struggle with homosexual issues, but because of blurred lines on the definition of marriage now, as time passes, more and more straight Christians will find themselves on the slippery slope of not identifying homosexual unions as sin; they are in danger of encouraging and celebrating these unions, which defy the Holy and eternal ways of our Lord.  And if they encourage and celebrate it, they are tempting gay Christians.

I am not addressing the world, but the Church, the followers of Jesus Christ.

The world has always twisted the holy ways and laws of God, for it is completely enslaved to Satan who works incessantly to pervert and flip upside down anything that is sacred.  The world has its ways of doing things like “worship”, “love” and “marriage”, but they are not God’s ways and never have been.  That is nothing new.  The world has a secular version of every sacred thing of God.

No, the world is not the problem.

The Church is the problem.  The watered-down, lukewarm, deceived Church who loves to mingle with and flirt with and prostitute herself to the world; the fickle Church with wandering and batting eyes, who says with her mouth that she loves the Lord while she caresses the world.

If we want to know how this behavior makes God feel, we need only read the Book of Isaiah.

To gay Christians, no, your orientation is not a choice.  You had no say in that matter and your struggles are real, not imagined.  Your desire to experience love, to give it and to receive it, is real.  Your desire to express your love sexually with someone is real.  You do not fit the promiscuous stereotype of wild, perverted sexual immorality.  You just want and need to be loved, to have someone you call your own, to have someone to do life exclusively with. And to do these things with someone of the opposite sex is as foreign to you as doing these things with a person of the same-sex would be to a heterosexual person.  The idea is strange and repulsive.

And yet, when you pursue worldly love like this, you end up hiding from God.  Your conscience weighs on you.  You know you have chosen an idol (worldly love) over God and every day that you wake up and choose that idol, you reject God’s ways and His plan for your life.  Your relationship with God suffers.  You do things to try to nurture your relationship with God; go to church, volunteer, study your Bible, but the void and the shame remain.  God did not create you gay, so you cannot reconcile your desires and behavior with His holiness, and this creates a seeming impossibility for you.

If you are experiencing this, understand that the worldly love you want and need so badly is dominating your thoughts; your flesh is tormenting you and bullying you.  2 Corinthians 10:5 states that, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  We do this through the renewing of our minds through God’s Holy Living Word.

You did not choose your sexual orientation, you were born into it, just like everyone on earth is born into sin.  But if you actively pursue the desires of your flesh in this matter, your conscience will convict you.  If you override your conscience for the sake of having a romantic relationship, you may actually succeed in hardening your heart about it so that your conscience does not bother you anymore.  That IS your choice.

But know that everything will be subjected to the refining fires of God’s judgment and anything done apart from Him will be burned up.  We are born naked into this world and we leave this world just as naked when we die.  You cannot take your worldly love with you; it ends when you die.  And, your ‘love’, having been done outside of the holiness of God’s will, it will be burned up on judgment day.  You will have nothing to show for all your time spent in your ‘marriage’.

So what? Are you supposed to just not have anyone to love?  Are you supposed to go through life alone while everyone else you know has someone to experience life with, to marry, to raise a family with, to grow old with?

If you are asking yourself these questions and you think you are hopelessly alone, you are wrong and really quite a bit self-absorbed.  Beware of pity as it is one of Satan’s most effective tools to destroy people with.  There are straight people all over the world asking the same questions.

But any of us who look further into the future than THIS DAY, hoping for this and that, are in danger of temptation and being deceived.  

We are to be grateful for this day we’ve been given.  We are to focus on our Lord, Jesus Christ.  We are to be one with Him.  We are to follow Him.  We are to follow in His ways and obey His commands.  We are to live quiet, productive lives, serving others, spreading the Good News of salvation in Christ Jesus BY THE WAY WE LIVE.  

Choose today whom you will serve.  And when you make that choice, stop complaining that life is not fair and that you got ripped off.  Christians suffer for Christ as Christ suffered for us.  If your suffering is in the form of ‘loneliness’ because you choose Christ over worldly love, accept your lot cheerfully.  Other Christians are suffering in prison, are living in fear of being ‘outed’ for their Christianity, are being rejected and persecuted by their own families, are being driven from their homes and hunted like animals.  Other Christians are being beheaded and mutilated because they choose Christ over their own lives.  And as we rush faster and faster to the end, all Christians everywhere will suffer.  Suffer your lot joyfully for Christ! Separate yourself from the world while there is still time.

Choose each day whom you will serve and be grateful for this day, the present day.  Be focused on the present day and live it with the Lord if He is the One you choose.

Then you will enjoy His love, His friendship, His companionship, His provision for your every need.  And yes, your “need” for worldly love will take its rightful and proper place in submission to your relationship with Christ.

Straight Christians, please understand that gay Christians carry an enormous burden, as the need to find a partner in life is a basic human instinct and an overwhelming one.  Extend some grace.  Have mercy.  Gay Christians do not fit in anywhere.  They go through life knowing their very existence does not fit the way things are supposed to be and this knowledge alone has driven countless precious people to take their own life.  Jesus’ command to treat others as you would have them treat you applies to straight Christians in a major way in this matter and you will answer for how you treat them and for every idle word you speak to them or about them.  Take heed and do it fearfully and humbly, as the Lord Jesus Christ LOVES them very much.

Never forget that Satan’s endgame is to kill, steal and destroy.  It is his deepest desire to rob every one of us of our eternal inheritance as God’s children.  He covets everything that has been designated to us in God’s love, especially our eternal life.  If he can confuse us as to the ways of the Lord so that we accept the lie over the truth, he will succeed in robbing us of our eternal future.  We must always stay on guard and be alert to everything that is happening so that we can rightly discern the truth in all things.

Lord Jesus, please come soon.  And in all things, may Your will be done.

“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.  Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.  Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.  Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.  Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (Ephesians 6:10-18)

“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people.  Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.  Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!  In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.  For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.  If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that?  Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.  If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different form anyone else?  Even pagans do that.  But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

A very popular “Christian” website publishes pictures and stories of the current Islamic “Crusades” happening in the Middle East and Africa.  The author is supposedly a convert to Christianity from Islam, having weighed the ways of Islam against his own moral compass and deciding that Christianity is superior.

As such, he calls his readers to take up arms to wage “Militant Christianity” and cites history’s many examples of Christians taking up physical arms, swords, and such to physically fight against zealous and extremist Muslims and purge them from the earth, since they are wicked and spiritually inferior to Christianity.

He writes about the “Us Versus Them” stance that Christians must take and he says the root of the spread of Islam throughout the world is the Church’s lukewarmness.  Essentially, he says, if the Church was strong, Islam would be a non-issue. But where Islam is strong, it is evidence that the Church is weak.  He says, if the Church is strong, then Islam will be weak.  But what kind of “strength” is he referring to?  He equates spiritual lukewarmness to physical battle-ready weakness and spiritual zealousness with a Christian’s willingness to physically battle flesh and blood wickedness.

A quick read of his standpoint and theory makes sense to the emotionally charged mind.  It’s a very human stance; one that every religion and nation has taken at some point.  He says his call for Christians to take up their “sword” is backed even by New Testament Scripture and he says that Jesus calls on Christians to do this. Whatever he found in Christianity that he considers “Superior” to Islam, he has yet held fast to the extreme Islam principle of killing the “enemy”.  Sadly, a skimming of the hundreds of comments on his website from fellow “Christians” shows that even those who wish to be zealous for God are lost and worldly in their reasoning, as they unfortunately agree with him.

But this is the age-old trick that makes Satan so powerful.  Present 90% truth, mixed with 10% falsehood, and those without the power of discernment in their spirit will believe that all of it is 100% truth.  The best liars that have ever existed have followed the evil one’s lead on this and it is most common in religion and politics, where the average person is fed just enough truth to believe everything that is being said.  CHRISTIANS, BEWARE OF THIS AND PRAY TO GOD ALMIGHTY THAT HE WILL GIVE YOU A DISCERNING SPIRIT THAT CORRECTLY DIVIDES TRUTH FROM LIE.

The old saying, ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” has never been so real as it is in matters of spiritual warfare.

What did Jesus Christ tell us to do about our enemies?  He told us to love them.  Indeed, He commands us to LOVE our enemies and to pray for them.  The “sword” our Lord speaks of is the Sword of the Spirit of God (The Word Of God), which we wield in prayer and obedience.  We protect ourselves by putting on the Armor of God, spiritual armor.

It is true that the mainstream Church, especially in the West, is lukewarm and dull; being subjugated more and more each day to liberal agendas and philosophies that are popular in culture but completely contradictory to Scripture.  The Word of God has instructed us that this is a sign that the end is near.  

The answer is not to take up arms and take part in the new Crusades of violence and hatred that is spreading across the globe, but to live righteously and to pray.

The battle is the Lord’s. We are called to pray. The Lord will purge evil and wickedness according to His perfect will on Earth, as it is not His will for evil to be in the Earth.  But, we are called to pray for it!  Prayer is the vessel that carries the will of God.  The lukewarm, dull Church is failing in this regard because they are not praying for God’s Will or His intervention in the Earth as they should.

The Lord raises up kings and authorities and armies as we see time and again throughout Scripture.  He uses people according to His good pleasure to accomplish His Holy Will. But Christians, who have been handed the keys to the Kingdom in Christ Jesus, must exercise our authority by praying and living righteous lives; demonstrating that we are citizens not of this world, but of the Kingdom of God.

Our lives should be living testimonies of the glory of God and his Supreme Authority over all creation.  Our lives should be conducted in a way that cannot be criticized: “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you.  Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” (Philippians 2:14-15)

“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ.” (Philippians 1:27a)

We harvest what we plant.

The Christian does not plant hatred and violence, but love and righteousness. This is what separates us from the world and makes us stand out as citizens of the Kingdom of God.  Things that concern us, make us worry, make us feel helpless and scared, make us feel unprotected and fragile, or make us feel that we’re at the mercy of evil and wickedness, are the very things we must take to the throne of God Almighty in the Name of Jesus Christ who conquered death and has promised us eternal life.

We must live zealously, yes!  Zealous living for God is one of worship, right living, obedience and prayer.  This kind of zealousness is a sacrifice that greatly pleases the Lord and demonstrates that we belong to Him and are under His supervision and provision for our lives.  When we live this way, we show that we have a King we belong to and we trust Him in every way and in every situation.  If our dying breath is at the hands of a Muslim or any other persecutor, then so be it, as this world is not our permanent residence anyway.  We are guaranteed that we will leave this place behind, whether comfortably or violently.

The goal, therefore, is not to kill whoever does not believe in our God.  The goal is to present them with the Good News of Salvation through Jesus Christ so that they may believe and be saved from the second death, that is the spiritual death.  Many of us may find that this is our last action on earth; and what a glorious action that would be.

If we are ever tempted in any way to react to troubles the way the rest of the world does, the devil is nearby, guaranteed. Stay alert and pray!

“This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15b)

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!

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.  He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (Genesis 50:20)

Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself.  Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your won bodies.”  (Hebrews 13:3)

Richard Wurmbrand, founder of The Voice Of The Martyrs Ministry, spent 14 years in solitary confinement in a Communist Romanian prison.  During this time, even the luxury of seeing colors was withheld from him, as he was dressed in grey clothes and held in a grey cell.  His existence was sustained by one piece of bread a week and water.  Every day, for 17 hours a day, he was forced to sit upright with his eyes open and listen to repetitive brainwashing like “Communism is good.  Christianity is stupid.” His human contact came only as abuse from his torturers and prison wardens.  14 years.

Later, he wrote a short book called “Tortured For Christ”, documenting all that happened.  Interestingly, although forced to endure 17 hours of mental torture a day, when he was left alone, he would walk his grey cell, giving sermons from memory and praying.

What he found out later was that others could hear him.  The other prisoners in solitary confinement listened through the walls and were comforted and sustained by his presence.  And he was comforted and sustained by his Christ Jesus.  Only God knows how many souls were saved over those 14 years, but Richard Wurmbrand would say if even one believed because of what happened to him, it was well worth everything he endured.

As we pray for our brothers and sisters in prison, let us do so with the hope and expectation that their circumstances glorify the name of Jesus Christ.

Prison is often a place where people are sent to be broken and forgotten about.  But God forgets no one.  And when His children are arrested and put in prison for His sake, they are not alone.  Christ is with them always.

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.

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“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!

“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.

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