The following facts are from an article in the January edition of Christianity Today:
- Every day, 13 Christians worldwide are killed because of their faith.
- Every day, 12 churches or Christian buildings are attacked.
- Every day, 12 Christians are unjustly arrested or imprisoned, and another 5 are abducted.
And as I write this, the news about people being persecuted for their faith and the martyring of God’s people is increasing.
Paul wrote his 2nd letter to the Thessalonians to encourage them in light of their reaction to mounting persecution.
He started by saying:
We can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing. We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering.2 Thessalonians 1:3–4
And then he encourages them to stand strong without giving up:
So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.2 Thessalonians 1:11
Why shouldn’t the people of Thessalonica give up? Why shouldn’t Christians today give up?
Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.1 Thessalonians 1:12
What should followers of Jesus do instead?
5 Things to Do When People are Being Persecuted for Their Faith
- Focus on Jesus, who initiates and perfects our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)
- Look forward with hope in faith. (Philippians 3:13–14)
- Comfort those who suffer. 2 Corinthians 1:4–5)
- Rest in the knowledge that God is molding and making us more like Jesus. (1 John 4:17)
- Pray for believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:18)
In the article mentioned above, David Curry, the president and CEO of Open Doors USA said:
“The numbers of God’s people who are suffering should mean the Church is dying—that Christians are keeping quiet, losing their faith, and turning away from one another,” he stated. “But that’s not what’s happening. Instead, in living color, we see the words of God recorded in the prophet Isaiah: ‘I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert’” (Isaiah 43:19).
The first part of that Isaiah verse reads:
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?Isaiah 43:19a
A Prayer for Faith and Strength for All Who are Persecuted
Lord Jesus, You said that in this world we would have trials and tribulations. (John 16:33) You said that those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness are blessed. (Matthew 5:10) And You said that we should pray for those who persecute us. (Matthew 5:44)
It’s hard! It’s hard to watch others suffer and it is hard for us to suffer ourselves. Lord, I thank you for coming to this earth and understanding our pain. Thank you for enduring what I deserve. You allowed yourself to suffer persecution to the point of death to save me for all eternity. Your love washes over me with undeserved mercy and grace.
Please give all who have placed their faith in You the strength and courage needed to endure each day. Please comfort all who suffer because of that faith. Help us to all remain focused on You, help us live each day with hope as we rest and rely on Your promises.
Father, by the power of Your Spirit, make me more like Jesus. Make me loving and kind, faithful and true. Hold me in Your hands and give me all I need to live for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Maybe the most important thing to remember about being persecuted for our faith in Jesus are the words of Paul written to the people in Rome:
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?Romans 8:35, 38–39
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And that is the Best News Ever!!
On today’s note write:
God will give me everything I need if or when I am persecuted for my faith.
May God bless you today as you place your faith in Him and pray for all who are persecuted for their faith.
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