Luke 21; Genesis 38; Psalm 29
I’ve got to admit that I’ve never been persecuted for my faith. I can’t say that I’ve even been harassed. I have been fortunate so far while brothers and sisters in Christ are being put to death in other lands the worst that I can recall is someone unfriending me on Facebook. Jesus warned us about persecution. Isn’t it funny that we count all of the “good” blessings from God as promises, but not the tough times? “But before all this occurs, they will take you into custody and harass you because of your faith. They will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will provide you with an opportunity to testify.” (Luke 21:12-13) When Jesus spoke these words to His disciples, He was responding to their question about the destruction of the Temple. Many would extend His answer to the end of times. In short, what Jesus said was that all kinds of bad things would happen that we might think presage the end of the world – but that would only mean that the time was near. In the meanwhile, when we face persecution, our responsibility is not to moan and whine about it on social media and our blogs. We should recognize it as an opportunity to testify about Christ. We may be killed; we may be beaten; but let our words in persecution be of the love and forgiveness of Christ. Don’t plan what to say – plan to depend on God even in that time.
Lord, so often we look forward to the end of times. You have called us to live in this present, hostile world. As we deal with others in peace and safety, let our hearts and our words proclaim Your love and forgiveness. When difficult times come, let us proclaim the same thing.