"God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what He has done, collecting a following for Him" (1 Corinthians 1:17)

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Beaten and Bruised

“So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me,
a prisoner for His sake,
but by God’s power accept your share of suffering for the Gospel.”
(2 Timothy 1:8 NET)

MY PRAYER: Lord Jesus, last night Jared and I were discussing how horrific it must have been for the early disciples and the suffering they endured, much like Stephen in the book of Acts. It’s hard to imagine what they must have faced and experienced from those who hated them and the Gospel they were preaching. Yet, Lord, times are no different now. 2,012 years later, there are still many people who are suffering because of Your name. Father, I pray that You keep these courageous men and women safe, and show them special favor, Lord, as they continue to tell the world Your Good News.

REMINDER FROM GOD: Those who are persecuted are hated for My name’s sake. They are hard pressed on all sides, but not crushed; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. I, too, was despised and rejected by men. I was flesh and blood, a Man of sorrows and well acquainted with grief. I was beaten and bruised, chastised and afflicted, although I had done no harm, nor was there any deceit in My mouth. Those who suffer persecution shall never perish; neither shall they be snatched out of My Father’s hand. I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage—I have conquered the world. Just as Stephen suffered for speaking the truth, those who are persecuted should look to the open heavens and they will see Me standing at the right hand of God! And as he was being stoned, he still humbly pleaded for their lives: “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.”
(See Luke 21:17; 2 Corinthians 4:8-9; Isaiah 53:3-5, 9; John 10:28; John 16:33; Acts 7:56, 60.)

NOTE TO SELF: Sometimes, in my own little world of sorrow, I forget that there are many out in the world that are truly tormented and tortured for Christ’s sake. They speak only of love and salvation, yet they are beaten and bruised for bringing Truth into the world. Although I know this is not God’s will, Jesus did tell us that we would suffer for His name’s sake. He told us we would know trouble, and we would be hard pressed, persecuted and struck down. Our hope is knowing that while those things are being done to so many people around the world today, they can look directly into heaven and see Jesus at the right hand of God! And throughout their suffering, realize that they are humbly seeking the forgiveness for those who harm them. Jesus suffered much for us, and as missionaries go into territories that are hostile to the Gospel, we can be confident that Christ’s peace is with them and they shall never perish, nor be taken from God’s loving embrace. 

{How are you persecuted for your faith? When you are persecuted, do you feel ashamed of your beliefs, or do you ask God to forgive those who persecute you? How can you be confident in your faith today, knowing you may be persecuted for your relationship with Christ?}

I strongly encourage you to be aware of the persecution that many are suffering for Christ’s sake. We need to be educated on what’s happening in the world, especially concerning our brothers and sisters in Christ who are bravely standing in harm’s way to bring love and salvation into this cruel and unforgiving world.

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