From: Port Angeles, WA, USA
|a long time ago i requested this forum here, devotionals and then i never lived up to my word of delivering them... so here is one that i did for Godcentric devotionals
(can also be found at http://www.godcentric.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11 )
WIth just a few days ago being "international day of prayer for the persecuted church" i thought it appropriate to share on this subject accordingly.. I believe that sometime in the future, we all will suffer (and more than just a few jokes from non christian friends and workmates) and be persecuted for Christ. But such suffering, i am not scared of.. It is a sweet pain to suffer for Christ, but such a bitter pain to suffer the consequences of our own sin and selfishness - In one you know your place in Christ, thankful for His grace and mercy, like so many saints of old and new , who can sing praises and give thanksgiving in the most horrible of situations. The have that peace that transcends all understanding ( Phillipians 4:7 ) and are able to love their enemies in ways that we sometimes can't believe, as they are abiding in Christ - experiencing His grace and mercy from moment to moment... The other sort of suffering, is not nice, as we are painfully aware of our depravity and that this is just the result.. It is a bitter suffering, Yet through that we can still come back to Christ, and thank Him that our sins have been forgiven , and He is the one who suffered the most for our sins, we can therefore come see things from His perspective, and rather than wallowing in our self-hate, or annoyance, or gloom, come back to Him and be thankful for the Cross, see his poured Blood as precious, rather than just ordinary
Millions and millions of Christians around the world are persecuted - often extremely - for their Faith - for OUR faith. An ever increasing event (though the harvest of those coming to Christ is also every increasing - AMEN) THe secular news hardly shows of this suffering (or of the growth of the church as well). So how are we to respond? How are we to love our brothers in Christ? Do we actually see them as our brothers in Christ - or do we just see our own countrymen, or even our own church as our brothers.. What are the principles of persecution in the bible?
People who are persecuted so often love their enemies , and so well, they willingly sacrifice their lives because they realise the measure of God's amazing love for them (and they are thankful that they are already saved) and for all people including those who aren't saved, including their enemies.. and they are willing to lay down their lives for their enemies, so that some of their enemies get a chance to know the Truth, to be set free by Jesus Christ, and recieve that abundant love of God which drives them.
Could we do that for our enemies? Do we even pray for our enemies? I think the place to start in loving is in prayer.. I know myself that i don't even pray nearly enough for the ones i love the most, let alone for others in much church, or another churches/christians in other countries, let alone my worst enemies.. But now i give God permission to mess with me , to change me and challenge me in this area..
In Pauls letters you can see him talking of his praying for many churches, passionately, and sacrificially , that he hadn't even met.. He also wrote letters to such churches, in doing that , he was being a true "brother in Christ", and that is what we can do.. We can be aware of those who are suffering for Christ, we can have limited relationship with them, show them the yare not alone, and we can pray, and pray sacrificially (whether the sacrifice is a night of t.v or whatever), and in doing so the heavens will move, and a side affect will be we will grow in Love , and be more like Christ. And it will put God more at the center of our lives, as well as put our lives into perspective.
Can we mourn with those who mourn ( romans 12:15 ) -share their tears, pray and intercede for them with passion...
lets focus on God's words now rather than my own, for His have untainted Truth, and are full of Life first starting with a command for us to remember these persecuted christians.
and the persecuted church cries out to us with the following like paul:
remember and pray for those who are suffering
Lord , forgive me, and others who have put other things above You, and loving ourselves more than you, and more than our brothers and neighbours. Lord Challenge me , to grow up in my faith, and walk like the apostle Paul, and walk like many brother around the world, in the easy times and in the hard times.. Lord give me a heart that would love abundantly, like your heart that loves this world so abundantly, give me a heart that would love others with sacrifice - whatever that sacrifice is. Lord for the perscuted Church, those in trying circumstances now, Please Lord sorround them with you peace, make them aware of your presence and the hope of glory, Help them see that though their oppressors can take away their life they can not take away their relationship with you, nor their faith. give them joy where they are at.. LEt them know that they are not alone.
|I really enjoyed reading this and it did challenge me in some areas, great stuff Karl! I'm going to see if my Fiance and I can do this together. Keep them coming!
|Well written. It gives me more courage.