Here in America we have been blessed for a couple of centuries to not have very many Christians physically attacked because of their faith in Christ. In other parts of the world our siblings in Christ are suffering torture and martyrdom on a daily basis. (A good website for reviewing this subject is produced by the Voice Of The Martyrs at the URL http://www.persecution.com).
We [in America] certainly have had some tragic instances of physical attacks and murders prompted by hatred for Christ and His followers, and I am not downplaying the critical nature of those few instances. I am however wanting to sound a call for the preparation of our hearts and minds for much, much worse tragedies that will happen to Christians in America in the very near future.
The Apostle Peter shared for us some Spirit-inspired wisdom when he wrote:
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the Name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you… if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that Name.”
~ 1 Peter 4:12-16
“Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal” should be our message to one another when the frequency and the level of violence increases against us. By all means, live with safety and security as a conscious priority, but do so out of love for Christ and His church, and not out of fear. By all means, defend yourself, your family, and your friends but do so knowing that we have eternity in our hearts and our eternity is destined to be alive with Christ.
If you find yourself in a place of danger, “do not be surprised… but rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ… for the Spirit… of God rests on you… If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed…”
The reason I am re-quoting scripture is simple: when your time comes, the Holy Spirit will remind you of what He has said in the scriptures, not necessarily what a pastor said in a devotional.
Jesus said, regarding His Holy Spirit:
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
~ John 14:25-27
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