Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How to deal with persecution

Persecution happens to every Christian and if you are a new Christian and haven't been persecuted yet then wait for it because it's coming. If you have been a Christian for a while and have not been persecuted for your faith then I would wonder if you have the faith at all. For to long Christians have been believing and preaching that when you are a Christian you will have nothing go wrong in your life and if you get so much as a cold then you don't have faith and they are telling people in wheelchairs that if they really had the faith they would get up and walk. For to long Christians have been believing and preaching the "prosperity gospel" which says GOD will make you rich and will give you fancy cars and fancy homes. Well that's all completely wrong GOD does not promise an easy life or riches to anyone. Not that GOD doesn't bless anyone because He does bless us. But what we call blessing and what He calls blessing are often different things. We are blessed when it rains because this waters the crops so they will grow and we will eat the food in the stores comes from what has been grown in fields and animals that people have raised. We are blessed when the sun is out as the sun gives nutrients to many things. We are blessed when we breath our next breathe none of us are guaranteed another breathe no matter how old or young we are. We are blessed if we have some sort of shelter to sleep in. We are also blessed when we go through tough times and persecution. "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven" Matthew 5:10 NIV. "Happy are you when people hate you, reject you, insult you, and say that you are evil, all because of the Son Of Man! Be glad when it happens and dance for joy, because a great reward is kept for you in Heaven. for their ancestors did the very same things to the prophets" Luke 6:22-23 Good News Translation. When you are a Christian people will reject you, insult you, and say that you are evil because of your faith in Jesus Christ. You will be called names and taken advantage off and the world is going to be very unfair for you because of your faith. The world was cruel and unfair to Jesus the Son of GOD why should it treat you any different? The world will hate you because it hated Jesus first and it still hates Him to this day. "If the world hates you, keep in mind it hated Me first" John 15:18 NIV. Even your own family will turn against you because of your faith. "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn 'a man against against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, a mans enemies will be members of his own household" Matthew 10:34-36 NIV. Even Jesus own family did not believe Him and thought Him insane. "For even His own brothers did not believe in Him" John 7:5 NIV. "When His family heard about this, they went to take charge of Him, for they said, 'He is out of His mind" Mark 3:21 NIV. So how do we deal with persecution when it comes? Because it will come and its gonna be tough as it was tough on other Christians. "Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated -- the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since GOD had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect" Hebrews 11:35-40 NIV. Even to this day many Christians in other countries are being heavily persecuted for their faith. Don't believe me? Check out a ministry called Voice Of The Martyrs and you'll see for yourself that Christians now are suffering for their faith. Don't think it doesn't happen here in America or Canada or wherever you live simply because you don't see it because it does. It may be more mild compared to what others go through but like I said every real Christian is persecuted for their faith. I have lost many followers for my blog because of me spreading the Gospel on here it happens. And there is no way to make it more popular to many Church's are trying to make the Gospel look good and more pleasing and make it more cool and it can't be done it is what it is. The Gospel already is good that's why its called the Good News. Whatever flash and stuff you add will not help. There are no special words you can say or anything new or different you can do to make people repent and turn to the Gospel. No matter what you say or what you do the Gospel will always be unpopular and rejected by the world. This doesn't mean that you should give up and not spread the Gospel. No way fight the good fight. "Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses" 1 Timothy 6:12 NIV. Remember when you face persecution it isn't you they are persecuting its really GOD they are persecuting because they feel convicted. "Then He will say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick and in prison, and did not minister to You?' Then He will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" Matthew 25:31-46 ESV. A warning to all those who persecute Christians. Those are GOD's children you are persecuting and you will be judged for this. Lightning may not strike you down now but GOD will judge you for how you mistreated Christians. To the Christian when you preach and spread the Gospel and someone says you can't do that because of their freedom of religion remind them gently and lovingly that you have as much freedom of religion and speech as they do. Always remember to speak the truth in love. You will be tempted when persecuted to get back at them to want revenge but vengeance belongs to the Lord. "Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for GOD's wrath, for it is written: 'It is Mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord" Romans 12:19 NIV. "Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. on the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing" 1 Peter 3:9 NIV. "But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you" Luke 6:27-31 NIV. Also remember that when people persecute you its a Spiritual battle so its not just flesh you are up against. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" Ephesians 6:12 NIV. As you grow as a Christian you will be persecuted and it'll get harder as you grow in Christ this is because the devil happens to hate your guts. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full" John 10:10 NIV. And the devil hates your relationship with Christ and wants to take you away from Him but thing is no matter what the devil does he can't separate you from GOD. "Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, 'for Your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.') No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from GOD's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears today or our worries about tomorrow --  not even the powers of hell can separate us from GOD's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below - indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of GOD that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 8:35-39 NLT. Doesn't mean the devil won't try cause he will. He will tempt you and try to lure you away and there will be times you will trip and fall thing is when you fall your on the ground and its a great place to be on your knees. All kinds of things may happen to you. Think of what happened to Job the very same thing may happen to you will you like Job stand firm in the faith if you lose literally everything? Some may say GOD doesn't get glory in bad circumstances. Oh yes He does! In fact I believe GOD gets more glory out of bad circumstances then when things are hunky dory. Think about it how much do you lean on GOD when things are going great? How much more or much less do you pray when things are swell? Chances are that you lean more on GOD in tough times and pray more in those tough times because you see your need for Him. We always need GOD but we need tough times to humble us and show us how weak we really are and how much we need GOD. Plus we need to really know in the depths of our souls that GOD is enough. GOD gets glory when your circumstances are the worst ever and you lose everything and yet you still say "GOD is enough." Plus we declare it to others when GOD gets us through tough times we say "GOD really helped me out and without Him I wouldn't have made it." So then GOD gets praise that He doesn't really get when things are good even though He should have that He doesn't because we think less of Him when times are good. Plus if things are always great you'll take it for granted and won't be thankful but with tough times when the tough times have ended you can be truly grateful for the good times you have. "Consider it pure joy, my brothers , whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" James 1:2-4 NIV. One good reason to have joy in persecution is because its a sign that Christ can be seen in you. If people didn't see Jesus in you they wouldn't persecute you. In fact I  read about one Pastor who would get persecuted alot and then for a week or so nothing no persecution and he was worried so he knelt down and prayed repentance for all his sins and for Christ to shine in him and persecution be a sign that Christ could be seen in him and shortly after that prayer a stone was thrown at him and it just missed him by a hair and he knelt down thanking GOD for persecution. When was the last time you thanked GOD for being persecuted? When was the last time you prayed to be persecuted? When was the last time you were joyful for persecution? Granted persecution isn't easy it is upsetting its hard but GOD never said it would be easy He just said it would be worth it. Nothing worth doing is easy so GOD sure must be worth it. Your gonna wanna give up your gonna get discouraged your gonna get tired so pray I can not stress enough how important it is to pray during times of persecution. Also have your brothers and sisters in Christ pray for you as well and they will also encourage you. Persecution is not a sign that GOD doesn't love you or has abandoned you in fact its the exact opposite if GOD loves you the world hates you. Your gonna hear from the world to give up and they will ask what is it getting you? After all they are the ones with the big homes and the fancy clothes and the cool cars and can go on vacation 4 or 5 times a year all over the world. When they wave that in your face remember this. "Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you" James 5:1-6 NIV. This doesn't mean there aren't any rich Christians there are Christians who are rich and it isn't a sin to be rich its what you do with those riches that can be a sin. Remember if you are rich it is GOD Who gave it to you and it is GOD Who can take it away anytime He wants and He will judge you on how you used your riches. But just because you are a Christian it is not guaranteed that you will be rich. Do not work for perishable things on earth but for treasures in Heaven. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" Matthew 6:19-21 NIV. So if your in a tough spot right now and are being persecuted be glad because that means Christ can be seen in you and no suffering on this earth can compare to what joy we will have in Heaven when we are with GOD for eternity. "However, as it is written: 'what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard and what no human mind has conceived' -- the things that GOD has prepared for those who love Him --" 1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV. So stand in the day of trial. In fact pray for persecution. Pray for trials to happen to you. Pray for Christ to shine in you. Praise GOD when you are persecuted and be joyful. When everything is taken from you know in your heart that GOD is enough. Trust in GOD always. Persevere and fight the good fight. "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him" James 1:12 NIV. I say once more be ready for trials and persecution to happen to you because as a Christian sooner or later they will happen. Be ready for the world to hate you for your faith because it will. Be ready to be hated, to be mistreated, to be taken advantage of, to be insulted, to be mocked, to be bullied, to be harassed, to be rejected, to be called evil, to be called naive, to have people tell you that you should be ashamed, to be beaten, to be thought of as horrible, to be spat on, to be hurt, to be abandoned by friends and family, to be ignored, to be considered insane, to be called illogical, to have gossip spread about you, for the world to be unfair to you, to be cruelly treated, to lose all you have, to be misunderstood and more all because of your faith and love in Christ Jesus. How the world treated Jesus it will treat you. Here are some links in case you are interested....
The Voice Of The Martyrs - https://www.persecution.com/
Persecution News - http://www.persecution.org/
Open Doors - http://www.opendoorsusa.org/persecution/
Christian Persecution Magazine - http://www.christianpersecution.info/
Prisoner Alert - http://www.prisoneralert.com/vompw_persecution.htm
Christian Aid Mission - http://www.christianaid.org/News/Persecution.aspx
Persecution Of Christians Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians
Christian Solidarity International -csi-usa.org/persecution.html?gclid=COublc22wL0CFZSPfgodkX4ADw
Christian Freedom International - http://www.christianfreedom.org/
Persecution Report - http://www.persecutionreport.org/
Release International - http://www.releaseinternational.org/
One With Them - http://www.onewiththem.com/
Vision Beyond Borders - http://www.visionbeyondborders.org/home.aspx
Persecution Blog - http://www.persecutionblog.com/
Rescue Christians - http://rescuechristians.org/ 
Persecution Project Foundation - http://persecutionproject.org/
Christian Persecution Update - http://www.persecution.in/
Persecuted Christians Care Fund - http://www.persecutedchristianscarefund.org/ 
Door Of Hope International - http://www.dohi.org/us/tfhf.php 
Persecuted Church - http://www.persecutedchurch.org/ 
Barnabas Aid - http://barnabasfund.org/ 
Let Us Reason Ministries - http://www.letusreason.org/Persecut.htm 
Christian Persecution News Sites - http://www.pohick.org/persecutedchurchresourses.html 
Write To Persecuted Christians - http://www.chinaaid.org/p/persecuted.html 
Christian Faith - http://www.christianfaith.com/resources/for-the-persecuted-church 
World Watch Monitor - http://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2013/05/2513266/ 
Kids Of Courage - http://www.kidsofcourage.com/ 
5 Ways To Help The Persecuted Church - http://www.missionalwomen.com/22/post/2013/02/5-ways-to-help-the-persecuted-church.html 
Persecution Podcast - http://www.persecutionpodcast.com/ 
Tortured For Christ - http://torturedforchrist.com/ 
Persecution Project Foundation - http://www.ecfa.org/MemberProfile.aspx?ID=16031 

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