Persecution?

  Historically, Christians have suffered a great deal of persecution.   Of the 11 original apostles who were left after Judas hanged himself, it is commonly thought that all went to a martyr’s death, with the exception of John, who was exiled to Patmos.  It is a matter of Christian history that multitudes of believers down through the years have been severely persecuted, even to the death.  In our Western culture, we have had it relatively easy, but is that any kind of guarantee for the future?  In our day, freedom of religion is being misdirected to mean freedom from religion.  There is a wave of tolerance that says, “anything goes,” and those who continue to call sin by its proper name are considered narrow and bigoted, and may soon be accused of hate speech.  We know that these things are merely a fulfillment of Bible prophecy, that in the end time conditions for believers will greatly worsen.  There a few things that we need to remember and meditate on:  Jesus said that the servant is not greater than the Master, and that because they hated Him, they will hate us, also;  but, we should also remember that any suffering we endure for the cause of Christ is “the cross” that we are commanded to take up.  Jesus said that we are to “deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him.”  Why should we do this?  Because our true allegiance is God, and before Him, we have no other gods.  Persecution takes many forms.  It may as subtle as someone thinking we have gone crazy over the Bible.  It may take the form of a hindered relationship with another person, because we are determined to give our first allegiance to God, even over others who are very dear to us.  It may take an economic turn, because we will not compromise our moral values on the job by lying either for ourselves or someone else.  Then, like so many down through the years, it may require our very lives.  Is it worth it?   I think if we could ask those who have suffered persecution and have now gone on to glory, they would give a resounding, “Yes, it’s worth it!”  The Bible says, “I reckon the suffering of this present time is not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

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