Why Are We Persecuted?

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20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. – John 15:20 ISV
In His lifetime here on earth, Jesus suffered rejection, ridicule, mockery, and finally death on a cross.  While he was living out His life as an example to us, He promised us that we would be offended and suffer persecution as well.  When we suffer for His sake, we should be happy that He has chosen us to suffer with and for Him because we will receive a blessing here and a reward later.
 
11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.– Matt. 5: 11, 12 NLT
 
God also disciplines His children and the discipline is for our benefit so that we grow and mature in His service.

 

19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. — Hebrews 3:19 NLT

I like the NLT translation of this verse because the way most of us Christians sin is through indifference.  So what, if my neighbors are lost, I am not going to get involved.  Yeah, I felt that little nudge to speak or act but I am not going to do anything.  Yes, I should visit the sick but I just don’t have the time. Woe unto us!! Jesus will not ignore these sins of indifference, there will be discipline for His children in this world, not in eternity.  The kids of satan may prosper here because they are not God’s children to discipline but they will suffer punishment, the full wrath of God’s anger, for an eternity.  So, we don’t need to concern ourselves with how God handles them.
We need to be concerned over why we are suffering:  Is it persecution for His sake or discipline for our mistake?

 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 09-17-2018

Speak Carefully

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​1​0  “For the person who wants to love life    and see good days
must keep his tongue from evil
    and his lips from speaking deceit.  
​- 1 Peter 3:10 ISV​
 

 Somehow, somewhere, it seems that we have gotten the idea that it is not necessary for us to be careful of the words we speak and the tone of voice we use when we speak those words.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  When I become frustrated and/or angry, I hear myself speaking unkind words in a tone that I should not be using.  I am always convicted of the words and the attitude that caused me to speak those careless words.  Not always immediately, but the Holy Spirit does not leave me alone until I agree with Him and confess my sin. I am so grateful that God loves me enough to discipline me, no matter how long it takes. The passage of scripture quoted here in 1 Peter (originally from Psalm 34:12-16) reminds me that as a Christian, I should not be guilty of speaking words in that tone of voice.  If I truly “love life” and want to “see good days”, I must “keep my tongue from evil and my lips from deceitful speech”.  I must “seek peace and pursue it”, then God’s eyes will be on me and He will hear my prayers.  If I continue to rebel against God with unkind words and a bad attitude,  I have no basis to expect Him to do anything for me. God seems to be teaching me a lesson that “bad things happen to good people” sometimes because He disciplines His children.  The obverse of this is that He doesn’t discipline those that are not His children, but they will receive the full brunt of His wrath in the fullness of time.  Our part, then, is to remain obedient and faithful and He will do His part. As the Psalmist puts it:

8  Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.  9  For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.  10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.  11  But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity— Psalm 37:8-11 NIV

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

 

Post 08-28-2018

Divine Discipline

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Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? – Hebrews 12:9 NLT

As babes and young children, we submitted to the discipline of our human parents. We accepted their teaching and corrections on a daily basis.  Our human parents corrected us using the standards they thought to be best for us. As we grew older and our own personalities developed, some of us tended to disagree with some of the points and rebel to some degree.  In some points, we may have been right and in some points, we were probably wrong. As we grow older, we no longer look to our human parents to discipline us.  When we became (or become) babes in Christ, we need to submit ourselves to the teaching and corrections of the Holy Spirit. His discipline is always for our good, even though we may not agree with it at the time.  We may question the timing and the why of some of the discipline that God allows us to go through.  We need to understand that what we are going through is a part of the sanctification process   The two big differences in being children of human parents and being children of the living God are these:
1. Human parents are sometimes wrong, God is always right.
2. As humans, we grow more and need our parents’ corrections less and less. We study to get our degrees in various occupation. As Spiritual children, we mature and in that process, we learn that we need Jesus more and more, not less and less. When it comes to learning about God and His Word, I seriously doubt that many of us ever make it through kindergarten, much less earn any degrees.

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. — 2 Timothy 2:15 NIV

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 05-21-2018

Love Demands Discipline!

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10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.​ — Hebrews 12:10 NLT


We must understand that God disciplines us because He loves us. Just as we discipline our children for their benefit. If we don’t discipline our children then they grow up to be disobedient. An undisciplined lifestyle brings trouble and chaos to their lives as well as ours. The problem is that our human discipline is imperfect and doesn’t always bring about the desired results. Sometimes that is true because proper discipline takes a lot of time and must be reinforced over and over. As humans we sometimes fail at this, But God is not restricted by time and He loves us perfectly, so His discipline is perfect. He is patient and continues to discipline until we get it right. As Joyce Meyer says; “You can choose to obey or you can go around the mountain one more time.” No matter how God chooses to discipline us or how often, we can be assured that is the proper amount and the right kind. It will bring about the desired results. God is “the author and the finisher” of our faith. And He won’t stop until we are a finished product. That doesn’t mean that we will reach perfection here on earth but it does mean that we must stay on the path to spiritual maturity.


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 05-15-2017

Seek Wisdom – Walk Wisely

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7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,  but fools despise wisdom and discipline.  – Proverbs 1:7 NLT

We are born in sin into a world of sin. We are inundated hour after hour with violence and sexual innuendos. It seems more and more that billboards and commercials are using worldly, sinful things to get us to turn away from God. Along life’s way, we pick up a lot of bad habits. Not just drugs or violent actions, but gossip, off-color language, outbursts of anger, pride, idol worship and the list goes on and on. Some of our emotional outlets can become as addictive as drugs. How do we “fix” these things? Oh, sure, I can fix some of my problems temporarily, but where can I get a time-released, longer-lasting “fix”? Our flesh is weak, but God, in His omniscience has provided us with a “how to” book for humans. It’s called the Holy Bible. Specifically the book of Proverbs gives us guidance and wisdom for our daily living situations. Read it, meditate on it, and it will be in your heart when you need it. You can get help 24/7, the line is never busy and road service is free. He comes to where we are, no waiting, no charge.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Post 02-10-2017

Pray Without Ceasing!

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10 So this is what the Lord says to his people:“You love to wander far from me
    and do not restrain yourselves.
Therefore, I will no longer accept you as my people.
    Now I will remember all your wickedness
    and will punish you for your sins.”
— Jeremiah 14:10
 

Just as God told the Israelites back then, He is saying the same thing to us today. We have wandered far away from God and His precepts and we refuse to return. God is not slack concerning His promises of blessing nor His promises of discipline. God is not confused but our political leaders are very confused. They are like the blind leading the blind. Every day we get farther and farther away from God and we have no remorse for our actions. God will not be mocked, we will reap what we have sown. Let us pray for our nation, pray fervently and continually until our leaders return to the God of our Fathers. Pray that God will raise up Godly men and women to lead this nation in paths of righteousness.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 10-22-2016

You Get the Idea

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17 “But consider the joy of those corrected by God!  Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin.  — Job 5:12 NLT

Job 5: 17-27 NLT

Eliphaz was wrong in assuming that Job was being punished for some hidden sin that Job had not confessed. God was allowing satan to test Job’s love and loyalty to Himself.  But those of us who have sinned and are being disciplined can receive great encouragement from these words of Eliphaz. God not only allows us to be tested and disciplined, but when that time of testing and/or disciplining is over, He heals us.  Eliphaz lists several ways that God takes care of us and protects us and our families from dangers.  He blesses us in times of distress and provides everything we need to live Godly lives {2 Peter 1:3,4).  We are disciplined so that we can share in His divine nature and become more like Him.  And James tells us that “we should count it all joy ( James 1:2-5 ).  Some say “Life is a marathon”.  I prefer to think of it as a series of short sprints with some refreshing stops in between. Testing-joy-testing-joy, you get the idea.  Whether we consider it a marathon or a sprint, the point is there are hills and valleys, there are times of testing and there are times of refreshing.  Those times are means to an end.  That end is to arrive at our heavenly home after we have run the race.  Some of us will run all the time and some of us will need to rest more often.  Either way, press on to “press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us”.

Post 06-22-2016