Posts Tagged ‘Persecution’


Hebrews 10:32-39
Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

Yesterday I was convicted by the Lord of trying to seek wisdom from the world about Him when I had His word in my hands and His spirit in my heart directing me towards Him. My earnest prayer now is that I am remembered as a signpost for Christ directing people to Him rather than being a fountain of wisdom seeking people to glorify me and in the same way I learn to yearn for Christ from His word and be encouraged by His children, not the other way around. When I first encountered Jesus Christ, it was a momentous period of my life and I did not live for the pleasures of this world but to serve Him with my life. My goals and aspirations were centered on Him and all I wanted was more of Jesus in me at whatever the cost was. Where did I lose that yearning, how can I have it back and what is God saying to us today? (more…)

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1 Thessalonians 3:4-8
In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless. But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.

When we take a stand for Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we go against the grain of this world and against Satan who is like a roaring lion, waiting to devour people (1 Peter 5:8). Paul reminds us of the reality of persecution but that is not the point of God’s message to us today. When Paul, Timothy and Silas were being persecuted, they were concerned that the Thessalonians would start to lose their faith and drift away from God. The fact that sincere followers of Christ were not blessed but rather were being attacked constantly would cause anyone who believed in Christ to doubt if their faith was rightly placed. Is this what you have experienced or witness in other believers? What is God’s response to this?

As you can note from Timothy’s feedback to Paul, the Thessalonians were not discouraged but instead full of faith and love. They had good memories of them and were longing to see them again. That was only possible because their faith was correctly placed. When we fully understand God’s calling in our lives and are willing to follow Jesus, we know that we will be persecuted just as He was for our faith in Him. Therefore when we suffer or see other christians suffer, we know that it is our responsibility to pray for them and our Lord and Savior is in complete control. When I think of suffering, I praise God because through suffering, our faith is strengthened and our desire for God is intensified. Lets not be shaken and tossed like the people of this world because our God is bigger than the little storms in our lives and our lives are secured by Christ’s resurrection.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

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Acts 23:1-5
Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!” Those who were standing near Paul said, “You dare to insult God’s high priest?” Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’”

What a tense many moments that must have been for Paul and his accusers. Paul’s statement of completing God’s will did not go well with Ananias who ordered he be hit on the mouth for such an utterance. Paul reacted because he knew Ananias was making a mistake of calling on judgment without a decision being made on whether he was guilty or free because Ananias, as President of the Sanhedrin, could only pronounce judgment on the accused when proven guilty. All of this changes when someone from the crowd reminds Paul that Ananias needs to be respected and Paul corrects himself. Was Paul wrong in condemning Ananias and what is the Lord speaking to us through this?

Paul was aware that there were a few among his accusers who might be open to the gospel and instead of confusing them chose to correct himself. However, we have to note that he does not apologize to Ananias but only corrects himself for speaking against those in authority as is taught in the Bible. For a man wrongfully accused, he certainly showed grace in the midst of persecution and this is not something that comes naturally to us. I am reminded today that in this life there will be trouble because we stand up with Jesus against the forces of evil and we are to always remember that we are to be lighthouses for Christ in this dark world. We are mirrors of God’s love to those who need him and our joy is to serve God with our all.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy


Mark 8:34-38
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

As the pressure from the Pharisees mounted on Jesus to make the world doubt him, he traveled from place to place sharing the gospel because he knew his time was short and there were many who need saving. He dint fight back with the Pharisees because he knew how futile it was to try and change the mind of the hard hearted who had no space for a messiah in their lives. Today’s passage is one that most of us have heard but don’t enjoy much because these are not words of encouragement to the world. Instead, they are words of caution and only a genuine follower of Christ would see the sweetness of what the Lord was saying.

I am the sort of person most people might think of as nice whereas in reality I had some serious issues with sin. I still have areas of difficulty and not to turn back to my old ways is very hard. If there has been change, it was only because the Lord has enabled it in me. However, the big issue is that sometimes, we feel like God would understand if in our humanness we faltered a tiny bit. Unfortunately, that is Satan tripping us into our old selves and we need to always stand guard. To be able to witness real change, we need to hand over the reins of our life to God. When we do so, we will look foolish and ‘uncool’ to the world and might face persecution for it but we will be giving God glory. Are you willing to be shameless to the world for God to transform you and gain victory over sin or do you want to gain the world and loose eternity with God?

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

Nut Cracker in the Woods

 

 


Matthew 26:6-15

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

 

Today’s chapter was the meatiest of the 26 we have studied to date in the gospel of Matthew and therefore it would’ve been a challenge to understand what God wanted us to hear today. However, the 2 tales of money mentioned above caught my eye as amazing. On one side, you have the lady who spent a fortune on an expensive perfume and poured it into Jesus’ hair and on the other side, Judas offers to lead Jesus’ enemies to Jesus for a lot of money. When you look at the question asked by the disciples and the one asked by Judas, don’t you see such an amazing contrast. On one side, the disciples are asking if all that money was worth pouring on Jesus’s head and on the other, Judas is trying to understand how much Jesus’ head was worth? What a crazy contrast?

In your eyes, what is the cost you are willing to pay to follow Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Is there any value that you can put to following Christ when you are guaranteed that following him means walking against the grain of this world resulting in persecution? Are you trying to weigh the cost? If you are, know this that the gain of loosing yourself to Christ is to share eternity in heaven with him, long after our physical bodies turn to dust on this earth. It’s about spiritual blessings that far outweigh all the material blessings this world has to offer and a chance to communicate with your maker which we were robbed off by our sinfulness and filthiness that stands no ground before God the father.

In His Loving Service,

Vineet

Journey to the misty summit

Journey To The Misty Summit