“For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus. You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and also drove us out. The displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved in this way they always heap their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.” (1st Thessalonians2:14-16)
Beloved, stopping the mission of God’s church is sin. Religious pride and racial prejudice lead us to make the church do things “our” way. God’s love leads s to witness to all people, leading them to salvation in Christ. Persons who heap up sins trying to prevent the reaching of the gospel find God can act in their lives to protect His witnesses.
Suffering is an inevitable result of standing for Christ and sharing the gospel, but God will care for His people and judge the persecutors. To resist the gospel is bad enough; to persecute those who do embrace and propagate its truth is tragic beyond words.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, we don’t actually know the event that Paul addresses in Thessalonians that prompted his response, but he speaks the truth that if anyone prevents the gospel from being brought to His people, He has and will correct this egregious act. With wrath, maybe, but certainly He will not allow this type of action to go on without a response! Jesus loved all the people, even those we might find as unlovable. Help us to address all with the message of the gospel and with the same love that Jesus did. It matters not what they look like, the color of their skin, their clothing, where they live or any other meaningless factor. He said to take the message out into the world, period. So, let us pray and trust that the Holy Spirit will lift us up beyond petty things and help us focus strictly on the importance of the moment, to witness to the gospel message and do so with the same love, that Jesus did. It is in His name we that we pray. Amen.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“If you have enough of Jesus to get to heaven, you have enough of Jesus to get you to church!”
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoner’s were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chain came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, ‘Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!’ The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs what must I do to be saved?’ Thy replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—-you and your household.’ Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—-he and his whole family. Then it was daylight, the magistrates sent their offices to the jailer with the order: ‘Release those men.’” (Acts16:25-34)
Paul and Silas were in the Philippian dungeon because of their faithful witness to Christ. Evangelization in the Spirit often brings persecution. In the midst of physical suffering, the men had positive spirits. They sang and prayed at midnight. God honors that spirit and attitude.
The Lord sent deliverance and conversion as a result. God’s people use hard times as God’s opportunity for evangelism. Leading people to ask the right questions and directing them to Jesus is the proper procedure.
“Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because he devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” (Revelation 12:17)
Those who stand for Christ and bear a strong testimony will be persecuted; yet, the Lord promises victory to His faithful witnesses. The church at Pergamum remained true despite severe persecution. The phrase “where Satan has his throne” could refer to the huge pagan temple given to the worship of Ascleplus. More likely the reference was to Pergamum’s reputation as a center where the Roman emperor was worshiped as a god. God’s people were under pressure, but hey kept their testimony alive and thus won many to Christ. Beloved, real evangelism always sparks pressure and problems, but the Lord will always sustain His faithful ones.
Second Thought of the Day:
“You must be on guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.” (Mark 13:9-10)
Christians who tell others of their sin and their need of Jesus Christ as Savior can expect persecution in one form or another. As I have said before, pray before speaking, always, for it gets your mind focused on what and how you say to people. I have worked in prisons for many years, and during time inside, I am often asked about my own walk and how I came to the Lord. My answer is always, first and foremost I asked God to listen to my sins that I needed forgiveness for, and received His grace and mercy with tears and an open heart.
By revealing your own frailties to others, it puts them in the frame of mind to think of whatever it is that they might need to be forgiven. I call upon the Lord to help me in bringing the message of salvation through Christ Jesus and then I pray for the individual/s that God will touch them, to bring them forth to confess their sins and find true freedom in their own lives. How about you? What is it in your own life that you might need to confess and then to ask God to forgive you? Have you heard the gospel message, yet never really committed to Him. Why not today?