Category Archives: Persecution

The Write Stuff

pencil

Someone must have torn a few pages out of my calendar, or so it seems, because spring just wrapped-up a few weeks ago and now summer is almost over. Consequently, I’ve been reevaluating all the ‘stuff’ that fills my days. What needs to stay, I’ve asked myself, and what needs to go; what needs to improve?

Writing has been on my mind a lot lately. I      haven’t done much of that all summer and truthfully, I’ve wondered why. After four years of devotional blogging, I figured I just needed a break, but that still, small voice inside my heart kept urging me to keep writing –to share the awesome love of God in a world gone crazy.

My intentions were good, but my discipline was lacking. Time kept flying with breakneck speed, and the pages stayed blank. Then it happened; the desire to write began to burn inside me again. Everywhere I turned there was another sign, another reminder, that writing was part of the ‘stuff’ that I am supposed to fill my days with.

Where do I start? I inquired of the LORD. “What do you want me to write about first?  His answer: to remind you, dear reader, that “Blessed are….” Jesus begins his ‘sermon on the mount’ by encouraging and instructing his listeners:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5:3-12).

Amen! I cannot think of a better message for today. May you, dear reader, be blessed, and may you ever be a blessing.

See you next week.

“Everyone but Judas” Clause

HATE

We hate some persons because we do not know them;
and will not know them because we hate them.
Charles Caleb Colton

In John 13:35, we find Jesus instructing His disciples, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” It would be easy to assume that the Lord was instructing  each disciple to love the others who were gathered  in that room, or perhaps, to love every follower of Christ, whether they were present or not. However, in this passage of Scripture, Jesus had just informed the disciples of a traitor in their midst; one that would soon betray Him. Were the disciples supposed to love him as well?

Judas was obviously not a true disciple, but he was amongst the other men when Jesus commanded them all to love one another; there was no “everyone but Judas” clause. There is a great lesson to be learned here, one that is taught in many  passages of Scripture, including Matthew 5:44, wherein Jesus admonished, “….Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you.”

It isn’t very difficult to love others when you know them, and they love you back, but loving someone that hates you can be quite difficult;  especially if they hate you for no apparent reason. Nonetheless, Jesus forbids us to repay hatred with hatred, no matter the circumstance.

Dear reader, there is little doubt that in today’s cold, impersonal society, some folks will hate each other for no reason other  than the one stated by Mr. Colton. It is all the more urgent, therefore, that you love others as Jesus intended. And that  includes every ‘Judas’ in your life!  Remember, there is no “everyone but Judas” clause in the Lord’s book.

Two Kinds of Christians

I’ve heard it said that there are two types of people in the world: those who are “saved” and those who are “lost.” To be honest, I believe that is true –either you will spend eternity with the LORD or you won’t, it’s as simple as that.

Usually, those who make this statement are referring to Christians as those who are saved. Having said that, I would like to break it down further; I believe there are two kinds of “Christians.”

The first category of “Christian” is the one who starts with their world view and then purposely interprets Scripture to make it fit. (only the LORD knows if these are really saved or not.)

The second is the Christian who starts with Scripture and insures that their world view conforms to the written Word of God no matter what. I trust, if you are a devoted Christian, that you belong to the second category. If so, you are quite likely to face persecution for your faith at some point. Just remember, Jesus said:

“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock”
(Matthew 7:24, 25 NASB).

Per-Severe Through Per-secution

From a sermon by Robert J. Morgan

“We must never forget that the word perservere comes from the prefix per, meaning though, coupled with the word severe.  It means to keep pressing on, trusting God, looking up, doing our duty — even through severe circumstances.”¹

The apostle Paul wrote about our journey through  severe circumstances:

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed (2Corinthians 4:8 & 9).

 Did you notice that Paul also used a few ‘per’ words –perplexed and persecuted?  I thought I would, therefore, continue in Pastor Morgan’s thought.

Perplexed
In Greek:      (aporew aporeo ap-or-eh’-o)   perplexed indicates having no way out.

In English:    The use of the term plex indicates a combining form meaning “having parts or units”

 Persecuted
In Greek:     (dioko dee-o’-ko)   being pursued (but the rest of the verse indicates that because we are never forsaken by God, we are not overcome when pursued).

In English:   (Se)cute –cute being a 1615 aphetic variant of acute, meaning sharp or severe in effect; intense or extremely great or serious; crucial; critical

Putting that all together, we may “pursued” by very acute trials, and it may seem there is no way out, but  we will only go through these trials  in parts – or perhaps a better term would be seasons.

 Again, the Apostle Paul speaks of trials and summarizes the previous thoughts well:

 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a SEASON, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:  (I Peter 1: 6, 7 – emphasis mine)

 Are you going through trials and temptations right now?  Keep pressing on!  God will never leave you nor forsake  you – Furthermore, those trials and temptations are only for a short season and the Lord  will walk right through that fiery furnace of affliction with you !

¹Morgan quote taken from Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations & Quotes. Robert J. Morgan. Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville, Tn. 2000