Friday, November 6, 2015

Celebrating the Persecuted Church //


This is a weekend to remember -- remember our brothers and sisters who live under persecution around the world and to celebrate their lives. They are not as those who hear the Good News of Jesus coming to reconcile us to Himself and abide in us by His Spirit forever "yet he has no [substantial] root in himself, but is only temporary, and when pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles and falls away [abandoning the One who is the source of salvation]."
Matthew 13:21

We know that persecutions are promised... 
Jesus said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, there is no one who has given up a house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, who will not receive a hundred times as much now in the present age—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms—along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.”Mark 10:29-31
...so we need not be saddened or surprised by them. So often we pray for the persecuted as victims and we cant stand to think of their suffering. We ought to celebrate it! It was promised us because there will certainly be trouble for the children of the returning King in the world still by the Prince of Darkness. As always though, good is worked out of what the Enemy intends for evil, and our unshaken faith in the face of persecution shouts all the more loudly for the world the testimony that our hope is sure and steadfast and worth any suffering. Life abundant in Jesus is a more real reality than all the pain and suffering that can come. For "Who shall ever separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? ... Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]. For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:35 + 37-39

So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].
2 Corinthians 12:10

From now on let no one trouble me [by making it necessary for me to justify my authority as an apostle, and the absolute truth of the gospel], for I bear on my body the branding-marks of Jesus [the wounds, scars, and other outward evidence of persecutions—these testify to His ownership of me].
Galatians 6:17

Therefore, we speak of you with pride among the churches of God for your steadfastness [your unflinching endurance, and patience] and your firm faith in the midst of all the persecution and [crushing] distress which you endure.
2 Thessalonians 1:4

DO pray for our brothers and sisters enduring persecution! Praise God for their testimony; for their living sacrifice and the way it advances the Gospel unlike anything else. Thank Him that persecution is always worked for GOOD to them that believe. Agree with heaven, and shut out the fear from the kingdom of darkness, by celebrating the lavish extravagance of lives wholly spent for our worthy King -- in secret and on public display. That kind of givenness looks too much like Jesus to be mistaken. Pray that the persecutors will get Jesus all over them as they squeeze our brothers and sisters, that they will taste and see the goodness of our Present Help + Comfort for themselves as a result of the testimony of the Church.

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