Tag Archives: persecution

They Were Flogged

Acts 5

We rejoice over God’s miraculous freeing of the apostles from prison – as we should! But sometimes I overlook the fact that even though God rescued them, the men were flogged, or caned, beaten with a stick before the religious leaders were done with them.

This is only one of countless atrocities the apostles experienced as they diligently spread the Gospel of Jesus and established the Church. Being a Christian, especially a vocal Christian, came with some tough stuff.

Gamaliel was right. If these men had struck out on their own, decided to make up a religion to counter the Jewish religion, it probably would have died a natural death. Who in their right mind would be beaten and/or killed to protect a lie?

But the disciples didn’t just stop because things got tough. They even counted it a joy, a privilege to take the beatings for Jesus’ sake. They kept preaching the Gospel, wearing the bruises.

The same Gospel they preached is still being preached today. We in the States still can preach it loud and strong without fear for our lives or the lives of our children. That’s not the case everywhere in this world. People are being mistreated and killed for sharing the Gospel, just like they were in the early days of the Church. But the Gospel keeps going because those people are willing to endure unimaginable hardships.

It makes me wonder what I’d be willing to endure to keep the Gospel going.

August 4; No Matter What

2 Kings 24:5-6,8-9; 2 Chronicles 36:8-9; 1 Chronicles 3:10-16; Jeremiah 9:16-21, 10:17-25; 12:7-17, 19:14-20:18; Daniel 3:1-30

Our Sunday School lesson this morning centered around Paul’s second letter to Timothy. We talked about how important it is for us who know and love the Lord to spend quality time in God’s Word, the Scriptures that are God-breathed. We were encouraged to read it and ask God to give understanding and direction as we grow in Him.

Our daily Bible reading and prayer time is crucial because, like Paul said, Christians can expect persecution. It will happen. Jesus told us in John 15 that the world hated Him, and we who love Him should expect to be hated by the world, too.

In my quiet time today, as I read the passages in my chronological Bible for August 4, I heard God tell me the same message. I read about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace. I read about Jeremiah who was beaten and forced to spend the night in stocks at the Upper Gate of the Temple. All four men were persecuted because they would not back down. They would not compromise what they knew to be true.

The time is coming, dear Christian, and is now here when we, too, could face persecution for loving Jesus. We can expect it. The liberal agenda is gaining strength, and they hate us. They consider us their enemy. And they want us silenced. We need to be praying for them every day.

Let’s gear up. Let’s train ourselves by studying God’s Word while we still can, hiding the Truth in our hearts. Let’s encourage each other to be strong. And let’s stand together without compromise, no matter what.

August 22 – Yet


These days it’s easy to be fearful of what lies ahead for planet Earth. The persecution of Christians is seen in parts of the world and, the signs are such to believe it will happen here. We read about a child who is strapped with a bomb, going to a wedding and blowing himself and 51 people up as an act of terrorism. We see sin celebrated like we’ve never seen before, and Jesus reduced to just another religious leader.

How long is God going to tolerate our depravity before He punishes us? How long before we realize God’s wrath?

Habakkuk was fearful about his future, too. In 3:16 he said he had butterflies in his stomach, his lip quivered, he felt sick because he found himself waiting for “the day of distress” when God would send people to invade them. The signs were there. God’s wrath was inevitable. And Habakkuk was scared to death.

But Habakkuk ends his book with a determination I want for myself. He says no matter what happens, if the vines quit producing fruit, if there is no food, if the livestock is cut off and no cattle are in the stalls:

Yet I will exult the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength… (3:18-19a) (emphasis mine)

I don’t know what is around the corner for us here in 2016. I could make myself crazy worrying about it. But Habakkuk has a better idea.

I’m going to praise God every day. I will rejoice in the fact that my sins are forgiven and I walk with God. I will allow Him to be my strength and to direct my path. I will be faithful to Him no matter what, and will share the Gospel until I have no breath left.

That might not be easy, depending on what lies ahead. But, with Habakkuk I want to say no matter how bad it gets…

YET I will exult the Lord.

March 2 – Can’t Win For Losing

Numbers 16&17; Psalm 90

Some of the Levites were jealous. Who did Moses think he was, anyway? We’re good men, too, they told themselves. “All the congregation is holy.” (16:3)

So in their rebellion, they decided to do the work of the priests, to offer the incense in the censors made holy by God’s Presence. Long story short… the earth opened up and swallowed them whole.

Now that’s not what spoke to me today. It’s what happened the next day. The Jews got together, went to Moses, and said, “Now look what you’ve done.” Moses can’t get a break.

And sometimes, neither can we 21st Century Christians. The world is paying for their own rebellion against God. Wars, disease, murders, prejudice, unrest, fear, need I go on?

Yet who are called haters? Christians. Who are considered intolerant and judgmental? We who stand for the truth of Scripture.Who’s fault is it that some poor guy feels repressed in his male body? You get the picture.

In the chapters we read today, God continues to demonstrate His power, His right to be worshiped and obeyed. I’m not so sure He won’t open up the earth and swallow us whole. It’s not like He hasn’t done it before.

Psalm 90 addresses this, then asks God to teach us to number our days that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. I like that idea.

May God’s majesty be seen by our children. May His favor be upon us as He confirms the faithful work of Christians as we obey Him. May we continue to be a light in this dark world of sin. May we express His joy in the midst of trouble.

And may we continue to pray for a world that so desperately needs Him.

Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled

Sometimes when I watch the news and am faced with the way Satan’s power seems to be getting stronger in ISIS, in American politics, in our courts and on our streets, when I see flagrant sin proclaimed as the “new normal”, and people who call themselves Christian accept sin and tolerate multiple avenues to God, I get anxious. I find myself worrying about what’s ahead for us in this country, what kind of world my great-nieces and nephews will inherit from us.

Then I read what Jesus said to his disciples right before he was arrested: Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in me. (John 14)

History tells us these same disciples endured persecution like most of us have never seen. They watched Jesus die. They fled for their lives. Some were tortured and killed because they did believe in Jesus. But Jesus told them, let not your hearts be troubled.

I don’t know what lies ahead. I can guess according to what I read in the Bible. And the thought of what will probably be makes me sad. I want the babies in my life, their mothers and dads, to be grounded in the Truth of Scripture, to believe in Jesus. Because then I can face the future knowing Jesus is preparing a place for us, to be with him where he is. I can choose to not let my heart be troubled because I believe in Jesus and trust what he says.

I pray the same for you.

Dear God, it sounds like I’m throwing in the towel, and really I’m not. I will continue to pray, to stand for the Truth revealed in your Holy Word, and live my life to reveal you to those who don’t know you. I believe you will continue to bless those who call on you in Spirit and Truth, that your Holy Spirit will continue to draw all men to you as long as there is life. But I also know, Lord, you are coming again. This life on planet Earth is not all there is, and one day that angel will blow that trumpet, and everything will change. And unless your children hold strong, things will continue to decline. So keep us strong, Father. Give us courage and confidence and purpose. Thank you for telling us it’s possible to face the future without troubled hearts because we believe in Jesus. Be with our children and may we raise them to honor and fear you. Prepare them for battle, Lord. Prepare us all. And may you find us faithful.