and You – Are you claiming it!”
love “claiming” or saying the promises of God are for me.
Well, today, I may be adding a promise that you more than likely
haven’t been claiming.
let’s look at our main scripture for today’s devotion:
So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has
left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother
or wife or
children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a
hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and
children and lands, with
persecutions—and in the age
to come, eternal life. Mark
“wife” taken out as it is NOT in the original Greek.
The act or practice of
persecuting; especially, the infliction of loss, pain, or death for adherence to
a particular creed or mode of worship.
In the New Testament
comes from the Gk. word dioko,
which means: "to pursue" or "chase away." Over
time it came to mean "to harass" or "treat in an evil
let’s take a look at II Timothy 3:12:
“Yea, and all
that will live
godly in Christ Jesus shall
suffer persecution.” 2
promised us, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (Jn.
did not promise us a rosy life. He
promised us suffering. This is why he calls his followers to first
“take up their cross” and then to “follow” Him. In Matt.
16:24 “Jesus put the emphasis on self-denial and cross-bearing.” Side
Note: Though this statement is true, “I also believe our WORST day in Christ
(as a Christian), is better than
our BEST day without Christ (lost).”
As we look back into the Book
of Acts we see the church was getting comfortable, even though they were told in
1:8 (to take the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth.
8:1-4, persecution came and the church then spread to Jerusalem,
Judea, Samaria, through the earth.
anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and
follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his
life for my sake will find it. (Matt. 16:24-5)
like to share some personal experience along this line:
I went over to India in 2006
for 3 weeks (one week travel time) and preached 21-22 times while there.
The people were so hungry. I
preached my heart out. Then, in one
of the last meetings, as we were driving approximately 1-1/2 hours across dirt
in the dark to return to the pastor's compound who invited me to India, he let
me know we were being followed by Hindu extremists who had been following us to
some of our recent meetings, and wanted the meetings stopped. In America the
persecution is there, but not at this level.
As we were followed (and our van was not running well), I had to ask
myself if these people pull us out of the van and beat us or threaten to kill us
(or ME), am I going to be a coward and cry "Please don't hurt or kill
me"? I thought about it very
soberly and thought of how boldly I had preached the gospel over 20 times in
India. So I prayed to the LORD that if we got pulled over and attacked that He
would help me to not be a coward. The van, though not running very well, made it
back to the compound safely, but it seemed like an eternity as we were followed
the entire way. That
was a real lesson to me about how deep does my Christianity goes!
It was very sobering for an American whose level of persecution is when
someone refuses a tract, laughs at you, etc. That being said, I will be
going back in 2009 - PTL!
I also have an evangelist
friend in Pakistan, who has lived in Pakistan his entire life – His response
to persecution - It's NO big deal
it's part of life as a Christian.
of the persecuted church in China - heavily persecuted, beaten,
tortured, thrown in jail, and killed for their faith
– Yet there are more true
Christians there than anywhere in the world. We feel sorry for all the
suffering that Christians around the world suffer (and we should), but while we
feel bad, sad, and sorry for them, and are praying for them (and we should), they
are praying for a true move of God in America.
has more than 15 million Christians in government-sanctioned churches, but as
many as 100-130 million in unregistered congregations (these are the saved).
Fifty or more Christians were
arrested in January of this year after communist leaders viewed a new video,
"The Cross: Jesus in China," produced by a California-based group,
China Soul for Christ Foundation.
are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom
of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you
when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against
you falsely for My sake. 12 "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is
your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
from Life Application Bible on verse 11-12:
Jesus said to rejoice when we are persecuted.
Persecution can be good
It takes our eyes off earthly rewards.
It strips away superficial belief.
It strengthens the faith of those who endure.
Our attitude through it serves as an example to others who follow.
only does Jesus imply that persecution is coming but you're blessed as a result
The promise we have is that
when you choose to live godly lives, we can expect persecution!
is no fool who gives what he cannot keep (life) to gain what he cannot lose
by: Jim Elliot wrote that in his journal shortly before giving his life
(martyred) on the mission field. He
knew that the cost of the cause of Christ is everything you have.
about you, do you know real persecution? If
not, why not?
It's promised in Mark 10:30 and
II Tim. 3:12 and was (and still should be) a normal part of the true church's
everyday life. The
persecuted church has always been a growing church.
Maybe what we in America need is some real persecution!
a touching longer clip (30 min.) on China Christians at: http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=cec3d9fd68600c58ee43
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