Thursday, August 27, 2009

Praying For The Persecuted-Part I of II

You will all notice that I have a new web link under "LINKS TO LIVE BY" which is 'VOM' or Voice of the Martyrs.

Please visit this site often, and remember to pray for the persecuted saints the globe over.

Being isolated as we are here in America, we Christians aren't fully aware most of the time, of how our brethren across the globe are suffering terribly at the hands of their persecutors.

What we must appreciate is that MOST of the church, in MOST of the nations of the world, during MOST of the history of the church has suffered terrible persecution!

From the Sanhedrin during the days of the apostles, using Saul of Tarsus (Paul the apostle before his conversion [when the LORD was ascended into heaven]), to the time of the ten Caesars that cruelly afflicted the saints, most especially under Nero, to the various Inquisitions and Persecutions by various Popes who utilized the Jesuits to rein in the wayward who left the Roman Catholic church by the scores, to the days in which Communist regimes, and Islamic states caused and still causing untold suffering and persecution to the body of Christ.

Persecution is rampant in today's world, and yet how many of us (myself included) are aware of what's happening to our brethren in other nations, and the cities that are under assault there?

Look at this article posted by The Berean Call (from Frontpagemag):

Being informed of such conditions that the church is suffering elsewhere is the first step in providing much needed aid to these saints; I am referring to intercessory prayer.

Prayer that they will stand fast in the faith for Christ Jesus; that the LORD God will provide grace for them in their suffering. That the LORD would make a way to deliver them from such, in His time.

The LORD may even motivate some of us to write letters petitioning various governments to show leniency and mercy towards our family in Christ.

Persecution has never been an enemy of the church, whereas materialism and affluence usually has. Prosperity breeds complacency, and as these enters our lives, we become introspective and self-interested. We tend to lose our sharp focus on seeking "first the kingdom of God and His righteousness."

Persecution has a way of separating the tares from the wheat, the sheep from the goats, or as its said often in the world, "the men from the boys". It has a purifying effect on the church as we suddenly lose interest in worldly matters; and Christ Jesus, the Head of the church, gains our undivided attention.

By God's grace and His Spirit the persecuted find themselves endowed with Holy boldness to proclaim even to the threat of death, the life giving power of the Gospel.

Did you know that the greek word from which we get the word 'martyr' from is 'martos'? What does 'martos' mean? It means "witness"! Think about this: in the days of the early church, to be a faithful witness, to become a Christian and a genuine follower of Christ meant pain, suffering, isolation, imprisonment, blood, and often death.

There were no saw dust trails where people came forward at a revival meeting; there were no calls for "every eye closed and every head bowed" while those who were beckoned to come to Christ could do so without too much notice.

In those days, as well as the present days of (Communist) Russia, Communist China, and North Korea, and most Muslim nations today, those who are Christian are imperiled as much as the early church was.

I have an album called Hymns Triumphant, and one such hymn has grave lyrics that are very powerful; one line goes something like this:

"By the light of burning martyrs, Christ, Thy bleeding feet we track."

Christian, the question I ask of you, is one that I ask myself: are we prepared to offer up our entire lives in total surrender to the will of God? Even if it means hardships? Pain? Suffering? Ridicule, mockery and abuse?

You might say, "But we live here in America! What chance is there that we will experience such things here?"

Given the present climate of our nation, and the direction of the trends that are observable to those who are watching, such experiences and events may be sooner than we would care to admit.

In the meanwhile, may I encourage you all to visit the Voice of the Martyrs web site, to subscribe to their magazine, even make a financial contribution if the LORD lays it on your heart, which will go towards the ministering of our hurting, suffering brothers and sisters in CHRIST the world over. MOST of all, let us remember to pray for them!

MORE on this issue of persecution in part two of this article.

Matt 5:11
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Matt 5:44
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

John 15:20
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.

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