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Saturday, September 25, 2010

What Does Persecution for the American Christian Look Like?

Have you ever asked yourself that question?


I do often.


Is the persecution that is talked about in the Bible solely that which is directed toward the Gospel that we live, teach and preach?


When I look at it in context it surely looks to me as though it is.


2 Timothy 3:10-12
Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance,  persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.


(bold emphasis mine)


This is Paul's last letter to his beloved son in the faith, Timothy. He's preparing him even further for what he needs to anticipate in his own life as a minister of the Gospel.


But, do we think about persecution for our beliefs?


Are we persecuted?


In countries across the ocean, persecution for the Gospel often means death, beatings, the burning down of churches, the loss of family.


Ooh. Might have hit on a hot button there for some of us. 


The loss of family. 


That can certainly happen to us here, can't it? And it does.


Momma-Nan wrote about that yesterday in her post, about how she had lost family members when she gave her life to Christ.


Has that happened to any of you?


I'm preparing to lead a study at our new church which begins tomorrow night. 
We'll be using the book "LORD, Teach Me to Study the Bible in 28 Days."





Ladies, you and your teen girls are invited, by the way...if you live in the Chattanooga area. Just send me an email at whatilearnedfromthewordtoday@gmail.com and I'll give you all the details!


So I sent an email out yesterday to the people in my neighborhood, hoping that someone might like to come and join the study. I've really been wanting to meet some of our new neighbors and thought this might be a nice way to do just that.


This morning when I opened up my email account, I was so excited to see that someone had responded, and couldn't wait to read the note!


However, the words it contained were like an arrow through the heart. 


Do you know what I mean when I say that? Have you ever had someone's words pierce so quickly and deeply that it seemed as though you could really feel it? Like it took your breath away?


That's how this was today. Just one little sentence, typed in bold with about a gazillion exclamation marks behind it.


take me off your mailing list!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


There was no "please," no "I'm not interested," no "I'm an Athiest and have no interest in the Bible," no "Hey, welcome to the neighborhood, but please don't invite me to another Bible study."


Nothing like that.


Just bold and angry and super well punctuated.


And just like something the enemy would love to use to kick me off focus for tomorrow night.


I'm wondering if there will be more coming today?


It never seems to fail, when I'm about to step out and lead a study something odd and discouraging always happens.


Yet I'm left with the reminder from Paul's words that 


all 
who desire to live
godly 
in Christ Jesus
will be persecuted


It doesn't say some.
It doesn't say those who make it look good on Sunday.
It doesn't say those who desire to live godly in Buddah or Allah or of themselves and their own good works.


What it does say is in the name of the Son of God...Christ Jesus.
It refers clearly to those who are in Him, and desire to live for God in Him.


And it promises persecution.


Paul is telling Timothy that he can count on it!


And not only Timothy, but ALL of us who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus!


So, while the devil would have us pack it in when the persecution comes, Paul reminds us that from every single time he encountered persecution, the Lord rescued him out of each one!


If He will do it for Paul, will He not do it for us?


Isn't that what it seems that Paul is telling Timothy as an encouragement to him?


I want to encourage you too, sweet friends. 


The Gospel means life for the dead.


LIFE for the DEAD!


Isn't that worth being persecuted for?


To give another an opportunity for life?


Your brothers and sisters across the sea are laying their lives down every day. Many literally.


Who in your life are you willing to reach out to in love, risking being persecuted by them in word or deed, that they might have an opportunity to hear the Word of Life?


I would cherish your prayers for our class tomorrow night...most of the women coming have never done a Precept Bible Study. 


Please pray that their walks with God will be transformed as they learn to study the Word for themselves. 


Please pray for me, that the words I speak will be only those that are as one who is speaking the utterances of God.


Much love to you today,
Jes





















3 comments:

Renae said...

Anytime we're passionate for the Lord, pursuing righteousness and reaching out to the lost world to draw them to Christ, there's a battle in the spiritual realm. As you've realized (& stated so well) it's to be expected. Not only is it to be expected, but I think it's a good "sign" that you're doing JUST what God wants you to be doing...why else would there be an attempt to thwart it? So be encouraged, my sister-in-Christ, and trust in HIs strength for the victory. As Tozer said in a devotional I was reading this morning, "Because He is perfect and because He is holy, His believing children are safe. Confidently knowing that the Lord God omnipotent reigns, and knowing that He is able to do all that He wills to do, I have no more doubts. I am safely held in the arms of the all-powerful God."

Jes said...

I love you Renae!

Thank you for your comments on both this and the last post.

Unfortunately, you didn't get to meet Momma-Nan. She's a dear friend of mine who is like a mother to me.

If you come to TN for a visit, I'll do all I can to make sure you get to meet her.

She's wonderful!

XOXO,
Jes

Janan Kash said...

Oh Jesica - just think - now you know how you can pray for her! At least you got a response. That is something you can hold on to.

I think it is special that God saved her just for you. He allowed you time enough to get situated and comfortable in the neighborhood and then said, "Okay, here's someone who really needs me - let's give her to Jes, My good and faithful servant!"

I hope you respond to her with words of love and put her on the top of your prayer list! Let's love her into the kingdom! Send me a message with her name and I'll lift her up too.

Praying for you and your ladies tonight. Love the Tozer quote - Because He is perfect and because He is holy, His believing children are safe. Confidently knowing that the Lord God omnipotent reigns (YAY) and knowing that He is able to do all that He wills to do, I have no more doubts. I am safely held in the arms of the all-powerful God."

Love,
Nanners