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Posts Tagged ‘persecution’

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2 Timothy 3:12

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

Christians who are blessed enough to live in the United States are lucky. We don’t know what true persecution is. For the majority of us, we have never had to answer the question, “Do you believe in God?” knowing the answer could mean our death. We have become lazy in our faith.

My daughter, Cree, just started college and has become part of a Christian fraternity called, Chi Alpha. She met a young Egyptian man who has been beaten for his faith. He is 20 years old and has been in the U.S. for 3 years now. In Egypt, he was beaten because of his faith. Even at his young age, he was not ashamed to say Yes, when faced with the ultimate question, “Do you believe in God?” I had to admit to my daughter, that I am not sure how I would answer that life or death question. I would like to think I would say, yes, with complete faith in Jesus, but honestly, I don’t know. I think if we are honest, most of American Christians do not know how they would answer that question, if it meant they would be beaten and killed. We have become lazy in our faith. Now, before you get fired up with righteous indignation, I am as lazy in my faith as the next American Christian. I try, but then I get busy, distracted, and tired. These are my excuses. Completely lame and when it comes to following Jesus, no excuse is a good excuse for being lazy in our faith.

When I think of our Christian brothers and sisters in China, India, the Middle East and other countries where Christians are persecuted, I feel guilty for my laziness and my lack of passion for all that Jesus has done for me. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice! He gave His life, so that we can have eternal life with God. He died, so we may live. I feel ashamed that I have not been willing to make any sacrifices for the one who gave His life for me.

There are 4 important lessons that we can learn from these persecuted Christians:

  1. Hunger– They have a true hunger for the Word of God. Some of them do not even have access to full Bibles, but tuck away the bits and pieces of scripture they have to encourage themselves and others. They memorize the scripture that they have access to and truly hide the Word in their hearts. They know that having a Bible or having anything with scripture written on it could cost them their lives, so they hide the Word of God in their hearts. American Christians have access to Bibles, Christian bookstores, Online Bible commentaries, etc. With all of our access to the Scriptures, most of us never crack open our Bibles, except on Sunday mornings. Sometimes, not even then, because the sermon scripture is usually shown on the big screen at the front of the church. We listen to the sermon and never give it a second thought as we go about our weekly duties. We never memorize scripture. We think that as long as we dedicate one day a week to God, that should be enough to get us into Heaven, right? Think again.
  2. Prayer– They pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The Bible tells us pray continually, but here in America, we usually only pray when we need something or times are tough. We very rarely pray when things are going well. Prayers of thanksgiving and praise are few and far between. Our persecuted brothers and sisters pray continually. Not only do they pray continually, the majority of their prayers are prayers of thanksgiving and praise! They give thanks in their suffering! They lift their voices in praise for their trials! As we, Americans Christians, sit here and wallow in our misery, wondering why God doesn’t work on our behalf.
  3. Sacrifice– They sacrifice their safety and well-being to meet together, read the Bible, and even talk about the Gospel. They know what true sacrifice means. They know that if they are caught meeting together, possessing a Bible, or talking about the Gospel they could be beaten, imprisoned, or killed. In America, we are blessed with the freedom to worship as we wish. Reading the Bible in public will not cost us our lives. Meeting together will not cause us to be imprisoned. Sharing the Gospel will not result in us being beaten. We sacrifice very little to follow Jesus. Even in tithing, we figure out our bills and then see how much we have left to give back to God. Our persecuted brothers and sisters give out of their poverty, trusting that God will provide their needs.
  4. Unified– They are unified in their faith. They come together in unity as the ONE Church of Jesus Christ. In America, we are all divided by man made denominations. We allow ourselves to be separated by denominational lines. Each denomination thinks that they are “right”, even though, each denomination interprets scripture to suit their own beliefs. We need to let go of our denominational ties and worship God as ONE Church.

I am challenging Christians in America to WAKE UP! We never know when we may be asked that one question that could cost us our lives. What will your answer be, if challenged by the question, “Do you believe in God?” Will you fearfully answer no, or will you say YES, trusting God for the outcome?

Psalm 86:11-13

11 Teach me your way, Lord,
    that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
    that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
    I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me;
    you have delivered me from the depths,
    from the realm of the dead.

This is my prayer. Let it be yours, also.

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