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" Persecution "

As I was waking up this morning (9/9/96) to Chuck Colson's "Break- Point" on the radio, he was talking about all the "suffering Christians" around the world. Illustrating specifically a little boy who was beaten continuously until he recanted and "became" a Muslim. Christians by the hundreds and thousands in Muslim, Communist, Eastern countries suffer persecution & torture of imprisonment, beatings, dismemberment, rape, burning and death.

Mr. Colson was encouraging his hearers to 1) Pray for these brethren, that their suffering might cease, and 2) to become active in approaching people in authority to help lessen their plight...to write letters and make phone calls, etc. I have seen similar threads posted in forums, and received such e-mail.

While these are nice sentiments, what did the early Christians do when they were threatened and beaten?

When Peter and John were threatened, and told not to preach in the name of Jesus, they returned to the assembly, and prayed, "Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word..." (Acts 4:29)

What?!? No... "Lord, please make the threats go away!"..?? No!! "And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness." (Acts 4:31)

There was another day they stood before the council. "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name?" But Peter and the others answered..."We ought to obey God rather than men." (Acts 6:28-29)

This time they were beaten (flogged), and further threatened. And they "departed from the presence of the council, REJOICING that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name." (Acts 5:41)

Let us realize that until Christ returns, there WILL BE persecution. Jesus said, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

He gives us peace. James further encourages, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials..." (James 1:2)

Jesus gives specific instructions regarding persecution. His demand is "you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved." (Mt10:22) And further, "he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it." (Mt10:38-39)

--All of Matthew 10 is worth reading--

Rather than praying that the persecution "goes away" ...let us pray that our Brethren will remain strong. That they will not recant as the little boy did. If we are truly Christ's, THERE IS NO OPTION TO RECANT the Faith. If we do, we are Not His!

May we see more Believers who are Strong in the Lord and the power of His might. (Eph6:10)



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