In All Persecutions

Feb 8, 2013
Akron, Ohio
Sunday, October 26, 2014, 5:00 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “For Our Nation.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Thessalonians 1 (NIV84).

Perseverance in Faith

Paul, Silas and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. 4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.

Although it is true that much of today’s modern church, particularly here in America, can be compared to the church in Laodicea (See: Rev. 3:14-22), this is not true of all believers in Jesus Christ in the USA or throughout the world. There are many dedicated followers of Jesus Christ who love him with their whole hearts, who are faithful in service, committed to obedience, and who are walking daily in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. These faithful followers of Christ are also committed to the sharing of the full gospel message of Jesus Christ and our salvation with the world around them in order to see as many as possible saved before the Day of Judgment. They hold fast to the word of God and they do not deny Jesus Christ. As well, they are devoted to loving others with the love of Jesus Christ.

Because of our testimonies for Jesus Christ and for his gospel, and because we stand firm on the Word of God, and we do not compromise our faith, or blend in with the world, and we stand out as different, we are persecuted. The sad reality of the situation here in America, though, is that the strongest and most severe persecution is not necessarily coming from those who do not believe, but from those within the church who profess Christ as Savior, and even from those who are in leadership positions within the church. The reason for this is that so much of the church here in America has blended in with the culture of the world in order to be culturally relevant and to not offend people, and so anyone who does not conform to the new way of “doing church” is often ostracized, kicked aside, forsaken, mocked, falsely accused, rejected, and treated like an enemy of the church.

Yet, not all persecution comes from within the church, though this has been where I personally have faced most of mine. There are many in the world who take offense to our beliefs and who do not comprehend faith in God, belief in Jesus Christ, or the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit within us. They think we just create this stuff in our own minds, or we have preconceived ideas of what we want to believe, which some do, and thus they think we find scriptures to support what we want to believe in order to justify what we say are our beliefs. Granted, there are people who do this, but not every follower of Christ does this. So, those who do not believe will strongly come against us with their insults, mocking, false accusations, and will tell us to mind our own business, to not be judgmental of others, and to stop confronting them with the Word of God, in particular the parts they don’t like.

Because You Believed

All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

We can be encouraged, though, because God has allowed these times of trial in our lives for a purpose. One of the purposes is to strengthen us in our faith, and to develop within us godly character, and perseverance, etc. Another purpose is so we learn to not rely upon our own resources or on our own strength, but so we learn to put our trust in the Lord Jesus and to depend on him for all that we need. As well, when we go through difficult times, and we are comforted by the Lord in our trials, we learn sympathy and compassion for others who are going through difficult times so that we can comfort them with the comfort we received from Christ (See: 2 Co. 1; Ro. 5:3-4; Jas. 1:3-4).

We can also find encouragement in knowing that all this suffering is temporary, and that one day our sorrow will be over and we will get to be with our Lord forever, and then there will be no more pain or crying. Amen! All those who now persecute us will be stopped, one way or another. Yet, we certainly find no comfort in knowing that those who refuse to believe in Jesus Christ will be punished with everlasting destruction, and shut out from the presence of the Lord. We should grieve over that fact. In fact, this should be what motivates us to share the gospel, because we want as many as possible to be saved before our Lord returns. Just the mere thought of so many people dying and going to hell should move us to compassion, and that concern should spur us to share the gospel, in spite of our suffering.

Every Good Purpose

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is so encouraging to know that others are praying for us. We may not even know who those people are, and/or we may not even have specific knowledge of their prayers for us, but it helps to know we are not alone in this battle. So, it is critical we pray for one another.

No matter how long some of us have known the Lord Jesus Christ, we have not yet reached perfection, because as long as we live in flesh bodies, we will still battle the flesh, yet we can be encouraged because Jesus Christ already won this battle for us! Amen! All we have to do is to yield to his Lordship in our lives, submit to his will and purposes, walk in his love and in obedience to what he teaches us, and resist Satan, flee temptation, and draw near to God in full assurance of faith. We don’t do any of this in our own strength, though, but only in the power and working of the Spirit within us, who gives us all we need to live godly and holy lives in this present age while we wait for our Lord’s return.

So, because none of us are yet perfect, even those of us who have known the Lord a very long time still need prayer, and we still need prayer that God would make us worthy of his calling, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13 ESV). To live a life worthy of his calling means to submit to his Lordship, walk in his love, believe in his promises, trust in his mercy, put off the deeds of the flesh, and walk in the Spirit so that we do not gratify the desires of our flesh.

Also, we need prayer that by HIS power God may bring to fruition (completion) our every desire for goodness and our every deed prompted by faith. First of all, these can only come from the Spirit within us, for in our own flesh we have not the desires or the deeds which are in line with God’s word and with his holiness and his purposes.

For each one of us, these desires and deeds will vary depending upon our faith, and depending upon our specific calling, ministries, gifts and assigned parts within the body of Christ, though as followers of Christ we should all desire to see people saved and for them and us to walk in truth and to live holy lives pleasing to God.

For me personally, God has called me to write out what he teaches me each day from his word, and from my time with him in fellowship and in prayer, and to place it on the internet so that a “runner” may “Run With It.” He has also called me to speak to the church here in America, to talk with them about what it means to be a believer in Jesus Christ, to share the FULL gospel, to point out the false teaching that is being passed off as truth, to warn of wolves in sheep’s clothing, and to talk about idols, complacency, spiritual adultery and willful sin, and to call the wayward back to a right relationship with their Lord; to call them to repentance, and to warn of judgment (divine discipline). Yet, the Lord Jesus has also given me a promise of his church revived, so I believe him that he will bring that to fruition.

For Our Nation / An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.
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