Trials and tribulations should be expected by all who choose to follow Jesus. The Christian walk is not an easy one. We must realize that we do not wage war against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities, spiritual wickedness in high places. It is fortunate when our worst days of “spiritual warfare” are when we are faced with temptation, fight the urge to use vulgar language, want to lie, or refrain from doing good when we should. These are very real circumstances, and submission to these things are sin. If this is the worst we face, and I know at times these are bad enough, I also know it could be so much worse.
I am afraid that we will indeed see worse. There is a storm on the horizon gaining momentum, speed, and strength. That coming storm is persecution. In the headlines of media and news, and across the globe on television we see a very open and violent persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Men, women, and children are being kidnapped, crucified, tortured, beheaded, and gunned down because of their Christian faith. I feel a strong burden to pray for those people and the horrible situation they face. Please remember those people in your prayers.
These situations should not take us by surprise. As we see prophecy being fulfilled, we should know that it will continue to get worse. These things have been foretold:
Matthew:24:9: Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
Luke:21:12: But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.
2nd Timothy:3:12: Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
I believe we are seeing the very beginnings of those verses taking place. I also believe we are witnessing a very strong faith in Jesus Christ by those people who are more willing to die than deny the Savior. We often read of martyrs from the history of the church and their valiant fight of faith, yet, do we realize that we are also now seeing it in the present?
It is easy to say “well, it isn’t happening here” and carry on with our lives because we do not see it affecting us directly. Those people are our brothers and sisters in Christ, we better care! Their faith to the death should be a witness to you, it doesn’t show their strength, it shows His strength within them.
Luke:21:13: And it shall turn to you for a testimony.
Don’t be fooled though, the storm is coming to you also. The persecution of the church has already begun. Prayer in schools or at school functions has been forbidden. City and state governments must now speak the name of Jesus in whispered voices or behind closed doors for fear of who might hear. Your beliefs may now exclude you from jobs, positions of authority, or show you as impartial or biased. Speaking your belief of Jesus as Lord and Savior could next lead to belief that you are a radical or guilty of a hate crime. You could be taken to court and found guilty simply because you stand on ideas and principles found in the Bible.
Right now, our government tolerates Christianity. We were once a government of the people, by the people, for the people, but we are soon to be a people under a government, unlike what we know today. If you understand Bible prophecy, you already know a change in government is coming. I believe that change is already taking place, but we still see the illusion of what we had. That veil will soon be removed and the persecution we see today will be a fond memory, because Christian persecution will be multiplied exponentially.
Please pray, pray for those suffering persecution to the death, pray for their safety and their lives, that their testimony speak to those who do not yet believe in Jesus. Pray for our churches, our national, state, and local leaders. Pray, if not for deliverance from these things, for strength, patience, comfort, and protection. Remember God’s word for those who suffer persecution:
Matthew:5:10: Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew:5:12: Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.